While students are in high school, they have the golden opportunity to complete an associate’s degree (AA) at the same time. San Gabriel is currently in partnership with East Los Angeles College (ELAC) to implement the ECP. Introduced last year, the ECP is a dual enrollment program that prepares students academically for the following years ahead by exposing them to studies in different fields. Participating in the ECP is completely free of charge and books are provided at no cost.
An associate’s degree helps to prepare a student for a career and can help to transfer into a four-year institution, if desired. An AA takes two years to earn, whereas a bachelor’s degree takes four years. The main differences between an associate’s degree and bachelor’s are the time needed to receive it and the more advanced study required for a bachelor’s degree.
Sophomore Calista Lee, who started ECP last year, believes that the program is rewarding with all its diversity in classes.
“I took ECP because I thought it would be advantageous to take college classes in high school,” Lee said. “I thought that it was very beneficial to me financially and academically.”
Having an AA degree allows one to go to a UC, CSU, or private university/college and get placed as junior when they enter college as a high school graduate. This provides a head start in finishing studies quicker.
“Being offered a chance to receive an AA degree [while] receiving a high school diploma would give me a head start,” Lee said. “I could be two years closer to graduating from college.”
Students are taught on campus by professors from ELAC to make the class feel similar to a college classroom. By touching on various topics, students learn from social sciences-based curriculums while becoming more aware of the educational and real world.
Being a four-year commitment, ECP is required for students to take part in this program for all their high school years. Check with the College and Career Center for more options.