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Mentor Immersion: Academic Year Experience (Grades 10-12)

View Fall 2024 Mentorships! | Apply Now!

Jump to: Program Timeline | Admissions Qualifications | Fees and Tuition | How to Apply | Technology and Materials Requirements | Frequently Asked Questions

PTY’s Mentor Immersion program is a unique experience offering in-depth exposure in an academic field and the potential for independent research or a culminating product to be created with expert feedback.

In Mentor Immersion, students engage in accelerated content in a discipline and work toward creating an independent research product or project in their selected field of study with the support of a content expert with whom they are paired. Approximately 10 students are paired with a mentor and an additional peer guide/teaching assistant. Through this unique experience, students are able to deepen their understanding in a field of study while making new friends with peers and conducting research or creating a project similar to practicing professionals.

The Mentor Immersion program during the academic year runs for approximately 4 months and is designed for 10th through 12th grade students. The upcoming fall mentorship program meets synchronously for 2.5 hours a week for approximately 4-months. The 4-month timeframe in the academic year is carefully designed to provide the same number of contact hours as the 3-month Mentor Immersion experience offered during the summer session. The summer experience is more intensive, with more hours of class time each week because of the condensed time frame.

Mentorship meeting times are in the evenings or weekends to not conflict with school obligations. The times of the meetings vary by mentorship and are be posted with the mentorship description.

During each weekly session mentees, work with their assigned content expert, peer guide, and approximately 6-10 other students to learn more about the content area of their mentor, explore real world topics, and gain an understanding of how to be successful in a field of study. The experiences and conversations in the early weeks of the program lay the foundation for each student to complete independent research or a project, under the guidance of their mentor, during later weeks of the program. Participants may present their completed projects to their mentor, other PTY staff, parents, and/or professionals in the field at the end of the mentorship.

In addition to the live weekly class meeting with their mentor and classmates, students can expect an optional office hour time (1 hour) to meet with their mentor and approximately 2-4 hours per week of meaningful asynchronous work during the mentorship experience. Students should make sure that they have the time to devote to this experience before applying as students are expected to attend all class meetings and complete asynchronous work.

Click the button to view current mentorship offerings.

Session Dates for Fall 2024 Cohort:

August 17, 2024 to December 13, 2024

Upcoming Session Dates for Spring 2025 Cohort:

January 25, 2025 to May 30, 2025

Jump to: Program Timeline | Admissions Qualifications | Fees and Tuition | How to Apply | Technology and Materials Requirements | Frequently Asked Questions

Fall 2024 Program Timeline 

Week of June 4Mentorship Descriptions Announced
July 9Online Application Opens 3:00 PM CST
July 24Review of first round applications begins; rolling admission continues based on eligibility and availability
August 7Admissions Notifications sent on or before this date for students who applied on or before July 23.
August 14Tuition and required forms due
August 19Mentorship Begins
November 26-30No Classes - Thanksgiving Break
December 20Program ends

Spring 2025 Program Timeline 

Week of October 1
Mentorship Descriptions Announced
October 8
Online Application Opens 3:00 PM CST
October 22
Review of first round applications begins; rolling admission continues based on eligibility and availability
November 5Admissions Notifications sent on or before this date for students who applied on or before October 21
November 15
Tuition and required forms due
January 25Mentorship Begins
March 8-14No Classes
May 30Program ends

Admissions Qualifications

PTY’s Mentorship Immersion program is a rigorous program that requires a substantial and sustained time commitment of several months with an independent project component. Because of this, admission to the program is selective based on eligibility, with PTY’s most popular mentorships involving a competitive selection process. In order to determine if the PTY’s mentorship program is a good fit, all students are required to submit an application to the specific mentorship experience(s) they are interested in applying. The review process for selecting students for the program involves a thorough review of a student’s qualifying test scores OR educator recommendations, transcript, resume, and thoughtful essay response.

The components of the application listed below are reviewed together to determine fit and placement. PTY will consider all components of the application when making a determination about admission into the program.

Please note, students are asked to apply for specific mentorship experience(s) rather than the mentorship program overall. Students may rank order the mentorship experiences of most interest when applying. Students do not have to rank all experiences, only those of interest. If PTY receives more applications from eligible students than we have spaces available in a particular mentorship, placement will become a competitive selection process for that mentorship. In this instance, PTY will employ a holistic, context-aware review process to determine which students will be placed in the experience. Therefore, PTY recommends that students are thoughtful with their resume and essay submission regardless of the mentorship for which they are applying.

Here is a description of the four application components:

1. Test Scores or Educator Recommendations

PTY is allows 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 (teachers, administrators, or counselors) 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.

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 the mentorship program would be a good academic fit. Also, please make sure your transcript reflects particular required prerequisites for certain mentorships. Through the transcript review process, we are looking for students who are highly motivated since the mentorship program is rigorous and requires independent work outside of the weekly meetings. 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.

3. Resume:

We want to know more about you! Submit a one-page resume as part of your application, so we have a better understanding of your interests and extracurricular activities. Knowing more about you helps PTY determine if this program is a good fit. The resume should include extracurricular activities, work/volunteer experience, awards, and honors, etc.

4. Essay:

Since PTY’s mentorship program is an intensive academic experience, please answer the following in less than 600 words: “Why you would like to make this commitment? Why you are interested in the particular mentorship that you have selected as your first choice?”

International Students:

Vanderbilt PTY 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, please refer to the PTY Eligibility page or call 615-322-8261.

Fees & Tuition Costs

Tuition for this unique mentor experience is $2750 per student. Tuition costs cover the online meetings and access to the mentor for the length of the program. A $50 nonrefundable application fee should be included with the application to the particular mentorship cohort you are applying. This $50 nonrefundable application fee may be submitted online at the time of application submission. The application fee is nonrefundable regardless of a student’s placement or admittance in a mentorship program. Only the application fee is due when applying. You will receive a tuition statement via email if your student is admitted in a ranked mentorship experience. PTY does not collect full tuition until after a student has been admitted and placed with a mentor.

Financial Assistance

Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth is committed to making programs available to academically advanced students regardless of a family’s ability to pay the full tuition. Therefore, some need-based financial aid is available based on income for families with an Adjusted Gross Income of $105,000 or less, or with a severe hardship.

The PTY application review process is need-blind and does not consider financial status when placing students in courses.

When to apply for financial assistance

If you plan to apply for financial assistance, please indicate this on your application. Once indicated, you will be automatically asked to complete the financial assistance application as part of your program application.

Please note, your program application is not considered complete if you indicate that you are applying for financial aid and you do not upload the required documentation or provide the required information. We are unable to process your application until both the program and financial aid application are complete. Please plan accordingly.

What documents are needed to apply for financial assistance?

All financial aid applications must include a signed copy of your most recent federal income tax return.  If you are divorced, only the custodial parent tax forms are required. During the application, families are required to upload one of the following forms: Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ.

If you believe your 1040/1040A/1040EZ does not provide an accurate or complete picture of your family’s financial need, you may include additional tax forms, including: W-2 Forms, Form 4562, Schedule A, Schedule C and/or F, Schedule D.

We ask that you remove all SSNs from any documents you upload in your application.

How is financial assistance determined?

All financial information provided is reviewed thoroughly with specific attention to adjusted gross income and number of dependents in the household. While we understand that there may be more factors affecting a family’s ability to pay tuition, at this time, these are the primary factors determining eligibility for financial assistance.

Other important information about PTY financial assistance

For PTY to provide program opportunities for as many students with financial need as possible, financial assistance awards for individual students will be limited to two courses per season. PTY has two operational seasons: academic year and summer.

Please note: If your financial situation significantly changes after being placed in a course for a program, but before the tuition deadline for the program, you may contact the PTY office ( in writing to request the possibility of submitting a late financial aid application. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis when there are significant and unpredictable life events that drastically change a family’s ability to pay tuition.

PTY is unable to offer financial assistance to international students at this time.

Payment plans are not available for fall and spring programs.

How to Apply

Mentorship Preferences

As part of the application process, you can rank order multiple mentorship opportunities (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, 4th choice.). Ranking multiple opportunities (maximum of four) in no way negatively impacts your chances of being placed in your first choice mentorship. At the same time, only ranking one mentorship does not increase your chances of being placed. If you are placed in a mentorship that you ranked lower in your application, you will remain on the waiting list for mentorships that you ranked higher. You can rank as many (or as few) mentorships as you have interest.

Admissions Process & Placement for Fall 2024

Mentor Immersion accepts applications beginning July 9. Starting July 24, all complete applications received will be equally prioritized and reviewed for fit and placement. Admission to the program is selective based on eligibility, with our most popular mentorships involving a competitive selection process. All applications received July 9 to July 23 will be evaluated with the same level of priority and rigor. Therefore, you can apply at any point during this time period. However, due to the competitive selection process, applying during this window does not guarantee placement in a mentorship even if you are eligible.

Applications received by or on July 23 will receive notification of decisions by August 7.

Please note that you may show interest in more than one mentorship experience as part of your application. Showing interest by ranking more than one mentorship opportunity will not decrease your chances of being placed in your top-ranked mentorship. Ranking more than one mentorship experience may increase your overall chances for placement in the program if you are eligible after the rigorous review process. See the waiting list section below for more information about ranking, placements, and waiting lists.

Applications received after July 23 are examined with the same level of rigor as previously submitted applications, but applications are reviewed on a rolling basis based on the date in which they are received. Students also may apply for mentorships that are currently full after July 23. A student’s position on the waiting list for applications received after July 23 will be based on eligibility and the date/time the application was submitted.

We encourage students applying after July 23 to visit the Mentor Immersion experiences page before applying to check availability, as the application fee is nonrefundable regardless of whether a student is placed in a mentorship. Please note that while we try to keep our website as up-to-date as possible concerning mentorship availability, sometimes our availability changes quickly during peak application times. Make sure to check the date published on the website of when the mentorship availability page was last updated. We anticipate that many of our mentorship opportunities will fill quickly, so we recommend that students apply before July 24 to be considered in our first round of admissions.

Admissions Notification

Students will be notified of admissions decisions by August 7 if they applied on or before July 23. Students applying after July 23 will receive information about their admission status on a rolling basis.

PTY is unable to process incomplete applications. We ask that you complete your application as soon as possible to be considered for admission. You can check the completeness of your application through the application portal. PTY will also be in touch as soon as possible about missing components. However, note that incomplete applications can result in delayed processing and could impact placement.

For families who have applied for financial aid, financial aid information may be included in the admissions notice if you are placed in a mentorship program and financial aid materials have already been submitted. The admissions notice will include the tuition statement.

Waiting List

A waiting list is retained for all full mentorship opportunities. Students who we are unable to offer a place in a particular mentorship due to space will be placed on a waiting list. Being placed on a waiting list means you are eligible for the program, but there is not a space available in the particular mentorship experience you are interested in.

Those applying to mentorships on or before November 1 who are not offered a place in the mentorship through the competitive review process will be placed on a waiting list for the mentorship, if eligible. The student’s placement on a waiting list will be based on their application if they applied during the window. Eligible students who apply after November 1 will be placed on the waiting list based on the date/time of application receipt.

Waiting lists are held until close to the start of the mentorship program session. No tuition payment will be owed until you are placed in a mentorship that you ranked in your application. The application fee, however, is nonrefundable.

If you have been placed on a waiting list, and you have questions about your status on the waitlist, please contact PTY at 615.322.8261 or

Cancellation Policy

The application fee is nonrefundable for all applicants regardless of admission or placement in a mentorship. No tuition refunds will be granted after the tuition deadline for the session. Please see the Program Timeline section above for program tuition refund deadline.

Required Forms

Upon admission into the program, families will receive instructions concerning required forms. Required forms include emergency contact information, participant permission, media release, etc. All students who participate in programs through Programs for Talented Youth (PTY) must have current required forms for the 2023-2024 school year on file with PTY.

Technology and Materials Requirements

Internet speed: Many online video conferencing platforms, which will be utilized for live mentorship experiences, have specific bandwidth requirements. Typically, an internet speed of 1.5 megabits per second (mbps), for both upload and download speeds, is needed on these platforms. If you would like to test your internet speed, you can visit:

Device: It is recommended that students have uninterrupted access during live mentorship times to a laptop computer, desktop computer, iPad, or tablet for classroom experiences. Students should not use a mobile device. Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS Operating Systems are compatible with all courses unless noted with the specific mentorship description.

Class Materials: In addition to a computer, most mentorship materials required will be typical classroom supplies (e.g., pencil/pen, notebook, graph paper, ruler, calculator) and are provided by the student. Any specific materials (e.g., book, downloadable documents) will be provided by PTY. Some classes may also require free software to be downloaded. This information will be provided before the course begins or as soon as possible. Any required texts will be sent to a student’s home address as listed in their SchoolDoc account. Please make sure your SchoolDoc profile is up-to-date with the correct mailing address information.