River Valley Community College’s evolving Catch the Wave program empowers high school students to earn college credit

River Valley Community College’s evolving Catch the Wave program empowers high school students to earn college credit

October 20, 2016

River Valley Community College’s evolving Catch the Wave program empowers high school students to earn college credit

Reduced tuition program reinforces academics, responsibility, and follow-through

Claremont, New Hampshire – An evolving program at River Valley Community College (RVCC) allows New Hampshire high school students to experience the rigors of college life and academics before receiving their diplomas. Through Catch the Wave, an affordable dual enrollment opportunity available to students at 12 high schools across the region, students do the work – and make sure it counts – as part of the process.

Modeled after the successful Running Start approach to college preparation, Catch the Wave enables high school juniors, seniors, and older homeschooled students to earn college credit for certain courses at a reduced price. What sets Catch the Wave apart is that courses are taken onsite at one of RVCC’s three locations in Claremont, Keene, and Lebanon, and the classes may satisfy the student’s high school credit requirement for the subject as well; but it is the student’s responsibility to ensure his or her Catch the Wave course complies with the high school’s academic guidelines to receive credit.

“Classes offered through Catch the Wave ease the transition from high school to college and instill a feeling of confidence that students will be able to navigate a college environment because they’ve developed many of the skills they’ll need to succeed,” said Jerry Appell, the coordinator for both RVCC’s Catch the Wave and Running Start programs. “Students work with RVCC directly, without an intermediary from their schools, and that is by design to empower students to take the lead on their futures.”

The program, which RVCC launched in 2014, offers students hands-on insight into the college experience. Along with on-campus resources such as libraries and research tools, students may participate in student government and clubs, have access to all of the college’s facilities, and become a welcome part of RVCC’s diverse student body. Students receive feedback from their high school guidance counselors and can use it, along with the experience through Catch the Wave, to prepare for their future education and careers in an efficient and cost-effective way.

RVCC has also simplified the application process, and Appell visits high schools to inform students about the opportunities available through Catch the Wave. Along with tuition savings of about $355 per three-credit class, courses completed through the program mirror many four-year colleges’ general education requirements. Courses are taught by RVCC faculty, are typically transferrable to other institutions, and the credits earned do not expire.  

“This is one of the many ways the Community College System of New Hampshire serves the Granite State’s current and future workforce needs,” said Ali Rafieymehr, VP of academic affairs. “It is our responsibility to constantly look at new, creative and cost and time-effective ways to ensure students receive the best education to pursue their career goals at all stages of their academic journeys.”

To learn more about RVCC and its Catch the Wave program, contact Jerry Appell at jappell@ccsnh.edu, 603-542-7744 ext. 5349, or visit rivervalley.edu.  

About River Valley Community College

River Valley Community College is one of seven colleges in the Community College System of New Hampshire, offering 39 associate degree and certificate programs in Claremont, Keene, Lebanon, and Online. Financial Aid and Scholarships are available. The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embraces the "65 by 25 Initiative," which calls for 65% of NH citizens to have some form of post secondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands.