Successful Transition & Empowerment Program (STEP)

Group photo of STEP students

Welcome to STEP!

Designed to cater to a diverse student population, Wharton’s Successful Transition and Empowerment Program (STEP) is a college readiness program that introduces incoming students to important Wharton and Penn resources, fosters connection and community, and helps participants build skills to effectively navigate college, both academically and socially.

This critical support of our student community continues through each year of their academic progression with various offerings including monthly programming, robust mentoring, and unique internship opportunities. Learn more about how STEP engages, educates, and empowers undergraduates below.


The STEP pre-orientation is a first-year readiness program intended to help historically underrepresented students successfully acclimate to college life and the Wharton environment. Programming introduces incoming first-years to important resources and helps them build skills to effectively navigate Wharton and Penn both academically and socially. The STEP experience then continues throughout the first academic year.

Learn more about STEP pre-orientation here.

First-Year Mentoring

During the first year at Wharton, new STEP students connect with STEP upperclassmen mentors. STEP mentors serve as an ongoing support system, helping students adjust to college life and build community connections that last throughout the Wharton experience.

Academic Year Programming

Examples of STEP academic-year programming include:

  • Monthly Community Events bring together STEP students from all class years and connect them with valuable campus resources. Each event is centered on an academic or co-curricular topic that enhances the Wharton experience. Wharton advisors, staff, and other professionals facilitate the sessions. Past topics include time management and study strategies (with the Weingarten Learning Resources Center), business research strategies (with the Lippincott Library of the Wharton School), and cover letter and resume writing (with Penn Career Services).
  • Business Site Visits. Traditionally, STEP has sponsored an annual trip to New York City to get an insider view of various companies, such as Viacom, Warby Parker, and Apax Partners LLP, and interact directly with industry leaders and Wharton alumni.
  • The Annual Business Etiquette Dinner held at the Union League of Philadelphia has been a highlight of the STEP program. Etiquette professionals guide students through various elements of business and social protocol. Students review techniques like entering a room professionally, appropriate topics of conversation at professional events, and how to navigate each course of a meal, all while enjoying dinner at the prestigious Union League.


For more information on the STEP pre-orientation program, please see the FAQ. Additional questions can be directed to Teran Tadal, Director of Equity and Inclusion, at

What last year's STEP participants had to say...

“Each day of STEP I saw myself learning more about the resources and the great university I’m a part of. I am grateful for the opportunity to receive mentorship and engage in the universally accepting community that STEP promotes.”

“Deciding to do STEP was one of the best decisions I made this year and I am so grateful to the group of people that put this on.”

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program and for all of the people I met. Thank you to the peer mentors, all of the faculty, and staff who have worked to make our experience transitioning to Wharton exciting and empowering.”