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.

Course availability may change throughout the application season as courses fill. Check our list of course offerings for frequent updates.



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

Please write a cover letter to accompany your application, 200 word minimum, 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. If the course(s) you list have prerequisites, mention how you have met them. In this letter and on your Application Information Form, only list courses in which you are actually interested in enrolling. Please do not send certificates or awards.

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.


2. Teacher Review Form

Give the Teacher Review Form along with an envelope to a current teacher in any academic subject (e.g., mathematics, science, language arts; not elective, 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.

The teacher’s academic subject need not match the subject of the ATDP course(s) to which you are applying, with one exception. If you are applying for Algebra I, Geometry, or Algebra II/Trigonometry, this form must be completed by your current math teacher, in addition to the accelerated mathematics prerequisites.

Remember that your teacher’s time is valuable. We recommend giving your teacher this form at least one week before you plan to submit it with your application.

Do not request a separate letter of recommendation. Do not submit more than one Teacher Review Form with your application materials.


3. Copy of Report Card

Submit a legible photocopy of your first semester (or most recent) report card for the current (’17–’18) 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

Include a legible photocopy of your most recent California standardized test (CAASPP) 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., 2017, 2016, or 2015) 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.

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

Please submit an academic product that meets the criteria of one of the following three options (A, B or C). This work should be one of which you are especially proud and which was completed since September 2017. 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.

  • If you could dedicate your life to a cause, what would it be? Imagine you are trying to convince a wealthy investor to fund your life’s work. Describe why you think your cause is worthy, how the money will be used, and what positive outcomes may result from the investment. Make sure your proposal is organized and includes factual details.

  • Identify an opinion with which you disagree or a policy that you oppose. After reviewing the other side’s evidence and reasoning, construct a persuasive essay in favor of the position that you do not support. Your conclusion should reflect on this exercise, stating your original understanding and how it has changed (if at all).


6. Copy of SAT/PSAT Scores (optional)

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. Note that the SAT and PSAT are aptitude tests, not achievement tests, so they are not acceptable substitutes for item 4.


7. Need-based Financial Aid (optional)

See Tuition & Payment > Financial Aid 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 2016 return if your 2017 return is not yet available. We will ask for your 2017 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, February 28. 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 Thursday, March 29, 2018.



Step 3: Fill Out the Application Form

The application form can be completed online. (Early applicants aiming for the February 14 deadline must submit the form online.)

If you have not yet done so, register an online account and then access the "My Account" menu. Click on the name of a returning student, or select "Apply for a new student", 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. Online services will be unavailable to those who submit the hardcopy 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 or money orders. If you must pay with a foreign check or money order, 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!

New this year: early and extended application

This year, ATDP is expanding its application deadlines.

Early Application

A limited number of spots in each course will be reserved for early applicants. Early applicants must fill out the application form using an online account, and they may receive early acceptance decisions there.

As in previous years, returning students will receive priority if they apply early. Based on the number and relative strength of other early applications, an early applicant may be automatically converted to a standard applicant if no early acceptance decision is possible.

Extended Application

For courses that still have open spots after the standard application period, we will accept applications on a rolling basis. Note that financial aid will no longer be available for applications completed after the standard application deadline.


  • Early Application

  • ▪ Financial aid available
    ▪ Must submit form online
    ▪ Returning students receive priority
  • Application Postmark Deadline:
    Wednesday, February 14
  • Acceptance Decisions:
    Wednesday, March 14 (online*)
    Thursday, March 29 (mailed)
  • Tuition Deadline:
    Monday, April 16
  • Standard Application

  • ▪ Financial aid available
  • Application Postmark Deadline:
    Wednesday, February 28
  • Acceptance Decisions:
    Thursday, March 29 
  • Tuition Deadline:
    Monday, April 30
  • Extended Application

  • ▪ Financial aid NOT available
    ▪ Limited course availability
    ▪ Rolling acceptance decisions
  • Final Postmark Deadline:
    Wednesday, May 30
  • Acceptance Decisions:
    within 3 weeks of receipt of the completed application
  • Tuition Deadline:
    within 2 weeks of receipt of the acceptance decision (no later than June 15)

* Early applicants may be able to access acceptance information early online, but they will still receive a mailed packet at a later date.

See our program calendars for the complete application timeline.