Overview of the GSST Application Process:

The GSST uses a holistic application process to select the strongest students from the pool of applicants applying to each strand, within each district. Here’s an example to help clarify the process.

If Jasmine, a sophomore at Warwick High School, is applying to the Engineering strand, she is competing with all students from Newport News who have applied to the Engineering strand.


Academic factors that are considered include:

  • Rigor of courses taken, especially those in math & science, with advanced courses (honors, AP, IB, DE) given extra weighting
  • Grades in all courses
  • Recommendations from one math and one science teacher
  • Testing: SOL scores and scores from AP exams and PSAT, if available
  • Applicants must meet the science and math prerequisites for the Academic Strand they are applying to

Factors that are not part of the application:

  • Extracurricular activities
  • Previous research
  • Essays

Logistics of the Process:

  • Students complete an online application that will be available on the GSST
    website from the beginning of Deember until it closes in mid- February.
    Information that students are asked to provide includes:
    • Choice of academic strand (Biological Sciences, Engineering, or
      Computational Sciences)
    • Background information – parents’ names, address, etc.
    • Names and email addresses of counselor, a math and science teacher
  • The school counselor provides information on courses and grades
  • Math and science teachers complete online recommendations.

More information:

A virtual information session will be scheduled later in the year to discuss the academic strands and the application process in more detail. In the meantime, to view last year’s video showcasing the online application, click here.

How should a student prepare for GSST in 7th through 10th grades?

Students who believe they might want to attend GSST should notify their school counselor when selecting courses to make sure they sign up for the most appropriate choices. Successful candidates are generally those who have taken the most rigorous math and science courses available to them. Specific courses that should be taken by the end of 10th grade for each of the strands are as follows:

  • Biological Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, and Algebra 2/Trigonometry
  • Computational Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, and Algebra 2/Trigonometry
  • Engineering Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, and Precalculus (Math Analysis)


We recommend encouraging your child to participate in STEM activities that will help him/her gauge their interest in STEM course work and careers. We will continue to post information about these events as we hear about them, so stay tuned to this newsletter for information about STEM options, GSST and its application process.