Director of VAST
Curious about VAST? Here are answers to the questions we get asked most often.
VAST is an accelerated program that allows high school students to take a full year of college-level classes at Vermont Tech. These classes simultaneously serve as a student’s senior year of high school and a year of college credit. Upon graduation, VAST students are granted a Vermont high school diploma and are able to graduate from their sending high school. The VAST program is an excellent opportunity for students who are ready to challenge themselves, both academically and emotionally, by starting their college experience a year early.
VAST students are high school seniors that are ready for a challenging final year of high school. Any 11th grade student, from any state, is eligible to apply and may attend either Vermont Tech’s Randolph Center main campus or the Williston campus. Students come from all areas of Vermont and from surrounding states as well.
Admissions for VAST is competitive and students need to be both academically prepared and emotionally mature in order to be successful in a college setting. Although additional support is provided for students in the VAST program, there remains the freedom and responsibility that comes with the college experience.
Applications for VAST go through the Vermont Tech Admissions Office. A completed application includes:
Admitted students are required to attend a VAST Accepted Student Information Session with a parent or guardian.
Applications for VAST may be accepted after May 1, dependent upon space availability.
Yes. Students earn a Vermont high school diploma from VAST which can be in addition to, or in place of, their sending high school diploma. Out-of-state VAST students pay tuition. However, it remains a much less costly option for a senior year of high school than tuition at a private school with the added advantage of accumulating a full year of college classes during high school.
Students may apply to any Vermont Tech academic program or choose to enter as Undeclared. Students follow the first-year student course map for their declared program (refer to the course catalog) or if Undeclared, work with the VAST Director to choose a schedule that must include courses in english, math, and science each semester and a minimum of 15 college credit hours per semester. Additional coursework may be required by the sending high school if the student elects to graduate from both their sending high school and VAST.
VAST students may attend either the Williston or Randolph Center campus as a commuter student. They also have the option of residing on the Randolph campus in a residence hall with another VAST student as a roommate. Many VAST student choose to live on campus to obtain the full college experience. Exceptions to the Randolph residency rule may be made for residential students enrolled in programs only offered at the Williston campus.
Please note: College policy states that students living over 30 miles away must reside on campus.
When it comes to extracurricular activities, VAST students enjoy the best of both worlds. They can take advantage of the broad array of services, activities, and amenities at Vermont Tech, or if their schedule permits, they can continue to participate in sports and other activities at their sending high school. Many choose some of each.
VAST students can make new friends among their college peers without losing touch with their high school classmates. Please note: Once a student has played a Varsity sport at the college level, he/she must continue to compete at the college level; he/she can no longer compete at the high school level.
The VAST class has its own special activities throughout the year. This includes a mandatory orientation in June, required meetings at either the Randolph Center or Williston campus during the fall semester, contact with the sending high school guidance departments, and a culminating social trip at the end of the spring semester. Additionally, both faculty and staff pay special attention to the VAST students and are encouraged to contact the VAST Director immediately if there are concerns.
And of course, VAST students have access to Vermont Tech’s comprehensive academic support system that offers free tutoring for most classes, counseling services and academic advisors, as well as the advice and guidance of the VAST Director.
While multiple processes and services are in place to insure success during a student’s year in VAST, it is ultimately up to each VAST student to take advantage of these services. To remain in the VAST program for the second semester, students must obtain a 2.0 GPA for the first semester.
VAST has a graduation ceremony in mid-May.
Tuition is free for Vermont residents for two semesters. VAST students from outside of Vermont are charged the same tuition rate as first-year students at the college. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information about institutional financial assistance.
Students enrolling in programs with additional costs (Dental Hygiene, Nursing and the Pilot Program) will be required to pay additional fees. All VAST students are required to pay for non-tuition fees and books as well as room and board, if applicable.
Because they have not graduated from high school, Federal Student Aid is not available to VAST students. However, students should complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form as those who qualify will have their VTC student fees waived.
Some institutional financial aid is available for students with demonstrated financial need. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information about institutional financial assistance.
VAST’s first graduating class was in 1990. In 1998, the Vermont Legislature allowed the student’s state block grant to follow the student to the VAST program. Vermont Tech waives any difference between the block grant and the tuition rate. In 2004, VAST was expanded to the Williston Campus. Admission was initially limited to 20 students, but currently, VAST enrollment numbers are not limited. However, some specific programs do have enrollment caps.
Students have many options upon graduation. The most common two options are to remain at Vermont Tech to complete their degree, or enroll in a degree program at another institution.
Many students have been accepted, either after VAST or after completing an initial Vermont Tech degree, to some of the nation’s most reputable colleges and universities. Examples of institutions at which some recent graduates have been accepted include: Bentley, Caltech, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Northeastern, Pomona, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, Smith, Stanford, UVM, West Point, Wentworth and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.