The 2021 First Step Summer program will be virtual. Applications are due May 21, 2021.

See message below for all applicants.

A Message for First Step Applicants

First Step, as a program has been preparing young women of color and/or Indigenous women for higher education for over four decades. The First Step Summer Institute is a free and unique college immersion experience on our St. Paul campus. This 4-day residential program, allows students to gain a deeper sense of commitment to pursue higher education, a strong network of diverse, college-bound friends, a sense of support and encouragement from St. Kate's staff, faculty, students, perspectives on college living, and ultimately, increased self-esteem about their capacity to apply to and thrive in college.

Due to the novel Coronavirus, we had to cancel the formal program last summer but as the pandemic continues, we must find our new normal. So instead of cancelling the formal programming yet again and in order to honor the health and safety of students, staff, faculty, and as well as all the family that entrust us with their daughters we decided to move the program online for the summer of 2021.

Although this virtual program would not be the same as our in-person program, we are hoping to still provide workshops, sessions, and skills that are vital to student growth and college preparations.

FAQ

Although this isn’t the same as the in-person program we still wanted to provide the students with the necessary knowledge to familiarize themselves with college and to meet students, staff, and faculty to get all their questions answered.

The program will be held virtually over Zoom for two and half days with a ton of breaks because we know being online and staring at a screen for a long time is not conducive to anyone’s success.

Last year, we had to cancel the First Step program and offered a short alternative to seniors since it would be their last chance to attend the program. The rest of the students accepted last year are automatically accepted into the program this year.

For anyone applying for the first time this year, the selection process will remain the same and only students who have complete a strong application will be accepted to First Step Summer 2021.

For rising seniors, we recommend students who are able to complete their application to do so right now. Preference will be given to rising seniors this year. If you are currently a first year, or sophomore student and you would want to wait to apply to the program next summer, feel free to do so but we cannot guarantee with the pandemic that the program won’t be virtual again.

Due to the virtual nature of the program and the students attending won’t enjoy the many aspects of the residential program, we combined incentives for students that can only be provided this year.

  • Students will have access to a St. Kate’s alum and current students
  • Full program attendees will receive a St. Kate’s sweater
  • If students end up attending St. Kate’s, the Multicultural & International Programs and Services office will pay for up to $300 dollars’ worth of books and supplies from the bookstore for their first semester.
  • Seniors: will have a guaranteed spot for our overnight Preview Day [ONLY if we are able to host it in person fall of 2021]
    • Overnight preview day is when seniors come to campus, interact with college students, (talk with admissions), stay on campus with a current student, attend college classes and get immersed in the St. Kate’s community, including attending evening programs at the University.
    • This spot is guaranteed if the pandemic shifts and we are able to host in person large programs.

A Free College Immersion Experience

Preparing young women of color and/or Indigenous women for higher education, the First Step Summer Institute is a free and unique college immersion experience on our St. Paul campus.

Students in the program gain a deeper sense of commitment to pursue higher education, a strong network of diverse, college-bound friends, a sense of support and encouragement from St. Kate's staff, faculty and students, more perspective on college living, and ultimately, increased self-esteem about their capacity to apply to and thrive in college.

  • Work with 25 other fun and energetic young women, all of whom are striving to go to college.
  • Gain access to college professors and students who are willing to help you get to college.
  • Build a deeper sense of community and leadership skills with the help of team-building activities.
  • Attend a variety of workshops that are packed with invaluable information. Topics covered include: applying for financial aid, choosing a major/career, how to write a personal statement and college money/debt management.
  • Work with your peers in an environment designed to foster your skills and prepare you for college.

First Step Institute students in front of Coeur de Catherine
  • Time, money, stress and conflict management
  • Goal setting
  • Problem solving
  • Active listening
  • Resourcefulness
  • Confidence and empowerment
  • Accountability to yourself and to others

2021 First Step Dates

Virtual session: June 28–30, 2021

Eligibility

First Step is a highly competitive program with more applicants than there are slots available. Meeting eligibility requirements alone does not guarantee admission to this program. Program enrollment is limited to 25 students and preference will be given to rising seniors.

You must:

  • Identify as a woman of color and/or Indigenous woman
  • Be enrolled in 9th, 10th, or 11th grade and have a 3.00 or higher grade point average (GPA)
  • Be interested in higher education
  • Demonstrate a willingness to make First Step your first priority
  • Complete the application

How to Apply

  • Complete the First Step online applicationThe application deadline is May 21, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Obtain two letters of recommendation. One recommendation should come from a current teacher and the other from an adult who can speak honestly about your personal qualities and interests, talents, and skills. Recommenders can submit their recommendations online.
  • Request your most recent transcript or grade report (unofficial is okay). Your transcript should be mailed directly from your high school in a sealed envelope to our mailing address below. Scanned and emailed transcripts are also acceptable; please email them to thefirststep@stkate.edu.

Online application

Online recommendation form