About the Early College Program


This unique educational program is designed to fully immerse high school-aged students into the post-secondary learning environment. Montcalm Community College expects high achievement and realistic planning from all students. It is designed so that students who cannot finish the program without completing the coursework of their Educational Development Plan.


Successful students must be willing to take responsibility for their own effort, education and behavior. There are no bells, hall monitors or daily announcements to keep them on track. Students must meet and take responsibility for their own deadlines and requirements. Students are expected to learn how to make smart, sound choices that benefit their learning and success in life. Students are also expected to learn how to monitor their own educational progress, advocate for their learning needs and successfully negotiate their way through the post-secondary environment.

Life Management Skills or "Soft Skills"


Soft skills are the key to success in both life and college, perhaps even more so than academic skills. The student who applies himself or herself consistently is more likely to complete the program than a brilliant student who does not turn in homework assignments. Soft skills must be consistently demonstrated and be incorporated into the student’s every day decision-making process. Teaching, evaluating and monitoring “Life Management Skills” is the cornerstone of the program’s pedagogy. We do not expect students to walk in the door prepared for the rigors of the program, but we require every student to master these skills prior to transitioning to college-level coursework.

CORE Advisors


CORE Advisors are an essential component of the program. CORE Advisors serve as “educational anchors” to students, as well as the primary point of contact for the parents and college faculty. Each student is assigned a CORE Advisor upon entry into the program and will keep the same CORE Advisor throughout his/her program. Parents and students are expected to attend scheduled meetings with their CORE Advisor.

Credentialing a student for transition


Credentialing a student (establishing his or her qualifications) for transition to the program’s courses is determined by program faculty in collaboration with his or her CORE Advisor. The program’s staff and faculty assess, monitor and evaluate both the student’s academic skills and the student’s soft skills as part of the learning process. Soft skills credentialing is done after the first ten weeks of the semester and scheduling into college courses follows. Most students do not transition into full-time college course work after one semester of the program.

Making the transition


Transition to college courses is critical in meeting the program’s completion requirements. A student who does not receive soft skills credentialing by the end of his/her second semester will have great difficulty completing the program. For those students who struggle to meet the soft skills credentialing requirements of the program, the student’s CORE Advisor and the program director will advise both the student and parent on more appropriate educational options available to the student.

Educational Development Plans


Educational Development Plans (EDPS) are essential components of this educational program. CORE Advisors will assist parents and students in evaluating the numerous educational options available to each student. EDPs are important tools in mapping out a realistic course of study and to assess the student’s progress through the educational program.



As a component of the program, college course attendance is reported by the student twice per semester. As each student who is attending college courses has a different schedule, every student must request the signature of his or her college instructors to document attendance in each college-level course. This is a serious responsibility. Students who do not submit their enrollment verification forms and attendance verification forms can be removed from the program. Funding for the program follows the submission of state-mandated attendance reports. These produce the funding to operate the institution and to pay student tuition.



Curricula are designed to broaden students’ understanding of a number of topics, develop their skills in critical thinking and prepare them for the diverse educational environment of college. Students who resist participation in educational activities that they determine irrelevant to them or in conflict with their beliefs will gain far less from their educational experience than they could otherwise. A student can learn how to understand a position or an argument without subscribing to it and learning how to do so is, in part, what the program is designed to do.


Topics encountered in coursework both within the program courses and the college courses are part of curricula that have been developed by educators with specific goals in mind for students. Examples of topics that may be addressed in coursework or on examinations in order to pass a class are listed below.

scienceNatural Selection (Evolution), sexually transmitted diseases, laboratory techniques and processes, metrics, experimental design and others 

political scienceThe mechanics of the government of the United States; the effects of political actions or decisions in the past and the present; participation through volunteer work and/or attending public meetings in the process of representative democracy

EnglishThe motivation of characters who affect harm or evil; the actions of characters who violate social norms; the use of language and text that is considered acceptable within the post-secondary environment may be used in program courses as a primer to college-level instruction

MathematicsProcesses that may not have immediate application but are essential to the understanding of higher level mathematics; applied mathematics 



On campus, tolerance of people with different appearance, dress, actions and beliefs is critical to the smooth functioning of the institution. Exposure to the diversity of people on campus contributes to the expansion of students’ educational experience. Tolerance of others is expected of all students at all stages of the program. The values of the institution are tolerance, inclusion and diversity.

Shannon Tripp