Richland Colleges Collegiate High School students excel in college classes despite the academic demand

The transition from high school to college can be difficult for some and many college students struggle to make it through their first years. But imagine attending high school and college at the same time. The students enrolled in Richland College’s Collegiate High School of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering are doing just that. And, not only are they managing in the classroom, but they’re excelling.

RCHS, now in its second semester, is a unique program that allows area teens to enter Richland College their junior year to obtain an associate’s degree while earning their high school diploma. All students undergo the same rigorous curriculum as their college-age counterparts and even attend classes with them. Classes range from chemistry to English to psychology.

In spite of the academic demand, many of the 160 RCHS students are succeeding. Twelve of them earned a 4.0 last semester, while taking at least 17 hours. Since January, 19 students were inducted into the elite community college honor society, Phi Theta Kappa.

Shane Burlbaw, a 16-year-old transfer from Sachse High School, was one of the RCHS students recently inducted into PTK. He also holds a 4.0 GPA.

“I feel like it’s a great honor, especially for someone that’s my age.” says Burlbaw of his achievement.

Burlbaw wants to transfer to Texas A&M to major in engineering. He chose Richland because he was not very interested in the high school “scene.” He feels that Richland is more intellectually engaging and the college setting allows him to be more authentic, without peer pressure.

RCHS students have plenty of support in place to help them succeed. Some of their resources include on-staff math and science tutors, Richland College’s Tutoring and Learning Connections (TLC) Center, as well as the library. Each student is even equipped with their own laptop computer for their time as an RCHS student. Additionally, each student is required to attend College Success Labs daily, which gives them a structured environment.

For more details about RCHS and its students, visit, or call assistant principal Rick Garcia at 972-761-6888.

RCHS is currently taking applications for fall 2007. Information about the application process can be found at