How do I know if the ECA is right for me?

Over the last few years, we have learned that the success of a student in one of our dual enrollment academy programs such as the ACA or ECA 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 ECA candidates.

Successful ECA Students…

  • Choose to take challenging courses and programs in their middle school and early high school years.
  • Regularly study at night and on the weekends and are prepared to start Reynolds coursework in mid-August, two-and-a-half weeks before the beginning of their 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 back at their zoned high school in the afternoon 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 by mid-August of the summer before junior year of high school at Reynolds.
  • Attend and participate in all parents' workshops, orientations, and student ceremonies, including the Reynolds ECA Convocation in spring of junior year and Reynolds Commencement in spring of senior year.

What academic record do I need to achieve each semester to continue in the ECA program?

Reynolds College Policy (2-9) requires that all academy students maintain a cumulative, unweighted Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.5 on their Reynolds transcript after each semester in the program to demonstrate satisfactory academic performance (SAP). Students must also pass all the courses in the program in order to graduate with the Associate Degree. Exceptions to the GPA requirement may be considered on a case by case basis and shall require the completion of an agreement setting academic expectations of the subsequent academic term signed by the student, approved by the Director of Dual Enrollment and the appropriate Reynolds Academy Career Coach, and lodged with the appropriate representative(s) of the secondary school division partner. Failure to meet the expectations outlined in the agreement shall result in removal from the ECA.

What are the benefits of completing an ECA 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 ECA 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 Early College Academy. Students participating in the ECA attend college classes in the morning on the Reynolds Downtown Campus and the return to their zoned high school for afternoon classes and after-school activities (such as athletics, clubs, etc.). Students are expected to make the full two-year commitment to the program as a member of a cohort for their junior and senior 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 with their acceptance into the program in 10th grade..

How do I apply?

Consult your school division about its specific application process and deadlines. Decisions about acceptance into an ECA are made by the school division, not Reynolds.

Who teaches in the program?

Reynolds Community College faculty members who teach in the ECA 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 are credentialed by Reynolds Community College and go through a rigorous and ongoing process of training, mentoring, and regular site visits from ECA and academic leadership. They function as a tightly knit community of educators, integrating assignments across their disciplines for each of the four main semesters of the curriculum.

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 the curriculum, 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 ECA 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 Early College Academy program. (See also, Colleges and Universities.)

Will we be able to contact the teachers for help if we need it?

The ECA college faculty members will make themselves available to students on a daily basis, and they are reachable by email.

Will the Reynolds Community College courses be offered before school, after school or in the summer?

Classes at the Reynolds ECA run from 8:30-11:20 am Monday through Friday. Because the ECA takes place on the college campus, it follows Reynolds' academic calendar with a few exceptions: for example, it starts the Thursday before the first day of classes at Reynolds and it observes the RPS Spring Break instead of the Reynolds Spring Break (when classes are indeed held).

What about transportation to the campus of Reynolds Community College?

Beginning with the first day of classes in August, Richmond Public Schools will provide transportation to the students' zoned high school each morning, then to and from the Reynolds Downtown campus, then home at the end of the high school day.