Welcome to the High Potential Program

You have worked hard and achieved the dream of being in the first generation of your family to attend college. The High Potential Program will give you the tools and support you need to translate that hard work into continued success.



HP SAILS 2015 Class Pic

Since 1973, the regionally recognized High Potential (HP) program at Saint Mary’s College has welcomed students from diverse backgrounds, including low-income and first-generation college students into higher education. The HP student success initiative provides a range of services and individualized support for students. The HP network is large and welcoming of all students who are dedicated to earning a baccalaureate degree.

Why choose the Saint Mary's High Potential Program:

  • Summer Academic Institute for Leaders and Scholars (SAILS) - A two-week, intensive program during the summer where 40 entering first year students live on campus and take college-level classes before starting the fall semester. The program aims to support your transition from high school into College and will allow you to get a head start towards units for graduation. The program also provides the opportunity to meet some of your peers as well as professors, advisors, and peer mentors. SAILS generally takes place in late July/early August.
  • First-Year Advising Cohort (FYAC) - All first year students participate in a FYAC section. The HP FYAC section is specific to students from diverse backgrounds, including low-income and first-generation college students. Students participating in SAILS are required to participatie.  You will receive a grade and academic credit for participating in weekly class meetings in the fall and spring semesters with your faculty advisor and Student Engagement and Academic Success specialist. Topics include handling common challenges all college students must face, the differences between high school and college coursework, time management, study skills, major exploration, goal setting and financial aid and money management.
  • Peer Mentor Program - Approximately 15 sophomore, junior and senior students are selected and participate in an intensive training program to become peer mentors who are paired with incoming HP students. Many of the peer mentors have participated in Summer Bridge and/or the HP FYAC program and might have faced similar challenges and achieved the successes you aim to achieve. Your peer mentor will strive to develop a supportive, coaching relationship with you and will provide you with leadership, guidance and personal and academic support in the Summer Bridge Program and throughout your time at Saint Mary's.
  • Monthly Meetings - Meet regularly with your assigned Student Engagement and Academic Success Specialist, who will help you stay on track to reach your goals!
  • Earn credits toward graduation - Earn .5 credits for the Summer Bridge Program; .25 credits for fall HP First Year Advising Cohort;  and .25 for spring HP First Year Advising Cohort.


  • In order to apply, student must be admitted to Saint Mary's College.
  • Complete and submit web application for 2016 High Potential Program HERE.


  • March 13, 2016 - Early Decision Application Due
  • April 1, 2016 - Notification of Early Decision
  • May 2, 2016 - Regular Decision Application Due
  • May 31, 2016 - Notify HP of student's decision, otherwise spot not guaranteed

Frequently Asked Questions

Peer Mentor Program Timeline and Application

  • Application available HERE.
  • Completed application due, including recommendation forms, Monday, February 1, 2016 at 5:00PM.
  • Interviews conducted Feburary 22 - February 26, 2016; sign-ups will be made available.
  • Notification to applicants on March 7, 2016.

Key Collaborators

For information about the High Potential Program please contact:

(925) 631-4349

[email protected]

Tarik Scott
Director, High Potential Program
TRiO Student Support Services

Lien Truong
Assistant Director, High Potential Program
TRiO Student Support Services

Gloria Aquino Sosa
Faculty Co-Director, High Potential Program
Assistant Professor and Coordinator College Student Services
and Career Specialization, Graduate Career
Counseling Program
Kalmanovitz School of Education 

Pedro Ramirez
Senior Admissions Counselor
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment 

Maps & Directories

Mailing Address

Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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