What is Early College at FCC?
Graduates of Early College at FCC will earn an associate degree and high school diploma simultaneously by attending FCC full-time during their junior and senior years. The program was created to increase participation and completion of students from populations historically underrepresented in higher education, and is open to all FCPS high school students.
Why should I sign up for Early College? What are the benefits?
Early College at FCC offers students:
- Structured guidance to complete an associate degree with a cohort of students
- Savings on time and money while completing postsecondary education goals
- Rigorous coursework in a college campus setting for the last two years of high school
- An associate degree from FCC and a high school diploma from FCPS in just four years
- Flexibility to major in most programs offered by FCC
What does a student’s day look like at Early College?
The day of an Early College student will be very similar to the day of a traditional full-time undergraduate student.
Early College students follow the FCC academic calendar and most classes occur between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., with evening, online, and weekend courses available. Some programs may require coursework during the summer term or January session, at clinical or internship sites, or at the Monroe Center. Early College student schedules will be developed with the student by the Early College Coordinator.
Early College students will spend approximately 15 hours in class over the course of a week and should expect to spend approximately 30 additional hours completing out-of-class work per week. Student schedules may have open blocks of time during the day to complete this work.
All students will have access to FCC facilities including the Learning Commons, STEM Learning Center, and Cougar Grille before and after classes. During their first semester, most Early College students will be enrolled in a cohort section of English 101, designed around a theme of college success.
How do I qualify for Early College at FCC?
To qualify for entry into Early College, by the end of grade 10, students must:
- Be currently enrolled as a FCPS student*
- Have completed a minimum of 16 high school graduation credits.
- Complete State Assessment Requirements for High School Graduation (passing scores for MCAP, MISA, HSA, etc.)
- Meet College and Career Readiness standards for Dual Enrollment. Assessment scores (SAT, ACT, ACCUPLACER, MCAP, and more) determine college and career readiness. Scores required to enroll in college level, credit-bearing courses are below.
: two credits each of high school English, math, science, and social studies, including English 10, Algebra 1, Biology, and Government
: Math through Algebra 2; a third high school lab science credit (usually either Chemistry or Environmental Science); completion of fine arts, physical education, health, technology education, financial literacy, and “Completer” (e.g. two years of the same World Language) credits
- Have a minimum 2.0 cumulative unweighted GPA (3.0 or higher preferred)
- Complete an Early College Application Packet and interview process
* Please email the Dual Enrollment Office for questions about other Dual Enrollment opportunities for students not in FCPS.
Are Dual Enrollment final course grades weighted on my high school transcript?
Yes, grades earned in Dual Enrollment courses (including High School Based, Open Campus, and Early College) count as weighted grades in your high school GPA, but only for courses for which you elect to receive dual credit.
What is the application and admissions process?
Early College admission applications will be due by April 1, 2021 of a for current FCPS sophomores. Students who apply and meet the program qualifications may be scheduled for an interview by Early College staff as part of the application process. Enrollment for Fall 2021 (graduation class of 2023) is limited to 25 students county-wide due to Early College staff limitations. All students who meet the above qualifications are welcome to apply.
Applicants are encouraged to review the Early College Interview Prep Tool in the Application Packet to prepare for their face-to-face interview with the Early College staff. Prior to the interview, applicants will have an opportunity to see the questions and take notes to prepare.
What are the costs? Is financial aid available?
Below are the estimated tuition and fees for an Early College student for one semester.
*Students should expect to enroll in a minimum of 15 credits per semester
- Tuition is 75% of $129 a credit hour, students pay 90% of that 75%
- Tuition is waived for students who are eligible for Free and Reduced Meals
- All students must pay fees
- Books and other materials have an estimated cost of $600 per semester
Early College students are not eligible for financial aid programs accessible only to high school graduates, including: PELL Grants, Maryland Promise Scholarship, and Federal Student Aid, including loans. However, FCC offers a number of tuition and fees payment plans. Students can use Maryland 529 plans to pay for Early College at FCC. Scholarships may be available to cover some of the costs.
Early College students typically save more than $2,000 on their associate degree at FCC.
Estimate Tuition and Fees Per Semester:
|FCC after high school graduation
|University of Maryland College Park
What are the academic and conduct expectations of me as a student?
Prior to the start of the program, Early College students will participate in a mandatory transition course (one college credit) during the summer at FCC.
Early College students are responsible for their own attendance and there is no required check-in on campus; however, college faculty will share attendance requirements for individual courses.
Students will need to access FCC course websites and will benefit from having a computer and internet access at home. Students without access to a computer or internet at home may utilize FCC open computer labs or the Learning Commons during regular operating hours.
Students in Early College will be held to the same conduct standards as FCC students and FCPS students. Students in violation of these standards may be subject to discipline at either or both institutions.
Will parents/guardians be informed of a student's enrollment in a college course?
Per the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), all communication from the college will be addressed to the student.
It is the responsibility of students to share all information with their parents/guardians. Parents/guardians are encouraged to be actively involved in the registration process with their child each semester and speak with their child about course progress.
What if I am unsuccessful or want to withdraw?
Early College academic progress standards are designed to protect students from delayed high school graduation.
Students who do not demonstrate appropriate academic progress will be dismissed from Early College and will return to their home high school. These students will continue to be eligible to take Open Campus and High School Based Dual Enrollment courses and may apply to become traditional FCC students following high school graduation. Students may also elect to withdraw from the program, in consultation with the Early College coordinator.
Will transportation be provided?
Transportation will not be provided. Students and families should consider how they will provide consistent transportation for Early College.
If transportation is a significant barrier for participation in Early College, applicants should contact the FCC Dual Enrollment office for assistance.
Note: The FCC main campus is on the city bus route and located near the FCPS Career and Technology Center (CTC).
Can I participate in extracurricular activities at my home high school and at FCC?
Students are dually enrolled at both their home FCPS high school and at FCC. As such, students can access clubs and extracurricular programs at either institution (with the exception of FCC athletic teams).
However, individual college schedules may not accommodate FCPS extracurricular events as readily as the home high school would. Students need to consider the level of involvement with any extracurricular program and their ability to balance activities with Early College academic demands.
Does FCC provide accommodations for FCPS students with an IEP or 504 plan?
Dually enrolled students seeking disability accommodations for FCC courses must request services through the FCC Disability Access Services (DAS) Office. Accommodations at FCC may not be the same as those provided by FCPS.
Reasonable accommodations for post-secondary classes are offered to eligible students based on a formal initiation of services request and submission of appropriate disability documentation. Students are required to meet with a disabilities specialist for an intake appointment. This appointment may be scheduled by calling 301.846.2408 or emailing Disability Access Services (DAD
. More information about disability services is available at Disability Access Services (DAS) Office