Your questions, answered!

What is the High Potential program?

The High Potential Program is a signature retention program at Saint Mary’s College setting the standard for academic excellence and leadership development in the 21st century. Launched in 1973, HP provides comprehensive support services to a diverse group of Saint Mary’s students.

Students who apply to be part of the program take part in an array of activities and are provided a myriad of services meant to develop students’ leadership, academic, service and personal skills.


What are the benefits of the High Potential program?

HP students are connected to a supportive network of staff, faculty and their peers that promote student leadership and scholarship through a number of supportive services.  

All HP students receive:

Individualized coaching that is aimed to help students get the most from their educational experience, persist at Saint Mary’s College, and graduate within four years

  • Peer Mentoring for first and second year students
  • Tutoring
  • Assistance with filling out the FAFSA, advocacy with the office of financial aid, and financial literacy training
  • Exposure to graduate school options
  • Priority (early) registration for courses
  • Scholarship support for students who demonstrate financial need

Additionally students who join the program as first year college students are invited to our Summer Academic Institute for Leaders and Scholars (SAILS) and our First Year Advising Cohort (FYAC).  The two-week SAILS program includes taking college-level courses for credit, workshops geared toward academic and personal skill development, and community-building events and outings.


What are the criteria to become eligible for the High Potential program?

  • Eligibility criteria to participate in High Potential
  • First generation college student and/or low-income individual.
    • If neither of your parents has obtained a bachelor’s degree from an institution of higher education in the United States, you qualify as first generation
  • Low-income students with a disability
  • Citizen or national of the United States or meets the residency requirements for Federal student financial assistance
  • Enrolled at Saint Mary’s College or accepted for enrollment in the next academic term


How does a student apply for the High Potential program?

Once students are admitted to Saint Mary’s, prospective HP candidates may submit the HP application, found HERE, for consideration. The application will require information regarding family income, family’s educational background, the student's educational goals and responses to short essay questions.


When can I apply to join HP?

We accept applications to HP during all four years of students’ time on campus.


Is there a fee for the High Potential program?

The High Potential program, including our Summer Academic Institute for Leaders and Scholars is 100% free of charge.


For information about the High Potential Program please contact:

(925) 631-4835


Sharzad Mozaffar

HP Coach & Peer Mentor Coordinator, High Potential Program

TRiO Student Support Services


Tai Casey

Graduate Student Counseling Intern, 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


Leslie Montano

Program Assistant, High Potential Program