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Second-year thematic experience programs (STEP)

The Second Year Thematic Experiential Program STEP(s) are communities that are designed specifically for second-year students to enhance their skills and interests through experiential Self- Authored Integrated Learning (SAIL) at Northeastern University.

Please contact Residential Life, with questions related to the Second-Year Thematic Experiential Programs at 

2020-2021 STEP Community Descriptions

The Civic Engagement STEP will provide participants with an opportunity to be an active member of a residential community that focuses on serving Northeastern and greater Boston. Civic Engagement can happen through cultivating connection and networks between Boston organizations, The Office of Community Engagement, and Residential Life.
The Entrepreneurship STEP participants will engage in thought-provoking conversations and work that stimulates the creative, boundary-breaking attitudes and behaviors that inspire some of the most successful members of society. Participants will be asked to think critically about their time at Northeastern.
The Healthy U STEP participants will develop and create healthy habits that impact their overall wellness. Participants can expect to explore the many ways their physical environments and emotional awareness can impact their development and assist them in creating strategies to live a more holistically centered life.

Benefits of living in a STEP

Living in a Self-Directed Community
At the heart of the STEPs experience is the belief that students learn and grow more when they set the direction for their education. With this in mind, these second-year communities are designed to encourage participants to be the driving force behind all community initiatives. Residential Life staff will prepare students and advise them throughout the academic year, but the hope is that the community is truly representative and reflective of the participants’ vision.

Other benefits students can expect:

  • Actively participate in forming an inclusive community
  • Establish on-going events and traditions with the STEP(s)
  • Attend a community meeting at the beginning of each semester to establish community expectations
  • Provide assistance during Welcome Week for First-Year Living Learning Communities (Healthy Living, Leadership, and Community Service)
  • Nominate a STEP(s) Hall Council representative

Application process

Students applying for a STEP will complete the Housing Application process as usual, but will also complete a supplemental application, consisting of several questions asking students to talk about their interests and preparation for engaging in a self-directed community.

Students can alert us to their interest by marking it in the actual housing application. We will then send a copy of the supplemental application to be completed and returned by 5:00pm EST on January 24, 2020.

Please note that simply marking the interest box on the housing application does not mean you have completed your application to the STEP. 

For more information about the STEPs application process, including the supplemental questions for the application, please click here

NOTE: Housing and Residential Life reserves the right to reassign student’s housing if they fail to actively and positively participate in the STEP program.

December 12, 2019

Begin applying for second-year housing

STEPs interest and STEPs application available

January 17, 2020 Housing Application closes, but STEPs interest and STEPs application remain available
January 24, 2020, by 5:00pm EST Deadline to submit STEPs interest and STEPs application
January 31, 2020 Notification sent to accepted STEPs participants


frequently asked questions

If I want to pull in roommates, do they also have to apply to be a member of the STEP community?
Everyone in the apartment/suite that you’d like to live with must also complete the STEP application and be accepted into the programEach member of your group needs to complete an application to be considered. All requests must be mutual.

Do I have to identify potential roommates before applying to be in the STEP?
Students who apply alone and accepted into a STEP will be assigned to live with other students who applied for the same community.

What if I’m studying abroad or going on co-op at a location outside of Boston? Can I still apply?
Students departing campus for Spring 2021 are still eligible to participate in the STEP program.

How does room selection work if I’m accepted into a STEP?
By completing the application, you will not participate in the Room Selection process. You will be assigned to an apartment/suite based on the STEP you have applied to with the roommates you have selected to live with. Assignments will be selected and sent to you via email by early March.

What if I want a different room in my STEP community?
Students who are offered placement in a STEP and accept, please note that your placement is final.

Do I have to be a sophomore to be in a STEP?
All applicants to the STEP communities must be rising second-year students for the 2020-2021 academic year.