[Skip to Content]
This site's design is only visible in a graphical browser that supports web standards, but its content is accessible to any browser or Internet device.
UWT Logo UWT Diversity logo
UWT Favorites Info for...
Home Diversity Resource Center Get Involved Get Support Learn Events & Programs Contact Us  

Students Together Empowering Personal Success

STEPS graphic
Meeting Log
Mentor Resources
Contact us
Facebook link

SMP Movie from Amalia Perez on Vimeo.

Become a STEPS mentor and offer yourself as a resource, guide, support and listening ear for a Tacoma area high school student. STEPS mentors commit to meeting once a week with their mentee(s) to assist them primarily in the college admissions process (including SAT prep, applications, writing essays, applying for financial aid, and finding scholarships). Research shows that mentoring has a multitude of positive effects on youth and helps to strengthen communities.

STEPS mentors share knowledge and experience in navigating the process of high school graduation, college admissions and career exploration. This partnership offers a wealth of benefits including:

  • Leadership development and enhanced personal growth
  • Networking opportunities with peers, faculty, staff and community members
  • A greater sense of pride and belonging in one's community
  • A chance to make a significant difference in the lives of youth

How Does It Work?

UW Tacoma STEPS mentors provide guidance and support to local Tacoma youth, many of whom will be the first in their family to attend college. STEPS mentors and mentees meet throughout the academic year for mentoring sessions as well as engage together in local service opportunities. STEPS mentors draw upon personal experience and formalized training to provide their mentees with guidance and support in areas including:

  • Life skills support and training
  • College and career preparation
  • Financial aid planning
  • SAT and WASL preparedness
  • College applications and essays
  • Academic assistance

The Nuts and Bolts of STEPS

StudentsProgram Orientation:
When you become a STEPS mentor, you will attend an orientation designed to give you a deeper understanding of the challenges facing first-generation students. Orientations complement one's personal experience to provide a solid foundation for effectively supporting youth.

Program Placement:
UW Tacoma students are matched with mentee(s) who as much as possible share similar interests, as well as your schedule.

STEPS mentors receive on-going training to improve their mentoring capabilities. Trainings offer opportunities to improve one's leadership, communication and mentoring skills.

On top of orientation and ongoing trainings, the STEPS team provides resources and support to mentors throughout their mentoring experience.

How Can I Get Involved?

A criminal background check is required in order to be matched with a high school student. To learn more about the University of Washington Tacoma STEPS Retention Project, please feel free to contact us!


University of Washington Tacoma
Diversity Resource Center
West Coast Grocery – Room 102
1900 Commerce Street, Campus Box 358409
Tacoma, Washington 98402-3100

The STEPS Project History

First-generation college students are defined as students whose parents do not have a college degree. Because these students face more educational barriers, they are three times more likely than their peers to leave college without earning a college degree. The University of Washington Tacoma, along with 14 other Washington state colleges and universities, partnered with Washington Campus Compact and AmeriCorps to institute The Retention Project, a program dedicated to bridging the achievement gap between first-generation college students and their peers. Roughly 1,600 Washington state college and university students serve their local communities as tutors and mentors for these high school youth every year.

STEPS is a retention partnership between UW Tacoma and community partners.

STEPS community partners

up arrowtop