Virtual Middle College (VMC) is a joint Montgomery College (MC) and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) academic initiative that allows qualified MCPS high school students to enroll at Montgomery College, earn their high school diploma, while also completing a college degree through an online/virtual college experience.
Students from all MCPS high schools, private high schools and home schooled students may participate in the Virtual Middle College Program, while still enrolled at their high school. The in-person Middle College program, which is offered to students at Clarksburg, Northwest and Northwood high schools, will continue to be offered.
Dr. Elena Saenz, MC’s associate senior vice president for Academic Affairs, said, “Although our current Middle College program serves a portion of the community, it is not scalable … The pandemic taught us, and all higher education, that we have different modes of instruction available, including for dual enrollment students. With this in mind, we chose to create a Virtual Middle College (VMC).”
Beginning in ninth grade, students can participate in pre-college activities and workshops as they enroll in college courses starting in 10th grade to matriculate through a designated Virtual Middle College pathway designed to allow them to earn both an online associate's degree and a high school diploma. The pathways include programs such as business, computer science, cybersecurity, early childhood education, and more.
“All students will be admitted and enrolled in one of the College’s pre-established online degree programs,” said Akima Rogers, director of academic initiatives. “The goal is to earn an associate's degree, simultaneously, with their high school diploma.”
Students are expected to complete the program within the standard four-year window of high school.
Virtual Middle College is a great opportunity for students to experience college as a high school student.
Because of the virtual setting, more students can participate without constraints such as time and travel costs. Students may also continue to attend and participate in academic and co-curricular activities at their high school while taking college classes online.
“At MC, our commitment to academic excellence is inseparable from our commitment to the entirety of the community that we serve,” Dr. Saenz said.
Online learning is a fast-growing area and a significant part of the College. As online degree programs expand, so will this virtual offering.
“MC has a strong partnership with MCPS, providing significant seamless support and transition for students to do so,” adds Rogers. “Virtual Middle College is a great opportunity for students to experience college as a high school student.”
Additionally, Virtual Middle College will be integrated with the College’s new virtual campus and will provide students with a clear pathway to college completion and success.