William B Travis Academy Admissions: How to Get In!

William B. Travis Academy and Vanguard is a school for academically talented and gifted students which provides an enriched and advanced curriculum as well as support for the social and emotional needs of its students. Located in Uptown Dallas, the school serves gifted students in grades 4th through 8th.

William B Travis Academy | School Overview

William B Travis Academy/Vanguard for the Academically Talented and Gifted is home to two of Dallas Independent School District’s (DISD) magnet schools, serving students in grades four and five in the vanguard section and students in grades six through eight in the academy section. Travis is known for its accelerated education and enhanced curriculum, with instructors who are experts in their fields and students who are the highest achieving in their grade levels.

The school offers core classes in language arts, foreign languages, math, science, social studies, humanities, and computer science. It also includes Fine Arts instruction, with opportunities for students in band, orchestra, drama, and art.

The courses are uniquely tailored to be challenging for talented and gifted students. Teachers will offer very few worksheets, instead, focusing on long-term projects that require in-depth analyses and research in order to complete. These projects give students more freedom while teaching them important skills such as responsibility and good time management.

William B Travis Academy | Admissions Information

In order to apply to Travis, interested students may fill out a paper application or an online application to begin the process. This application becomes available in December and must be completed and turned in by the end of January in order to be considered.

Certain documentation must be brought to Travis as part of the application process, and this includes:

  • The application
  • A copy of the student’s last report card
  • STAAR or TerraNova testing results
  • Any existing Individualized Education Plan or 504 accommodation plan
  • Proof of residency
  • Priority for admission is first granted for those that are currently Dallas ISD students. Once all qualified in-district students are accepted, applicants that are out of district will then be considered and accepted.

    Travis utilizes the 30%-70% rule when reviewing applicants for admission. This means that the first 30% of available openings are filled by the students with the highest total application scores, regardless of where they are located within the DISD boundaries. The district is then divided into areas and a percentage of the top students from each quadrant are taken, accounting for the remaining 70% of the slots. These quadrants include each of the high school feeder patterns within the DISD boundaries.

    For current DISD students, STAAR scores from the previous spring are required and are considered for admission. For students who do not have STAAR test results, such as non-DISD, private schooled, or homeschooled students, there will be Saturday testing dates that can be signed-up for at the time of application.

    Magnet school testing is on two different dates in February, and this test must be completed in order to be considered for admission.

    The first round of acceptance letters is mailed out at the end of February, and the second round of acceptance letters is mailed out at the beginning of April.

    William B Travis Academy | Odds of Admission

    Admission to the school is extremely competitive, in part due to the number of applicants who have siblings at the school, as these applicants can qualify for the school with a lower score than non-sibling applicants.

    So, the 30% top-scorer applicants (who score in the high 90s) are offered a seat, but then the rest of the seats go to the ‘sibling’ applicants as long as they meet the minimum score of 80. All these remaining spots (over the last years) have gone to siblings.

    William B Travis Academy | What to Expect During the Magnet School Testing

    Non-DISD students who are applying to William B. Travis Academy and are in grades K-10 are provided with a norm-referenced reading and mathematics test.

    This admission test is the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) 10 or Logramos and it is required for admission to the Dallas ISD Magnet Program.

    Students that are currently enrolled in Dallas ISD and are in grades 3-6 will be assessed at their home school if they do not have norm-referenced test scores from the spring.

    The ITBS is an assessment that is designed to assess students’ critical thinking skills and measure their academic achievement. The test consists of various subtests that include topics such as: vocabulary, reading comprehension, math computation, listening, and word analogies.

    Both non-DISD students as well as current Dallas ISD students will also be given an on-site essay on one of these Saturday dates. The essay will go towards their final admission score and is used to assess students’ ability to be expressive in writing.

    The essay is scored by a rubric will not be given beforehand. However, students can be assured that the rubric will assess writing structure, complete thoughts and sentences, and creativity. The essay is required to be between 1 ½ and 2 pages.

    The on-site essay, student’s GPA, and norm-referenced test scores are combined for the final admission score.

    William B Travis Academy | How to Prepare for the Magnet School Testing

    For students who will be taking the ITBS in order to be considered for admissions to William B Travis Academy, it is important to become familiar with the problem types and to practice a variety of sample questions.

    You can help your child by giving them some sample tests of the ITBS and point out the unique language that is specific to standardized tests.

    By becoming familiar with the test content as well as the format, it will help your child increase their confidence.

    For all students that will be writing the on-site essay, there are also many things that they can do to prepare ahead of time.

    As the essay prompts are not given ahead of time, it will be beneficial to have your child practice a wide variety of topics in order to increase their flexibility and versatility in writing.

    Proofread their essay for spelling and grammatical errors, and make sure they have the proper structure, including a solid introduction, body, and conclusion.

    Help them discover their own unique writing style and encourage them to express their own voice and ideas.

    Finally, a great way to prepare for any type of standardized or high-stakes test is to help your child find ways to relax and destress before the big day.

    A proven way for reducing anxiety and stress is to practice mindfulness, a practice that goes along the lines with meditation.

    By finding ways to lower anxious thoughts, students can feel more relaxed and confident leading up to the testing day.

    Receiving an acceptance letter to the competitive William B. Travis Academy in Dallas, Texas is an honor for students who have worked hard and proven their academic potential. By utilizing all of these tips, you will be helping your child ensure they have the best chance possible to be successful.

    What's Next?

    Learn more about Dallas Magnet Schools, as well as read articles on Houston's Vanguard program for the gifted, and the most selective high schools in Austin and in Dallas.