There are more than 230 early college high schools across 28 states. If you’re lucky enough to live in a county with an early college high school, you’ve probably been given the lecture on the many benefits you can receive if you choose to attend one. If you’re unfamiliar with early college high schools, they are a program in which you achieve your high school diploma and associate's degree at the same time, for free. Most early college programs are five year programs that you begin either as a freshman or sophomore of high school. You must apply and interview to be accepted, but then the challenge begins, and you are faced with the task of completing a rigorous program in five years time that would take the average person 6 or more years to complete.
The day that the counselor of one of the early college high schools entered my eighth grade classroom and spoke with us about this exciting opportunity I was intrigued. I went home, spoke with my mom about it, and then filled out the application and turned it in. I was called in for an interview a few months later, and then a few months after that I was sent an acceptance letter. This was a very tough decision for me, either I venture into this amazing opportunity all alone or go to the same high school as all of the friends I’ve spent the last nine grades with. In the end, I chose to take on this scary opportunity. While I’m sure I missed out on some of the “normal” high school experiences, I’m not complaining. My early college high school felt like a large family. With small class sizes and truly caring teachers. I excelled far beyond I ever thought I would.
Though this was a five year program, I was able to finish in four years through a lot of hard work and support from my friends and family. Two free years of college was over with. I was able to achieve my high school diploma and associate’s in science in four years with free classes, free textbooks and so many college student perks! If the two free years of college isn’t enough of a reason to choose an early college high school think about all of the other perks. Small class sizes, caring teachers, students who actually want to get an education, introduction to the college atmosphere and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride are all things I can guarantee you will get at an early college high school. After being incorporated to the college atmosphere you will be much more prepared to continue on to a four-year university, and you won’t have to spend as much time at the university! This ensures you have a much more fast-tracked path into your goals.Still on the fence about applying to an early college high school? I suggest doing much more research into the program and their many benefits they can give you. I highly recommend applying and taking it from there.