Trailblazer Collegiate Academy
Basil Lister, Associate Dean of Student Development
Early College Team
Simply put, the Metropolitan Community College Collegiate Academies (Blue River Trail Blazers and Maple Woods Monarchs) provide a jump-start on your college career. While you're still in high school, you can earn an associate in arts (AA) degree right along with your high school diploma. With your general education requirements under your belt, you can enter a four-year college or university directly from high school and get straight to the 'good stuff' — courses focused on your career or area of interest.
The Monarchs and Trail Blazers Collegiate Academies will save you time and money – you'll earn college credit for taking the high school courses you plan to take anyway, at far less than the cost of regular college tuition. You'll be able to enter the workforce sooner or get into a four-year college or university with less debt and two years already completed.
Being part of an MCC Collegiate Academy is a great way to get ahead – especially for students who enjoy challenges. You have the opportunity to log time in a college classroom in addition to your advanced placement and dual credit courses, and the benefits of being an early starter will have a huge impact on your future career and education goals.
Are you mature, motivated and ready to get your education started sooner? You're in luck. MCC's Collegiate Academies are looking for students like you. Whether you have a specific career in mind, or still need some time to decide the best fit for you (you are going to be doing it for a while, after all!), receiving your Associate in Arts degree will put you on track for a Bachelor's degree or beyond.
The Trail Blazers and Monarchs Collegiate Academies are academically rigorous– you
must be eligible for your high school's dual credit program to apply. If you have
a 3.0 GPA or higher and a minimum ACT score of 18, you may apply to the program. Students
who meet these requirements and complete the application packet will be considered
by a review committee.
If you're selected for the program, congratulations! You and your parents/guardians will meet with an MCC advisor or dean to discuss the program in detail and prepare to get started.
You'll be able to earn both your high school diploma and your Associate in Arts degree at the same time – your diploma will be awarded on schedule and your AA degree from MCC will be granted later in the summer.
How can you cram all that knowledge into a couple years? Advanced placement (AP) and dual credit courses will satisfy both sets of requirements. Most of the classes will be taken at your high school during your junior and senior years, with the option to take a few summer courses at an MCC campus.
Earning your AA degree has immediate benefits – MCC has articulation (transfer) agreements with most four year colleges and universities in Missouri and many out-of-state institutions. We'll work with you and the institution you're planning on attending to make sure that the transfer is as smooth as possible.
While there are a few different programs designed to get you college credit early, MCC's Collegiate Academies are a little different. They combine dual credit and advance placement courses offered at your high school during your sophomore, junior and senior year. Dual credit classes cost you just half the regular MCC tuition rate, plus you don't have to pay for books or student fees. Missouri's A+ program can only be used after graduating from high school. While it is free, it only pays for tuition -- no books or student fees. The cost of books for one class can easily top $150, which is comparable to the dual credit rate.
Choosing to undertake the extra workload will test all your skills – not just math, science and English, but also time management, critical thinking and goal-setting. Collegiate Academy advisors are here to support you and keep you on track, along with your parents and your high school counselor. You'll also have access to all of MCC's resources, whether you need study space, library resources, free tutoring or other support services.
Here's a fact that no one will argue – college is expensive. While the lifetime benefits of investing in college have been proven many times over (your salary over the course of your lifetime will be $1,000,000 more than with a high school diploma alone), the immediate costs can sting.
The Collegiate Academies are available to students at dual credit rates, which are half the regular tuition rate at MCC. Since MCC's regular tuition rates are sometimes as much as 15 times lower than four-year colleges or universities, it's easy to see that the cost of college credit while in high school is considerably less expensive.
Although the Trail Blazers and Monarchs Collegiate Academies will be challenging, the benefits will be worth it. You'll be more prepared than your peers because you'll be familiar with collegiate expectations and rewards. You'll be able to move directly to a four-year college or university and begin work on your program of study – there may even be scholarships available that you wouldn't have been eligible for otherwise. Your debt load will also be much lighter, lessening the need for student loans and out-of-pocket expenses. Completing your AA through one of MCC's Collegiate Academies is like a scholarship on its own. The money you save on your general education classes can be used to help pay for the four-year college or university of your dreams— wherever it may be.
Even though the cost may be lower overall, signing up for a payment plan through MCC
can make it more manageable in the short term – you'll be spreading out the payments
over the course of the semester instead of paying the entire fee upfront.
MCC scholarships may be available – ask your MCA advisor for details.