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WAVU (Grades 7-12)

WAVU will not meet during the 2024-2025 program year. Please check back for future program announcements. To learn more about all of PTY’s current program opportunities, please visit our *For Students* page.

Weekend Academy at Vanderbilt University

WAVU is an all-day Saturday immersive academic, career-focused experience designed for academically motivated 7th-12th grade students. Enjoy hands-on laboratory experiences, conversations with Vanderbilt faculty, content experts and graduate students, and of course, interaction with other students of similar interests and career aspirations. 

Jump to: The WAVU Experience | Location | Eligibility 

The WAVU Experience – December 2, 2023

WAVU is an all-day immersive Saturday experience designed for academically motivated students in grades 7-12. Students will enjoy hands-on laboratory experiences; conversations with Vanderbilt faculty, content experts and graduate students; and of course, interaction with other students of similar interests and career aspirations. With about 6 hours of class time led by a content expert, students may explore common habits of a scholar in the field, read primary research, be introduced to typical undergraduate academic majors, and learn about potential career paths.

“At PTY, I was surrounded by like-ability people who included me and challenged me to be the best person I could be. I loved being taught and supported by Vanderbilt professors and professionals who helped me think about my future.”
Typical WAVU Saturday Schedule
8:15 am – 8:45 am Check-In
8:45 am – 11:45 am Class
11:45 am – 12:30 pm Lunch (Included)
12:30 pm – 1:15 pm Activities (7th-9th);
Free Time (10th-12th)
1:15 pm – 4:30 pm Class
4:30 pm Check-Out/Student Pick-Up


WAVU courses are held in classrooms across the beautiful Vanderbilt University campus, with the majority of courses taking place on the Peabody Campus.

Visit the How to Apply page for the Fall 2023 application timeline.

Admissions Qualifications

In order to determine if WAVU’s accelerated academic experience is a good fit, all students are required to submit qualifying documentation as part of their application.

Please note, WAVU does not compare one student to another in the admissions process. We review a student’s application in its entirety to ensure that the program will be a good academic fit for the student. Incomplete applications will not be considered in first-round reviews.

There are two application components:

1. Test Scores or Educator Recommendations

At this time, due to the impact that COVID has had on testing availability and requirements, PTY is allowing for students who do not have test scores available to submit two educator recommendations in lieu of test scores. Selecting one option over the other will not help or hurt a student’s chances of placement.

Test Scores Option:

Please note that test scores in the 90th percentile and above for age group in one or more sections on an advanced achievement assessment (ACT, SAT, PSAT) OR any other nationally normed standardized assessment (such as state testing, MAP/NWEA testing, ITBS, or ERB) if advanced achievement assessment scores are not available suggests that VSA would be a good fit academically for a student. We also accept cognitive measures (i.e., WISC-V, CogAT, Otis Lennon, Stanford-Binet) and out-of-level test scores (i.e., ACT in 7th grade). Individual ability and/or achievement assessments from psychologists are also accepted. All pages of the individual evaluation and assessment need to be included. Test scores should be less than three years old.

When reviewing scores, we look specifically at strengths and accelerated achievement in the content area(s) for selected mentorship(s) of interest. For example, if a student is applying to a humanities mentorship, the PTY team is looking at reading/writing/ELA test scores.

Students may submit a screenshot or picture of an assessment as long as the student’s name is visible on the test results.

Educator Recommendations Option:

Please note, while submitting educator recommendations instead of test scores does not hurt a student’s chances of admission, PTY strongly encourages students to submit test scores if available.

Students who do not submit test scores should request recommendations from two educators who know of the student’s ability in subject areas related to the mentorship(s) of interest. Students may request recommendation by sharing the link below. When recommenders complete the form, the completed form will be emailed to PTY. Students should not request that recommenders write a letter or submit a recommendation in any method other than the following form. The form takes 10-15 minutes to complete. 

A student’s application will not be complete, even though it may be marked as 100% in our application portal, until PTY receives two educator recommendations. We encourage students to ask recommenders to submit their recommendation prior to the 48-hour priority application window to ensure that the application is complete at the end of the window.

Can I request educators submit recommendations before a program application opens?

Educator recommendations can be submitted at any time. Before requesting educators complete the recommendation form, please create a SchoolDoc account (free) by visiting As your educators submit recommendation forms, they will be internally associated with your account.

If I submitted educator recommendations for a previous PTY program application, do I need submit new recommendations for future PTY program applications?

You are not required to submit new recommendations if PTY has recommendations on file from the previous school year. We ask that you submit new recommendations if your previous submission is older than the previous school year. If we have current recommendations on file, you are welcome to request additional recommendations from educators who may be able to provide more recent assessments of your academic performance. Our admissions team may reach out to request additional recommendations depending on the content area of your top-ranked course or the date of your previous recommendations.

2. Transcript:

All students are required to submit a current transcript. Grades of mostly As and Bs suggest that WAVU would be a good academic fit. Through the transcript review process, we are looking for students who are highly motivated. PTY also understands that extenuating circumstances might impact a student’s grades. Please make sure you provide additional information if you believe your grades do not accurately demonstrate your ability or commitment to academics.

Transcripts can be submitted as a picture or screenshot of a student’s unofficial record but must include the student’s name and show grades for the 2022-2023 school year.

International Students: Vanderbilt considers you an international student if you are a citizen of any nation other than the United States of America. You are not considered an international student if you are a dual U.S. citizen, U.S. Permanent Resident, refugee/asylee, or a U.S. citizen living abroad. If you are an international student, in addition to the other qualification documents, you will be prompted to submit documents showing demonstrated proficiency in English.

To learn more about eligibility:

For more information, visit the How to Apply page.