Parent Guide-HS Specialty Programs

Frequently Asked Questions


In Prince William County, all 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.

Where can I learn about the different programs?

I would encourage all parents to go to the specialty program website here:

Parents are also welcome to look at the PowerPoint Presentation that was given to students earlier this year.

How does my student apply to a specialty program?

Students simply need to complete the online application. It is fairly simply, and mainly requires students to decide on their top 3 choices for specialty programs. Keep in mind that some programs, such as CFPA at Colgan, will only be conducting auditions for students who list it as their FIRST CHOICE.

Students will also need to write 250 CHARACTERS (NOT WORDS) about why they want to attend their first choice program. This is a very brief statement about why they want to attend that program. If students write an essay - it will simply be cut off after 250 characters.

**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. Those are:

The CFPA Program at Colgan High School - Students need an Audition/Portfolio packet that they bring with them on the day of their audition or portfolio submission - available from Mr. Davison or CFPA website.

The CISL Program at Hylton High School - They recommend that students complete two teacher recommendations and an essay - available from Mr. Davison or CISL Website.

The Pre-Governor's Program at Osbourn Park High School - Students MUST complete an additional paper application which contains a student information sheet, research/study experience, and two teacher recommendations - available from Mr. Davison or on Pre-Gov Website.

How can I learn more detailed information about each program?

We strongly recommend that students & parents attend the information nights available at the different high schools. Unfortunately, the first round of information nights has passed. However, there will be another round of presentations starting in January. The dates are below:

Osbourn Park High School - Biotechnology Program & Pre-Governor's School - Wednesday, Jan. 9th - 6:30 - 8 PM

Potomac High School - Cambridge Program - Thursday, Jan. 10th - 7 PM

Woodbridge High School - AP Scholars Program - Thursday, Jan. 24th - 6:30 PM

Hylton High School - CISL Program - Monday, Jan. 14th - 7 - 8:30 PM

Gar-Field High School - IB Programme - Tuesday, Jan. 8th - 7 PM

Forest Park High School - IT Program - Wednesday, Jan. 9th - 7 PM

Freedom High School - CENS Program - Thursday, Jan. 17th - 7 PM

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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 are used as bus stops.

An example of past specialty program bus stops can be seen here (Please Note: This is subject to change each year based on enrollment and acceptances):

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What if I don't have computer access at home?

No problem! We understand that some families may not have computer/internet access at home. Therefore we are offering computer lab sessions here at school where students can complete their application.

Lab sessions will be offered during encore time on:

Thursday, November 29th

Thursday, December 13th

Thursday, January 3rd

Thursday, January 17th

Thursday, January 31st

Students just need to see Mr. Davison to get a permission slip!


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Have additional questions?

Please feel free to contact me:

Mr. Davison

8th Grade Counselor