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Admissions for The Gatton Academy

The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky is an opportunity for some of the Commonwealth's brightest high school students who have passions in the STEM fields. This page contains relevant details for prospective students and their families regarding the admissions process.

Admissions Overview

Starting with the Class of 2019, The Gatton Academy will select approximately 95 Kentucky residents each year to attend the program. 

The following are the requirements for a student to apply:

  • be a current domiciled resident of the state of Kentucky as stated by the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education,
  • be a sophomore or have achieved sophomore status (as stated by their sending school) at the time of application (February 1),
  • be a junior (as stated by their sending school) at the time of enrollment to The Gatton Academy (August 1 of the same application year),
  • complete Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II or their KDE equivalents prior to enrollment,
  • score a minimum 22 math on the ACT or score a minimum 540 math on the SAT, and
  • submit all required materials no later than February 1, 2024.

Applicants invited to Interview Day will take a Math Placement Exam during their visit. For full admission, students must qualify to be placed in Trigonometry or higher. WKU's prerequisite for Trigonometry placement is:

  • A 22 Math-ACT or 540 Math-SAT AND an 18 or higher on the Math Placement Exam, OR
  • A 27 Math-ACT or 610 Math-SAT or higher.

Students are selected based on SAT or ACT scores; academic grades from ninth and tenth grades; interest in advanced careers in science, technology, engineering, and math; student responses to application essay questions; interviews by Gatton staff members; and recommendations from teachers and other individuals who can attest to a student's need and preparedness for the program.

Interested in being in Gatton's Class of 2026? Apply today!

Taking Challenging Courses is the First Step

Rigor is at the heart of The Gatton Academy's academic curriculum. As such, it is important that prospective students seek challenge in their coursework leading up to admission to The Gatton Academy. Middle school students should consider completing Algebra I by the end of eighth grade so they can complete both Geometry and Algebra II by the end of their sophomore year. Though many districts are offering Algebra I and Geometry to advanced middle school students, other districts are not. 

Even though some schools limit Advanced Placement options to freshman and sophomore students, all available opportunities for advanced and honors courses should be sought. All students applying to Gatton in their sophomore year must have completed Algebra II or its KDE equivalent.

Get Involved In and Out of the Classroom

There are three specific elements our admissions staff look for in Gatton applicants: maturity, personality, and individuality.

Maturity is gauged as the academic preparation necessary to be successful in university-level study while, in tandem, addressing the challenges of living in a residential environment. Service learning is often a great way to develop maturity and a sense of one's responsibility to self, family, and community.

Personality refers to the passion that students bring to The Gatton Academy for math and science. While numerous students make good grades in these subjects, it takes a student who has a passion for them and wants to pursue an advanced career in STEM to be the right fit for The Gatton Academy. Have you participated in a science fair? Are you involved in STLP at your school? Our admissions team looks for activities both inside and outside of the classroom that defines a student's interest in math and science. The Gatton Academy has compiled a list of summer programs available around the country for middle and early high school students interested in math and science.

Finally, we look for what makes a student an individual. We anticipate this year's pool of applicants to exceed 350 students from across the state. What makes you stand out as unique? Your awards and extracurricular activities are useful in this area. We are not looking for the longest list of accomplishments; instead, we are looking for quality and commitment. The Gatton Academy understands that students are only beginning their high school careers and will have had limited options for leadership in clubs and organizations.

Get Familiar with Either the ACT or SAT

It's never too early to begin thinking about these tests. While some tests will familiarize students with the format of the ACT, the material is typically appropriate to the grade level in which the test is given. There is no substitute to taking a full ACT or SAT exam. Many students find their scores improve as they become more comfortable with the expectations and pacing of the test.

Middle school students interested in pursuing admission to The Gatton Academy may consider participating in the Talent Identification Program of Kentucky (TIP-KY), which offers students in grades 7-8 the opportunity to take the ACT during a national test date. Learn more here

All students who wish to apply for The Gatton Academy must have taken either the ACT or SAT prior to the submission deadline.  The College Board recommends taking the ACT at least two times before a student enters college. As such, The Gatton Academy recommends students take the exam at least once during their sophomore year so that scores reflect the current aptitude of the student. If possible, students are encouraged to test in June after their freshman year and in December of their sophomore year. The ACT's fall test dates are available on our Timeline page.

Attend an Information Session

Gatton Academy representatives will conduct information sessions across Kentucky during each fall semester. Information sessions are a wonderful opportunity to speak with a member of The Gatton Academy's staff face-to-face without having to travel to Bowling Green. For more information on where we will visit and have visited, please review our Recruitment and Preview Days page.

Visit a Preview Day

In order to allow students and parents the opportunity to experience The Gatton Academy living-learning environment, The Gatton Academy is pleased to offer Preview Days during both the fall and spring semesters. Middle and high school students and their families are invited to attend Preview Days to tour Florence Schneider Hall, speak with Gatton Academy students, their parents, and staff while experiencing life within The Gatton Academy community. The Preview Day normally begins at 9:30 a.m. central time and concludes at 3:00 p.m. For more information on dates, please visit our Recruitment and Preview Days page.

When in Doubt, Ask Questions

Members of The Gatton Academy staff are always available to answer questions via email at academy@wku.edu or by telephone at 270-745-6565 and should be viewed as a resource when considering this educational opportunity. It is important that families fully understand this academic opportunity when considering it as a choice for their student.

Admissions Questions?


Gatton Academy Main Office




Important Links

Admissions Introduction

This page will introduce you to The Gatton Academy's Admission Process.

Admissions Requirements

This page will introduce you to the minimum requirements for admission to The Gatton Academy.

Admissions Application

Here, you will find all the information needed on completing The Gatton Academy's admissions application.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

These questions tend to be some of the most frequently asked questions by both prospective students and their families. 

Recruitment and Preview Days

Are we coming to your area of the Commonwealth?  Keep up to date with this page as we just may be coming to a town near you!


Are you curious whether you are too early or late to apply?  If so, click on this link and you will find a helpful timeline so you can know what needs to be done. 

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 8/1/23