Helpful Tips for Project STEPP Applicants
Applying to Project STEPP? These tips may help you through the application process.
Before you start your application, take the time to read the following resources thoroughly and carefully:
- The Application Checklist gives very detailed instructions. Please follow them closely and call or email us if you aren't sure about something.
- The FAQ page includes important information about the application process and materials that will help you complete your packet efficiently.
- This page also has some helpful pointers that aren't necessarily included in the FAQs or instructions.
You can send in your application materials together in one packet or separately in multiple packets.
- If you send items separately, try to send the Student Information Form in the very first packet. We can't start a file for you or send you notifications without that.
- We highly recommend doing this if some of your required materials won't be available until close to the deadline. The earlier we receive the bulk of your application packet, the more time you will have to fix anything that is missing or incorrect.
- Your teachers can send their recommendations separately or give them to you to include in your packet. The same goes for your transcripts and anything else that comes from your school.
All of the application forms can be completed by typing directly into the PDF form and printing it out or can be printed out blank and completed by hand.
- On the webpage with the links to the application materials, you should see instructions for how to download the blank PDF forms and save them to your computer. Please follow these instructions carefully. Although your internet browser will let you fill out the form and print it directly from the browser window, it's very important not to do this because some of the features of the form are disabled or print incorrectly in a browser. Instead, be sure to open the forms in Adobe Reader before completing them.
- When you view the forms in Adobe Reader, you should see blue shaded boxes in most of the blanks, along with drop-down menus in a few blanks. The boxes and arrows will disappear when you print the form. If you've typed in answers, those will show up without the shading behind them. If you don't type in any answers, the form will print completely blank so you can handwrite your responses.
Hover your mouse cursor over any of the boxes on the form to view additional instructions that will pop up to explain in more detail what we're asking for in that box. Be sure to read those for clarification if you're not sure what to put in a blank.
- As you type in your responses, the text in each blank should shrink to fit what you've written into the available space. Make sure all of what you've written is visible on the form - if you can't see it on the screen, it won't print. Please also double-check that your entire response for each blank is visible and large enough to read when you print the completed form.
- If any of your teachers would prefer to fill out the recommendation form on the computer instead of by hand, please direct them to the website. You do not need to fill out or sign anything on the recommendation form, so teachers can download and complete the form and then send it directly to Project STEPP if they prefer.
Different versions of Adobe Reader / Adobe Acrobat will give you different options for saving and editing your responses in the forms.
- If you have the free Adobe Reader software (this is what most people have on their computers), you will be able to type directly into the blanks and boxes on the application forms. However, with some versions of Adobe Reader, you will not be able to save the information you have typed into the form. Your best bet is to make sure you have all the necessary information ready before starting the form so you can complete it in one sitting and then print it out immediately. (Print more than one copy, just in case!)
- Some versions of Adobe Reader will allow you to save a completed version of the form. To do this, first fill out all of the fields on the form. Then click on "Sign" (which can be found either in the upper right-hand corner of the window or as an option under the "View" drop-down menu). Click on "Done Signing" under the "I Need to Sign" menu. Confirm that you want to merged your text into the PDF and save the updated version of the file to your computer. Then you can either print the form and mail it in, or you can email it to us instead.
- If you have the full Adobe Acrobat software installed on your computer (instead of just Adobe Reader), then you should be able to save the form regardless of whether it is completed or not and then come back to finish it later. Once it's finished, you can print it and mail it in, or you can email it to us instead.
If you're not sure whether to submit a freshman or transfer application, call or email us.
- The "Apply to Project STEPP" page includes guidelines for which students should submit freshman applications and which should submit transfer applications.
- If your situation is not covered by any of those guidelines, check with us about which application to submit.
- Please pay close attention to any additional materials you are asked to submit along with your application. The additional items listed under each student category are not on the application checklist. Thus if any of them apply to you, we recommend jotting a reminder down on your checklist to ensure you include them.
The application deadline is a postmark deadline, not a "received by" deadline.
- As long as your application is postmarked on or before May 15th, it will be considered on time.
- You can send your materials by standard postal mail. In most cases, there is no need to pay extra for priority or overnight mail.
- However, it's still a good idea to get things in early! (See below.)
Submit your application early if you can!
- A lot of students send in their applications between May 1st-15th. Getting yours in before that usually means it will be processed faster and sent to the admissions committee for review sooner.
- More importantly, it means that you will have ample time to be notified about any missing or incorrect items and to send those items in before the deadline.
- Please be aware that if you mail your application packet on May 15th and it turns out that something is missing or incorrect, your application will be considered late because you won't be able to send the remaining materials by the deadline.
We must have your SAT (or ACT) scores by May 15th...but don't panic if you're not happy with those scores.
- It does not matter which test you take - we accept both the SAT and the ACT. But if you take the ACT, make sure you take the "optional" writing section. It's required for ECU and thus for Project STEPP.
- We cannot waive the SAT or ACT requirement, but we do take into consideration the fact that it's very common for students with LD to struggle with standardized testing. We have never rejected an applicant solely on the basis of low SAT/ACT scores. The scores may factor into the decision, but we make decisions based on a broad view of all the student's application materials.
- Many students aren't happy with their first set of SAT/ACT scores. You might want to consider taking it once during the winter of your junior year to guarantee that you'll have scores available in time for the Project STEPP deadline. Then you can plan to do some test-prep activities in the spring and take it again in May or June. There's a good chance your scores will go up because you'll know what to expect the second time and you'll also have another semester of math and English coursework under your belt. You won't have the second set of scores in time for the deadline, but you will be able to send them to us before we make final admission decisions over the summer.
You need to be proactive about keeping up with your application status.
- Project STEPP sends notifications by email or postal mail and keeps a record of all notifications sent. Once we send a notification, we are not responsible for whether a student receives and/or reads it.
- If you have submitted application materials and have not received a response, you need to contact Project STEPP to verify whether we received them. Allow several weeks for us to receive a packet, process it, and notify you.
- If you choose the email notification option, we strongly recommend adding firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to your email account's "safe senders" list and regularly checking your spam/junk folder for any messages from Project STEPP.
- If you choose the postal mail notification option, please be aware that sending and receiving mail through the university mail system often takes 1-2 days longer than the usual postal timeframe.