VTEC offers new early college pathway

Students can start taking college courses in ninth grade and graduate with nearly 45 transferable college units

VISALIA – A lot of kids can’t wait to go to college and for some students in Visalia, they’ll get that opportunity much sooner than others. The Visalia Technical Early College (VTEC) High School has announced the new Early College Pathway for Visalia eighth graders preparing to enter high school.

This new pathway is a partnership between Visalia Unified and College of the Sequoias as students will have the opportunity to take classes on COS’ campus to get an early introduction to college life. The pathway focuses on early college experiences throughout the four years of high school. Students will take four or more college courses each year, in addition to their high school courses. The college course will meet both high school graduation requirements and college general education requirements. At the end of four years of high school, students will have completed upwards of 45 transferable college units at College of the Sequoias. These units will count toward their college degree at College of the Sequoias and most CSU, UC, or private universities.

Once admitted to the program, the college courses will be at no extra cost to students. Any student in Visalia or surrounding communities can begin applying in eighth grade but students can also transfer into the program at any point during high school. Students interested in the Early College Pathway that still want to play sports are able to do so at their nearby feeder high school.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for high school students,” states VTEC Principal William Davis. “The early college pathway is a great opportunity to experience the rigor of college while still in high school. Students will have the support of their high school while they begin to navigate the world of college. College of the Sequoias, Early College Success Liaison will support students and work with them throughout the semester to ensure they are successful in the early college process. The liaison will also assist them in selecting college classes that best suit the individual student’s wants, abilities and goals.”

Students who have been pursuing honors or advanced placement courses may benefit from exploring the Early College Pathway. Honors and advanced placement have traditionally provided students with added rigor, augmented grade point averages, and possible college credit. Early college courses offer all of the same opportunities in addition to the benefits of being a college student, navigating the college systems. An early college experience provides students with the confidence to test their abilities—before applications, SATs, and financial aid even enter the equation. Ninety percent of high school students enrolled in college classes while in high school are more likely to continue on to college after high school.

The main difference between AP courses and the Early College Pathway is that students must pay for and pass the AP exam in order to receive college graduate. In the Early College Pathway, students must simply finish the course and receive a passing grade in order to earn and transfer the college credit.

To apply for the VTEC Early College Pathway go to the VTEC web site at www.vusd.org/Page/19026 and click on the 9th Grade Interest Form link. There is limited space available each year at VTEC since it is a small school. For more information, contact William Davis, principal of VTEC High School at 559-622-3212.

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