MISSOULA – Missoula College at the University of Montana and Frenchtown High School are expanding their partnership to provide high school students a running start to college.
The Bronc Fast Track General Studies Certificate Program allows high school students an opportunity to enroll dually at Missoula College and graduate with a UM certificate in general education concurrently with their high school diploma.
Jake Haynes, principal of Frenchtown High, said this is an opportunity for students to expand their reach and access into higher education.
“We are thrilled about the streamlined nature of this program, which is ultimately an accelerated path to a college degree that will save students time and money while helping to prepare them for the expectations and responsibilities of postsecondary education,” Haynes said. “It is also a great way for high school students to potentially cut a year out of their two-year or four-year degree path through a stackable approach at the University of Montana.”
He said students who pursue this program potentially could save up to $15,000 by earning credits in high school that they would normally pay during their freshman year of college.
Designed for college-bound students, the first cohort at Frenchtown has started the new 30-credit program, with the goal of securing college-level credit before graduating from high school. The college credits earned meet Montana University System core requirements and have a common core guarantee transferability to schools within the Montana University System and most institutions across the United States.
The college course requirements for this program can be earned concurrently with high school courses through a combination of concurrent enrollment or dual-credit courses taken at Frenchtown for college credit, through early college courses taken in-person or online through Missoula College or UM, or through advanced placement courses taken at Frenchtown for credit.
With flexibility in the curriculum, courses include biology, business, history, math, government, writing and a choice of several UM elective courses.
Jordan Patterson, Missoula College director of dual enrollment, is excited to expand the already existing dual-enrollment relationship with Frenchtown High School.
“This allows Frenchtown high school students an opportunity to make a substantial head start on earning college credits at a significantly reduced cost and a chance to earn a college certificate at the same time they will be graduating from high school,” Patterson said.
The first six credits of this program are paid for through the One-Two-Free program, which encourages current Montana high school students to take two college classes for free from the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.
“This certificate for graduating high school students might be the first of its kind in Montana,” Missoula College Dean Tom Gallagher said. “In addition to developing core competencies for higher education, students will be exposed to critical and analytical thinking skills, professional communication, science and writing. They will be exposed to higher education earlier, and, ultimately, it would be great to see these students continue on with the University of Montana through Missoula College.
“But no matter what institution they choose to attend after high school, they will be more confident and better prepared for higher education,” he said.
Contact: Jordan Patterson, dual enrollment director, Missoula College, 406-552-8689, firstname.lastname@example.org.