Students who are eligible for DECATS meet the following criteria.
- Student will complete the third, fourth, fifth or sixth grade by June.
- Student must have scored in the 95th percentile or higher on a standardized achievement test, creativity test or reasoning test.
On December 1, DECATS invites Catholic school principals in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to nominate students who meet the eligibility criteria. Principals, or an assistant of their designation, compile the necessary information and submit it to DECATS.
Nominees, having been certified by their principals of their achievement test score, are then eligible to make formal application to the program. Scholars complete an online application. Applications are processed on a first come, first served basis. Families can use the myStatus system to track what has and has not been received by DECATS. Applications are typically due in February.
Applicants are notified of their admission status usually during February. In the acceptance letter, Scholars are invited to register online. After registration, Scholars review the courses that will be offered at the upcoming session and rank them in order of preference. Registrations and course selections are typically due in February.
Those Scholars from last year's DECATS session who meet the age eligibility requirement of the program are automatically extended an invitation to return to the upcoming session; returning Scholars do not need to be nominated by their school.