Step Up is a residential, pre-orientation program for international students and students who completed their secondary-level education outside of Canada. Step Up is an optional program that is designed to offer a bridge into studies at U of T and your transition to life in Toronto. It’s a great way to make new friends and get ready for your first-year of University!  


Eligibility For first-year international students and citizens/PRs who completed secondary school outside of Canada
How it works Get the details here
Schedule Move-in occurs on Sunday August 27, 2017 and move-out on Friday, September 1, 2017.
Registration Registration for Step Up 2017 is by invitation only
Contact Email
Volunteer Former Step Up participants and others interested in volunteering at Step Up, see the Orientation Volunteering webpage
Participant comments What previous participants have said about the program


Step Up is open to international students who will be starting the first year of their U of T degree in September 2017 in any of the faculties listed below. Additionally, new students who are citizens or permanent residents, and who completed their secondary-level education outside of Canada, are also eligible for the program:

  • Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
  • Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Faculty of Music
  • John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design

Please note that Exchange students are not eligible for this program.

How it works

As a Step Up participant you will:

Build Your Community: Meet professors, peers and advisors.​

Get Oriented: Discover campus and community resources.

Bring U of T in Focus: Get ready to begin your studies at U of T.

Step Up participants stay in residence for the week, with breakfast and lunch provided.  Health care coverage is provided automatically through the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP).

The cost for the week is $300.00. This fee includes:

  • Your stay in residence from Sunday evening August 27 to Friday morning September 1.
  • Breakfast and lunch from Monday, August 28 to Friday, September 1 inclusive.
  • All activities between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. for the duration of the week, plus optional evening activities. (If you choose to participate in the volunteer-led activities on Friday, Sept. 1, there may be additional costs involved).

Staying in residence for Step Up

All Step Up participants will stay in residence for the duration of the program. Most participants will stay at Chestnut Residence, but students who will be resident in New College or Victoria College for the fall-winter will be accommodated in their year-long residences.

All students who will stay in a U of T residence for the 2017-18 academic year will be granted early move-in to those residences on Friday, September 1.


Participants will move in to temporary residence on Sunday August 27.

Step Up program activities will run from Monday August 28 to Thursday August 31 inclusive, with optional volunteer-led social activities on Friday September 1.   

On Friday September 1, participants will move out of temporary residence and into their assigned U of T residences or off-campus accommodations.

For details, please see the Step Up Provisional Schedule


Registration for Step Up is by invitation only. If you meet our eligibility requirements, you will receive a “save the date” email on June 1st .

Registration will open in mid-June. If you have checked your email (and junk mail!) and have not received a Step Up communication as of June 1, 2017, then please contact us directly.


Questions? Please email


If you are a former Step Up participant and are interested in volunteering this year, please see the Orientation Volunteering web page for more information.

What previous Step Up participants have said about the program

"Step Up was an extremely useful thing. A lot of the common troubles and concerns that international students have here are mitigated by Step Up. It helps you start building bonds with people because you're all in the same situation: 'I just got here, I don't know what I'm doing, but we're all in this together'" (Step Up 2015 participant).

“… you make most of your good friends in this program and you’re exposed to the campus and the resources available earlier than the other students, which should build your confidence.” (Step Up 2016 participant)

“Step Up helped me get to know fellow students, faculty, the campus, and all the amenities within or outside campus.” (Step Up 2016 participant)

“I met people I am still friends with to this day and it helped me be more prepared, relaxed and settled in university.” (Step Up 2016 participant)

“They might not know it but they are more comfortable with the idea of being in a huge school away from home after step up.  Plus they’ll meet a lot of cool people.” (Step Up 2016 participant)

“I would say Step Up is a great experience for international students especially, as you have an opportunity to exclusively meet others who are in many of the same circumstances as yourself; for me I found that aspect quite relieving and the program really allowed me to make good connections that eased my anxieties about starting university in Canada despite not having had any prior education here.” (Step Up 2016 participant)