Frequent Questions

- Is it equal to my high school education?
World Class follows the same or greater scholastic guidelines used by most college preparatory high schools, yet our courses are enriched with unique experiences gained only through traveling the world. Students graduating from World Class have an advantage because their education is backed by real life experiences, greater independence and immersion in diverse cultures.

- How good at kayaking do I have to be?
Students do not have to be world-class paddlers when they enter the program, that will happen after they get here. WCKA accepts kayakers who have a solid roll, a good spirit, and a desire to paddle amazing whitewater around the world. The school focuses on recruiting students who demonstrate the most potential to learn, not necessarily the most accomplished.

Basic skills for acceptance to World Class include:
– Solid Roll (both sides)
– Strong Current Ferry
– Eddy Turn
– Controlled Front Surf
– Controlled Side Surf

WCKA highly recommends that all students maintain a current Swiftwater Rescue Technician or Whitewater Rescue Technician certification either through an accredited program (ACA or Rescue 3) or through World Class’s preseason training. This training is required for enrolled students who wish to paddle Class IV and higher whitewater. 

- Is WCKA for everybody?
World Class maintains a thorough application process to ensure a cohesive group atmosphere and positive peer interaction. Students need to be adequately prepared for the challenges of living away from family, having limited communication, and being responsible for their daily lives.  World Class is not a program for students with behavioral issues.

- How long does the normal student attend?
Students attend World Class for a minimum of 1 semester or a maximum of 3 years. The average attendance at the academy is 1 year, with many students attending for a single semester or several weeks at a time during Summer Sessions.

- How much does it cost?

Semesters at WCKA cost $17,500 and our annual tuition rate is $33,500. Scholarships are available for all programs and more information can be found on our Financial Aid page. If you would like to receive information on the current year's scholarship application process, please contact us.

- Financial Aid, scholarship, acceptance?

WCKA offers a variety of scholarships and aid to families with financial need and a clear dedication to WCKA's mission.  A family may apply for scholarship at the same time they apply for acceptance to World Class.  All scholarship awards are funded through partnerships with industry sponsors, fundraisers, and private donors who provide assistance for WCKA students. For more information view our Financial Aid page, or contact us personally to discuss what level of support may be available.

- Do you offer AP classes?
The value of AP coursework is well recognized for academically motivated students and our faculty work to facilitate students on this track in two ways. The first option, typically chosen by students who attend for a single semester, is for WCKA faculty to facilitate AP curriculum from the student's school of origin. The second is for a student to study the AP course of his or her choice as an independent study (whereby the student is paired with a mentor faculty member in the given subject area). Both options allow students at WCKA to pursue their desired AP classes, while providing a smooth transition back to their school of origin or on to the college level. The WCKA traveling schedule also accommodates AP testing in early May. For specific questions about coursework, AP classes, counseling or to speak with the parent of a student who has successfully pursued AP coursework at WCKA in the past, please contact us.

- How do I enroll?
Following acceptance to Summer Sessions (Apply Now) or the academy (contact us) a family may secure enrollment by submitting a deposit and returning signed copies of WCKA's required paperwork.  For Summer Sessions this includes a waiver and medical form, whereas for longer programs such as the academy semesters an acceptance of our zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy is required.

- What are Mentor Groups?

Teachers work with a small group of students to mentor their progress at WCKA. Students learn life skills by working directly with their mentors to share in the duties of running the program. Once a week, mentor groups are responsible for planning the day's logistics, preparing meals, and keeping the school on schedule.

- Is the WCKA program safe?

There are inherent risks in running whitewater of any grade and World Class works hard to assure its students have the training and experience to safely explore our world’s waterways. WCKA maintains a strict 4:1 student to instructor ratio to ensure every outing on the water is a safe journey. We also facilitate Swiftwater Rescue training and require adherence to safety protocol for all students, so they will have the skills necessary to be confident and safe while at World Class and in their future pursuits.  World Class also promotes an atmosphere where students are encouraged to assess and paddle whitewater they are comfortable with paddling, walking a rapid is always an encouraged option.

- What is the experience of the Faculty?

World Class has the highest reputation for hiring and retaining quality faculty members who adhere to the core values of our program. Our teachers are trained as educators, coaches and mentors.  They cultivate a supportive team atmosphere to perform their jobs with integrity, while each are required to be certified in Wilderness First Response and Swiftwater Rescue upon hire.

- Where and how hard is the water?
Depending on the program destination, we visit a variety of rivers that offer a mix between river running and playboating. Students should come to World Class prepared for Class III whitewater and only when they are ready will they have the chance to run more challenging rivers or rapids.

- How do I communicate with my child?
Parents can expect to communicate with their children via email or phone when available at least once a week during the term. Sundays are typically reserved as “Family Day” to accommodate communication.

- How do I apply to work for World Class?
World Class Kayak Academy is always looking for qualified teachers with a passion for kayaking and a desire to enrich the lives of WCKA students. If this describes you, then please review our faculty page and contact us.

- Why do WCKA students have an advantage on college applications?
World Class offers a unique educational environment that combines foreign immersion, academic and athletic challenge, and lifelong lessons. Our graduates are better prepared for the rigors of college life because we have given them the skills and confidence to succeed on their own. These experiences and skills set World Class students apart from other college applicants and help our students attend the colleges and universities of their choice.

World Class Kayak Academy Collegiate Attendance

Colorado State University
Univ. of Hawaii
Dartmouth 2  Univ. of Montana 4
Evergreen State College 1 UNC Ashville 1
Fort Lewis Clark College 1 Univ. of Oregon 4
Lewis & Clark College Univ. of Puget Sound 1
Marist College 1 Univ. of Vermont
Metro State University 2 Vancouver Film School 1
Montana State University 2 Warren Wilson College 2
UC Santa Cruz 1 West Virginia Wesleyan 1
Univ. of Alaska Anchorage 1 Willamette University

- Are Donations Tax Deductable?

World Class is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whereby all donations are tax deductible and go directly to helping the program offer an amazing educational opportunity to a wider range of students. Donors have their option of ways to contribute and can choose to support a particular student, to enrich a cultural experience, or to support one of World Class' philanthropic activities. For more information on how you can give to the program please visit the Donate section of our website.
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