Application Process – Scholars

How do I apply to VASTS?

Complete instructions to apply to VASTS are located on the Application Instructions page.


By what time is my application due?

Applications will be due October 24, 2021 by 11:55PM. Please contact Mr. Ian Cawthray ( if you have any questions regarding the application.


Do I have to be a Virginia resident in order to apply?

Yes, all applicants must be residents of Virginia.


Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen in order to apply?

You need to be a U.S. resident or citizen to participate in the online course. You MUST be a U.S. citizen to attend a Summer Academy at NASA Langley Research Center.


Do I need to submit my official transcript from the guidance department?

No Transcripts are required to apply to this program. Your application will ask you for the contact information for your Guidance Counselor, who will submit the following information on your behalf:

  • You are attending a Virginia High School
  • You are in the 11th or 12th Grade
  • You have at least a 2.7 GPA
  • Note: Students who apply for the OPTIONAL college credit may have higher GPA requirements and may need to submit a transcript.


Do I need to be a high school junior or senior to participate in VASTS?

Yes, all applicants must be current high school juniors or seniors at the time of application.



Why do I need to indicate my Legislative Districts? (State House of Delegates, State Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives)

We receive state funding that was voted upon by the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate. Congress votes on NASA funding, and this is a NASA program. Making these legislators aware of the VASTS program by requesting their nomination helps to sustain the funding of this program.


Does my teacher or counselor need to actually sign their Letters of Recommendation for me?

This is not required. They can simply upload the text of their letter. However, they can add their electronic signature OR provide their signature, scan, and save the letter as a .pdf to upload into the application system. Any of the options above will suffice.


Why are there two different enrollment processes for the VASTS course?

While it is not required to enroll for College Credit in VASTS, we encourage students to choose to receive the college credits from Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) as part of their online course participation. A student can’t be registered for MEC-195 without first being enrolled in the VASTS online program. The college is a separate entity from the VASTS program, so all transcript requests must be made directly to TNCC. See the TNCC Transcript Request page for details – note that you will only have a TNCC transcript available if you successfully register for the optional college credit.


If this is a dual enrollment course, why do I not automatically get high school credit from my school?

Dual enrollment means you are enrolled in high school and a college course at the same time. VASTS does not have a formal agreement in place with every school division in the state to provide high school credit as well. Therefore, you will need to talk with your guidance counselor to determine if the VASTS online course meets any of your school division’s requirements for a science or elective course. It is up to you to talk to your counselor, and many schools need this process to start immediately upon your application to the program in order for you to receive high school credit.


What is the enrollment process for the VASTS course if I do want to receive college credit?

This is a multi-step process.

  1. You must first apply to the VASTS program using the application link found on this website.
  2. Program administrators will give you instructions on how to complete the mandatory pre-course requirements which involve logging in to the course website, creating a profile, completing the pre-online course survey, and signing and returning to us the necessary forms and paperwork.
  3. You will be given instructions on how to enroll in Thomas Nelson Community College and how to register for the MEC 195: Intro to Engineering course.

When will I know if I’ve been accepted into the program?

You will be notified of your acceptance by email on or before November 5, 2021. There are a number of requirements set forth to begin this course in this message. If you complete all of the requirements detailed after you receive your conditional notification, you can consider yourself accepted. The actual course material will be released Monday, November 29, 2021,through the online course system.


What should counselors fill in for my GPA if it is weighted and/or higher than 4.0?

The counselor will only confirm your GPA being above 2.7, otherwise we do not factor GPA into the admissions process for this program. Note: Students who apply for the OPTIONAL college credit may have higher GPA requirements and may need to submit a transcript to TNCC.