Curious about VAST? Here are answers to the questions we get asked most often.
What is VAST?
VAST stands for Vermont Academy of Science and Technology.
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.
Who are VAST students?
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. Students who excel in the VAST program typically:
- Have a passion for math and science
- Have completed most of the upper-level courses offered at their high school
- Are looking for a program that includes a peer group as passionate about learning as they are
- May have been home-schooled and want to obtain a high school diploma while earning college credits tuition-free
- Are academically curious and are looking for a challenging learning environment
How are VAST students selected?
Admissions for VAST is competitive and students need to be both academically prepared and emotionally mature in order to be 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.
- 85 or higher high school GPA
Submit one of three standardized tests (SAT, ACT or PSAT) with scores in the following range:
- PSAT scores of 28 for each sub-section
- SAT of 550 for each sub-section
- ACT of 21 for each sub-section
- Have a successful academic record in math and science
- Place into Freshman Composition as well as any math class that may be required by their specified program. This is determined by taking the Accuplacer, Vermont Tech’s placement test. There is no charge for this test, which is administered at our Randolph and Williston campuses and at all CCV locations. In some situations, students may get approval from the Admissions Office for other testing arrangements.
How can I apply to VAST?
Applications for VAST go through the Vermont Tech Admissions Office. A completed application includes:
- A Vermont Tech application. Please choose a major as well as the VAST Program.
- A specific VAST essay
- Submission of a standardized test (PSAT, SAT or ACT)
- Vermont Tech’s placement test, the Accuplacer
- Two letters of recommendation from teacher(s) or guidance counselor
- A copy of your high school transcript including first semester junior year grades
After the above have been submitted, schedule an interview with the VAST Director
When is the deadline for application?
The priority deadline for completed VAST applications is May 1. Applications for VAST may be accepted after May 1, dependent upon space availability.
Several programs have earlier deadlines: Veterinary Tech, Dental Hygiene, and Nursing. VAST applicants must meet the deadlines for each specific program.
For information on these deadlines, please contact Admissions.
Can out-of-state students apply?
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.
What classes can VAST students take?
Students may apply to any Vermont Tech academic program or choose to enter as Undeclared. Students follow the freshman year 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.
Where do VAST students live?
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.
Can VAST students participate in campus life?
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.
Popular features of college life at Vermont Tech include:
- A health and fitness center with basketball and racquetball courts and a 25-yard swimming pool
- Fitness facility and weight-training room
- Intramural and varsity sports for men and women, including soccer, baseball, basketball, and softball
- College-operated rope tow for both skiing and snowboarding
- More than 25 campus clubs representing such groups as the Student Council, and clubs that include the Adventurer’s Guild, alternative energy, astronomy, gaming, creative writing, cross-country skiing, drama, fencing, golf, horticulture, ice hockey, motor sports, music, photography, and WVTC-FM, Vermont Tech’s student-run radio station.
- After-hours entertainment throughout the year features speakers, comedians, live music, and events such as Sports Night and Casino Night. Group trips to professional sports games in Boston, or night skiing, are always popular.
What additional support do VAST students receive?
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.
What about graduation?
VAST has a graduation ceremony in mid-May.
What does it cost?
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.
What is the history of VAST?
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.
What are the options for students who graduate from VAST?
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.