Frequently Asked Questions - School Representatives

I am very impressed with the ATS program. My son is 13 and excitedly planning his path to college. The experience has connected the dots for us regarding how exactly my son can turn his strengths and talents into a career.

- ATS Parent


Why should we participate in ATS?

  • ATS can provide an additional avenue for you to meet your district’s LCAP goals
    • ATS classes are held in University classrooms and labs on the Sac State campus, so students experience a collegiate environment.
    • Course curriculum gives students a preview of college while also allowing them to explore potential majors and career pathways.
    • Many classes are parallel to college classes, giving students a confidence that they can succeed in higher levels of learning.
      • Classes like The Science of Saving Lives, held in Sac State’s Nursing Skills Labs, and Short Story: Writing Adventure and Fantasy Stories, taught by a past Sacramento Poet Laureate, provide students with high quality instruction and a look at the diverse opportunities available in college and beyond.
  • ATS can provide additional assessment information regarding students’ strengths
    • Results from the out-of-level ATS Qualifying Exam can be used in conjunction with standard grade-level test data to help analyze student progress.
  • ATS can help your students avoid the “summer slide”
    • Through interactive classes designed to encourage critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills, students continue to learn and be challenged academically during the summer. Participants report that after attending ATS, they return to school more engaged and motivated to learn, bringing new knowledge and ideas to class that they can share with their peers.
    • Students learn important content while also developing strategies for learning and confidence in their own abilities.

This sounds interesting but our families don’t have the money for it. Since we’re a Title 1 school, can our students attend for free?
Students who are unable to afford the test processing fee may be eligible for a fee waiver. Common eligibility categories include free or reduced lunch program, federal or state assistance (such as TANF or CalWorks), and residence in a foster home. ATS also offers fee-reduction class scholarships for students with financial need. Over $20,000 in financial support is awarded to students each year. 

In addition, several schools in the area, including Cristo Rey High School, Lake Canyon Elementary, and Smythe Academy have provided scholarship support for their students to attend ATS classes.


Sac State is far from us, and our parents work. Do you provide transportation?
Unfortunately, Sac State does not provide transportation from area schools to the University.

  • For those in Sacramento county, the campus is a major hub for Sacramento Regional Transit. Multiple routes make stops at Sac State, and light rail passengers can use the University/65th Street station to catch a bus to the campus.
  • Students in Yolo county can take Yolobus to Sacramento and connect with an RT bus or light rail train to get to the University.
  • Some students arrange carpools with their classmates or friends from other schools who also plan to attend ATS classes.
  • As a courtesy, ATS also generates a list of 6th - 9th grade participants interested in carpooling. Lists are included in student admission packets, allowing them the opportunity to contact other families in their area to set up carpool arrangements.


We have our own summer school. Why should we promote the competition?

ATS has a variety of session options for busy students. Classes are like a college schedule so are not full day or full summer commitments. This allows families the ability to experience the collegiate environment with ATS while still participating in their regular school’s summer offerings. 


We don’t have space to offer the test during the school day – are there any other options?
Many schools schedule testing for after school on their “early out” day or in the morning on their “late start” day. ATS staff are happy to work with you on possible scheduling alternatives.


We have a 3rd grade rapid learner class here – since they’re doing 4th grade curriculum can they take the test?
Unfortunately, it would not be possible for the 3rd graders to take the exam. The majority of students who take the ATS test are working above grade level. We look forward to seeing your students next year!


Several of my students took the test last year – do they have to take it again?
Students in grades 6 and above who last took the test in 4th or 5th grade are required to retest as they will take the higher, Advanced Level exam (previously they would have taken the Intermediate Level test).

For all other students, retesting is not required, however, because class placement is made top score down, many students choose to take the test every year to try to raise their scores and increase their chances of being admitted into their first choice.


Our school is not that far from Sac State – why we do we have to test here? Can’t we just send them to the campus?
While referring interested students to one of the tests at Sac State is always an option (thank you!), most parents report finding it more convenient if their students can take the test at their school.