Which is better for you? Early College or Dual Enrollment at Montgomery College

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Sanjay Fernando

Montgomery College offers two beneficial programs for students who want to take on a college course load in high school: Early College and Dual Enrollment.

After four long years, you’re finally sitting at Constitution Hall. The kid who has sat behind you in homeroom for years is called. Then it’s your turn. But you’re not getting one degree today, you’re getting two.

Montgomery College (MC) offers two programs, the Dual Enrollment program, and the Early College program. The Early College program is a two-year program that students can take during their junior and senior years at MC.  By the end of their high school career, they receive their associate’s degree and a high school diploma, which can then be transferred to a four-year university.

“I deemed it a very good opportunity for myself. I knew it was going to be hard, but I wanted to get ahead and just save myself two years,” junior Andrea Garcia Cotan, an Early College student, said.

Early College applicants apply in their sophomore year of high school and pick a program or major. The GPA requirement is 2.75 or higher.  All classes will be taken at MC and students will be treated as college students.

Watkins Mill counselor Jessica Salomon suggests that students “ask a lot of questions because [Early College] is an intense program. So I think I would definitely know what you are signing yourself up for by asking questions.”

Although classes will be taken at MC, students are still able to participate in extracurricular activities at their home high school. 

“You will find difficulties and it’s going to be stressful, but the experience is great,” Garcia Cotan added.

Students looking to join the Dual Enrollment program instead of Early College can either take classes online or in person. High school seniors may take classes after school or have a half-day schedule. Although students do not receive an associate’s degree, they earn college credit that can be transferred to a four-year college after high school or towards their associate’s degree at a two-year community college.

At Watkins Mill…teachers would chase after you—planning interventions and counselor meetings to help you whether you want it or not,” said senior and dual enrollment student Abigail Ayetiwa.  “In college, the effort is completely up to you. Whether you try and get a good grade or don’t try and get a bad grade is up to you, and you deal with the consequences and waste of money on your own.”

One of the main benefits to the Dual Enrollment program is that students can take classes that aren’t offered at WMHS, but are offered at MC, such as Italian. Salomon works with the Dual Enrollment Program Assistance to contribute to a faster registration and dual enrollment process and to answer any questions that arise.

Why earn one degree, when you can earn two in four years, with the Early College program? Why not get ahead and save money by taking college courses with the Dual Enrollment program?

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