Seminar for Top Engineering Prospects (STEP)

Launched in 1985, the Seminar for Top Engineering Prospects is a week-long summer residential opportunity for rising high school seniors to explore the many disciplines within engineering. During STEP, students learn fundamental engineering design skills, including principles of design and teamwork, physics, computer programming, 3-D modeling and printing, and robotics. STEP students work in teams of 4, and apply the theory they’re learning with challenging projects during the week, culminating in a multifaceted team-based design challenge competition.

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2024 Session Dates 

Session 1: July 7 to July 13

Session 2: July 14 to July 20

Session 3: July 21 to July 27



The STEP program welcomes rising High School Seniors (graduating spring 2025) to apply. Ideally, students will have completed three years of high school mathematics and one year of chemistry or physics by summer 2024.

Registration Fee


*You will only pay the above fee if accepted into the program. 

**Need-based scholarships for STEP are available; please contact the College of Engineering Honors Program once the entire STEP application (including reporting of standardized test scores) is complete and you have been accepted to the program.


The fees above will cover the cost of program activities, housing, meals and transportation during the STEP camp. Full payment is due two weeks after notice of acceptance. Registration fees are non-refundable. 


STEP students are housed in premier Purdue University Residence Halls, and share a suite-style, air-conditioned room with another STEP participant of the same gender (we cannot accommodate roommate requests). Trained residential STEP staff interns are housed on the floors with STEP students, and are responsible for ensuring the safety of the STEP students while in the residence hall. Bed linens, towels, washcloths, and laundry service for these linens are provided. Laundry machines in the residence hall are available for student use (students must provide their own laundry detergent).


Construction projects on campus and in West Lafayette and Lafayette are ongoing. Please refer to the Campus Construction Website for the latest construction map, and allow extra time for travel.


The STEP registration fee covers breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day of the STEP camp session in award-winning Purdue University Dining Courts (beginning with Sunday dinner and ending with lunch on Saturday). Please see the STEP itinerary for a more detailed schedule. Dietary restrictions are accommodated in the dining courts, and more information is available on the dining court websites for Food Allergies and Menus.


Transportation to and from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana is the responsibility of the participant. Local (campus) shuttle transportation between the Purdue Memorial Union and the residence hall housing STEP students is available, and there are commercial shuttle services that connect to the Purdue Memorial Union to and from the Indianapolis airport. All transportation for STEP-related activities during the session is provided.

What to Expect at STEP

Engineering = teamwork + creativity + life.

During the STEP program, students are engaged in collaborative classroom experiences, and challenging projects that apply those theoretical concepts to real world problems. The goals of the STEP program include allowing students to explore engineering as a multifaceted and collaborative discipline, the opportunity to develop skills, and to experience using those skills to create and innovate. Teamwork is an essential component of engineering, and STEP students will work with a group of 3 peers throughout the week as they explore and apply new skills to solve challenging problems. Creativity, communication, design, and analytical modeling will be introduced by world-renowned Purdue faculty members, Purdue College of Engineering Honors student interns and guest lecturers throughout the week. Each team’s skills will be put to test as you create and optimize innovative, alternative solutions to your week-long competitive design challenges.

Participants will select two engineering disciplines in the College of Engineering at Purdue University, and will tour those facilities during their week at STEP. During those discipline tours, students will have the opportunity to connect with current students and faculty in that academic area and explore more deeply the various options available in Engineering at Purdue. STEP participants will also select an area engineering company, and will visit that company to see engineering in action.

The STEP program features fun outside the classroom as well; students will participate in Purdue Traditions, such as fountain runs and have the option to head to the book stores for Purdue gear. We also enjoy a movie night on Slayter Hill, a campus scavenger hunt, and Cosmic Bowling.

One of the goals of the STEP program is to give students a small taste of being a Purdue University Engineering student. STEP is a full and exciting week that will stretch students academically, developmentally and interpersonally.

Three images of students working on different projects

Application & Information

We will continue accepting applications until all of the participant slots have been filled. Once all spots have been filled qualified applicants will be placed on our waiting list. Since qualified participants are selected on a competitive basis, all portions of the application must be complete, including the Standardized Test Score (i.e., PSAT, SAT or ACT) section, before we will consider you for the STEP program. If you have not taken the PSAT, SAT or ACT, but plan to do so in the near future, please indicate the date you expect to receive your scores in the space provided. Please note that your application will not be considered complete until all components of your application are received by the STEP program.

You will be notified by email of your entry status after your completed application (this includes test scores) is received and a decision has been made.

Registration Information Contact

College of Engineering Honors Program
Purdue University
Gateway Complex, Lambertus Hall
363 North Grant Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2022
Phone: +1 (765) 494-7217
Fax: (765) 494-6655

Students Jumping in front of the arch