FAQs about Admissions at the
Davidson Academy's Reno School
The information on this page is for students who plan to live in Reno, Nev. to attend the Davidson Academy public day school located on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. For those interested in the Davidson Academy online high school, opening in 2017-2018 for students living anywhere in the United States, please visit the Online section of our website.
You will see separate pages on the menu for the Reno school's Qualification Criteria, How to Apply and the Application Review Process. We have also compiled the following FAQs specific to our admissions process.
Q: How old does a student have to be to apply to the Davidson Academy's Reno school?
Any student who is under the age of 18, meets the Reno school's Qualification Criteria, and who can perform at an academic level of advanced middle school or higher in all subjects may apply to the Reno Davidson Academy.
Q: What is the selection criteria for admission?
Selection criteria include demonstration of superior intellectual development and academic achievement (as demonstrated by achievement test scores and grade transcripts), motivation, social and emotional maturity, and overall readiness for the environment of an accelerated educational program. See the Reno school's Qualification Criteria
Q: At what grade level does my student need to be in order to qualify?
Any student who is performing at an advanced middle school grade level or above, meets the Reno school's Qualification Criteria and is under the age of 18 can apply to the Davidson Academy's Reno school. It is strongly recommended that applicants be in the process of completing the 6th grade, at minimum, at the time of application. Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in the academic readiness assessment portion of the application process, which includes the students spending a day at the Academy to determine a final admission decision. Please note that our curriculum is accelerated by approximately three standard grade levels.
Q: When is the best time for my child to apply to the Davidson Academy's Reno school? Is there any disadvantage to applying early in the admissions cycle?
In terms of the annual admissions cycle, we feel that the sooner a student applies, the better. The application is available in the late summer, and completed applications are reviewed monthly beginning Oct. 1. When evaluating test scores for ACT, SAT, or Explore and when evaluating our curriculum-based assessments, we use the grade levels of the applicants as baselines of comparison. Because students who apply in the fall have had less than half a year of instruction at their current grade levels, we will consider fall applicants as though they were in the previous grade. In other words, if we receive a completed application in October from someone in the 8th grade, that student’s achievement test scores need only meet the 7th grade qualification criteria, and we will evaluate that student as a 7th grader during our in-house assessment. This grace period will extend to everyone who submits a complete application by Dec. 1.
Q: When is the final application deadline for the 2017-2018 school year?
The final application deadline for the 2017-2018 school year is Jan. 15, 2017.
Q: What tests are accepted for application to the Davidson Academy's Reno school?
There are many testing options available to applicants. Test information is just one aspect of qualifying for the Reno Davidson Academy. Check the test score guidelines for the Academy to determine if your child has taken at least one of the tests listed and if the scores earned qualify. If not, you may want to consider the following information for obtaining testing.
Intelligence test information is addressed in the Davidson Gifted Database article: A place to start: Is My Child Gifted?
Admission/placement exam information may be accessed at the following websites:
Q: Where can my child take one of the required tests?
Local testing options are generally available. These may be located by contacting the appropriate academic talent search, your school counselor or registering directly with the respective testing agency (see links provided above for the SAT, ACT, and Explore). Intelligence tests are typically administered by licensed psychologists. You may wish to contact your state or local gifted and talented organization for information on appropriate testers in your area.
Q: How can I help my child prepare for the academic readiness assessment if he or she is invited to participate in it?
In preparing for applying to the Academy, we suggest that students focus on reading, writing, thinking, and mathematics skills rather than standardized test preparation. The standardized test scores (SAT, ACT and Explore) are part of our application, but applicants who focus exclusively on those tend to be frustrated with our curriculum-based assessment because it is not multiple choice and it does not assess the same skills as the standardized tests. Our assessment is designed to emulate much of what students do during a typical day at the Academy in order to help us determine whether or not this school will be a good fit for each applicant. We have posted a sample assessment online that families may use to help determine whether or not their children are ready to apply to the Academy; please see Assessment Example (PDF). In addition, some families whose children have applied to the Academy more than once before being accepted have found that some online course work through the Talent Searches or other strong online supplementary schooling options have helped prepare their children for the Academy.
Q: What areas and skills are considered in the academic readiness assessment?
Students engage in various activities during our academic readiness assessment, many of which are conducted via the laptops that are made available to all Academy students. It is particularly important for written expression and critical thinking skills to be assessed in the most authentic context possible. Since these skills are necessary in English, history, and science and cannot be evaluated via a multiple choice test, our assessment includes independent responses to readings, an in-depth group discussion analyzing a short story, and a full lesson on how to write and revise an analysis essay with teacher support and personalized revision advice. This is modeled on actual classroom experiences exactly like those we provide here at the Academy. Our math assessment is also authentic in that it reflects the types of problems Academy students work on in their classes here. It is not multiple choice, and the students do not use a calculator. This can account for slightly lower scores than those typically found on standardized tests, but it allows us to see students’ thought processes and “mathematical thinking” much more clearly. Students also complete objective critical reading and scientific reasoning exams. Additionally, throughout the day, we assess a few specific affective traits that are also included in the recommendation section of our application for admission. As we analyze the assessment data, we look closely for academic and affective attributes that have helped our students thrive in the climate of the Reno Davidson Academy. We also look for a goodness of fit between each candidate and the courses we currently have to offer, and we reflect upon gaps in academic areas that could significantly disadvantage potential students.
Q: If my child has a qualifying score on all of the test sections but one, could she or he still qualify for admission into the Academy?
Many factors go into considering a student for admission to the Davidson Academy's Reno school, including test scores, transcripts, recommendation forms, interviews and the academic readiness assessment. Test score guidelines are listed on the Reno school's Qualification Criteria and will be evaluated in the context of all other materials submitted.
Q: Why are the Explore test score criteria so high?
Our published criteria for the Explore test indicates that applicants should meet on at least three of the five following scores: composite 23, English 24, math 24, reading 24, science 24. Since this test utilizes 8th grade level material, students need to score almost perfectly on this test, even if they are younger than students who are typically in 8th grade. Because the Academy’s lowest level coursework begins at approximately the 9th grade level, mastery of 8th grade level work is essential for student success.
Q: Can prospective students or visitors observe Academy classes?
In general, we do not allow prospective students or guests to visit classrooms. Our primary focus is student learning, and we have found that minimizing disruptions is best for the students. Prospective students and other guests are welcome to attend a scheduled tour of the Academy, during which time they will have the opportunity to meet and interact with students, teachers and staff. Please see the Academy tour schedule for more information.
Q: Can out-of-state students apply to the Davidson Academy's Reno school if they intend to reside in Nevada in the future?
Yes. Prospective Reno Davidson Academy students may apply with the plan to move to Nevada following admission to the Academy. Living with a parent or guardian in Nevada results in access to the Academy as a free public school. For those who cannot move, there is the Davidson Academy's online high school option.
Q: How long do you need to live in Nevada in order to be considered a resident?
Once a student is accepted to the Davidson Academy's Reno school and moves to Nevada with a parent or guardian, she or he meets all residency requirements of the State of Nevada as a student in a public school. A student from outside of Nevada who lives within driving distance of the Academy cannot be considered a resident.
Q: Who determines which students are eligible to attend?
The admissions committee is comprised of a broad-based team of professionals who have expertise in the educational needs of profoundly gifted learners.
Q: Can my child reapply to the Davidson Academy's Reno school if their application has been declined in the past?
Yes, candidates may reapply. However, it is important to note that the Reno Davidson Academy will not reconsider an admissions decision during the year in which the applicant was declined admission. The Reno Davidson Academy will accept no requests for reconsideration of or consider additional information related to an admissions decision once the admissions decision has been made. However, unsuccessful applicants may re-apply for admission for the next academic year following the academic year in which the applicant was declined admission.
Q: What is the review process for applications since supporting documentation, such as letters of recommendation or test scores, will not necessarily be submitted at the same time?
If an application is received by the application date, it will be reviewed that month if supporting documentation is received in a timely manner. If supporting documents are received after the middle of the application month, the application will be reviewed in the month following the receipt of the necessary documentation. If the application is submitted on the final submission deadline, all supporting documentation needs to be received in a timely manner in order to be considered for the following academic year.