Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if an ACA is right for me?
Over the last few years, we have learned that the success of a student in the ACA depends on two major factors. First, how dedicated are you, the student, to work hard and commit yourself to your studies? Second, how supportive is your family of your school requirements? Students and families who are motivated to do the following things make the best ACA candidates.
Successful ACA Students…
- Choose to take challenging courses and programs in their school. These students will have completed Algebra I, at least one year of world language, and, if possible, other high school-level courses before entering ninth grade.
- Regularly study at night and on the weekends and are prepared to take two college classes in the summer between their sophomore and junior year of high school.
- Demonstrate the maturity to take responsibility for their own education and have a proven track record of motivating themselves to keep up with school work, especially when coursework and projects provide them an extra challenge.
- Are involved at their school through clubs, service opportunities, athletics, music and art programs, or other similar activities.
Families of Successful Students…
- Provide the support necessary to encourage the student with their academic responsibilities.
- Provide access to a computer and internet service for the student outside classroom hours.
- Plan around their student’s need to enroll in college courses at Reynolds during a five-week summer session before the student’s junior year of high school.
What are the benefits of completing an ACA program?
High school students participating in college credit courses often have social, emotional, career, and academic advantages over their peers who do not participate in such programs. Reynolds Community College offers the ACA program to allow students to increase the academic rigor of their high school experience. The desire for rigor should be the ultimate goal of participating in an Advance College Academy.
Students participating in one of the ACA programs attend a designated high school in their school division and participate in the program as a member of a cohort all four years of high school. The cohort model allows the student to develop strong peer relationships the student can utilize as a support system throughout the program. Students also receive career coaching services from Reynolds beginning in the ninth grade year.
How do I apply?
Consult your school division about its specific application process and deadlines. Decisions about acceptance into an ACA are made by the school division, not Reynolds.
Who teaches in the program?
High school faculty members who teach in an ACA must either possess or earn a Master’s Degree in the teaching field or a Master’s Degree in another field with at least eighteen graduate credits in the teaching field. These faculty members, once credentialed by Reynolds Community College, go through a rigorous and ongoing process of training, mentoring, and regular site visits conducted by full-time Reynolds faculty liaisons in their teaching field.
How likely is our curriculum to change?
The curriculum for the program has been carefully crafted by constituents representing Reynolds Community College and the local school division with the aim of ensuring the student meets all of the requirements of the Virginia Advanced High School diploma and the Associate degree program at Reynolds. While Reynolds does not anticipate any changes to these curricula, each student's final curricular path at the college is ultimately determined by the college catalog of the academic year when the student begins. In addition, there could be curricular changes at the school or school system level at the discretion of the student’s local school division.
Will I be considered a freshman or a junior when I apply to a four-year college or university?
While each institution is different, most ACA graduates will be considered first-year students with transfer credit when they apply to four-year institutions.
Will I be able to transfer some credits to an out of state college or university if I decide not to attend college in Virginia?
Each individual college or university will make decisions regarding transfer credits. Students should also realize that a college or university may accept courses for transfer but may not count those courses towards the program or major selected by the student because certain courses in the Associate degree program may not be required for the major the student plans to pursue. Transfer of credits should not be the student’s primary motivation for participating in an Advance College Academy program. (See also, the “Transferability of Courses” section earlier in this brochure.)
Will we be able to contact the teachers for help if we need it?
The vast majority of the classes in the Associate degree program are taught by high school faculty who have been trained and credentialed by Reynolds. These high school faculty members, whether they are teaching advanced high school courses in the ninth and tenth grade or college-level courses in the eleventh and twelfth grade, will make themselves available to students on a daily basis.
Will the Reynolds Community College courses be offered before school, after school or in the summer?
Though there are a few exceptions (SDV 100 and HLT 115 and some electives), all of the Reynolds courses will be taught during the regular school day, during the regular academic year at the student’s high school.
What about transportation to the campus of Reynolds Community College?
During the fall and spring semesters of the junior and senior years, the majority the courses students will be offered at the student’s high school. The courses will be taught by high school teachers who have been trained and credentialed by Reynolds. Depending on their curriculum, students may need to take one Reynolds elective to complete the program. If a student wishes to choose an elective that is offered on the Reynolds campus instead of one offered online or on the high school campus, that student will need to make individual transportation arrangements.
Will SDV 100 and HLT 115 be offered online or will students have to come to campus?
ACA students must successfully manage the transition from taking advanced high school courses during their 9th and 10th grade years to taking the college level courses required for this program during their 11th and 12th grade years of high school. In essence, ACA students will simultaneously be high school juniors and first-year college students, and later, high school seniors and college sophomores. These dual roles will require quite a few new skills. The summer learning community is designed to help students develop those skills and will be taught in a hybrid format which requires face to face instruction as well as some online content.
Will transportation be provided during the summer?
Students and their families are responsible for transportation during the summers.
During the summer, how long will the classes usually be?
The summer classes, SDV 100 and HLT 115 will be taught during the second 5-week session of the summer before the junior year (traditionally late June to late July), two days a week for three hours a day. The college determines the schedule for the summer semester annually. Once those dates are announced, students and their families will be notified.