Middle Colleges are high schools located on college campuses. The college campus makes this model unique because students reap the benefits of college courses, science labs, and libraries, while completing the requirements for the SC high school diploma. This Public School Choice program features small class sizes and is traditionally offered to tenth through twelfth grade students. Middle Colleges are designed for students who are interested in:
- a non-traditional, innovative high school structure;
- earning college credits toward an associates or bachelor’s degree;
- small classroom and school environments;
- a second chance to improve academic performance; and
- taking advantage of the benefits offered by the collegiate environment.
Early Colleges are very similar to Middle Colleges in design, but may include students in grades 9-12. Students in the Early College traditionally agree to follow an established plan designed to complete requirements for both the high school diploma and an associate’s degree.
Each structure is different and is created by a team of stakeholders involved in the Middle College/Early College implementation process. Parents, students, college representatives, local district representatives, corporate partners, and community stakeholders drive the implementation process and program design.
Middle College and Early College goals are, however, similar. Both programs seek to:
- decrease the high school drop-out rate,
- improve academic performance in high school,
- increase collegiate enrollment and graduation rates, and
- encourage student interest in higher education.
The Middle College National Consortium encourages schools/districts/colleges to focus on the following five design principles when developing Middle College or Early College programs: Power of the Site, Teaching and Learning, Student Assessment, Student Support, Democratic School Governance, and Professional Development.