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Understanding the Concept of Early College High School

Early college high school (ECHS) is a unique school reform model that lets high school students (Standard IX to X) attain both a high school degree and a two-year junior college degree – saving both time and money.

In India, most states have a system of junior college. So, after taking the 10th-grade board exams (see SSLC, SSC), students have to apply for junior colleges to complete their 11th and 12th grades. While the concept of ECHS is quite popular in places like the USA, it is still new to Indian students.

Here’s a close look at the pros and cons of this model.

In favor
Looking at the brighter side, students get exposed to the training of higher education early in their life. Most children will perform the way they are expected to. So, ECHS creates a clear picture of what their future holds. It also smoothens the transition from high school to college without much stress. Early college high schools help ease the process by providing support and assistance. Children also get the privilege to avail all the facilities of colleges—labs, languages, professors, student union, transportation, and the beautifully-manicured campuses, while most students their age are lining up in the school cafeteria or riding a yellow school bus. Doesn’t it sound like a refreshing change?

Most children don’t know what to expect, or where to begin. Parents may find it difficult to find institutions with this innovative course. To achieve success in an ECHS, students need more than just academic skills. They must adapt to new expectations, learning styles, professors, and surroundings. Children are expected to collaborate with new students and thoroughly understand the syllabus and graduation requirements. For many, the new responsibilities can be overwhelming as they are not ready to tackle college challenges. Students, who are exposed to higher education early on, could be unsure about their choices and may land up opting for this model due to parental pressure. A college search too early could confuse them and take away their high-school experiences.

Think twice before asking your child to opt for an early college high school if he/she is not completely ready for the challenges. Ask your children these fundamental questions first—Do you feel comfortable with new faces and being surrounded by many people? Can you attend a large class without feeling lost? Once they have convinced you about their choice, you need to tell them that there would be a lot of hard work involved, and they would need to forgo high school sports and social activities. Finally, be sure to visit the institute your child is considering to get a clear picture of the environment and education quality.

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