ACC adapts, expands high school outreach programs

Austin Community College is adapting and expanding high school outreach programs to complement the efforts of its school district partners and to support a growing number of dual-credit students.

“Over the past few years, high schools have expanded their college readiness activities,” says Dr. Virginia Fraire, vice president of student services. “At the same time, new legislation likely will cause more students to take advantage of dual-credit options. We’re making strategic, student-focused changes that will allow us to have an even greater impact on enrollment and college attainment.”

Following is an overview of changes; details are being developed this summer.

College Connection redirected

Beginning this fall, services and activities offered through the College Connection program, which guides high school seniors through the college admission process, will be provided through ACC’s Dual Credit Program and the Enrollment Management Office.

“For the past 11 years, College Connection has received national recognition for promoting college access among traditionally underserved populations,” Fraire says. “The program has increased college enrollments, influenced college-readiness practices in our high schools, and nurtured community partnerships.”

Fraire says high schools now begin college assessment and readiness activities well before their students’ senior year. Many also schedule school-day sessions for students to complete the ApplyTexas college application, and offer help and workshops about applying for financial aid.

State law no longer limits the number of dual-credit courses high school students may take.

Meanwhile, state law no longer limits the number of dual-credit courses high school students may take. Students can be assessed for college readiness and take college courses as early as ninth grade.

ACC Dual Credit Programs

ACC will continue to help high school students pursue a college path through its various Dual Credit Program options. Students can take dual credit courses at ACC campuses, at many high school campuses, through one of seven area Early College High Schools (an eighth is planned), or through ECHS for Independent Learners, which launches this fall. The college also is partnering with high schools to offer career-technical training through Career Academies – beginning with the IT Academy this fall – that are based on the college’s successful Accelerated Training Program.

Enrollment Management Office and College Destination Center

ACC’s Enrollment Management Office also plans to expand its ACC advisor office hours at participating high schools.

“Students have so many questions about preparing for and applying to college,” says Patty Behr, director of enrollment management. “We’re excited about the opportunity to provide more students with one-on-one guidance at their high schools.”

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ACC’s College Destination Center provides resources about going to college.

ACC is further expanding its outreach to students, parents, and the community through a new resource center that provides one-stop shopping for students who want to learn about going to college. Located in the Highland Business Center, the College Destination Center @ACC, has information about enrolling at ACC, college services and programs, university transfer, career planning, and more.

The center will offer the popular ACC 1-on-1 program, which provides prospective, current, and former students with personalized assistance and questions about classes and registration.

For information about ACC’s programs and services for high school students, contact Mison Zuniga, director of dual credit, mzuniga@austincc.edu; or Patty Behr, director of enrollment management, patricia.behr@austincc.edu.

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