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 housing be provided?

Housing is NOT provided by the HSI-STEM program. This is a commuter program.

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.

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 placement.

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 most.

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 STEP into STEM program is open to both pre-majors in engineering and natural sciences and mathematics. The goal of the STEP 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 campus.

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 semester.

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?

Yes, participating students will receive credit for successfully passing ESM 100 (HSI-STEM sections only) which is part of the STEP Into STEM program.  You will receive one unit of college credit. The class is pass/no pass.