Frequently Asked Questions
How are students selected?
After you submit your application, it will be reviewed by several Access Opportunity staff members, plus 1-2 Student Advisors (upper-level AO college students). We look at applications holistically, which means that we consider a broad range of factors - including your experiences, interests, goals, and accomplishments. Strong applicants are committed to their communities, involved with a variety of activities at school and/or with a job, are strong students, and are excited to be a part of a tight-knit community. They also put a lot of time and effort into writing a strong application, which usually includes getting feedback from a trusted mentor before submitting.
Am I eligible to apply?
Access Opportunity uses the income guidelines set by the federal government. Each year, the federal government determines something called the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), or the "poverty line," which is an economic measure used to decide whether the income level of an individual or family qualifies them for certain federal benefits and programs. Families that make 200% or less of the FPL are considered eligible for our program.
This table outlines these income requirements:
However, this is not a strict cut-off. We encourage students to share any special circumstances or significant financial hardships in their application to see if they may qualify.
How do I apply?
The application opens on January 1 and is due by March 1. There will be detailed instructions in the application, and we will send out additional tips via email! If you have any questions, you may email us at email@example.com.
You must also ask for two letters of recommendation - one from your school counselor, and another from a mentor of your choice.
How many students apply? How many will be accepted?
Access Opportunity is a selective program, and we unfortunately cannot accept all students who apply. Each year, we receive approximately 100-150 applications and are only able to accept 14-18 students. However, this does not mean you shouldn't apply! Students who do a lot of research on the program and are thoughtful and intentional in their applications do well in the process. In addition, completing an application for AO will be great practice for when you apply for college in a few years. We want to hear from you, so make the case for why you would be a good fit for our program!
Can I apply for Access Opportunity if I am not a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident?
Access Opportunity is open to all students with legal status in the United States. This includes: U.S. Citizens, Permanent or Conditional Residents, Refugees, Asylees, and DACA students. Unfortunately, undocumented students are not eligible to apply.
Is there a fee to apply? Are there any costs associated with the program?
There are no fees to apply or participate in the Access Opportunity program. All services are completely free to students and their families.
Are there any program requirements? What is expected of me as an AO Scholar?
We expect that you will:
- Remain in good academic standing (with a GPA of 3.0 or higher each term in high school, and 2.5 or higher each term in college)
- Stay on path to graduate "on time" with the credits needed to pursue a 4-year college degree
- Communicate consistently and respectfully with all AO staff members via text and email. We will primarily communicate to you by email. We expect responses to email requests within 3 days unless there are emergency circumstances.
- Attend and participate fully in all AO programming, including one-on-one counselor meetings, monthly leadership training, weekly test prep tutoring in the Spring, and twice annual program workshops. You are required to attend all AO events unless it's explicitly stated that the event is optional, you have received an excused absence at least 5 days in advance, or there is an emergency.
- Submit updated transcripts and other requested materials at the end of each academic term.
- Be a good ambassador for Access Opportunity by upholding good conduct in school (no suspensions or expulsions) and out of school (no criminal activity or record). Character issues are subject to review by an AO committee.
In return, you can expect:
- A scholarship of $2,500 per year for 4 years of college
- Test Preparation & Tutoring
- College & Career Workshops with the AO Community
- College & Career Counseling from Trained AO Staff Mentors
NOTE: If you move from the greater Denver Metro area (defined as Adams County, Arapahoe County, Boulder County, Broomfield County, Denver County, parts of Jefferson County, parts of Douglas County, and parts of Weld County), then you will be removed from the program and scholarship. Attending an out-of-state college is not considered moving, as long as your home address does not change.
How can the $10,000 scholarship be used?
If you are in good standing, you will receive $2,500 per year for 4 years of college.
Your AO scholarship is "flexible funding," which means you can use the money for most school-related costs. These include:
- Anything listed under "Cost of Attendance" in your Financial Aid award letter or on your school's website
- Rent (if you are living off campus rather than in residential housing)
- Travel costs to/from your college from your home (up to four times per year)
- Computers, books, and other hardware/software needed for your program of study
- Study abroad tuition/fees and flights to/from your study abroad location
- Internship stipends
- A test prep class for graduate school
- Graduate school applications or interview fees/expenses