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2023 PATHS Scholars Program Application

Application Process

The PATHS Scholars Program is open to all high school seniors admitted to UC San Diego who demonstrate an interest in becoming leaders in advancing historically underrepresented populations in STEM-related fields. Students must be admitted to UC San Diego in a STEM-related field as an incoming freshman. Students from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply.

The first step is to complete and submit an application to UC San Diego. The application for the PATHS Scholars Program opens on April 3, 2023 and closes on April 16, 2023 at 11:59PM (PST). Please make a special note of the application requirements as well as the required digital copies of unofficial transcripts and other material. Your application will undergo a holistic review process.

Please note that in order to complete your application, you will also need to upload documents as well such as unofficial transcripts, admission letter from UCSD (if you received one already). For your reference, eligibility requirements have been listed below. If any issues or questions arise during the application process, please email us at

Application Requirements/Check List

  1. Complete the online program application
  2. Complete the FAFSA/CA Dream Act application
  3. Provide the name and contact information of one individual (i.e. counselor, teacher, leader in the community) who will submit a letter of recommendation for you
  4. Provide Unofficial high school transcripts
  5. Provide responses to essay questions
  6. Student must acknowledge that if they are admitted to the program, one of the requirements is mandatory on-campus housing for the first 2 years of their college experience 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be admitted to a STEM major at UC San Diego as an incoming Freshman

  • Demonstrate an interest in the advancement of historically underrepresented populations in the sciences and related fields

  • Students from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply

  • Demonstrate commitment to character, culture, and community

  • Must have an intent to pursue a Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D. or advanced degree upon graduation

  • Must commit to living on campus for the first two years of the program

  • Must be a resident in the state of California

Letter of Recommendation Request Form

Program Requirements

  • A​​ttend the UCSD Summer Bridge Program

  • Attend PATHS Retreat (dates are week before the start of the Fall Quarter)

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 while enrolled in an approved STEM B.S. major

  • Maintain communication with program and cohort mates and attend all required meetings, workshops, and events

  • Apply to and participate in a summer research program or industry internships each year, starting no later than their sophomore year

  • Join a research lab by the beginning of their third year

  • Attend and present their research at local, regional or national conferences

  • Apply to graduate programs (Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D., and/or approved Masters programs) their senior year

Application Timeline

  • April 3, 2023: Application available at
  • April 16, 2023 (11:59 pm PST): Application and letter of recommendation deadline
  • May 1, 2023 UC San Diego acceptance of admission deadline
  • May 2 and 3: Finalists are invited to final interview and selection day
  • May 12 and 13, 2023: Scholar Interview and Selection Day
  • May 24, 2023: Scholar selection finalized

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to hear back once I apply?

Applicants will be notified the week of May 1st if they are invited to an interview. Interviews will be held virtually on May 12th and 13th. We will notify accepted candidates the week of May 16th if they have been admitted into the program.

Will I know if I have been accepted into the PATHS Program before I need to submit an SIR to UCSD? 

No. First-Year applicants will have to SIR by May 1st to UCSD. This will be prior to receiving an offer from the PATHS Scholars Program which will take place on the week of May 16th.

If I was accepted into the program, would the program's scholarship lead to a reduction in institutional aid given to me by UCSD?

Every institution has a policy against over-awarding financial aid to students. Meaning that if you receive free gift aid that fully covers your expenses as a student, the scholarship will only cover the remaining balance. In short, the scholarship should not reduce institutional aid, it will only cover the remaining gap/balance you may have on your student account and this can be up to $10,000.

I don’t have my teacher's phone number yet, but I can’t move on to the next page of the application until I fill out that field. What should I do? 

Until you are able to get their phone numbers, you can type in 000000000 as their number and go to the next page. Going to the next page won't submit your application. When you are able to get their info, go back and update this page before you officially submit your application.

Do I have to live on campus if I get accepted into the PATHS Program? 

Yes, it is a requirement for students in our program to live on campus for their first two years. 

Can letters of recommendation be submitted after the deadline?

Unfortunately, our deadline for letters of recommendation remains April 16th, 11:59 pm (PST). Our committee will begin reviewing applications as soon as possible, therefore an extension is not possible. If this certain recommender cannot send it in time, we suggest reaching out to another contact to see if they can submit one on your behalf.

I uploaded a document but I’m having difficulty deleting it. What should I do?

Click the red minus (-) button to delete your file. If this does not work, click"select files" again and upload another document to replace it. 

Are there any other universities that also offer this PATHS Scholars Program, or just UCSD?

Yes, the following schools provide a similar program: UC Berkeley, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Penn State, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Howard University.

Do you require a nomination in order to apply for the PATHS Scholars Program?

You are not required a nomination in order to apply. However, a nomination guarantees that you will receive a notification prompting you to apply. Nominations are suggested if you want a personal reminder, from PATHS, the day our application opens. Please note that self-nominations are also accepted. 

Can the letter of recommendation be from a high school teacher?

Yes! Letters of recommendations can be from a teacher, counselor, or leader in the community who can provide a thorough analysis of your potential to succeed at UCSD.

Does PATHS also look for LGBT+ youth?

Yes! PATHS is committed to educational equity, and that includes increasing the number of LGBTQIA+ scholars on our campus, and in the STEM fields. 

If we are accepted do we need to reapply each year?

No, if you are accepted as a PATHS Scholar in your first year, you are a part of the PATHS Family for your four years at UC San Diego. Even after graduation, you remain a member of the PATHS Family; you will join the ranks of distinguished PATHS Alumni!

Financial Aid Questions

Financial aid packages are determined based on the family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The scholarship meets the financial aid gap after all gift aid has been applied. If a student’s cost of attendance is $32,000, and $27,000 is awarded through federal/state grants (free money), the PATHS Scholarship would cover the remaining balance which would be $5,000 in this case scenario.

Will this amount be like a scholarship and cover our cost of tuition? If so, when and how will we be notified of the amount? Will the financial aid award from UCSD be updated after accepted applicants are notified of the amount?

Yes, each admitted student to the program will receive up to $8,600 once, and it may cover your cost of attendance including tuition and student fees. We are not 100% sure how soon the financial aid award letter would be updated with our scholarship award, but we would do our best to notify the student as soon as possible

If a student is given the chancellor’s scholarship (CASP) would they still be given the scholarship money from the PATHS program?

In short, no. The purpose of the PATHS scholarship is to help cover your cost of attendance. If you are a CASP Scholar (congratulations by the way!)  then your cost of attendance will already be covered. Then, there are no additional costs for PATHS to cover. Please keep in mind that the PATHS Scholars Program is both a scholarship and STEM student support program.