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VSA (Rising Grades 7-12)

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Vanderbilt Summer Academy

Vanderbilt Summer Academy is an intentionally designed, accelerated summer experience for academically advanced students, grounded in academic rigor and scholarly exploration, while also focused on fostering a strong sense of community and friendship.

Jump to: The VSA Experience | Why VSA? | Dates & Location | Eligibility | Rising 7th or 8th Grade Students

The VSA Experience

VSA programs provide the perfect balance of an intensive academic environment combined with a community-driven residential experience at one of the leading universities in the nation. At VSA, students join peers from around the world stretching their intellectual boundaries through choice-based classes. Together, students enjoy learning and connecting with like-ability peers and engage in on-campus and community activities in the heart of Music City.

VSA students take accelerated courses with instructors drawn from the wealth of talented scholars here at Vanderbilt University and from within the Nashville community. VSA courses are designed to be accelerated to meet the needs of gifted and high-ability students. With up to six hours a day devoted to academic learning, this program provides for a satisfying level of focus and depth. Because courses are accelerated, we ask applicants to submit eligibility materials to determine if an accelerated course would be a good academic fit for the student.

While Vanderbilt Summer Academy is academically focused, additional recreational programming offers organized activities for social-emotional balance. Outside the classroom, VSA students participate in a variety of evening activities, explore extracurricular enrichment activities, and enjoy free time to make new friends. Learn more about life outside of class on the Residential Life page.

Why VSA?

We recognize that families have many choices for summer academic programs. Here are some aspects of VSA that set it apart:

Access to Scholars. Vanderbilt content experts teach most of our courses, so students will work with leaders in academic disciplines.

Personalized Attention. Each course has a dedicated instructor and teaching assistant, and each student is assigned to a small proctor group within the residential community.

Opportunities for Personal Development. From recreational activities to informal conversations about college life and information sessions with admissions representatives, VSA celebrates the whole person!

Campus Living. VSA students reside in a state-of-the-art first-year residence hall designed for social interaction with a community of like-minded peers.

Caring Staff. Our program staff is a dynamic team of carefully selected, fully trained individuals, who are passionate about supporting advanced learners.

Diverse Community. Within recent years, VSA has hosted students from 46 states and 25 countries, providing students the opportunity to meet other young scholars from around the world.

As a student, know that when you choose VSA, you are choosing a remarkable, holistic experience that will challenge you to pursue rigorous academic inquiry and will provide an unforgettable residential experience, giving you the opportunity to engage with others of similar and varying backgrounds. At VSA, you will learn a lot academically, but you will also learn a lot about yourself and others.

Dates & Location

Students attend a June or July session for their age group, and the length of each session varies. Visit the How to Apply page for our Summer 2022 dates and application timeline.

During their stay, VSA students will reside in a residential hall on The Ingram Commons, where first-year Vanderbilt students live during the academic school year. Courses are held in classrooms across the Vanderbilt University campus, with the majority of courses taking place on the Peabody Campus. Students eat most of their meals in the Commons Dining Center, a short walk from the residence hall. Learn more about life outside of class on the Residential Life page.

As a parent, know that when you choose VSA, you are choosing a one-of-a-kind student experience that, from application to checkout, is carefully designed and focused on the academic, social, and emotional growth of your student in mind. We pride ourselves on building strong relationships with families, creating developmentally appropriate on-campus experiences, and making decisions with student safety and interests a priority.

Eligibility

Students applying to Vanderbilt Summer Academy must submit qualifying documentation at the time of application. Test scores in the 90th percentile and above for their age group in one or more sections on an advanced achievement assessment OR any other nationally normed standardized assessment  would suggest that this program might be a good fit academically for a student. We also accept cognitive measures and out-of-level test scores When reviewing scores, we look specifically at strengths and accelerated achievement in the content area(s) for selected course(s) of interest. However, PTY does not have cutoffs for standardized test scores in order to apply to the program. Also, please note that scores above the 90th percentile do not automatically guarantee admission into the program based on our randomized admissions process.

In order to better understand if VSA would be a good fit for a student, we also ask that a student submit a transcript as part of their qualification materials if a student’s test scores fall below the 90th percentile.

We understand that there are additional ways to reflect a student’s academic knowledge and capacity for advanced academic coursework besides test scores and transcript information. Feel free to contact the VSA office for questions about scores and a transcript that do not meet these criteria, as alternative documentation through additional portfolio information may be acceptable to determine fit. Additional portfolio components include a resume, teacher recommendation form (provided by VSA), and possible work sample. This information should not be submitted at the time of original application unless requested by VSA. After reviewing a student’s initial application (test scores and transcript), a member of the VSA team will be in touch about whether additional information might be helpful in determining if VSA is a good academic fit.

For more details about eligibility materials, please see the VSA How To Apply page.

Rising 7th or 8th Grade Students

Students who have recently completed 6th or 7th grade have the option to attend VSA, where they will spend 5 days and 5 nights living and learning on the Vanderbilt campus. However, for students looking for an immersive non-residential option, PTY also offers Career Connections at SAVY, a day program for rising 7th and 8th grade students. Learn more about Career Connections at SAVY. Rising 7th and 8th grade students can attend both the residential VSA program and day Career Connections program. It is important to note that the application timeline for Career Connections and VSA are slightly different if a student is applying to both programs. Call the PTY office at 615-322-8261 for more information on how to apply for one or both programs.