Early college gives high schoolers a head start
“You don’t have classes every day in college, and you’re expected to be much more independent,” says Anish Khanorkar, a high school sophomore enrolled in the Early College Program at Seminole State College of Florida (SSCF). “Early College has really helped me to prepare for what colleges would expect me to do.”Contrast this with what Eastern Kentucky University is doing with its Middle College, as reported at Kentucky.com. EKU is one of the few universities taking on this function.
Khanorkar, 15, is one of more than 400 Seminole County high school students taking college classes at SSCF through the program. Early college, also called dual enrollment, is an acceleration program that allows high school students to simultaneously earn credit toward high school completion and toward a two- or four-year degree or a career certificate.
EKU and Madison County create a new Kentucky middle college
The Middle College at Eastern Kentucky University was unveiled Thursday at EKU. It's not for high school students who are doing advanced work, heading the student government and filling out college applications in their spare time.
Rather, the Middle College is for those who its founders say are being allowed to slip through the cracks of the current education system — those who risk never making it to college.
Madison County Schools Superintendent Tommy Floyd said that the Middle College students — starting with 60 juniors in the 2011-12 school year and growing to 60 juniors and 60 seniors in subsequent years — should be better able to improve their education and provide for their families.
"If we're real serious about economic prosperity," Floyd said, "what are we doing different from what we've done in the last 100 years?"
He said the new program would serve as both a nudge and a mentoring experience for average high-school students to become successful college students.
The Middle College will be on EKU's campus and will allow students to earn high school diplomas while taking college courses. It seeks students who are underperforming and members of populations that are underrepresented in college. Admission will be based on an application, screening interview, grade-point average, ACT score and a counselor's recommendation.
Middle College students will not return to their home schools, but will receive a diploma from one of the two Madison County high schools when they complete 12th grade. Free college tuition is available for up to 18 hours of college credit.