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Inside the VSA Admissions Process

Posted by on Monday, January 14, 2013 in news, VSA Blog.

Originally posted on January 14, 2013

A lot of students are anxiously waiting to hear if they have been accepted into Vanderbilt Summer Academy, and we are working hard to get them answers! But we wanted to take a moment to pull back the curtain and show you how the magic happens! Get ready for an inside look at the VSA admissions process!

Assistant Coordinator, Laura McClean, entering applications into our database.

Receiving Applications

Applications went live at 9:00 a.m. on January 1! We process applications in batches, usually on Fridays. We normally sort applications by date and time, but for the first batch (between January 1 and 11), everyone starts at the same place. (That way locals, who can walk their applications over, do not have an unfair advantage.) We began processing applications last Friday, but we were a bit overwhelmed by the number of online applications we had received. We still have a few to verify and process before we can start reviewing them.

Reviewing Applications

We make enrollment decisions as a team. We look at the essays, the course choices, and check qualifications. We enroll students in their highest-ranked course that still has space available. Most of the time, admitted students will hear from us within a day after we enroll them in a class.

A few weeks later (beginning in mid-February), we send out VSA welcome packets to admitted students. These packets include the VSA Student Handbook, travel and course information, and other forms the lawyers make us send.

Waiting Lists

As the weeks progress, our courses begin to fill up. Some courses fill very quickly. When a course is full, we start a waiting list. Here is how the waiting list works.

Roger knows he wants to be a doctor, so he applies to Vanderbilt Summer Academy and ranks Med School 101 as his only course choice. If the class is full, we do not admit Roger. Instead, we send him a “Wait List” email, telling him that the class is full, and we will let him know if a spot becomes available.

Now, let’s say Roger ranks Med School 101 as his top choice, but he ranks Bioarchaeology second. If Med School 101 is full, but Bioarchaeology has space, then we enroll him in Bioarchaeology. Of course, Roger will still be on the waiting list for Med School 101. We always try to enroll students in their higher-ranked classes, even if they are already enrolled in another class. (Chances are, Roger would find out he really likes Bioarchaeology!)

Here is the moral of the story: When you apply to VSA, it is important only to apply for courses you actually want to take because once you are enrolled, we keep your deposit. On the other hand, if you really want to come to VSA, it also helps to keep an open mind. We admire your laser-like focus! Just don’t let it blind you to other classes you might really enjoy.

To see a post we wrote last year about being wait-listed, click here.

Program Coordinator, Jay Watson, responding to parent and student questions.

Getting Ready for the Summer

We have broken enrollment records every year. We keep expanding our course offerings, yet we still have multiple waiting lists for each session. It helps to get your application in early, but we will review applications as long as we have space. We will spend the next several months getting ready for you by recruiting and hiring the best summer staff, helping our instructors plan their courses, and scheduling awesome evening and weekend activities to help you decompress after all that intense learning!

When you hear that you have been admitted to VSA 2013, you can get ready for us by getting your welcome packet paperwork in. You can also meet some of your future classmates on our VSA Facebook page and by following the VSA blog.

See you soon!