Middle College offers accelerated opportunities

Keianah Weakland

 SHS will be hosting a Middle College informational Zoom meeting March 3, 2021 at 6 p.m. Middle college is a program run through Sandy High for juniors and seniors to attend Mt. Hood Community College while simultaneously attending SHS. It is for students who want to further their education in a more fast-paced environment. Students will go to the MHCC campus and attend classes just like any other college student. During COVID-19, almost all classes have been online through Blackboard Learning.

“When I first heard about the middle college program, I knew it would have been a perfect fit for me. Being able to take college class while still being in high school has been super beneficial for me,” senior Riley Andersen said.

This program allows students to take college credit classes to gain credits towards both a high school diploma and college degree. So any college course taken and passed will be added to your high school transcript. 

“This program has furthered my education because it has allowed me to get an idea about what college or university would be like. It allows students to still participate in regular high school activities while slowly transitioning into college-level classes. It has also given me the chance to get a jumpstart on my general education credits for college/universities,” senior Tamzyn Pendleton said.

As a Middle College student, you have the option to take up to two courses at the high school and several at the college. The perk of this program is that SHS will pay for your tuition cost, textbooks, and class fees for up to 12 credits or $1,633 and will provide more money for textbooks and class fees. If you go over the limit, you must pay the remaining balance. The high school pays for fall, winter, and spring term, but summer term is up to the student if they would like to take classes and pay for it. 

The high school services department at MHCC makes the transition from high school to college much easier than expected. They frequently check in with students, guide students through course sign ups over Zoom, order textbooks for students and much more. They also allow students to borrow old textbooks free of charge, they just have a limited selection.

 “Advisors have given me support in my studies as well as helped with my uncertainties for my future plans and education,” Pendleton said.

It is up to the student if they would like to spend the extra money and take the extra courses to be able to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. Some people choose to just take the courses needed to get a diploma, while others are taking more credits to get a degree by the end of their senior year. Students are able to access any materials, tutoring, activities, and clubs that all other college students have access to. 

“Once getting into the program I made it my goal to graduate high school with my two year degree from Mt. Hood Community College. The workload was more than I expected, but it was completely worth it! Even through COVID the classes were still manageable,” Andersen said.

After you submit your application (which is due April 1, 2021) and take the College Placement Test, your application will be reviewed and acceptances will be sent out later in April. Once accepted, both an SHS guidance counselor and an MHCC high school services advisor will be there for support. The MHCC advisor will create an educational plan for the next two years so that students will have somewhat of an idea of the courses they will need to take to reach their goals. The advisor will be in contact with the students quite often and the program requires students to turn in progress reports throughout the course of each term. 

“The advice I would give someone thinking of applying to the Middle College program is to take advantage of every opportunity they give you. The Middle College program is a great way to jumpstart your college education while saving a lot of money on tuition and books,” Pendleton said.

The Middle College program is not for everyone, but if you are interested in getting free college while earning high school credits at the same time, then this might be right for you. When adults hear about this program they are usually in awe because they were never given an opportunity like this. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and if you prioritize school and your education, it couldn’t hurt to apply.

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