Virtual Middle College Program
Virtual Middle College (VMC) is a joint MC and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) academic initiative that allows qualified MCPS high school students the opportunity to enroll at Montgomery College, taking college credit courses to earn their high school diploma, while also earning a college degree through an online/virtual college experience. Students from all MCPS high schools may participate in the Virtual Middle College Program, while still enrolled at their home MCPS high school.
Current 8th grade MCPS students:
Click HERE to sign up to learn about the Virtual Middle College options that start in 9th grade
The college credits are earned through a combination of courses including online MC courses and MCPS Advanced Placement courses and corresponding AP exam scores. Students are supported through a progressive transition from a traditional high school experience to online/virtual college courses.
Students are provided with dedicated college-readiness support including preparation for required college course assessment and placement. Beginning in grade 9 students will participate in pre-college activities and workshops as they matriculate through a designated Virtual Middle College pathway towards the online Associate’s degree and high school diploma.
Key Points To Know:
- Students are admitted into one of the College’s fully online degree programs (listed below) to complete an Associate’s degree.
- Students from all MCPS high schools may participate.
- Students stay enrolled in their home high school and may also participate if enrolled in the MCPS Virtual Academy.
- Students are registered for standard college courses taught online by Montgomery College professors.
- Students do not attend college courses on any MC campus.
- Students may continue to participate in regular high school activities while enrolled in VMC.
Fully Online College Degrees
The MC associate’s degree earned from each program is listed below along with the link to the department web page for additional information:
- AA Business (VMC Pathway, MC Website)
- AA Computer Science (VMC Pathway, MC Website)
- AAS Health Information Management (VMC Pathwaynew window, MC Websitenew window) ON-SITE Professional Practice Experience hours also required
- AA Information Sciences and Systems (VMC Pathway, MC Website)
- AAS Criminal Justice (VMC Pathway, MC Website)
- AAS Cybersecurity (VMC Pathway, MC Website)
- AAS Early Childhood Education Technology (VMC Pathway, MC Website)
- AA GENERAL STUDIES
- Allows student to remain at their home high school for four years while enjoying a flexible college schedule.
- Ability to take college classes online and on the college campus.
- Earn transferable college credits and a 2-year degree at no cost.
- Engage in academically challenging college level work while still in high school.
- Students are able to gain experience and familiarity with the professors and homework they will receive and therefore have a smooth transition to a 4- year college and college-level coursework.
- College campus offers opportunities for events, clubs and experiences which students can take part in these college life activities.
- Completing the four-year degrees in less time while saving tuition money and presumably incurring less student debt.
- Access to college academic support programs.
- Exposure to college while in high school may provide student with more opportunities to change their future and pursue a career that they did not know about or, believe was available to them in a “standard” schooling format.
- Allows students to overcome some of the biggest struggles that college student will face in their first few months of attending a 4-year university which is the shift in studying responsibilities and establishing good, independent studying habits from the very beginning.
- Avoids the problem of accommodating bored seniors who have maxed out what their high school can offer them.
- Can provide more flexibility in later college years. Student might be able to graduate early and enter the career field sooner than your peers. Or, instead of graduating early, student might choose to add another major or minor to diversify their degree.
- Opportunity to practice skills like time management, communication, organization, and relationship building in a college environment, while you still have your high school support systems.
- Convenience of taking college classes at the high school, on campus and through distance learning.
- Enhances self-discipline.
- Student may have the opportunity to participate in college level research and internships.
- Research shows that these students are also more likely to earn four-year bachelor’s degrees. (American Institutes for Research (AIR), a nonprofit research organization).
In order to be admitted and continue in the program all students must:
- Be enrolled in an MCPS high school.
- Complete the VMC Interest form, VMC Program Application and MC admissions application by the posted deadlines.
- Pass the science, mathematics, and English state assessments, when appropriate, but by the end of 10th grade. (Depending on the pathway, advanced placement exam scores may also be necessary).
- Have an unweighted 2.75 high school GPA or higher at the time of application, and maintain that GPA throughout their enrollment in the program.
- Remain in good standing at the high school and college level.
- Students complete the VMC Interest Form through MCPS in the fall of 8th grade year. This VMC Interest Form does not impact your high school of choice and is independent from that process.
- Qualifying 8th graders completing the VMC Interest Form, will be notified by email to complete the online VMC Application and MC admissions application by the deadline in the email and on the VMC website. These applications will be completed in the winter of 9th grade.
- After the student completes the VMC Application, the parent, counselor, Dual Enrollment Program Assistant, and Principal will be notified and will be asked to submit their approval. It is the student’s responsibility to keep track of their approvals in the online application system to ensure they are completed by the deadline.
- Upon acceptance into the program, the MCPS DEPA and MC Middle College Coordinator will reach out to the student and provide orientation information.
Tuition, Fees, and Financial Assistance
- Students will be registered in regular college courses.
- Depending on the degree pathway, students may be enrolled in 35-60 college credit hours to complete the associate's degree.
Beginning the 2023-24 academic year college courses will be at NO COST to the student. All college tuition, fees, textbooks and instructional supplies will be covered by MC and MCPS. This includes Jumpstart, Early College and Middle College Programs.
Summer college courses are not covered--however, financial assistance is available through an MC high school grant for the Jumpstart and Middle College programs for summer course registrations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is the difference between the Middle College at Northwood and Northwest (MC2), and the Virtual Middle College program (VMC)?
- College courses in the VMC are delivered entirely online, while those in the MC2 may be online, on the high school campus, or on the college campus. Additionally, only students attending Northwood or Northwest high schools may participate in MC2, students from any high school can participate in VMC.
- Is the Virtual Middle College Program and the Virtual Academy the same thing?
- No, the Virtual Middle College program is a dual degree program allowing students to be simultaneously enrolled in college and high school. The Virtual Academy is an MCPS school that allows students to earn their high school diploma online.
- When can I apply to VMC?
- Students may apply to VMC in 9th grade starting in the 2021-2022 school year. Students should contact their high school Dual Enrollment Program Assistant (DEPA) for details. A list of DEPAs by high school can be found HERE.
- Do I have to be part of the MCPS Virtual Academy, Northwood High School, or Northwest
High School to participate in VMC?
- No. Students enrolled in any MCPS high school, including the MCPS Virtual Academy, may apply to participate in VMC in Grade 9.
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