Early College

Resources for Middle Schools & Counselors

Who is an ideal Early College student?
  • Ready for rigorous, in-depth, and intensive coursework
  • Feeling disconnected from the traditional high school
  • Looking for a way to reach their full academic potential
  • Looking for a FREE way to access higher education
  • First in their family to attend college
  • Ready to be successful in life
How is the Early College beneficial for students?
Tuition, fees and textbooks are free to Early College students, as they are encouraged to complete the Associate of Arts – College Transfer degree or Associate of Science degree, which ensures students transfer with junior status into most major universities. Through the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement with the University of North Carolina system, SCC students can earn up to 62 semester hours of credit that will transfer to any of the 16 public universities in the state. A number of North Carolina’s Independent Colleges and Universities have also signed a similar agreement. Students interested in attending an out-of-state institution should contact that school’s Admissions office to ensure transferability.

As result of articulation agreements between the high school and college, many college classes also satisfy high school graduation requirements.  These agreements make it is possible for students to obtain both their high school diploma and an Associate Degree, diploma or technical certificate in five years.
Other Benefits of the Early College
Academic Support
Students take high school courses that resemble the structure and expectations of college courses to prepare them for a smooth transition into the college culture. Not only will their high school teachers be present to help students after the transition, but the college has support services in-place for tutoring, ADA accommodations, and supplemental academic experiences.

Small Class Size
It is an essential component to the Early College that the total number of enrolled students in grades 9 – 13 remains under 200, which allows for smaller high school class sizes and greater opportunities for one-on-one attention by faculty and staff. Southwestern Community College also provides small class sizes, compared to the university-style auditorium/lecture classes. Smaller class sizes offer students the opportunity to develop long-lasting, positive relationships with instructors and classmates. 

Initial Support and Emphasis
The Early College emphasizes the need to complete the state-required 28 credits for the high school diploma by accelerating the first two years of the students’ core high school classes (Math, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies). At the same time, students will enroll in preparatory college courses to enhance their reading and study skills for college success. In the following two- to three-years, students will be enrolled mostly in college courses, all of which work towards the completion of the Associate Degree, certificate or diploma and often transfer back as core classes or electives for the high school diploma.

Challenge & Rigor
Because the nature of a college course is expected to be more rigorous than a high school course, students should expect to be challenged in all areas: 
  • Homework may take more time to complete and may have rigid deadlines
  • Research papers and other writing assignments may be longer, more detailed, and of a higher caliber (in grammar, structure, and content) than in previous experiences
  • Reading assignments from textbooks and other publications may challenge the student with adult vocabulary, concepts, and analysis, and the student will be expected to demonstrate in class that s/he has read and understood the material.
When will the Early Colleges start recruiting for next year’s applicants?
Each Early College completes their recruitment activities on a different schedule, and each has different requirements. Please contact the individual Early College for more information:
Jackson County Early College
447 College Drive
Sylva, NC 28779
Main Line: 828.339.4499
Principal: Raylene Bryson
Macon Early College
77 Siler Farm Road
Franklin, NC 28734
Main Line: 828.306.7006
Principal: Todd Gibbs
Blue Ridge Early College
95 Bobcat Drive
Cashiers, NC 28717
Main Line: 828.743.2646
Principal: Jason Watson
828.743.2646, ext 1350