Early College Admissions

Early College Access (ECA) at Harford Community College represents an array of programs, initiatives and support services that provide opportunities for high school students to earn college credits while completing a high school diploma.

students in globe cafeHCC works in partnership with Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) to encourage high school students to enroll in college classes early. Taking college classes while in high school enables students to receive a quality education and reduce the amount of time it takes to earn a college degree. Students have the opportunity to simultaneously earn high school credit and/or up to 30 college credits through articulated course selections. A particular emphasis of ECA is to encourage enrollment and college completion by first generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority students. Students attendng Harford County Public Schools interested in the exciting ECA opportunities HCC has to offer should talk to their high school guidance counselor for more information.  Homeschooled or private schooled students are welcome to contact the HCC Admissions Office for more information.

Who Can Participate in Early College Access?

ECA courses and programs are open to high school students who meet high school eligibility requirements and college pre-requisites. You do not have to attend a Harford County Public School to participate in ECA courses and programs. Many students who take advantage of ECA are students of home-based learning (homeschool) or those who attend private schools.

What Are My Early College Access Options?

ECA at HCC provides several avenues and various classroom formats to help you build on your academic experiences. These programs have been developed to meet a range of academic goals and help you find an accelerated path of learning that best suits your needs and abilities. You may choose from college credit courses for high school students or decide among dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, part-time attendance, waiver of senior year, and accelerated pathways. Choosing the best option for your academic ambitions is important and should be discussed with your high school guidance counselor and parents.

Dual Enrollment

Students may enroll in college credit courses and use these courses for high school graduation credit as well as college credit. Generally, students will be limited to earning two high school credits through HCC courses. In order to participate in dual enrollment, students must first contact their high school counselor to complete the Harford County Public Schools Application for Dual Enrollment and receive enrollment guidelines.
Under Maryland State SB 740 legislation, approved dually enrolled HCPS high school students are also eligible for a discount on tuition charges.

Concurrent Enrollment

Allows students to enroll in college classes that meet beyond the regular school day. Students pursuing concurrent enrollment choose not to use these courses for high school transfer credit, but earn regular college credit. A Harford County Public School application is not required for students who participate in this program.

Part-Time Attendance Enrollment

Students may enroll in college courses that meet during the regular school day. This means students spend part of the day in high school. With this option, HCC courses are not used for high school transfer credit. To participate in part-time attendance, students must first contact their high school counselor to complete the Harford County Public Schools Application for Part-Time Attendance. Approval from HCPS is required to receive the tuition discount under SB 740.

College Credit Courses for High School Students

Students could earn credit for courses successfully completed in high school.

Waiver of Senior Year Enrollment

Students may waive all of their senior year and still graduate with their high school class. Students must contact the high school counseling office to complete the Harford County Public Schools Application for Waiver of Senior Year, which requires a student letter explaining reasons for applying for the waiver and a parent letter supporting the application. Students may be required to take HCC courses that match high school requirements that have not been met at the time the application for the waiver is submitted. Upon completion of the first year at HCC when the student has earned 24 college-level credits, the student will receive a high school diploma.

Accelerated Pathways

Accelerated pathways are created to allow high school students an opportunity to earn up to thirty college credits through articulated course selections and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Earning college credit while in high school allows the student to save money and reduce the time needed to graduate from college. The AP program allows students to demonstrate college-level achievement. To receive college credit, students need to take the AP exam offered at the high school and obtain a qualifying score. Qualifying scores are identified in the College Catalog or on HCC's website.

For information on Accelerated Pathways-to-Degree requirements, contact the admissions office at 443-412-2109 or visit their website.

Students under 16 years of age, have unique requirements for enrollment to the college. If this is you or your child, please review the Under 16 Admissions page.


What are the Benefits of Early College Admission?

Early College Admission can help you get a head start in achieving your academic goals by offering high school and college credits concurrently in an exciting and challenging environment. Research shows that students who take advantage of early college admission are more likely to attend and complete college immediately following highschool. The benefits of ECA don’t stop there:

  • ECA prepares you for college by exposing you to college-level courses and responsibility, making the transition from high school to college easier.
  • With the potential for you to earn transferrable college credits, the road to a degree or certificate becomes shorter, saving on time and money.
  • ECA courses can give you early exposure to programs of study and help you choose a career path sooner.
    Studies show students who participate in programs like ECA are more likely to complete college.

*This information was referenced from "Early College Access: A Fast Track to College Completion for Maryland Students" (MCCCP workgroup presentation) and information presented on the Anne Arundel Community College website.