• Academy for Health and Medical Sciences


    FAQ’s for Parents and Students

    Will the Academy for Health and Medical Sciences program be a good fit for my son or daughter?

    This program, for students in grades 9-12, is a partnership between Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School and Raritan Valley Community College. Students from Somerset and Hunterdon counties will experience a rigorous and comprehensive program committed to ensuring high standards and challenging opportunities through the integration of college level academics and enrichment activities.

    All students must satisfy selective admissions criteria for acceptance into the Academy program. This program requires maturity, good time management skills, and excellent study skills.

    What are the benefits of this early college program?

    The Somerset County Academy for Health and Medical Sciences (AHMS) provides students with the opportunity to earn an Associate’s Degree in General Science. In addition, this program is an excellent preparation for admission to four year college programs building self confidence in a small learning community. 

    Are high school students too young to do college level work?

    Over the last decade, opportunities have expanded for high school students to earn college credit. Students in dual enrollment programs remain formally enrolled in high school but take college courses, taught by either high school or college faculty, in classrooms located either at their high school or on a college campus. More and more community colleges are developing ways to accelerate high school students by enrolling them in college courses. Students from a wide range of backgrounds and with diverse prior accomplishments are demonstrating that the academic challenge provided by college-level courses can be an inspiration, not a barrier. (Early College High School Initiative)

    How does the Academy program work?

    Students earn college credit during the course of the regular high school day. Credit and grades earned through this collaborative program will appear on an official transcript from Raritan Valley Community College. 

    During the freshman and sophomore years, students take dual enrollment courses at the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School. During the junior and senior years, students take dual enrollment courses both at the high school and Raritan Valley Community College. The 4 year program of study is posted on the Academy website.

    Will competitive colleges and universities across the country accept in transfer RVCC college credits earned as part of the Academy for Health and Medical Sciences?

    In general, RVCC credits earned in the transfer designed AA and AS degree programs transfer very well to highly competitive colleges and universities. Decisions about transfer credit acceptance are the prerogative of the receiving college. Thus, it is always best to research the transfer credit policies of the colleges and universities of interest. Most colleges display these policies on the prospective student portion of their website and many also have a transfer student office or designated representatives on the admissions staff. Parents and students should be aware that some colleges restrict the transfer of dual enrollment credits, that is, college credits earned while enrolled in high school.

    Should I be concerned if a college of interest places restrictions on the transfer of dual enrollment credits?

    It is important to keep in mind that this Academy and other career academies established across the country provide extraordinary opportunities for bright and motivated students to accelerate their education. The vast majority of colleges do accept in transfer dual enrollment credits earned at community colleges. Even if Academy students were to be denied certain transfer credits, the rigorous and accelerated program provided by the Academy should enhance their chances of success in the challenging science and medical programs they pursue.

    How many credits will be transferable to New Jersey’s 4-year state colleges and universities?

    On September 13, 2007, then Governor Corzine signed into law legislation P.L. 2007, Chapter 175 establishing a statewide transfer agreement that provides for the seamless transfer of academic credits from a completed associate of arts or associate of science degree program to a baccalaureate degree program. The law guarantees that the transfer-designed associate degrees (AA and AS) earned at any of the state’s 19 community colleges “shall be fully transferable and credited as the first two years of a baccalaureate degree program at the four-year public institution of higher education in the State to which a student is admitted.”

    While the law does not cover the private colleges and universities in New Jersey, many of those institutions have established transfer policies that provide for the transfer with full junior standing for AA and AS degree holders from NJ community colleges. The law does not provide any guarantees of admission and students must select an appropriate associate degree for their particular major. Students must also fulfill any prerequisite courses required for admission.

    How are standards of satisfactory progress defined for an Academy student in “good standing?”

    Academy courses are offered in a predetermined 4 year curriculum sequence based upon NJDOE requirements for a high school diploma in conjunction with RVCC requirements for an AS degree in General Science. Since this is a rigorous and accelerated program, students must meet certain criteria for continued enrollment in the Academy. In order to progress through the program, a 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA is required. In addition, a grade of D, F, or W in any course will make a student ineligible to continue in the program. An identified appeals process is in place for junior and senior students who does not meet the above referenced standards. For more information on the criteria for continued enrollment in the Academy click here.

    Will the transcripts and diploma be issued under the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School logo or will the Academy have a separate identity?

    The Academy for Health and Medical Sciences follows a “school within a school” model. Although the high school diploma and transcripts are issued by Somerset County Vocational-Technical Schools, the Academy has a separate CEEB code and School Profile.

    How does the Academy program compare with College Board Advanced Placement (AP) courses?

    AP credit is awarded based on a student’s performance on an exam given at the end of the course. RVCC credit will be granted to Academy students as a grade on a transcript reflecting performance throughout an entire college course. Academy students can earn an Associate’s degree while still in high school, not just a few college credits. In addition, the AHMS experience blends the curriculum with high school work and college level work melded into a single academic program that meets requirements for both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree. 

    Are there other magnet high schools that can be compared to the Academy in terms of curriculum content?

    The Academy for Health and Medical Sciences is a unique program unlike any other in the state. The students are enrolled in a program of studies in which the college curriculum intensifies as each year progresses. Students who successfully complete the program will earn 62-64 college credits along with an Associate’s Degree in General Science by the end of their senior year in high school.

    What is included in the World Languages curriculum?

    Honors Spanish, a four year sequence, is the world language taught within the Academy curriculum. 

    What can be done to accommodate the varying levels of math abilities so that instruction is sufficiently challenging for gifted students?

    The math curriculum is based on the graduation requirements for a high school diploma as determined by the New Jersey Department of Education and the requirements for an Associate’s Degree as determined by the RVCC Board of Trustees. Extracurricular math programs, competitions, “Math League” and other independent study programs will be offered to students seeking advanced studies.

    During the junior and senior years, there will be opportunities for qualified students, who are invited by their professor, to take supplemental “Honors” courses. (Note: Students will need approval from the Academy prior to registration, and they will be responsible for applicable course fees.)

    Is tutoring available for students who want or need extra assistance?

    Yes. These arrangements are coordinated through the guidance counselor and academic supervisors. Assistance is available at the high school campus as well as the college campus.

    What clubs are offered to Academy students?

    Math League, Environthon, Bio League, National Honor Society, Humanitarian Club, Red Cross Club, Rotary Club, and SkillsUSA (a student leadership organization) are some of the clubs offered to Academy students. In addition, students can participate in any extracurricular activity or sport offered in our district or in the home district.   

    Eligible students (during 11th or 12th grade) may also participate in Phi Theta Kappa, RVCC’s Academic Honor Society and the National Honor Society at our high school.

    Are there opportunities to develop public speaking and presentation skills?

    All students are given the opportunity to engage in public speaking activities when giving in-class presentations. In addition, the Academy students are encouraged to participate in various “Skills USA” competitions such as Prepared Speech, Extemporaneous Speaking, and various events that involve presentations and demonstrations.

    How does my child get to the Academy?

    Transportation is provided by the sending district and arranged in conjunction with our Pupil Services office.

    What are the costs to the parent?

    The parent portion of tuition for the class of 2021 is $88 per college credit.

    Students and their parents are responsible for purchasing all textbooks and supplemental materials for RVCC courses during the freshman, junior and senior years.

    *Tuition costs for subsequent incoming classes will be updated annually.

    How are parent-teacher meetings scheduled?

    The Academy Faculty is available by appointment; parent initiated conferences are arranged via the guidance department.

    Is there an opportunity for parental involvement in the Academy?

    Currently there is a parent committee for our high school that invites all parents to participate in activities aimed at generating resources for student programs that are not normally funded by the Board of Education.