High Hopes Application FAQ

At the beginning of the application, you are asked to select which program you are applying to. We will ask for certain information depending on which program you select. Make sure to read the options carefully and select the one that applies to you. The options are as follows, please note that different student populations can apply for the same scholarship.

  • The Community College High Hopes Program (CCHH) – I am currently a senior attending a Berkeley Public High School
  • The Bachelor’s Degree High Hopes Program (BDHH) – I am currently a senior attending a Berkeley Public High School
  • The Community College High Hopes Program (CCHH) – I am currently attending Berkeley City College
  • Please consider me for both the BDHH and the CCHH program – I am currently a senior attending a Berkeley Public High School

If you are getting questions that don’t make sense to you, you may have selected the wrong program.

SAR stands for Student Aid Report. EFC stands for Estimated Family Contribution. Your Student Aid Report comes from filling out a FAFSA or a Dream Act application. Your Estimated Family Contribution can be found in your Student Aid Report. 

Your Student Aid Report can be found in either your FAFSA or your Dream Act Application portal.

Important note: Please upload your full SAR to our application, not just the first page. We want to see all of your information.

We look at the whole picture when considering applications. We prioritize students who have an EFC that qualifies students to receive a Pell Grant (EFC< $6206). However, having a higher EFC doesn’t automatically disqualify you from receiving a scholarship. We will still review your application and will consider other factors that may cause financial hardship (e.g. Your parents are paying for multiple students in college, your family has a situation that means paying for college will be difficult, you will not be receiving financial help from your parents, etc.)

The likelihood of you receiving a BCS scholarship depends on our applicant pool in a given year, how many applications we receive, and how many students meet our prioritized criteria.

Yes. We prioritize students who are low-income, underrepresented in higher education, and first-generation to college, but you do not have to meet all three criteria to qualify. We consider a student’s context and circumstances, so even if you do not meet all of the criteria, we will still accept your application.

Please upload a full transcript that includes your senior Fall grades and the courses you are taking in the Spring.

Please upload a full transcript that includes your Fall 2022 grades and the courses you are taking in the Spring.

SEP stands for Student Education Plan. You need to meet with an advisor to create a plan for the classes you will take each term until you transfer. Advisors will make sure to include all of the general education requirements and major prerequisites you need to take in order to be eligible to transfer.

We are looking for your Unweighted Cumulative GPA.

In the Activities and Employment section, you are first asked to list meaningful activities that you took part in while in high school or community college. Please include activities in which you spend time – they do not have to be in a formal club or setting. If you skateboard or spend a lot of time reading, helping out your family, or a counselor at school, that counts. Let us know if you are in AVID, RISE, Bridge, Y Scholars, or another support program. If you are in the CCC every day after school for tutoring or to study, please tell us. Also, do you have responsibilities at home or in a family business?  Do you participate in clubs, sports, or groups in school and out of school? 

You do not have to list a lot of activities, we want to know about the ones that are most significant to you. The most important part of this section is the essay question which asks you to list the two most meaningful activities, why each one is important to you, and what you learned from each one. 

The personal essays are an opportunity to tell us something about yourself outside of your grades and activities. We want to get a better sense of who you are, what you care about, and what interests you. 

Question 1: “Please describe a personal or academic achievement and the steps you took (are taking) to accomplish it. Please include details on what you learned from the experience (750 words or less).” 

There are two parts to this question. First, we want to hear about your achievement and the steps you took to accomplish it. We want you to briefly tell the story of what you accomplished and spend more time describing your actions (e.g. What efforts did you put into this achievement? Why? Did you have to learn new skills, seek help from someone, or collaborate with others? What kept you motivated?).

The second part of the question asks about what you learned. We want to hear your reflections about the experience. How did you grow? What did you learn about yourself? We are looking for a thoughtful reflection that tells us more about you, your values, and your personality.

We don’t want to just know about something that happened to you, we want to know how you’ve grown from your experiences, what you’ve gained from them, and how that’s influenced your worldview and your goals in life.

Question 2: What do you hope to learn in college and gain from the experience (350 words or less)?”

In this question, we want to hear about what you’re excited to do in college. What do you want to study? What activities do you want to get involved in? What are new things you want to try? Overall, what do you hope to get out of college? How do you want to grow as a person?

Important Tip: We recommend that you write your essays in a word processor (Word, Google Docs, etc) before copying them into the application. This way you can ensure your work will be saved, you can work on it over time, and it’s easier to proofread and edit. Please review your submission to make sure that you have answered the question and checked for grammar and spelling.

We know that students may receive decisions from colleges until late spring and that students don’t need to make their decisions until May 1st. Please list your top ten colleges you would like to attend in order of preference. If you have been accepted or waitlisted at a school, you may write that next to the name of the school (e.g. UC Berkeley – waitlisted, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, San Diego State – accepted).

We encourage students to type the Personal Essays and Activity Essays into Word or a Google Doc. Please proofread your essays and then copy and paste them into the application. This will prevent lost work.

There are several documents we ask you to upload to the application. For each kind of document, the application specifies what type of file you need to upload. You may be having trouble uploading if you are trying to upload a different kind of file than what the application will accept. See below the types of files we are requesting:

Student Aid Report. Please upload a PDF file. You can click the “Print” button and when the dialogue box appears, you can change the print destination to “Save as PDF”, then download the file to your desktop.

Transcript. You may upload either a PDF file or an image file. Just make sure that you upload your entire transcript including fall grades and Spring courses in progress. If the transcript is 2 pages, you may need to scan it if you want to upload an image.

Student Education Plan. For students already enrolled in community college. You may upload either a PDF file or an image file. This document needs to be completed by an advisor and it maps out the classes you need to take term by term up to the date of expected transfer.

This is strictly for scheduling purposes. We will be hosting interviews in the spring and will use this to make sure we do not conflict with AP testing.

We only require one letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, coach, or another adult who is familiar with your academics and can speak to your potential. (This person cannot be a relative or a friend).

Through the “Request” section of the application dashboard, you can enter the email address of the person who will be writing the recommendation. You should talk to the person before sending the request. If the person you are going to ask has already written a college recommendation for you, they can upload that same letter through the instructions they will receive from us.