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How to Apply for WAVU

Jump to: Program Timeline | Eligibility | Admissions Process 

Program Timeline

October 11WAVU Courses Announced
October 18Application Priority Window Opens Noon CST
October 20Application Priority Window Closes Noon CST - Applications continue to be accepted on a rolling basis
November 1Admissions Notifications sent on or before this date for students who applied on or before October 20
November 15Tuition and required forms due
December 2WAVU begins at 8:45AM CST

*No tuition refunds will be granted after November 15, 2023.


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.

Admissions Process

Students should choose their WAVU course based on what interests them. If more than one course is of interest, we ask that the student rank courses in the order of preference. Ranking more than one course increases the chance of admission to WAVU. But remember: a student can be placed in any ranked course according to availability, so only rank courses that truly appeal to the student. Apply during the priority window to have the best chance for placement in a top choice course!

Application checklist

  • Application (Online)
  • Test scores (Only if applicable, see Eligibility area above)
  • Application fee of $50 (If applying for both Fall and Spring WAVU, only one application fee is required.)
  • Financial aid application (Only if applicable)

Admissions Process and Placement

Our WAVU admissions process is intended to facilitate an equal opportunity for all potential participants to be placed in the courses that interest them.

WAVU begins the application season with the application priority window, which takes place during a 48-hour period when the application is first available to students and families. All qualifying and complete applications submitted during the application priority window have the same opportunity for placement. WAVU applications may be submitted after the application priority window as long as room in WAVU courses remains.

The admissions process for the 48-hour window is as follows:

  1. All applications received during the window are reviewed at the same time.
  2. The order of review of these applications is randomized.
  3. Applications of siblings are reviewed and placed simultaneously, space permitting.

Please note that many courses fill quickly. We strongly recommend that applicants apply during the 48-hour application priority window. This does not guarantee admission, but it does increase your chances.

Applications received after the application priority window are time and date stamped upon arrival and reviewed accordingly. If course space remains after review of applications from the 48-hour window has concluded, courses are filled on a first-come, first-served system, based on availability and eligibility. A waiting list is maintained for courses that are filled.

Applicants are notified of admissions decisions via email within 2-3 weeks of submitting the application. If everything is complete, you will receive communication about placement. If application materials are found to be missing, we will notify you as soon as possible with a request for more information and with accompanying deadlines. Please note that an incomplete application could impact placement. PTY is only able to review complete applications for placement.

For families who wish to apply for financial aid, financial aid awards will be included in the admissions notice if financial aid materials were already submitted with the application. Students may apply for financial aid at anytime. The admissions notice will include any financial aid award if a families applies for financial aid early in the admissions process.

Waiting List

WAVU maintains waiting lists for courses that have reached maximum enrollment. The waiting list status of each course can be seen on our online course pages. Students who have not been placed in their first-choice course are automatically placed on the waiting list for higher ranked courses. We move students into their higher-ranked courses if space becomes available; however, there is no guarantee that spots will open in a higher-ranked class. If space becomes available, or if PTY determines that the program can no longer accept additional students from the waiting list, we will communicate with families via email. The application fee is not refundable to families of students who are not admitted from the waiting list.

If your student is on a waiting list, and you have questions about their status, please contact PTY at 615-322-8261 or