ECA sets up local high school students for success

Have you ever met a sixteen year old in any of your classes? Have you ever been in McKenny’s Basement whilst a flood of teenagers rolled out of a classroom? Chances are these students are a part of Early College Alliance (ECA).

ECA is an early college program for high school students in Washtenaw County. This program guides students through semesters of ECA classes until prepared for the college environment.

ECA classes are at a post secondary level but not actual college classes. These classes teach students vital skills to help succeed in college, also known as soft skills.

First year ECA student, Laura Ballard-Fore, is enjoying her first semester at EMU.

“So far I really like the freedom that comes with ECA,” she said. “It truly gives the students more choice, privacy and it helps us become more mature.”

The goal of the ECA program is to teach students the soft skills needed in college and life. Soft skills are learned behaviors that positively influence academic and job success.

Once a student’s CORE advisor and teachers feel he or she is prepared to move on to actual college courses, they receive a soft skill rating of an R or S. R stands for Ready and S stands for Satisfactory.

After their first ECA semester a student may stay in a full ECA schedule, have a hybrid schedule or move on to a full college schedule. The college credits earned are used to fulfill high school requirements and college general education requirements simultaneously.

Each ECA student has a CORE Advisor, or a mentor. CORE Advisors oversee the student’s actions and provide encouragement and counsel through challenges. Each CORE Advisor stands by their students throughout their whole journey at ECA.

ECA students are able to receive a lot of support from campus & ECA services, family and friends while jumpstarting their college career. At the end of their early college journey students will graduate from the program with a high school diploma and up to 60 college credits.

Dr. Pete Sutherland, D.V.M., Biology/Biochemistry/Allied Medical Health/Science

Methods Instructor and CORE Advisor at Early College Alliance said, “There are little things, like being able to be yourself, no crap of high school, like social drama. Being in an environment where people want to learn and do better. Students whom complete ECA are prepared for life.”


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