Special Opportunities

Free or Very Affordable

Special opportunities come and go throughout the year.  We are defining "special" as free or very affordable.  These opportunities will first appear in the College and Career Center Newsletter and will remain on this page until they expire.

Remember: This information is provided for your convenience and perusal. Postings do not indicate endorsement or sponsorship by W.T. Woodson, FCPS, nor any administrator or employee of either W.T. Woodson or FCPS.  Parents need to check and be satisfied with any program chosen for their children.  This web page contains links to one or more web pages that are outside the FCPS network.  Neither W.T. Woodson High School nor FCPS controls the content or relevancy of these pages.

With COVID comes lots of online opportunities.  Some of opportunities in this newsletter are using Zoom

 It is important that everyone read and understand the FCPS Zoom disclaimer:

Advertisement of [any] opportunity (using Zoom] does not constitute sponsorship or endorsement of the sponsoring organization or the enrichment opportunity by the Fairfax County School Board, the Superintendent, or a specific FCPS school… Zoom [is] an online technology video and web conferencing tool that has not been approved for use in FCPS by the FCPS Department of Information Technology. Numerous outside organizations are utilizing Zoom to provide services and resources to students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students should gain permission from their parent or guardian before engaging in any non-FCPS enrichment opportunity and families should review and agree to the Terms of Service and User Agreements for Zoom before participating.



6 July – 7 August – FCPS offers a free online summer arts enrichment program with a variety of classes in art, music, theater, and dance.  Visit https://www.fcps.edu/news/fcps-offers-free-online-summer-arts-enrichment-program for more information.


The American Youth Leadership Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, offers opportunities for American high school students and educators to travel abroad on a three to four week exchange program to gain first-hand knowledge of foreign cultures and to collaborate on solving global issues.  Academic and experiential educational exchange programs focus on dialogue and debate, leadership development, and community service. Recruitment areas, eligibility requirements, and application deadlines vary by program, so please check http://exchanges.state.gov/us/program/youth-leadership-programs for more information.


The new College Board Opportunity Scholarship provides students the chance to earn money for college for each action they take in the college planning process. Starting this December, students in the class of 2020 can earn funding for college by completing key steps along the path to college. Drawings determine who receives awards.  The information page has a video to help explain the program.


15 June – 15 August, virtual – Students in grades 9 – 12 are invited to Discover the World of Communication in this month-long, online sessions with the American University School of Communication.  Participants choose from nine non-credit classes teaching how to build a digital portfolio, write a script, shoot and edit a film, write a news story like a pro, speak with confidence, persuade, inform, educate and entertain.  There is a $350 fee for these non-credit classes.


6 – 31 July – The Emerging Leader Program Part I supports students of immigrant, low-income and/or minority backgrounds as they progress through high school and transition into college and the professional workforce. Participants learn in interactive workshops designed to help develop leadership skills, gain college awareness, and become more involved in the community! Participants will be connected with mentors who will provide guidance and support.  Application requirements require registration to see.  Visit http://tinyurl.com/LeaderSummer20  for more information and to apply.


Fairfax County Fire and Rescue offers members of the explorer program the opportunity to serve their community, build leadership skills, and gain exposure to the fire and rescue service.  Post 1949 meets three times a week to conduct training in various aspects of the fire service.  After a short training session, explorers are permitted to accompany fire and rescue personnel to emergency incidents.  Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fire-ems/explorer-training


6 July – 7 August – FCPS offers a free online summer arts enrichment program with a variety of classes in art, music, theater, and dance.  Visit https://www.fcps.edu/news/fcps-offers-free-online-summer-arts-enrichment-program for more information.


Explorer Post 1949 provides young men and women between the ages of 14 and 20 the opportunity to learn about a career in fire and rescue.  Participants also serve their community and build leadership skills.  The post meets three times each month to conduct training events on various aspects of the fire service.  Students are welcome to join at any time.  Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fire-ems/explorer-training to research the opportunity and learn how to join.


Thinking of visiting campuses far from home?  The Center for Student Opportunity provides a list of programs that often provide transportation to qualified students for special college visit programs.  Visit: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/293966/68d3cb4f04/1384000618/ fd68e62f52/ to see the complete list.


Wednesdays & Fridays, 3 – 4 pm - DMVHacks & NOVACSPREP will use a Zoom conference call to present virtual, hour-long classes.  Classes will begin with a 20-minute lesson followed by time for students to apply what was learned paired with instructors to work on mini-projects.  (Program organizers work to keep the ratio of mentor to student at 1:3).  Classes are offered in: Scratch (Basic), Java (Basic), Java (Advanced), Python (Basic), and Python (Advanced).  No programming experience is required for the most basic classes.  Discover all of the details at https://dmvhacks.weebly.com/free-classes.html.


Students who are more geared towards a hands-on type of career may be interested in an associates degree through NOVA’s automotive program in Alexandria.  Attend school for half of the semester while working with a porspective sponsor, earning money and gaining experience.  Rolling enrollment is available.  See www.nvcc.edu/alexandria/automotive/asep.htm for more information and to submit an application.


The Guided Pathway Support Program (GPS) helps African-American Juniors and Seniors navigate the path to top colleges by directing students to the most comprehensive and reliable resources available.  This FREE program, teaches students how to prepare for, apply to, pay for, thrive in, and graduate from college. GPS narrows the college access gap using telementoring through the GPS Workplace by Facebook community, direct interactions with admissions professionals, and exposure to successful peer role models.  GPS students are mentored and guided by Ron Brown Scholars and Captains.  As opposed to traditional mentoring programs, Ron Brown Scholars and Captains are similar in racial identity, age, income, and life experiences to meaningfully engage GPS students.  They have already successfully navigated college journeys from hardship into America’s top colleges and universities, graduate schools and corporations, and are eager to guide others.  For more information and to apply, visit http://www.rbsgps.com/Applications are now open and accepted on a rolling basis.

ITALIAN - ONLINE COURSE IN AP ITALIAN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE – Wellesley College offers a FREE online course on the edX platform.  This could provide a study option for the May AP test.  Students can register for free and have instant access anytime to all online materials for self-study.  (Although the basic course is entirely free, there are classes with teachers to assist in the online culture course FOR AN ADDITIONAL FEE.  To access the free online culture course, visit https://www.edx.org/course/ap-italian-language-and-culture-2018-2019?utm_source=School+Counselors&utm_campaign=eef11958e0-AP+Italian+counselors+EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_02_CO&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_7d8bcaa4e2-eef11958e0-231525865.  For questions, contact @email.


Khan Academy offers great opportunities to learn from Pixar and computer programming.  Visit https://khanacademy.org; search for “Pixar” to discover how to write a short story as well as hints on animation.  Search for “computer programming” to learn more from the pros.  Not only does Khan Academy offer advice from these pros, it offers FREE tutoring in virtually every subject.


24/7 online tutoring and homework help free for U.S. Military families.  Students connect with a professional tutor for a one-to-one learning session the moment they need help.  Get help with math, science, English, social studies and standardized tests from the secure online classroom, with real-time chat, and an interactive whiteboard.  Visit www.tutor.com/military   or call 800.411.1970 for more information.


Local Police Explorer Posts offer program application only in the fall.  Interest meetings have been scheduled.  If you want to gain some real police experience and learn about careers in law enforcement, this may be for you.  Applicants must be between 14 (and completed 8th grade) and 20 years old, have a “C” grade average and no convictions of a felony or serious misdemeanor.  (Past criminal activity will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.)  Participants are expected to attend mandatory meetings, training, and community outreach events, participate in fund raising events, and be able to purchase necessary equipment and uniforms (effort is made to keep costs low).  Regular meetings are held twice a month.  Post 1742 meets at the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy, Post 2252 meets at West Potomac High School, and Post 505 meets at Annandale High School.  Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/getinvolved/explorers for more information and links to each post.


The Virginia Tech College of Science offers students ages 11 – 18  (ish) an opportunity to have fun with science when not at camp (virtually).   Topics include nanoscience and bucky balls, emotions and mindfulness, DNA science, volcanoes and GPS, kitchen chemistry, and more!  There is no charge for the Science Uncamp!  For more information and to register, visit www.science.vt.edu/uncamp.


The US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs provides more than 1,000 merit-based scholarships each year for U.S. high school students to study abroad for a summer or an academic year in more than 25 countries.  Three are accepting applications now:  Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (CBYX); Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad; National Security Language Initiative for Youth.  For more information, visit https://exchanges.state.gov/highschool/?utm_source=Email_Outreach&utm_medium=Email_April_29&utm_campaign=Outbound%20Outreach.


K12 provides tuition-free summer programs.  Visit online at https://www.k12.com/virtual-school-offerings/dca-summer-programs.html to discover a variety of options.


The U.S. Department of State sponsors a number of exchange programs. Discover what options exist and what is required. Then, check frequently to discover when a program you want opens. Go to http://exchanges.state.gov/us to discover everything you need to know.


Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by ensuring that young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education. This mission is achieved through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships, and college credits.  The one-year program includes:  six months professional training in IT, Financial Operations, Sales & Customer Support, Business Operations, or Software Development; six months corporate internship with a respected company, coursework eligible for college credit, weekly educational stipend throughout the program, and guidance/support from a staff advisor and professional mentor.  Ninety percent of Year Up graduates are employed and/or enrolled in postsecondary education within four months of completing the program.  To be eligible, applicants must be: 18-24 years old; high school graduates or GED recipients; of low to moderate income; a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or have an employment authorization card; available 5 days a week (Mon-Fri) for the full year of the program; be highly motivated to learn new technical and professional skills; and have not obtained a bachelor’s degree. To learn more about the application process, visit https://www.yearup.org/future-students/admission-process/. The steps to apply include:  attending an information session, completing an application, undergoing an academic review, attending an interview, and enrolling in college.  Applications are considered on a rolling basis until the class is filled.  Classes begin in September for the fall, and in February for the spring. If you are interested in applying, fill out an interest form online at https://www.yearup.org/seize-opportunity/


19 July – 1 August, Shenandoah University – The Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute is an intensive two-week program for rising Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.  Participants will be exposed to different faith traditions, service opportunities, and a mixture of rural wilderness and urban contexts at Shenandoah River Campus at Cool Spring and the Wesley Theological Seminary campus in Washington, DC.  Participants can earn three undergraduate credits upon successful completion of the program.  There is a $200 fee for this program.  Visit https://www.su.edu/campus-life/spiritual-life/institute-for-church-professions/youth-theology-institute/ for more information and to apply.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.