- “Early colleges,” developed by high school and college faculty working together, have increased the skillset of high school graduates looking to be successful in post-secondary degree programs.
- The programs target B- or C-level students early on in high school and give them the chance to earn college credit — and experience its rigor — while still getting the support of high school guidance counselors, University Business reports.
- The program models vary — some students take courses on actual campuses, others at campus outreach centers, some have to cover the cost of books, others do not — but they all offer tuition-free access to college content for high schoolers.
The early college model is especially useful for first-generation college students who come from low-income families. They weren’t raised with the kind of institutional knowledge that prepares their wealthier peers, many of whom have benefited from hearing the stories and lessons from their parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Studies show high school graduates who have early college experience perform better than their peers from similar backgrounds. The programs keep them from wasting their time and money with remedial coursework once they get to campus. And it saves colleges, too, because these students don’t need the level of support they otherwise would have.