The Prep Academy

  • Prep Academy applications are now closed for the 2024-25 school year — current 8th grade students who applied will be notified as soon as applications are reviewed.

    The Prep Academy is a partnership between District #61 and Richland Community College, offering selected DPS students the opportunity to earn their high school diploma AND an Associate's Degree from Richland upon completion of the four-year program during high school, all for free.

    • There is no charge to participate, but space is limited! 
    • Interested students must complete and submit an application, along with all required documents (a letter of recommendation and a five paragraph essay) by the application deadline.
    • To learn more about the program, click here to view the Prep Academy Brochure. 
    • For more information, students or parents can contact or


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  • Prep Academy LogoDo you have questions about the Prep Academy? We have answers! Click here to read Frequently Asked Questions to see if your question is answered. If you have additional questions, just email

    The Prep Academy participants begin their Freshman year on their high school campus. The first year includes various college-ready topics to aid with preparation for college-level coursework goals. Prep Academy Sophomore students continue on their high school campus and will earn 12 college credit hours. Third year Prep Academy students may transition to RCC’s campus five mornings per week and have the opportunity to earn 24 credit hours. During their third year experience, students continue working on the general education core curriculum and begin exploring college course electives. The Prep Academy concludes with seniors earning the remaining 24 credit hours, fulfilling the requirements of their high school diploma and Associate's Degree.