Please Select
First Year Transfer Second Year Third Year + Grad/Law

Second-year thematic experience programs (STEP)

Second-Year Thematic Experience Programs are designed specifically for students in their second year who are looking to take charge in integrating their passions and career interests. Participants will challenge themselves to grow holistically by refining decision making and leadership skills.

Each STEP, made up of like-minded individuals housed in a specific community on campus, will help students to further develop themselves personally while preparing for success in and after college, all while exploring what our great city of Boston has to offer. Students will have access to faculty and staff with similar interests to enhance their second year living on campus while participating in targeted programs and events based on the theme of their chosen STEP.

2019-2020 STEP Communities

Students will explore their passion for engaging with the local and global community while learning more about themselves through participating in community service projects and learning more about the root causes of systemic social issues. We hope to provide students with opportunities to expand upon existing passions for service, civic engagement and instill within them an understanding of how to be a civically engaged individual.
Those joining the Entrepreneurship STEP will be engaged in thought-provoking conversations and work that stimulate the creative, boundary-breaking attitudes and behaviors that inspire some of the most successful members of society. They will be asked to think critically on their time at Northeastern and how they can first make the most out of their academic journey in order to make the most from their post-collegiate experience.
Students will be challenged to 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 experience and develop strategies to be successful at Northeastern & beyond.

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.

Priority Housing Assignments
The STEPs are located in three pre-determined complexes on campus. Students who elect into the STEP program will receive guaranteed housing in that specific community and will be exempt from participating in the Housing Lottery process.

Other benefits students can expect:

  • Actively participate in creating the framework for the STEP identity and establish goals for the experience
  • Work collaboratively with RA staff
  • Attend a Meet & Greet social during the spring semester
  • Attend a community development workshop at the beginning of the year to establish community standards, expectations, and programming initiatives
  • Serve as mentors to first-year students in their Living Learning Community Experience

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 February 4, 2019. If you’d like more information about STEPs before the Housing Application for the 2019-2020 academic year goes live, please email Residential Life ( for more information. Please note that simply marking the interest box on the housing application does not mean you have completed your application to the STEP. 

A copy of the previous year’s supplemental application can be found here. A brief timeline of the STEP application process is outlined below:

December 13, 2018 Begin applying for second-year housing
January 18, 2019 Housing Application closes
February 4, 2019 Deadline to submit STEPs supplemental application
Week of February 11, 2109 Final notifications sent to accepted STEPs participants


frequently asked questions

If I want to pull in roommates, do they also have to apply to the 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 program.

Do I have to identify potential roommates before applying to be in the STEP?
Students who apply alone 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 2020 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 during the week of February 11, 2019.

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 2019-2020 academic year.