Program allows early start at college Students could enroll while still in high school

October 28, 1997|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County students will be able to jump-start their college careers while still in high school and finish college a year early through a cooperative venture of the county schools, the Community Colleges of Baltimore County and three state universities.

The Three-Year Baccalaureate Program, announced yesterday at county school headquarters in Towson, will save qualified high school seniors time and money by allowing them to take up to 12 college credits before graduation.

Students can earn the equivalent of a two-year degree one year after graduation -- with two summer sessions -- and then transfer to four-year schools as juniors.

To qualify, seniors must have a B average, have time in their schedules for college courses and be capable of college-level reading, math and English, as determined by placement tests.

"This is a program that will take the strengths of young people and fast-track them," said Francis X. Kelly, chairman of the board of trustees for the community colleges.

Towson University, the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County have agreed to accept students who have satisfactorily completed courses at the community colleges.

The program formalizes a process known as parallel enrollment, which has been operating between some county high schools and the community colleges for at least three years.

It also opens the program to any county student, regardless of proximity to the community colleges.

Dundalk Community College has led the way in parallel enrollment, registering more than 100 students from nearby high schools this year, said Mary DeLuca, community college spokeswoman.

School officials estimated that Essex and Catonsville community colleges have about 50 students each in similar programs this year.

"There are some students who are ready for this," said Donald Mohler, spokesman for the county schools.

School officials would not estimate how many students might take advantage of the program, but said it is not for everyone. "It really will be a select group of students," said DeLuca. "For a very motivated student, it would be a great opportunity."

Pub Date: 10/28/97

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