Early College of Macomb Offers Head Start on Higher Education

Motivated high school students in the Macomb Intermediate School District can apply for this program – and obtain an associate's degree by graduation.

Is your student eager to get a jumpstart on higher education? Is he or she enrolled in high school within Macomb County? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then the Early College of Macomb, also known as ECM, could be the perfect fit for your high schooler.

The ECM is a public, tuition-free, three-year early college program that’s the largest of its kind in the state of Michigan. It offers students the opportunity to take classes on the center or south campuses of Macomb Community College, in addition to receiving instruction at their home high school.

Students enter the program in the 11th grade and, by the time they’ve completed the “13th grade,” they’ve obtained an associate’s degree. Those students can then transfer their credits to a university or remain at the community college.

“The American Institutes for Research has done a lot of studies for colleges, and they’ve all concluded that these early colleges provide a seamless transition from high school through college and benefit that student for years to come,” says Susan Meyer, the dean of Early College of Macomb.

Thanks to a collaboration among the ECM, the Macomb Intermediate School District, schools in Macomb County and Macomb Community College, Macomb County students are reaping the benefits of this early college exposure.

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Read on for more about the Early College of Macomb.

Courses and internships

Students enrolled in the ECM are required to complete the state of Michigan’s requirements along with their school district’s graduation requirements. While doing so, they’re also earning nine to 12 college credits per semester – which is 18-24 per year.

In the junior year of the early college, they are taking three classes at the high school and three classes at the campus. In their senior year, students have two classes at high school and four at college. And, by year 13, all classes are taken at the college.

Because students have different interests and may opt to attend classes in the evening, most schedules are unique. But there is one thing that all students will take during their time in the ECM: A weekly seminar taught by ECM counselors. In the 11th grade, the seminar focuses on college readiness; in 12th grade, leadership skills are the focus; and, in the 13th year, it’s all about college and career.

“I would attribute the success of this program to the ECM counselors working with our students on a weekly basis,” Meyer says.

Job shadowing and internships are important aspects of this early college experience. That’s why students are required to conduct eight to 12 hours of job shadowing or interning in the 11th grade. In the 12th grade, they are required to do 25 hours – and, in the 13th grade, it’s 40 hours.

All in all, 600 community partners in the metro Detroit area take ECM students in to give them the internship opportunities to further explore career paths. These internships help student mature faster, in addition to gaining experience in their areas of interest.

“They are always a step ahead,” Meyer says. “They go into those internships and they do phenomenal things.”

An entrance exam is required for admission to the Early College of Macomb. For more information, visit the Early College of Macomb’s website.

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