Your questions, answered!
What is the High Potential Program?
The High Potential (HP) program provides individualized support services to first year, first-generation college students who enroll in the program. Operating since 1973, the HP program admits an average of 40 students to participate in the Summer Bridge program and up to 70 students for the academic year programming. HP students receive intensive support services in HP students’ first two years at St. Mary’s College.
What are the benefits of being in the High Potential program?
HP students receive additional support services while enrolled in the program. Students may participate in a two-week Summer Bridge program and a First Year Advising Cohort with special attention in further developing reading, writing, and mathematical skills. The two-week summer bridge program includes taking classes and workshops for .50 credits. HP students also attend a .25 credit HP FYAC weekly class during the fall AND spring semesters, earning an additional .50 credits. Successful completion of the HP program in the first year will earn students additional 1.0 credits at no cost to HP students.
Am I eligible for the High Potential program?
If you are a first-generation (neither parent has completed a college-degree) and/or are low-income (Pell-grant eligible), you are eligible to apply for the HP program. Applicants for HP will need to be admitted to Saint Mary’s College through the traditional application process prior to being considered for the program. In addition to being admitted to Saint Mary’s College, priority consideration for the HP program will be given to students who are first-generation and come from low-income families.
How can I apply to the High Potential program?
Once students are admitted to Saint Mary’s, prospective HP candidates may submit the HP application for consideration. The application may be requested from Pedro Ramirez in the Saint Mary’s Admissions Office or may be downloaded here. The application will require information regarding family income, family’s educational background, information regarding educational goals, along with two short essay questions and a letter of recommendation from your most recent professors in math and English.
What is the cost of the High Potential program?
The only cost in the High Potential Program is if you are selected to participate in the HP program, which is a nominal fee of $325.00. Should you require additional support to meet this need, please contact Elia Salgado, Director. This fee is added to your fall semester tuition bill.
Do I have to attend the two-week summer bridge if I am in the High Potential program?
As an HP student, you are eligible for the Summer Bridge program. If selected, you will be required to attend the summer bridge session from August 2 (9:00am) – August 16, 2013 (2:00 pm). If you are not selected to be in the Summer Bridge program, you may start the program in the Fall HP FYAC (First Year Advising Cohort) program.
What will I do during the two-week summer bridge?
HP students will take courses in Seminar, English, and Math with Saint Mary’s faculty. Students will also attend a series of workshops tailored to meet the needs of first-generation and low-income students as they transition into college. You will meet with HP program staff to outline your academic and personal goals for your first year of college. All of your classes and workshops contribute to the .50 credits you will earn during Summer Bridge. HP students live in a dorm and have the opportunity to adjust to college life within an academically challenging, yet supportive environment.
Can I stay on campus after Summer Bridge until school starts?
HP students who live out of the general Bay Area are provided the option to move into their housing assignment for the school year. There is no HP programming during this time.
How is the HP FYAC different from the FYAC for all first year students?
All first year students at Saint Mary’s College are enrolled in a yearlong .25 credit course – First Year Advising Cohort (FYAC). This course meets regularly throughout the fall and spring semester and provides instructional support from your academic advisor on issues related to time management, study skills, and use of campus resources. The HP FYAC sections are for HP students, meet every week for the fall AND spring semesters; and students will earn .25 credits for each semester. Additional workshops and advising sessions are designed to meet the needs of HP students, as well as bi-monthly meetings with HP program staff.
What is the .25 HP Critical Thinking & Research class and do I have to take it?
HP students in their second year will enroll in a .25 class that focuses on critical thinking and research in upper division classes. HP students will have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty on issues that impact first-generation and low-income students. This course is of no cost to students and can be repeated for credit as needed. Students will meet monthly with HP staff for academic and personal support as needed.
What are current HP students saying about HP?
- “It’s about having a community of people you know”
- “Getting to work with the HP staff on the personal issues about family, money, and drama”
- "Having someone to go to when you're stressed out and don’t know what to do to solve a problem – a support system"
- “Knowing the campus resources like Academic Advising, tutoring, Financial Aid, Registrar’s is really helpful”
- “The classes during Summer Bridge helped me be ready for Seminar and gave me a chance to get to know some professors. Being in a college class setting helped me when I started classes”
- “Working with peer mentors is great because you get to learn from someone who has gone through it”
- “Networking – meeting different people through the program workshops. It's about feeling like you belong already even before school starts”
- “The HP FYAC class is all about keeping me on track towards my goals and having a community that knows and supports me”