Your questions, answered!

What is the High Potential program?

The High Potential (HP) Program provides individualized support services to 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 an average of 90 students for the HP First Year Advising Cohort.  HP students receive intensive support services in the first year at Saint Mary’s College and ongoing support throughout students' sophomore, junior and senior years.

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. The two-week Summer Bridge program includes taking college-level 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 a total of 1.0 credit at no cost to HP students.

Am I eligible for the High Potential program?

If you are a first generation college student (neither parent has completed a college degree), 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.

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 downloaded here. The application will require information regarding family income, family’s educational background, information regarding educational goals and responses to short essay questions.

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 Summer Bridge program. The nominal fee is $300.00. Should you require additional support to meet this need, please contact the HP program Director. This fee is added to your fall semester tuition bill and is due prior to the start of the fall semester.

Do I have to attend the two-week Summer Bridge if I am in the High Potential program?

As a first-generation college student, you are eligible to participate in the Summer Bridge program or the HP First Year Advising Cohort (FYAC). If you apply and are selected to participate in the Summer Bridge program,  you will be required to attend the Summer Bridge session from July 25, 2014 (9:00am) – August 8, 2014 (3:00 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, which begins the first week of the fall semester. 

What will I do during the two-week Summer Bridge?

HP students will participate in college-level courses in English, Math and Seminar, taught by Saint Mary’s faculty. Students will also attend a series of workshops tailored to meet the needs of first-generation students as they transition from high school into college. You will meet with HP program staff to outline your academic and personal goals. All of your classes and workshops contribute to the .50 credits you will earn during Summer Bridge. HP students live in a campus dorm and have the opportunity to adjust to college life within an academically challenging, yet supportive environment.  Here is a sample schedule.

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. Advanced notification must be requested.

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) and receive a pass/fail grade. This course meets regularly throughout the fall and spring semester and provides instructional support from your faculty academic advisor on issues related to time management, study skills, and use of campus resources.

The HP FYAC sections are for first-generation college students and meet every week for the fall AND spring semesters. Students will earn .25 credits for each semester for a total of .50 credits and a letter grade. Additional workshops, advising sessions and monthly meetings with HP program staff and your faculty academic advisor are designed to meet the needs of HP students.

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 tutoring, Financial Aid, and the 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.”
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