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What Is Early College High School?

Handsome high school student standing in modern library and using digital tablet

Many parents might consider an early college high school program for their child but need more information on what the program entails.

Early college high school can be perfect for kids who have cognitive challenges, gifted students, or for those with parents who travel or want their kids to have more freedom, stimulation, and responsibility than is offered in traditional schooling environments.

Early college high school students typically develop academic maturity way beyond their peer group by earning college credit while simultaneously working toward their high school graduation requirements.

What Is Early College High School (ECHS)?

Early college high school (or the Early College High School Initiative) enables students to combine high school and college classes at the same time. This means students can earn a high school diploma and an associate degree at the same time. At the very least, your child will have pre-earned valuable credits toward their degree and shortened their time spent in college after high school.

The initiative began back in 2002. In coalition with other high-profile organizations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded the first early college high schools. Today, early college high schools blend school coursework with college classes.

Students spend the majority of their time dealing with a college-level workload and academic demands. Their college courses are then added to high school transcripts, at the same weighting as high school AP courses.

What Are the Benefits of Early College High School?

confident graduate student holding diploma while standing with friends at university

Higher State Exam Scores

Students who participate in ECHS generally score higher on state exams than their traditional high school peers, particularly in English literature and mathematics.

Increased Likelihood of Graduation

The rate of graduation from high school—and further enrollment in college post secondary school—is much higher in early college high school students. As much as 92% of ECHS students graduate from high school compared with the national average of 69%.

College and Career Preparedness

Managing the academic demands and independent study expected at college level helps prepare your child for full-time college when they graduate high school. It encourages a level of maturity and critical thinking that serves students very well, both in college and once they enter the workforce.

Higher Future Earnings Capability

Although early college is slightly more expensive than the average high school fees, the benefits far outweigh the costs. One study in 2019 found that ECHS students enjoyed around $33,709 increased lifetime earnings.

Early College High School at Lydian Academy

At Lydian Academy in Burlingame and Menlo Park, CA, we provide a robust Early College High School program but with added personalization and flexibility for your child. Your child will receive the benefit of interacting with professors and community college peers to prepare them thoroughly for post secondary life. Since the majority of the courses are UC-transferable, ECHS can also reduce both Lydian and college tuition costs. If you’d like to learn more about the Early College program at Lydian, contact us today at (650) 321-0550.

We offer a unique year-round one-on-one learning experience, personalized to you and your schedule.

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