Early College Programs | Hagerstown Community College
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Early College Programs

Early College Programs

HCC offers several options for academically strong high school students who want to get an early start on their college education.

What are the benefits of starting college early?

  • Enhanced learning
  • Starting and finishing college early
  • Saving money on a college degree
  • Building a college transcript while still in high school

Early College Access Program (formerly ESSENCE)

Through the Early College Access Program, students earn college credit while still at their home high school or home school. Washington County Public School (WCPS) students do not pay tuition, fees, or books for Early College Access classes up to 60 credits per student. This applies to all semesters while a student is enrolled at WCPS. All other students receive a 25 percent reduction on tuition rates they would be charged based on their residency.

Early College Access Program students take classes in a dual-credit class at their high school, on HCC's campus, or online. The dual-credit classes are those that award both high school credit and college credit. To learn more about the Early College Access Program, visit www.hagerstowncc.edu/earlycollegeaccess.

Early College Degree Program (formerly Middle College)

Through the Early College Degree Program, students earn both high school and college credits by taking classes full-time on the HCC campus. Students who spend both their junior and senior years in the program have the opportunity to earn an associate degree by the time that they graduate from high school.

The Early College Degree Program is open to students from Washington County Public Schools as well as private, home, and out-of-state schools. Students in this program take all of their classes on the college campus or online.

To learn more about the Early College Degree Program, visit www.hagerstowncc.edu/earlycollegedegree.

TRiO: Upward Bound Program

The HCC TRiO: Upward Bound Program is year-round college-preparatory program made possible through a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. HCC's Upward Bound Program is intended to assist income-eligible and/or first-generation college bound high school students in the successful completion of secondary education by preparing them academically as well as socially for enrollment and completion of higher education. This is accomplished by providing participants with rigorous and nurturing academic courses; tutoring services; college-preparatory workshops; academic, college, and financial aid advising; career exploration; leadership opportunities; and cultural enrichment field trips. HCC’s Upward Bound program will serve 70 students annually from North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown, Williamsport high schools, and Hancock Middle Senior High School.

Learn more at www.hagerstowncc.edu/upwardbound.

CATE Early College Program

WCPS juniors and seniors attending Washington County Technical High School (WCTHS) will be able to participate in the Career and Technical Education (CATE) Early College Program at HCC. This provides additional pathways for high school students to earn early college credit by completing the certificated CATE Program in high school, then seamlessly transitioning to HCC for an associate degree or specialized certification in a Career and Technology Education area.

The degree programs include:

  • A.A.S. Network Administration
  • A.A.S. Cybersecurity
  • A.A.S. Advanced Manufacturing
  • A.S. Computer Science

Learn more about the program and apply.