Early College Programs

HCC offers several options for academically strong high school students who want to get an early start on their college education.

What are the benefits of starting college early?

  • Enhanced learning
  • Starting and finishing college early
  • Saving money on a college degree
  • Building a college transcript while still in high school

ESSENCE Early College Program

Through the ESSENCE Early College Program, students earn college credit while still at their home high school or home school, but do not attend HCC full-time. Washington County residents receive a 50 percent reduction on HCC’s regular in-county tuition rate for four classes. Out-of-county and out-of-state residents receive a 25 percent reduction on tuition rates they would be charged based on residency, for their first 12 credits.

ESSENCE students take classes at HCC, select off-campus locations, and/or in a dual-credit class at their high school. The dual-credit classes are those that award both high school credit and college credit. To learn more about the ESSENCE Early College Program, visit www.hagerstowncc.edu/essence.

STEMM Technical Middle College (STMC)

The STMC is a partnership between HCC and Washington County Public Schools to allow college-ready high school students the opportunity to complete college degrees or certificates while completing their high school diplomas. In this program, students attend HCC full-time in their junior and senior years, after doing rigorous coursework preparation at their high schools during their freshman and sophomore years.

STMC students will select an educational pathway that will put them on the right course for a career, and further higher education if desired, in one of the following areas:

  • Alternative Energy Technology
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Cybersecurity
  • Digital Instrumentation and Process Control
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Physics
  • Pre-Medical Careers
  • Pre-Pharmacy
  • Simulation and Digital Entertainment

Through a combination of tuition discounts and scholarships, students and their families pay considerably less for STMC enrollment than they would for college enrollment after high school. To learn more, visit www.hagerstowncc.edu/middlecollege.

TRiO: Upward Bound Program

The HCC TRiO: Upward Bound Program is year-round college-preparatory program made possible through a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. HCC's Upward Bound Program is intended to assist low-income, first-generation college-bound high school students in the successful completion of secondary education by preparing them academically as well as socially for enrollment and completion of higher education. This is accomplished by providing participants with rigorous and nurturing academic courses; tutoring services; college-preparatory workshops; academic, college, and financial aid advising; career exploration; leadership opportunities; and cultural enrichment. HCC’s Upward Bound program will serve 70 students annually from North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown, Williamsport high schools, and Hancock Middle Senior High School.

Learn more at www.hagerstowncc.edu/upwardbound.