How do I apply to VSCS?

Complete instructions to apply to VSCS are located on the Application Instructions page found at

By what time is my application due?

11:59 PM (EST) on Sunday, November 12, 2017.

Do I need to be a high school sophomore to participate in VSCS?

Yes, all applicants must be current high school sophomores at the time of application.

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 Wallops Flight Facility.

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

Yes, all applicants must be residents of Virginia.

Why do I need to provide my guidance counselor's information?

You need to provide your guidance counselor's name and email address so that we may contact him or her to verify that you are a high school sophomore and have met the minimum GPA requirement for the program.

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

The guidance counselors will fill in 4.0 in the GPA field. This information is provided to verify that you have a 2.7 GPA or higher.

When will I know if I have been chosen to participate in the online learning course for VSCS?

Typically students will be notified within 1 week of application deadline.

Why does it take so long to know if I'm accepted after I apply to the program?

None of the applications can be processed until after the application deadline passes. Then the applications must be reviewed to determine if each applicant meets the requirements to participate. There are just a few people on the application review committee; therefore, the process takes time. We notify you via email as soon as we review all the applications to determine eligibility and make our selections. Please note: You will need to confirm your acceptance into the program via an online acceptance survey, as well as forms which will be made available once your acceptance into the program is offered.

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

We will send official notification via email approximately one week after the application window has closed.

What if my school system does not rank students?

If your school system does not rank students, please ask them to write a ranking of "1 out of 1" for your rank. It will be clear that this is not a real rank and we will not take rank into consideration for entry into our programs.

What are the science pre-requisites for this course?

There are no pre-requisite courses required. We are assuming you have taken math and science in your middle and high school coursework that will prepare you adequately for this experience.

Is there a cost associated with the VSCS online course or the VSCS Academy?

No. We receive funding that provides the entire VSCS experience to you free of cost! VSCS provides your housing and food at the Academy. If you are selected for the Summer Academy, then you are responsible for your transportation to and from Wallops Flight Facility.

Do I need to teach physics or engineering to be a Master Teacher?

No, Master Teachers should be in a STEM related field and have experience with online instruction.

How much time is involved in being a Master Teacher each week?

Much of this depends on your experience with being a Master Teacher. New Master Teachers can expect at least 5 hours of work a week. As you become familiar with the rubrics and the grading process, this time usually drops to about 3-5 hours a week.

What is involved with being an online Master Teacher for the VSCS program?

Please check out the Master Teacher section of this website.

How much time will I be spending each week on the course?

This answer truly depends on how much time you want to invest in the course, though we recommend you budget 10 hours to be safe. Think of these modules like units of study. Module assignments are released every three weeks. The more you want to read and explore links and resources provided within the course as a supplement to the basic course content, the more time you will spend on the course every three weeks.

What is the withdraw/drop policy for the VSCS course?

You may request to be dropped from the course by contacting Ian Cawthray in writing ( You will be contacted if you do not log in to the system for the length of an entire module to determine if you wish to stay in the course at that point.

When are my on-line assignments due?

Assignments should be turned in (in sequential order) as you complete them. Each module assignments/activities are due every one to two weeks. The module due dates will be posted under Important Dates on our website.
Students who do not successfully complete the modules will not be invited to participate in the VSCS Summer Academy. Your assignments and final project will be evaluated by teachers who will send you their comments via e-mail through the online course system.

How long will it take to receive feedback and grades once my work is submitted?

Teachers should provide feedback and evaluation within seven days of the assignments being submitted. Note - if you submit work late, please do not expect that you will have the work graded within one week.

What software should I use to submit my assignments?

Students can input directly into the text editor within the course for forum discussions AND upload documents. If any external programs are needed, they will be described in the course content related to each module. Your main concern should be focusing on creative solutions to the questions posed by the course, not the tools you use for those solutions.

When are my on-line assignments/activities due?

Assignments and or activities should be turned in (in sequential order) as you complete them. Assignments within each module are due every one to two weeks weeks by the designated Saturday by 11:55 PM (EST).  The module due dates are listed under Important Dates. Students who do not successfully complete the minimum required assignments will not be invited to participate in the Summer Academy. Your assignments and final project will be graded by Master Teachers who will send you their evaluation and comments via e-mail through the content management system, Moodle.

What is the final project?

Your final project (Module 5) will be uploaded to the online course site. This capstone project will be a technical paper that encompasses all that you have learned throughout the course. Scholars who do not complete the capstone project will not be considered for the Summer Academy and will not be issued a certificate of completion for the course.

How do I upload a document as a PDF file?

If you have a copy of the document that is not in electronic format, you will need to scan and save the document. With some operating systems, you can save that file as (Save As) PDF. If you do not have that capability, there are several free online programs to allow you to convert the file to a PDF document. Your school guidance office or computer lab should have a digital scanner that you may use. Another option is to go to your local library or an office supply store, and they usually offer scanning services for a small fee.

How are students selected for the summer program?

Each of the four modules and final project (Module 5) will be assessed using the descriptions inside of each module. Students are selected for the Summer Academy program based on completion of modules, quality of work and timeliness.

Where will I stay during the summer program?

You will be housed two to a room (same gender) at a dormitory near Wallops Flight Facility. All meals will be provided, and you will be chaperoned at all times.

Can my parents visit during the week?

No. We recommend that parents not come to the Summer Academy unless for drop off or pick up. We want to totally immerse students in the academic program. However, please notify staff in the event of an emergency.

What if I have a medical condition that requires I take medicine during the day?

Just bring your medication with you during the day and please let us know about your requirement on your Medical Release Form that will be sent to you. If you have medicine that needs refrigeration and you must take it during the day, we can make arrangements as long as we know ahead of time.