College Planning

Rationale and Goals of the Program

GSST students have unique needs for information about applying to competitive colleges and to specialized math and science programs. The College Planning Program aims to integrate a comprehensive college planning curriculum into students’ Governor’s School day as well as to enrich the knowledge of their parents and teachers.

College Planning/Outreach Coordinator

Dr. Ellen Fithian, an independent educational consultant with Hampton Roads Educational Consulting, LLC, developed the program and provides instruction for GSST students, faculty, and parents. Dr. Fithian earned a Ph.D. in gifted education at the College of William and Mary and served as the Director of Precollegiate Learner Programs at the Center for Gifted Education. As a graduate student, she also completed a semester-long internship in the William and Mary admissions office and has provided college planning services to numerous local families. Her educational and professional background, along with her personal experience as the mother of four former GSST students, make her uniquely qualified to speak about the challenges facing gifted high school students and their parents in today’s competitive academic environment.

College Planning Program Components

  • Comprehensive in-school seminars for students engage students in the key activities involved in preparing for college, searching for colleges that are a good academic and extracurricular match for the student, understanding and finding financial aid, and completing college applications.
  • College Day brings representatives of top colleges to the Governor’s School on a Saturday to participate in a panel discussion and meet with students and parents. In addition, an informational seminar on college planning is provided.
  • Staff Development for faculty: Governor’s School faculty are kept abreast of updated information on competitive college admissions.
  • Online Curriculum for Parents: Governor’s School parents have consistently expressed a desire for college planning information, but the demands of work, family, and the extracurricular commitments of their teens have made it difficult for parents to attend evening seminars. Accordingly, Dr. Fithian has increasingly moved in the direction of providing online resources.
  • College Planning Minutes is a monthly e-newsletter covering timely topics of interest to parents of college bound students. To subscribe, go to www.hredconsulting.com and click on College Planning Minutes.
  • New: Dr. Fithian’s free informational website for parents – The Sidelines: Parent Guide to College Admissions. The site features a step-by-step guide with articles on the major college planning milestones, a blog, and discussion forum.It’s located at www.sidelinesguide.com.

School Culture Initiatives:
Creating a Student-Centered School

High school students who aspire to competitive colleges today face unprecedented challenges to excel in extracurricular and service activities, standardized testing, and rigorous course work. In recognition of this, Dr. Fithian is collaborating with Ms. Wismer, the Governor’s School Director, and the GSST faculty to find ways to support students and reduce their stress. Initiatives include:

  • Efforts by the faculty to develop a shared, school-wide calendar that will allow teachers to avoid scheduling a due date for a major test or project on the same date as another test or project.
  • New: A summer program to help incoming juniors prepare for Governor’s School math courses. 99% of incoming juniors accepted an invitation to participate in a structured summer program to review the math concepts necessary for their fall math course. The program incorporated student’s home use of adaptive, online math software coupled with virtual office hours, regular monitoring of student progress, and e-mail encouragement by GSST facilitators. The goal of this initiative was to provide math review that made the most efficient use of student’s time. Results of an anonymous student survey about the program were very positive, and 83% of students rated it better (28%) or much better (55%) than a traditional summer packet.
  • New: Efforts to incorporate preparation for SAT Subject tests in math and the sciences into the GSST curriculum. Students will be provided with access to a different software product during the school year to assist them in preparing for their SAT Subject Tests.
  • New: An initiative to promote positive student collaboration and deter cheating. To promote a culture of academic integrity, Dr. Fithian worked with GSST faculty to develop strategies to clarify acceptable behavior at the GSST and in general.

Dual Enrollment

The Governor’s School for Science and Technology (GSST)  Dual enrollment (DE) at Thomas Nelson is restricted to students who are juniors or seniors in high school studying at the high school junior or senior level. All dual enrollment students must demonstrate readiness for college, meet applicable college placement requirements, and address all other college admission criteria.

Documentation of parental permission is required for all dual enrollment students.

Visit www.tncc.edu/dualenrollment for additional information.

INSTRUCTIONS (Complete the steps below and provide required documentation to a Deidre Jeter GSST Dual Enrollment Coordinator.)

  1. Apply to Thomas Nelson online www.tncc.edu/apply.
  2. Contact your LaToya Lawson Dual Enrollment Coordinator to discuss placement testing.

Submit any PSAT/ACT/SAT scores (within two years) to your Dual Enrollment Coordinator.

They will provide a form for you to take the testing center if any additional placement testing is needed.

  1. If placement testing is needed, visit www.tncc.edu/testing for testing center hours, location and preparation.

All forms must reflect the current or upcoming academic school year If you need additional information, please contact a Dual Enrollment Coordinator at: dualenrollment@tncc.edu or 757-825-2706

All new students must test unless they meet an exception listed below:

  • Students who have successfully completed either the ACT or SAT instrument within two years prior to the time they enroll in either an English or mathematics course at Thomas Nelson, must provide a copy of the official scores from ACT or SAT to a  Ms. Deidre Jeter who will interpret the scores to determine if the student is exempt from the college’s assessment.

The scores that exempt a student from the assessment test at Thomas Nelson are:

  1. SAT Scores of 500 in Critical Reading and Writing (within two years) and an ACT English and Reading score of 18 or higher (within two years)

All GSST Students interested in dual enrollment credit must take the placement test in mathematics.

What is the process for In-School Dual Enrollment?

  1. Apply to Thomas Nelson online. Upon completing the application you will be assigned a Thomas Nelson Student ID number, also called an EMPLID. Write down and save this number in order to complete the following steps.
  2. TEST for eligibility or provide SAT, ACT, PSAT, or Math SOL scores. Qualifying scores for admission to the program are shown below. Thomas Nelson provides the Virginia Placement test at no charge to students. It is very important to take the placement test seriously and practice beforehand. Practice is available on our website. If possible, the test should be taken in two parts due to its length. You must take your Thomas Nelson ID# & a photo ID to the test session and identify yourself as a DE student. Students who have all or some of the qualifying scores on the above chart will not need to take that portion of the test. Students should bring copies of their scores to the Admissions Office, room 208 Griffin Hall in Hampton, or to Student Services at the Historic Triangle campus. Students wishing to take MTH 163, 164, 173, 174, 180, 240, 277, 285; CHM 111, 112; PHY 241, 242 must take the math placement test regardless of standardized test scores. These courses are offered at the Governor’s School for Science and Technology.
  3. REGISTER for the course. You must register each term for a new DE course. After you have applied and taken the placement test, your Governro’s School teacher will give you a DE College Registration Form at the first class meeting. Complete, sign, and return this form to your teacher.
  4. Once you have registered, you can confirm your dual enrollment (and request/view a transcript) by logging into your myTNCCaccount. 

 What is the process for On-Campus Dual Enrollment?

  1. Apply to Thomas Nelson online.
  2. Complete the permission form found here. This form requires a signature from an acting school official.
  3. Take the college placement test or submit official SAT/ACT/PSAT or SOL scores.
  4. Make an appointment with a Dual Enrollment Coordinator at the Hampton Campus to register for classes, or see an Advisor at the Historic Triangle Campus in Williamsburg.
  5. Bring an official transcript including a graduation date verifying that you are a high school junior or senior. A transcript is considered official when it is in an unopened envelope and signed by the acting school official.
  6. Home schooled students only present one of the following:
    • For students home schooled under religious exemption, submit a copy of the “Letter of Intent to Instruct” submitted to the school division in which the student resides.
    • Otherwise, submit a copy of the acknowledgement letter sent by the school division each year.

How do I complete the Thomas Nelson online application?

Students must answer the following questions correctly so their application can be processed.

Section 1: Personal Information

  • Q: Which college do you plan to attend?
  • A: Thomas Nelson Community College
  • Q: In what type of classes will you be enrolling?
  • A: CREDIT
  • Q: What campus will you attend?
  • A: Hampton Campus

Section 5: Educational Goals

  • HS Stdnt – HS & College Credit (041)

Section 6: Domicile Questionnaire

  • You must complete the domicile section.

What In-School Dual Enrollment Courses are available?

Students interested in In-School Dual Enrollment should talk with their high school counselors and teachers about dual enrollment opportunities in their high school.

What will it cost?

In-School Dual Enrollment: Local school divisions receive a discounted tuition rate.

On-Campus Dual Enrollment: Each course cost the current rate for tuition and fees. Dual Enrollment students are not eligible for financial aid.

What is the difference between Dual Enrollment and Advanced Placement (AP)?

To earn college credit for an Advanced Placement class, a student must take a national AP exam at the end of the year and score at least a 3 or higher to earn college credit. Many colleges and universities require a 4 or a 5 to receive credit. Dual enrollment credit is based on daily performance and testing conducted in the classroom. A student must earn a “C” or higher grade to accrue college credit. After the completion of the course, dual enrollment students may request an official Thomas Nelson transcript to be sent to the college of their choice. Most courses with a “C” or higher will transfer but students should check with the college of their choice regarding transferability.