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    Starting College-Level STEM Programs in High School

    Posted May 12, 2016, 5:18 pm by Amanda Chaulk
    Starting College-Level STEM Programs in High School

    Garrett Royce credits the Vermont Academy of Science & Technology (VAST) program at Vermont Tech for making his college career a success.

    The VAST program is an early college, independent high school exclusively for high school seniors who want to receive a high school diploma and complete a year of college at the same time. The fully accredited program is specifically for high school seniors with a strong ability in math and science.

    “The transition from being a high school student to becoming a college student was virtually a seamless one as a VAST student,” Garrett says. “All my responsibilities seemed to flow effortlessly into one another.”

    Garrett, who is in the Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program, says Vermont Tech was the best college option for him. And the VAST Program prepared him for the academic rigors and benefits of college life in a safe and secure setting.

    The VAST program offers opportunities in STEM education and for good reason.

    Employers today are proactively seeking candidates who possess skills revolving around science, technology, engineering and mathematics. However, there is a shortage of skilled STEM workers.

    Economic projections point to a need for approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than the United States will produce at the current rate over the next decade if the country is to retain its historical preeminence in science and technology, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

    In fact, according to the BLS, employment in STEM occupations is projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022. That’s an increase of about 1 million jobs over 2012 employment levels.

    Here are six reasons why students choose the VAST program at Vermont Tech:

    • They receive a high school diploma and complete a year of college at the same time;

    • They can live on campus or commute to either the Randolph Center or Williston campus.

    • They earn 30-plus credits by graduation;

    • They earn a VAST diploma with the option to also earn a diploma from their own high school;

    • If they continue their education at Vermont Tech, they may be eligible for a $3,000 annual VAST Forward Scholarship;

    • And perhaps best of all: VAST is tuition-free for Vermont residents.

    Is the VAST Program for You?

    • Do you have a passion for math and science?

    • Have you completed most of the upper-level high school courses and want to obtain a high school diploma while earning college credits, possibly tuition-free?

    • Do you want to be part of a program that includes a peer group that is as passionate about learning as you are?

    • Are you academically curious and enjoy a challenge?

    The VAST program’s application includes an essay, official high school transcript with first- -semester junior grades, two recommendation letters, English and math placement tests, and an interview with the student and a parent/guardian. No sign-off from your principal or superintendent is required.

    Many STEM occupations require at least a bachelor’s degree. More technical and advanced jobs, including those in research, usually require a master’s or doctoral degree.

    The VAST program can help you get started on your college career in STEM, just like it did for Garrett Royce.

    “Honestly, I feel my college career has given me everything I need to be successful in the workforce and as a professional,” says Garrett, adding that VAST and his college experience at Vermont Tech has helped him tremendously. “I have become a more knowledgeable person in my career field and in my personal life.”

    To learn more about the VAST Program at Vermont Tech, visit www.vtc.edu.

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    Amanda Chaulk

    Amanda Chaulk

    Amanda Chaulk is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Vermont Tech. She and her husband, Andrew, live in Vermont with their two sons, Daniel and William. Amanda predicts Daniel will be ready to leave high school early and enroll in the VAST program to help achieve his goal of becoming a marine engineer.