STEP into STEM Frequently Asked Questions


Can I participate in the program if I registered for a SOAR date in June?

No. Since a big component of the program is to complete math placement using ALEKS PPL, all
participants need to register for a SOAR date in July or August.

Will lunch be provided?

No. However, light breakfast items and snacks will be provided throughout the day.

What is ALEKS PPL?

ALEKS PPL is an online placement software that helps determine your placement for math or chemistry
or both, depending on your major. The software, along with other measures helps CSULB determine the
best course placement for your first semester. More information here: 

Should I complete ALEKS PPL for math placement before the program begins?

No. There is time allocated in the program agenda for students to complete ALEKS PPL for math

Can I participate in this program and other CSULB programs for freshmen?

No, each program has specific requirements and objectives. Choose the program that benefits you the

What’s the difference between the BESST program and STEP into STEM?

The BESST program is specifically for pre-engineering freshmen who will place in pre-calculus algebra
and trigonometry or calculus 1 in the fall semester. The summer is part of a larger first year program. The STEP into STEM program is open to pre-majors in both, engineering and natural sciences and mathematics. The goal of the STEP program is to facilitate the completion of ALEKS PPL for math placement prior to students’ SOAR date while facilitating their connection and transition to the campus.

After I apply to STEP into STEM what happens next?

You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application. Program staff will review applications
following the deadline. Acceptance emails will be sent two weeks after the application deadline.

What happens after I participate in the program?

After participation you will have the option to participate in the EXCEL Learning Communities based on
your math placement. Enrollment in the learning communities will take place at SOAR. The program
gives you access to a peer mentor, clustered courses, workshops, tutoring and more.

How much will STEP into STEM cost me?

The program is free, however students will need to plan to bring lunch or money to purchase lunch on

How do you select students for the program?

Students are selected based on their high school math courses, GPA, and math SAT/ACT scores. We’re
looking for students who will place in pre-calculus trigonometry and algebra or calculus 1 in the fall

Who can participate in the program?

Incoming freshmen with a pre-major in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics or College of
Engineering. The program highly encourages students who will enroll in pre-calculus trigonometry and
algebra or calculus 1 in the fall semester to apply.

Can I work or have outside commitments during the program?

Other commitments are discouraged, however as long as you are able to participate Monday through
Friday from 9:00am to 3:00pm during program dates, we’ll allow it.

Will I receive college credit?

No, the program is meant to enhance your transition and preparation for your first semester in college
through workshops and activities. The program is not a course for credit.

Will housing be provided?

No, housing is not provided during the program. Students must coordinate their own accommodations if needed.

Will a campus parking permit be provided?

 Yes, for students who will drive themselves to campus a parking permit will be provided.

Can I participate if I need to enroll in Early Start?

No, students who are required to enroll in Early Start cannot participate in the program. However, if you were strongly encouraged to participate in Early Start, you have the choice of participating in STEP into STEM or Early Start.