What is early college high school?

These public high schools give students the opportunity to complete up to 2 years of college while still in high school.
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What’s the point of early college high school?

Early college high schools enable students to accelerate their education so that they can take real college classes and earn college credit in high school. Early college is different from dual enrollment in that it’s a cohesive program where all the students work toward college classes by their junior year and they are not required to travel to a college to access the classes.

Who are these schools good for?

Early college high schools tend to be intensely rigorous and therefore may not work for all students. But research has found they are especially effective in preparing first-to-college students to experience success in college.

Where are early college high schools?

Though early college high schools are not available everywhere, some states like Texas, New York, and North Carolina have a strong track record of the early college model.

Transforming High School

This video is part of our Transforming High School project with articles, videos, Season 3 of our podcast, and tools to help parents and educators discover new ideas and practices to evolve this 200-year-old institution.

Explore more about Transforming High School

Thank you to Principal Paul Covey of Valle Verde Early College High School and Principal Claudia Gomez-Perez of Jimmy Carter Early College High School. Both of these schools won a GreatSchools College Success Award.

About the author

GreatSchools.org is a national nonprofit with a mission to help every child obtain a high-quality education that values their unique abilities, identities, and aspirations. We believe in the power of research-backed, actionable information to empower parents, family members, and educators to help make this happen. For 25 years, the GreatSchools Editorial Team has been working to make the latest, most important, and most actionable research in education, learning, and child development accessible and actionable for parents through articles, videos, podcasts, hands-on learning resources, email and text messaging programs, and more. Our team consists of journalists, researchers, academics, former teachers and education leaders — most of whom are also dedicated parents and family members — who not only research, fact check, and write or produce this information, but who use it in our daily lives as well. We welcome your feedback at editorial@greatschools.org.