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TJ now looks for both AAP and Non-AAP students!

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), offered admission to 550 students for the Class of 2025. This was the first year of the “admissions change” that happened. The class of 2024 and earlier were admitted under old admissions criteria. For the class of 2025, there is a noticeable change in how the new admissions system views accepting Level IV, or Advanced Academic Program (AAP), applicants.

According to recent admissions data, about 18% of FCPS eighth graders are Level IV (AAP) students centrally selected for the advanced academic program. As the coursework for AAP Level IV services is more demanding than the Honors coursework, which is in turn thought to be more demanding than the regular courses, these would typically be the most academically motivated, advanced, gifted, and capable students.

However, in this new admissions system, TJ does not favor Level IV students. They, instead, equally admit Level IV and non-Level IV students. For example, among Fairfax residents, 189 students were "Level IV" Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) students, resulting in an estimated 117 students admitted who were not “Level IV” students.

Since qualified students who do not have access to Level IV services in their base school are offered spots in nearby schools, known as "Centers," this result is all but predetermined by design, leaving spots reserved for the base school (1.5 percent of each school) to go to students who are not pursuing Level IV curriculum. This process ensures that regardless of the students’ Level IV status, 1.5% of students get admitted from each school.

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