The information below describes our 2020 online program. Please check back in January for summer 2021 program information.

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 about different types of SD courses.

All courses run during the six weeks of June 22–July 31, 2020 unless otherwise noted.

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



Step 2: Prepare Required Materials

Please prepare the following items in the order listed below. Items numbered 1 through 6 are required for a complete application. We request you include College Board PSAT/SAT scores (item 7) if they are available, and federal tax documentation (item 8) if you wish to apply for financial aid.


1. Application Processing Fee

There is a processing fee for each application. The fee is $50 for domestic students. For international students attending school outside the US, the fee is $80. This fee is non-refundable. It covers only the cost of application processing and does not apply toward tuition or facilities fees. Available payment methods include:

  • Online payment by credit/debit card (online applications only).
  • Check or money order made payable to “UC Regents.” Write “SD” and the student’s first and last name on the memo line. Mail or deliver your check payment to ATDP (see “Mailing Instructions” below).
  • Those applying for need-based financial aid may apply for a processing fee waiver if the fee poses a financial hardship. See item 8 below.

We cannot accept cash payments or foreign checks/money orders.


2. 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. 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, only discuss courses in which you are actually interested in enrolling. Remember, this letter should be about YOU and your personal interest & qualifications, not about the relevance of the course(s) in general.

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.


3. Teacher Recommendation Form

Include a copy of ATDP’s Teacher Recommendation Form (TRF) that has been completed by a current teacher in any academic subject (e.g., mathematics, science, language arts; not elective, advisory, or extracurricular classes).

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, Algebra II/Trigonometry, Precalculus or Statistics (AP-aligned) this form must be completed by your current math teacher (see all accelerated core mathematics prerequisites).

Remember that your teacher’s time is valuable. Ask your teacher ahead of time before you provide them with the form. We recommend sending your teacher this form at least one week before you plan to submit it with your application.

The form can be completed online or on paper, so you have different options for requesting that your teacher complete it:

  • Identify your teacher in your online application (preferred). We’ll email your teacher a link to an online form for them to complete. Note that you won’t be able to complete your online application until your teacher completes the form.

  • Send your teacher a request before applying online. You can request a Teacher Recommendation Form early by visiting and providing your teacher’s information. We’ll email your teacher a link to an online form for them to complete. Once they’re done, we’ll email you a code that you can use to add the completed form to an online application. (Teachers can also send recommendations to students that they feel would be a good fit for our program!)


  • Provide your teacher with a paper form and envelope. 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. Include the sealed envelope with any materials that you are mailing to ATDP. Download the paper form. Your school counselor may have also been provided paper forms, or you can contact our office to have forms mailed to you.

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


4. Copy of Report Card

Submit a legible copy of your first semester (or most recent) report card for the current (’19–’20) 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.


5. Copy of Test Scores

Submit a legible copy 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., 2019, 2018, or 2017) 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, submit a signed note with a school stamp from an administrative staff person at your school indicating so.


6. 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 2019. 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.

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.

  • In a detailed essay, propose a new state holiday. Choose a person or cause that you feel is significant, yet not currently celebrated as much as they should be, and why they deserve to be honored with a day of observance. Include the specific date of the holiday, and explain its meaning. Justify your proposal by including historical context as well as any significance this person or cause represents to you personally.

  • Identify someone from a book, movie, show, or video game that you dislike as a character. Explain what you think makes them a bad character: Is the character poorly written? Do you personally dislike specific traits of theirs? Or are they meant to be disliked or hated? (Do you “love to hate” this character?) Are there things you would change about this character to make them better? Make sure you organize your essay and use direct quotes from the work to support your opinion.


7. 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 5.


8. Need-based Financial Aid (optional)

See 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 2018 return if your 2019 return is not yet available. We will ask for your 2019 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. Online applicants may include this in their financial aid documents or as part of the student's Letter of Interest.

Send your complete application materials no later than Wednesday, March 4. 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, April 9, 2020.



Step 3: Submit Your Application

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!

Families who apply online can log in to check the status of their application, receive limited placement information, make tuition payments by credit/debit card, and print receipts.

Each document you prepared in Step 2 can be submitted as a digital upload (PDF or image file), or you can mail them to ATDP (see Mailing Instructions, below). Please do not submit documents via email or cloud-based sharing.

If you are unable to access the online application, complete the paper Application Information Form. Paper forms can be downloaded from Your school counselor may have also been provided paper forms, or you can contact our office to have forms mailed to you. Online services will be unavailable to those who submit the paper form, and the application processing fee must be sent physically as a personal check or money order.


Send your application forms or documents to:

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

If you applied online and are mailing documents, include a printed copy of the Application Completeness Checklist that shows your mailed items, name and confirmation number. Items received without this information will not be processed.

Please send items in a single package. Only complete applications will be evaluated.




Deadlines & Notification

ATDP evaluates applications on an ongoing basis in the order they are received, beginning when an application is complete. The earlier you submit a complete application, the better your chances at receiving placement into your preferred course!

  • Early Application

  • ▪ Financial aid available
    ▪ Must apply online
    ▪ Returning students receive priority
  • Application Postmark Deadline:
    Wednesday, February 5
  • Acceptance Decisions:
    Wednesday, March 18 (online*)
    Thursday, April 9 (mailed)
  • Tuition Deadline:
    Monday, April 27
  • Standard Application

  • ▪ Financial aid available
  • Application Postmark Deadline:
    Wednesday, March 4
  • Acceptance Decisions:
    Thursday, April 9 
  • Tuition Deadline:
    Monday, April 27
  • Extended Application

  • ▪ Financial aid NOT available
    ▪ Limited course availability
    ▪ Rolling acceptance decisions
  • Final Postmark Deadline:
    Wednesday, May 27
  • 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 12)

* Early applicants have access to a preview of acceptance information online, but they will still receive a mailed packet at a later date.

See our program calendars for the complete application timeline.