FAQ: HS Specialty Programs

2022-2023 Parents Guide to Frequently Asked Questions


In Prince William County, all 8th grade students are eligible to apply for one or more high school specialty programs throughout the county. Programs cover a vast array of topics and interests, ranging from the arts to engineering and beyond. If students are accepted to a high school specialty program, they transfer to their new school for the duration of their 4 year high school career.

If students do not apply to any of the specialty programs, then they will attend their zoned base high school.

Where can I learn about the different programs?

I would encourage all parents to go to the Specialty Program Website and view this promotional video to gain knowledge on all the programs that are available to our students.

Parents & students are also welcome to view the PowerPoint presentation that will be presented to 8th grade students at the end of October: Transition to High School (Covers academic considerations for moving into 9th Grade, HS Graduation Requirements and brief intro to Specialty Programs)

How does my student apply to a Specialty Program? ****

Applications are available ONLINE ONLY (Please see the "APPLY HERE" link below to access the application).

*Please note: CFPA at Colgan HS requires to students to submit a portfolio of artwork and/or complete an audition and has a deadline of December 14. Pre-Gov at Osbourn Park, requires that students complete additional application components through a dedicated Canvas page. See below for more information.

Both CFPA and Pre-Gov require that students list the programs as FIRST CHOICE on their applications in order to be considered for acceptance.

APPLY ****

Specialty Program Application is available HERE

How can I learn more detailed information about each program? ****

Countywide Information Sessions were held earlier in October. Recordings of those presentations are posted on the specialty program website.

Additionally, each of the PWCS high schools will be offering their own information nights. You may visit the Specialty Program Calendar to see when each school is hosting their information nights. *Please visit the school websites for information on their programs and details on their information sessions including: time, if registration is required, and if the session is in-person or virtual. In-person and Virtual sessions will vary by school and by program.

Specialty Program Info Nights:

1/11 - Hylton HS

1/11 - Potomac HS

1/11 - Gar-Field HS

1/13 - Forest Park HS

1/16 - Osbourne Park HS

1/20 - Woodbridge HS

Where can I access the High School Course Catalog?

The PWCS 2022-2023 High School course catalog may be found online: https://www.pwcs.edu/academics___programs/high_school_course_catalog

Do some programs have additional requirements?


For the overwhelming majority of programs, you just need to complete the online application.

However, there are a few programs that require and/or recommend that additional materials be completed.

The CFPA Program at Colgan High School - Students will need to complete an Audition/Portfolio Packet. Make sure students compete the packet for the concentration area they want to apply to.

The CISL Program at Hylton High School - They recommend that students complete two teacher recommendations and an essay. Please see the Hylton HS CISL Application Website.

The Pre-Governor's Program at Osbourn Park High School - Students MUST complete an additional application components through a dedicated Canvas course page - available on the Pre-Gov Website.

How will transportation work?

PWCS DOES currently provide specialty program bus transportation. Keep in mind that it is a bit more limited in scope than the door-to-door neighborhood bus transportation. Usually local elementary and middle schools (including Rippon) are used as bus stops. Bus stop information for the specialty programs can be found HERE.

Can I get help submitting my application?

Student and parents are welcome to contact Mrs. Garecht regarding the HS Specialty Programs: garechtma@pwcs.edu


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Please feel free to contact our 8th-grade counselors:

Last Names A-P:

Ashley Korman - Kormanae@pwcs.edu

Last Names Q-Z:

John Lang- LangJR@pwcs.edu