Early College is a carefully planned high school designed for first-generation college students, English Language Learners, students from poverty, students ready for the academic rigor of college-level courses, and students who may need more support to get on a college-bound track. Through carefully designed scaffolded programming and academic support, graduates of an Early College High School may earn between 15-30 college credits and are prepared for their first year of college.
According to Vincennes University, one of Indiana’s Early College partnering colleges:
- Roughly 3/4 of students attending early college high schools are students of color
- Nearly 60 percent report eligibility for free or reduced-priced lunch
- Most students attending early college high schools will be the first in their families to go to college.
“For every 100 low-income students who start high school nationally, only 65 will receive a high school diploma, according to statistics provided by the early college high school initiative. Of those 65 students, only 45 will enroll in college and only 11 will complete a degree.” – Kokomo Tribune, August 2012
There are three Early College models:
- School within a school
- Program within a school
- Full High School, often on a college campus
In order to prepare the kids for the rigor of college-level classes, each year of an Early College High School has a different focus. Students develop close relationships with their peers, counselors, and teachers while acquiring skills to be responsible students.
“Early College removes many of the barriers that prevent students from advancing to college. Students receive enhanced supports to help them excel both academically and personally.” ~ From the University of Indianapolis’s CELL Early College website.
Three characteristics run through every Early College I explored via web in multiple states, including Connecticut, North Carolina, Ohio, and Indiana (28 states + D.C. total):
Rigor, Relationships, & Responsibility