Skip to main content

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

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 8 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 5-6 months and is designed for 10th through 12th grade students. The upcoming spring mentorship program meets synchronously for 2.5 hours a week for approximately 5 months. The current fall mentorship program meets synchronously for 2 hours a week for approximately 6 months.The 5-6 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 will be posted with the mentorship description.

During each weekly session mentees, work with their assigned content expert, peer guide, and approximately 3-8 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 Vanderbilt faculty and 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 additional 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 below to see our mentorship offerings for Fall 2021 cohort. Spring 2022 mentorship offerings will be posted October 1, 2021.

Current Session Dates for Fall 2021 Cohort:

August 16 , 2021 to January 30, 2022

Upcoming Session Dates for Spring 2022 Cohort:

January 18, 2022 to May 23, 2022

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

Fall 2021 Program Timeline 

Week of June 8Mentorship Descriptions Announced
June 15Online Application Opens 3:00 PM CST
July 1Review of first round applications begins; rolling admission continues based on eligibility and availability
July 16Admissions Notifications sent on or before this date for students who applied on or before June 30
August 1Tuition and required forms due
August 16Mentorship Begins
September 4-6No Classes - Labor Day Weekend Holiday
October 14-17No Classes - VU Fall Break
November 22-28No Classes - Thanksgiving Break
December 20-January 2No Classes - Winter Break
January 30, 2022Program ends

Spring 2022 Program Timeline 

October 1Mentorship Descriptions Announced
October 12Online Application Opens at Noon CST
November 2Review of first round applications begins; rolling admission continues based on eligibility and availability
November 19Admissions Notifications sent on or before this date for students who applied on or before June 30
December 1 Tuition and required forms due
January 18Mentorship Begins
February 19-21No Classes
March 7-13No Classes - VU Spring Break
May 30, 2022Program ends

Admissions Qualifications

PTY’s Mentorship Immersion program during the academic year is a rigorous program that requires a substantial and sustained time commitment of approximately six months with an independent project component. Because of this, admission to the program is selective based on eligibility, with our 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, transcript, resume, and thoughtful essay response.

The following are components of the application that are reviewed together to determine fit and placement. We 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. You may rank order the mentorship experiences of most interest to you when you apply. You do not have to rank all experiences, only those you are interested in. 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 required application components:

  • Test Scores: Scores in the 90th percentile and above for their age group in one or more sections on an advanced achievement assessment (ACT, SAT, PSAT, or AP scores within the content area of the mentorship) or any other nationally normed standardized assessment (such as state testing, if advanced achievement assessment scores are not available) would suggest that this program might be a good fit academically for a student. However, PTY does not have cutoffs for standardized test scores in order to apply to the program. When reviewing mentorship applications, we evaluate students’ test scores as one component of the application in addition to a student’s transcript, resume, and essay. Our mentorship program is designed for students who have performed well based on the opportunities and experiences that are available to them. Also, please note that scores above the 90th percentile do not automatically guarantee admission into the program.
  • 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 (up to 2-4 hours per week). 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 for the Fall 2021 or Spring 2022 cohort. 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

PTY is committed to making programs available to academically advanced students regardless of a family’s ability to pay the full tuition. Therefore, need-based financial aid is available based on income. The PTY application review process is need-blind and does not consider financial status. Applying for financial aid will not negatively impact a student’s application. If you plan to apply for financial aid at the time of application submission, you may do this as part of the application process. You may also apply for financial aid at any point in the application and admission process. If you choose to apply for financial aid after submitting your application, please email to be granted access to the online financial aid application. The financial aid application includes completing a series of questions within our online portal and uploading household’s most recent tax return. We ask that you remove all SSNs and/or other sensitive information.

Your student may be offered admission to the program before receiving a financial aid award. You are not obligated to officially enroll your student until you receive a financial aid quote. When your financial aid quote is received, you may accept or decline the amount and placement in a course. Please contact the PTY office at 615-322-8261 if you have additional questions about financial aid or other payment options.

How to Apply

Mentorship Preferences

As part of the application process, you can rank order multiple mentorship opportunities (1st choice, 2nd choice, etc.). Ranking multiple opportunities 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 Spring 2022

Applications for the Mentor Immersion program starting January 18, 2022, will be released on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. Please visit the Apply to a PTY Program webpage for a link to the Mentor Immersion application starting October 12.

We also ask that you carefully read the section below to learn more on the details of how PTY’s admissions process works for this program.

Mentor Immersion accepts applications beginning Tuesday, October 12. Starting November 2, complete applications will be equally prioritized and reviewed for fit and placement. All applications received October 12 through November  1 will be evaluated with the same level of priority and rigor. Therefore, you can apply at any point during this time period. However, applying during this window does not guarantee placement in a mentorship even if you are eligible. Applications received before November 1 will receive notification of decisions by November 19.

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.

After November 1, applications received 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 November 1. A student’s position on the waiting list for applications received after November 1 will be based on eligibility and the date/time the application was submitted.

We encourage students applying after November 1 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 on or before November 1 to be considered in our first round of admissions.

Admissions Notification

Students will be notified of admissions decisions by November 19 if they applied on or before November 1. Students applying after November 1 will receive information about their admission status on a rolling basis after November 19.

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 2021-2022 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.