Last year, high school student Sarah Noble found herself on staff at a college newspaper, mastering AP style, InDesign, and photojournalism. “I was worried they wouldn’t accept a 16-year-old in to the tightly knit newsroom. But after the first day was over I felt like I belonged,” said the 2018 Broadneck High School graduate, who joined the school’s journalism program through AACC’s Early College Access Program (ECAP).
She’s just one of many Anne Arundel County high school students who reduce the cost of their future college degree and reduce the time it takes to graduate through the program. ECAP allows high school students to take college classes that can be transferred at a 50 percent tuition discount. In addition, grants of $200 per term are available for students demonstrating financial need, and the full tuition is waived for students who qualify for free and reduced meals.
Having a jump start on higher education can be noteworthy to colleges and universities looking for students who have shown the initiative to complete coursework prior to admission. It’s also a good time to explore interests … or hone them. “I was a part of my high school’s newspaper but because of budget cuts and a lack of interest, it fell apart my junior year. But I still had a passion for it,” Noble said. At AACC, “I have exponentially improved my journalism skills.”
There are no special ECAP classes – courses are open to traditional as well as ECAP students. “Your professors are going to expect you to work just as hard as anyone else in the class and not make any excuses,” Noble said. “But honestly, I loved being an ECAP student so much more than a high school student. I had so much freedom, my classes were more intense and interesting, and I made great friends.”
ECAP students enjoy all the benefits of being an AACC student, with access to student discounts, the gym, library, student services such as tutoring, and access to labs. Classes are available in Arnold, Glen Burnie, AACC at Arundel Mills, at the Center for Cyber and Professional Training and online at various hours.