Early College Program at MC Earns Credit with Coyotes

CHS students in the program can leave high school with 60 credits toward a Bachelors degree.

CHS junior Jaxon Ko will finish high school next year with 60 credits towards his college degree.

Jaxon Ko

CHS junior Jaxon Ko will finish high school next year with 60 credits towards his college degree.

Samantha Ward, Reporter

By the time most students graduate high school they will have only received their diploma, but for junior Jaxon Ko, a high school diploma isn’t enough.

Jaxon Ko is one of five CHS students who participate in the Early College program at Montgomery College. This two-year program was designed for 11th-grade students to simultaneously complete their junior and senior year of high school with their freshman and sophomore year of college. Therefore, by the time Jaxon Ko graduates high school, he will have earned 60 college credits as well as his associate’s degree.

Because he would be attending MC rather than CHS, Jaxon Ko was initially skeptical about joining this program because he feared it would take away from his high school experience, but he then realized that being able to shorten his education by two years was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“At first my biggest concern was not being able to see my friends while I’m at MC and barely being at Clarksburg even for things like sports and National Honor Society, but as time went on I saw how there’s a huge benefit with this program and just being asked to join it,” Jaxon Ko said.

According to his mother, Ana Ko, she received an abundance of information about this program prior to her son’s enrollment, and because the program offered not only educational benefits but also financial benefits, she urged him to apply for Early College.

“He gets the AP credits for high school but by actually doing the college courses another benefit is that I don’t have to pay for AP exams,” Ana Ko said, “and all these AP classes will transfer over to the universities which is another huge benefit.”

Though he is not enrolled in any classes at CHS, Jaxon Ko was still able to be on the golf team during the fall season. According to CHS golf coach Cliff Elgin, Jaxon Ko had explained the program to him prior to school starting. Elgin’s only concern was transportation and whether or not Jaxon Ko would be able to make it to the practices.

“He was able to work it out either through getting other teammates to pick him up or have parents help but he never missed anything,” Eglin said, “He was a captain and he played in every match.”

Although the classes Jaxon Ko is enrolled in are much more rigorous than the average high school courses and no adjustments are made for the high school students, he found the change from high school classes to college structured classes to be manageable especially alongside his cohort.

“Everyone who was chosen to be there is at the same pace and geared toward learning something, kind of just emitting a positive vibe,” Jaxon Ko said.