Program Details

The High Potential (HP) program is a signature retention program at Saint Mary’s College setting the standard for academic excellence and leadership development. Launched in 1973, HP provides comprehensive support services to first generation and/or low-income students. Students who apply to be part of the program participate in activities and receive supports to develop their leadership, academic, service and personal skills. HP students receive intensive support services in the first year at Saint Mary’s College and ongoing support throughout their sophomore, junior and senior years.

Program Components:

High Potential Coaches, Staff and Peer Mentors work together with HP students to develop their academic and leadership skills and connect them to the college community. The program provides a continuum of support for approximately 160 students from just prior to the first year of college through the completion of their baccalaureate degrees.

The HP program provides a range of services and supports:

Summer Academic Institute for Leaders and Scholars (SAILS) – all incoming first-year HP students are invited to participate in an intensive summer residential program, earning units toward graduation and an gaining opportunity to meet professors, coaches, peers, and peer mentors. The activities and classes focus on academic, psychosocial and cultural development. This component of our program is in high demand and space is limited. It is not a requirement for students to participate in SAILS for you to be eligible for the academic year programming. SAILS was conducted in a virtual format in 2020 and 2021.

Peer Mentor Program – all incoming first-year and transfer HP students are assigned an HP Peer Mentor. HP Peer Mentors offer academic, personal, and professional support beginning in the SAILS Program and continuing throughout the students’ first year at Saint Mary’s. Students who will be entering their second, third, and fourth year are invited to apply to this paid leadership position.

Success Coaching – all HP stuents are assigned a dedicated Success Coach in the High Potential program for monthly (mandatory) individualized coaching sessions to help ensure steady progress toward academic, social, and personal goals. 

Priority Registration – all HP students who continue to make academic progress and are in good standing with the program will receive priority/early registration.

HP First Year Advising Cohort – incoming first-year HP students enroll in HP FYAC, a partial credit course for both fall and spring semesters of their first year. This course, taught by the student’s faculty advisor, provides academic support and guidance to set a solid foundation for high academic and personal achievement. Faculty assist students with essential academic skills such as time management, study habits, using campus resources effectively, and tracking self-progress. Students who join HP after their first year are not required to participate in FYAC.

Workshops/Trainings  HP students are invited to participate in on and off-campus workshops and trainings that support their academic, professional, and personal growth. These opportunities change each semester, and reflect the current needs of HP students.

Online Community (Slack) Slack is an invaluable messaging tool that the High Potential program provides for all HP students. It allows students to communicate directly via instant message with HP staff, peer mentors, and fellow students. HP staff utilize this system to provide resources, make announcements, and create robust and fun ways for our community members to communicate.

HP Student Advisory Board (SAB) – this group, comprised of HP students from each year and peer mentors supports program logistics, marketing, tutoring, and events. SAB hosts “town hall” events to give HP students the opportunity to be involved, learn about offerings, and provide feedback to the program. SAB also faciiltates biweekly study group/tutoring that HP students have access to.

Financial Literacy & FAFSA Support – all HP students receive support with filling out the FAFSA, advocacy with the office of financial aid, and financial literacy education.

Financial Support – Students that demonstrate financial need are eligible for grant aid of up to $3,000 per year. Students must be Federal Pell Grant eligible and this award amount is subject to change depending on the students' financial circumstances. This scholarship money is renewable as long as students remain in good academic standing and are taking advantage of all required HP supports. In addition, HP students have access to book scholarships, technology loans, school supplies, professional clothes lending library, and emergency funding through the program.