Academic Programs Governor's Schools

Academic programs include the Math, Science, and Technology program, the Humanities program, the Agriculture Program, the Medical and Health Sciences Program and the NASA and VIMS mentorships.

Academic Application Timeline

  • October: Applications and materials available
  • October: Information meeting held at each high school
  • October-November: Request teacher recommendations, inform building contact of your intent to apply
  • December: Applications due to school point of contact
  • January: Applications reviewed by county committee
  • Late February: Applicants informed if their application moves forward to state
  • Mid-April: State informs students of results
  • June -July : Program Dates 

Academic Application Components

The application must be typed. All parent and student signatures must be "live" (not photocopied) and are on pages 1 and 4. Virginia requires gifted identification for academic applicants nominated to the state. Students who are not identified as gifted must complete the identification process if their application is sent to the state. They are not required to participate in the PWCS gifted program, but will be identified as gifted.

Page 1: Personal and Demographic Information

Page 2: Activities, Research, and Honors - Consult the Page 2 Scoring Rubric (Word) or Attachment H (Word) from the State Administrator's Guide. All acronyms must be written out. Include detailed information about each item. Items must be linked to application area in order to receive points. Only 3 items can be used in each category. (18 points total)

Page 3: Essay - The essay is limited to 500 words. The county committee will consider an essay up to two pages of 12 pt font, double spaced, 1" margins. The scoring rubric is in the application and in Attachment H (Word). (24 points total)

Page 4: Student and parent signatures/initials

Teacher Recommendations - Teacher A must be a current teacher in a subject area directly related to area of application. Teacher B can be any adult (non-parent) that can attest to your academic capabilities in your application area. Teachers must complete a rating scale and narrative (letter). Consult Attachment H (Word) for scoring details. (26 points total)

Grades - Current year GPA in core classes is considered. (8 points)

Course Challenge - Level of course challenge is considered. Students completing an Early College Scholars Agreement earn the full 8 points. (8 points)

Test Score 1 - Aptitude or achievement test used in gifted identification. (8 points)

Test Score 2 - Test score within the past 3 years. SOL and AP tests are not considered. PSAT, SAT, ACT, and other nationally normed achievement or aptitude tests are considered. (8 points)

If either test score is not available, the Gifted Education Resource Teacher for the school will administer tests to the student with parent permission.

Selection Process

Prince William County is limited to sending 25 agriculture applications, and 51 other academic applications for consideration by the state. A committee of teachers representing each school in the division scores the "Activities, Research, and Honors" page, the teacher recommendations, and the essay. Each application is scored by two readers separately. If readers have disparate assessments of the application, two new readers will review the application.

Because of the VDOE deadline and the VDOE limit on the applications sent forward, the decision of the committee is final. You can request to review the scoring of your application, and can do so by contacting [email protected].

It is recommended that you apply in 10th grade, and - if not accepted - apply again in 11th grade. The application experience in 10th grade will help you understand what you need for a stronger application in 11th grade.

The NASA and VIMS mentorships and Medical and Health Science program are very selective. They are not introductory programs to engineering, marine science, and medicine. The students accepted to these programs already have extensive experience in activities in the field of application; often that experience takes place outside of school, such as volunteering in a hospital. If you are interested in one of these programs, you will need to start getting involved in activities 9th and 10th grade. Science fair experience is recommended for applicants to these programs.