Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Award Application

The 2024 Pister Application Will Open Soon

The Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Program Award provides up to $20,000 distributed over two years, wholistic advising support, and assistance in finding paid or volunteer summer work experience.

Please read all of the following before applying. The application personal statement questions are available at the bottom of this page.

Requirements to Apply

  • The applicant must be applying to UC Santa Cruz as a transfer student from one of the 13 participating community colleges.
  • The applicant must have applied for Fall 2024 admission to UC Santa Cruz by submitting the UC Application for Undergraduate Admission and Scholarships.
  • The applicant must apply for financial aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application by March 2, 2024. Students on a non-immigrant visa (F-1, J-1, etc.) are not eligible for this award.
  • Obtain two letters of recommendation. At least one letter must be from a faculty member. The other letter should be from an individual who is able to comment on such areas as extracurricular activities, leadership skills, commitment, and dedication.
  • Obtain transcripts from all colleges attended (unofficial copies are acceptable).

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Show exceptional achievement through academic and extracurricular accomplishments despite adverse socioeconomic conditions;
  • Demonstrate an involvement in activities that assist and improve the lives of others;
  • Exhibit outstanding leadership qualities that reflect the ideals of the Pister Leadership Opportunity Program;
  • Because of financial need, would not otherwise be able to attend UC Santa Cruz;
  • Qualify for Fall 2024 admission to UCSC as a new junior transfer student.


  • Answer the personal statement questions (see pdf below) in a seperate doc that can be uploaded to the application form. 
  • Have all the application materials on hand before starting the application form. This way you will be able to complete the application in one sitting. The materials needed are; 1) Answers to the essay prompts in a digital file, 2) Two letters of recommendation as pdf files, and 3) Unofficial transcripts as pdf files. 
IMPORTANT: Applicants must access the application using a google account. Your google email account will be the email address that we use for all application communication with you.

Personal Statement Questions pdf (for the applicant)