Secondary Division Application Instructions




Step 1: Choose a Course

Browse our course offerings, then choose one course that interests you and up to three alternates. Make note of the listed course number and any grade requirements or prerequisites. Keep our attendance policy in mind as you review the course schedule. See Selecting a Course for more information.

If you wait to apply, remember to check the course offerings since course availability may change throughout the spring as courses fill.



Step 2: Gather Documents

Please compile the following items in the order listed below. Items numbered 1 through 5 are required for a complete application. We request you include College Board PSAT/SAT scores (item 6) if they are available, and federal tax documentation (item 7) if you wish to apply for financial aid.

1. Letter of Interest Click for details  

Please write a cover letter to accompany your application, explaining your reasons for choosing each of the courses listed on your Application Information Form. In your (the student’s) own words, include information about your interest in the subject(s), what you hope to learn, and related experience, if any. In this letter and on your Application Information Form, please only list courses in which you are actually interested in enrolling.

Your letter may also include any special circumstances, such as transportation or scheduling needs.

If you are applying for two courses, include your petition in your letter. Specify your desired course schedule, and explain your plan for managing the increased time commitment.

Please do not send certificates or awards.

2. Teacher Recommendation Form Click for details  

Give the Teacher Recommendation Form along with an envelope to a current teacher in an academic subject (e.g., mathematics, science, language arts; not fine arts, advisory, or extracurricular classes). Your teacher should complete the form, seal it in the envelope, sign his or her name across the sealed flap, and then return the envelope to you.

If you are applying for Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry, or Precalculus, this form must be completed by your current math teacher.

3. Copy of Report Card Click for details  

Submit a legible photocopy of your first semester (or most recent) report card for the current (’15–’16) school year.

We request that you send final grades, but if those are not available, you may submit your most recent progress report. Do not delay submitting your application to wait for final grades; if necessary, we may ask for an updated report card after receiving your application. If you need assistance obtaining a copy, ask in your school office.

4. Copy of Test Scores Click for details  

Include a legible photocopy of your most recent California standardized test or other standardized achievement test scores (e.g., Stanford Achievement Test, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, or other school-administered test that gives national percentile scores). The test must have been taken within the past three years (i.e., 2015, 2014, or 2013) and include scores in the areas of math and reading/ELA.

Do not delay submitting your application to wait for more recent test scores. Include whatever acceptable test scores you have from the last three years.

We are aware that because of the transition from the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) exam, no STAR or CAASPP results for math/ELA are available for the 2013-2014 school year. Applicants who do not have test results from 2015 should submit a copy of their 2013 test scores.

If you have not taken a standardized achievement test in the past three years, include a signed note with a school stamp from an administrative staff person at your school indicating so.

5. Academic Product or Essay Click for details  

Please submit an academic product that meets the criteria of one of the three options below. This work should be one of which you are especially proud and which was completed since September 2015. While the work may have been done for a school assignment, it need not have been. The product you submit need not be in the same subject area as that to which you are applying, but keep in mind that the written component must develop your own original thinking beyond restating facts. If your product is more than one page, staple the pages together but do not staple them to the application or put them in a folder.

Option A - Existing Essay or Story
Submit an essay or story of at least 500 words that shows your original thought and that is long enough for you to develop your ideas. A social studies or science report is not appropriate unless it relies heavily on your own analysis in addition to reporting factual information.
Option B - Other Existing Product
If you’d like to submit a piece of academic work that deviates from a traditional essay or story format (e.g., art, poetry, computer programs, and science experiments), you must also submit a clear, well-developed explanation of your work. Your written explanation should be at least 500 words and must be long enough to clearly demonstrate your thinking as you developed this product.
Option C - Write an Essay
Write a well-developed essay of no more than 1,500 words on one of the topics below. You may type or write in ink on lined paper. Take time to consider the topic in depth and organize your answer. Be sure to title your essay.

  • Albert Einstein once thought that the universe was a static size, not expanding. Charles Darwin suggested that creatures inherited a blend of each parents’ entire set of traits. Despite providing modern science with foundational theories, both scientists’ understanding was originally mistaken and evolved to become more complete. Describe a situation in which you or those around you believed something that turned out to be neither entirely true nor entirely false, but more complicated. In your essay, discuss how the experience changed your thinking process, and cite specific real-life examples of how one can work towards more complete knowledge.
  • Intercollegiate sports often make up a substantial part of a university’s overall budget. In a well-developed essay, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of financially supporting collegiate athletic programs. Take a stance on this issue with supporting arguments and specific recommendations.
6. Copy of SAT/PSAT Scores (optional) Click for details  

If available, include a legible copy of your College Board PSAT and/or SAT scores.

These scores will be used for research purposes only, and they will not affect placement decisions.

7. Need-based Financial Aid (optional) Click for details  

See Tuition & Payment for complete information.

To apply for financial aid, please submit both parents’ most recent Federal Tax Return AND ALL SCHEDULES (i.e., the complete tax return) for each applicant.

For preliminary consideration and to avoid delay in submitting your application, you may submit your 2014 return if your 2015 return is not yet available. We will ask for your 2015 return at a later date, if required.

Do not send original documents.

If there are special circumstances, submit a letter of explanation and photocopies of any supporting documents (e.g., unemployment forms).

If the $50 processing fee poses a financial hardship, submit a letter of explanation and supporting documents listed above.

Send your complete application materials no later than Wednesday, March 2. We will not consider financial aid requests for applications that are completed after the financial aid deadline.

An invoice for fees due and the amount of financial aid awarded (if any) will be included in the student’s acceptance packet, which will be mailed on Friday, March 31, 2016.



Step 3: Fill Out the Application Form

The application form can be completed online.

If you have not yet done so, register an online account and then access the "My Applications" menu. Click on "Create a New Application" and follow the on-screen instructions. You can do this multiple times with the same account if there is more than one student in your household applying to ATDP. If you have used your account for the same applicant previously, some of the application will be completed for you. Double-check this information for accuracy and update as needed before submitting!

You will need access to a printer to print out the Statement of Commitment. Ensure it is signed by both the parent and the student applicant. Include the signed Statement with your documents. If you do not have immediate access to a printer, you can return to My Account later on a computer with printer access.

If you prefer not to use an online account, you can download and print this PDF version of the the Application Information Form.



Step 4: Send It In

Include a $50 processing fee, payable by check or money order to “UC Regents.” Write “SD” and the student’s first and last name on the memo line.

This fee is non-refundable. It covers only the cost of application processing and does not apply toward tuition or facilities fees.

One you have all of the required materials, place your processing fee payment on top of the rest of your documents, and mail them in a single package to:

University of California, Berkeley
Academic Talent Development Program
Graduate School of Education
70 University Hall #1160
Berkeley, CA 94720-1160

Only complete applications will be evaluated. Do not send the application in parts.

The processing fee cannot be paid with foreign checks. If you must pay with a foreign check, please contact our office.


Deadlines & Notification

ATDP evaluates applications continuously, in the order they are completed. The earlier you apply, the better your chances at receiving placement into your preferred course! To receive priority as a returning student, or to apply for financial aid, be sure your application package is placed into the mail on or before the postmark deadlines (see rightbelow).

Note that we accept late applications on a space-available basis. For those applying after the deadline, ATDP may take up to three weeks to return a decision, and the Notification of Attendance or Withdrawal must be returned within two weeks of its receipt.

  • Secondary Division Application Dates
  • Returning student deadline:
    Wednesday, February 17
  • New student & financial aid deadline:
    Wednesday, March 2
  • Late applications:
    submit as soon as possible!

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