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Take Classes as a High School Student

Early College in High School

Take Classes as a High School Student

Early College in High School

Earn college credit while you're still in high school

Why join the Early College Program at Lake Michigan College? Here are just some of the great reasons:

Save Money

Get a glimpse into college life, time management and independence

Develop interests and talents in subjects not offered in high school

LMC has partnerships with school districts throughout the region, including in Allegan, Berrien, and Van Buren counties.

Early College courses are offered to students while they are still in high school. Students earn both high school and college credit for courses, saving families thousands of dollars in college tuition. Lake Michigan College offers direct credit, dual enrollment and early/middle college options. Read about each option below.

Early College options may be available to any high school student, check with your school district to determine your options. Please email for more information

These classes are taught by college credentialed teachers at a student's high school or tech center during the regular school day. The student receives both high school and college credit for these courses.

Dual enrollment courses are traditional college classes usually held on an LMC campus but are sometimes offered at a high school or tech center. A student may enroll in any LMC course that is offered, as long as course pre-requisites are met.

These are full programs that allow students to complete an associate degree or college certificate in full while still in high school. These programs are extremely rigorous, with a competitive admissions process, and typically require a three-year commitment from the student, as they will enter grade 11 and continue in the program for 3 years, adding one more year of high school.

Fifth-Year Early/Middle College Partnerships

Become an Early College student


Find out which college classes are available to you and fit into your schedule. Some classes may be held at your school (Direct Credit) and some may be at an LMC campus (Dual Enrollment).



  • Obtain a copy of your ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER® test scores.
  • Review your test scores. Be sure you meet prerequisite requirements for your chosen courses.
  • Schedule ACCUPLACER testing if needed. Ask your guidance counselor whether testing is offered at your high school or visit LMC Assessment Center to learn how to take placement testing through Lake Michigan College. Early College applicants who plan to take placement testing at the Benton Harbor campus should check here for dates and times and to schedule a testing time.
  • Unweighted high school transcripts for incoming high school seniors can be used to determine prerequisite requirements.

Step 3: Get Approval

  • Be sure your guidance counselor, teacher (dual credit only), and parents/guardians are supportive of you taking Early College classes.
  • Select courses with your guidance counselor or an LMC Advisor. You MUST meet prerequisites for each course.

Step 4: Meet with LMC Advising

  • Meet with an LMC academic advisor (optional for both Dual Credit and Dual Enrollment)
  • Decide which classes fit your college and career goals. If you plan to attend LMC or another college after graduation, you'll want to make sure your Early College credits are transferable. Transfer guides are available here.
  • To schedule an appointment, call your local campus, identify yourself as an Early College student and indicate which campus you plan to attend.

Step 5: Register for Classes

  • Complete and submit the paper registration form with test scores attached to your guidance counselor.
  • Check your schedule on Wavelink regularly to confirm your enrollment.

Step 6: Buy Your Books

  • Some schools cover the cost of books with a bookstore voucher. Check with your guidance counselor or career & technical center director.
  • Order your books online, or purchase the necessary textbooks at the LMC Bookstore.

Step 7: Go to Class

  • Make sure you are listed on your teacher's roster. Not being listed could mean you are not registered.
  • Check the academic calendars online to find out when classes start and end.
  • Dual enrollment classes generally follow LMC's academic calendar.
  • Direct credit classes generally follow your high school's or Tech Center's academic calendar.

Forms and Resources

Direct Credit classes meet at the high school during the regular high school day and are taught by college-certified high school instructors using the college curriculum and text. The high school agrees to accept these courses toward a student’s high school completion, if needed. Dual Enrollment classes meet at the college or online and are not affiliated with the high schools. Dual Enrollment classes can count toward just college credit, or both high school and college credit. A student does need prior approval from their high school counselor if the college courses will also be used to help satisfy high school graduation requirements.

Dual Enrollment and Direct Credit are not the same as AP credit. A student can spend the whole year in an AP class, but receiving college credit is dependent upon earning an adequate score on the AP test at the end of the year. Dual Enrollment and Direct Credit classes are based on the grade the student receives in the class. If the student passes, they (usually with a C or better) gets credit.

  • Community college tuition rates are much lower than state university rates. Direct Credit students pay roughly 1/3 the tuition they would pay at a state university. For parents and students paying for college tuition, this is a significant amount of savings.
  • A student can start college with several credits, a semester, or even a whole year of credits completed before freshman year of college, allowing the student to focus more on their college major, explore other disciplines, or even graduate early.
  • Since college credit from Dual Enrollment & Direct Credit comes with a grade, a student can start college with an established GPA.
  • College credit is based on the grade received in the class, not on one test taken at the end of the year (as with AP).
  • Early College courses are challenging and enhance high-level thinking skills, which prepares students for a full-time college/university curriculum.

Dual Enrollment and Direct Credit students must be attending High School and meet the prerequisite criteria for the course which may include having a qualifying placement score on the ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER® assessment test. Early/Middle College students must complete the admissions application and any additional requirements (such as a family interview, student essay, or placement testing) associated with their program.

The ACCUPLACER placement test is a computer-adaptive college test prepared and maintained by a third-party organization that specializes in placement testing. These tests evaluate student skill levels in Reading, Writing and Math, ensuring students are placed in appropriate courses that do not exceed their current level of comprehension. Proper placement promotes student success and reduces academic struggle. Lake Michigan College offers the ACCUPLACER test for free.

Students can take the test once per academic semester. They can also submit their ACT or SAT scores instead of taking ACCUPLACER if their scores meet the minimum criteria.

Dual Enrollment courses are charged at the regular College tuition rates. Direct Credit courses are generally charged at one-third the rate of regular tuition. The cost of both dual enrollment and direct credit classes may be covered by your high school or tech center. Please speak with them for more information on payment options.

Unfortunately, financial aid is not available to students who have not graduated from high school. Students should keep in mind that the college grades and GPA earned now, even while in HS, may effect long-term financial aid eligibility.

Complete and turn in your Early College registration form with your test scores attached to your high school counselor/teacher or Early College office at Lake Michigan College.

It is the student’s responsibility to drop any and all classes by contacting their counselor and completing a class drop/withdrawal form. Please note, simply telling the instructor you no longer wish to take the course is not enough. The drop/withdraw form must be completed and signed to show your consent; if you do not complete the form, you will still be enrolled in class and you will receive a transcripted college grade. If you drop a class after the refund date you will not be eligible to receive a refund

Credits are only transferred upon request by the student and with consent from the student. Receiving institutions generally require an official transcript from LMC (and any other college you have previously attended). You may request an official transcript by following the Transcripts link in your LMC Student Profile account. More information can be found on the Records webpage.

Contact the Early College Office at or 1-800-252-1562, ext. 8735.

Ready to get started?

Connect with us! Request more information or apply today, and we'll send you everything you need to begin your journey at LMC.

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