Early College pathways enables students to jump start their college education by earning college-level credits during their high school years. Students are integrated into regular college classes on the NCC campus or online. With guidance from Nashua Community College advisers, students select courses from the general education program or take a sequence of courses in a particular curriculum.
Earn College Credit
Apply the credits towards a degree at NCC or transfer earned credits to another college. The credit you earn now will wait for you. If your high school allows, you may be able to use the credits to fulfill high school requirements and college requirements simultaneously.*
Start College Now
Complete highly transferable courses that most college degree programs require. Explore a course in a major you are seriously considering for your future.
Get The Competitive Edge
College coursework stands out on a freshman college application and demonstrates that you have challenged yourself academically.
Early College may compress the time it takes to complete high school and the first two years of college.
Earn college credits at a fraction of the cost of a four-year university. NCC’s in-state tuition rate is only $105 per credit.
Public school, private school and homeschool students are welcome to contact the NCC Admissions Office for more information at 603-578-8908.
*The award of high school credit for college coursework is arranged through a students’ school and does not involve the college. Please see your high school guidance counselor for pre-approval of dual-enrollment credit.
Early College Alumni Stories
Hannah Parent said she joined Early College because she was eager for the challenge of college coursework.
“I basically wanted to get out of high school; I’ve always been ahead of the game,” she said, adding she completed her freshman high school classes while still in middle school.
“I got this opportunity from Susan and jumped on it,” she said. Susan Smith is the program coordinator for Early College at Nashua Community College.
Through NCC, Hannah met then-Merrimack Police Chief Mark Doyle, who retired from the police department and from teaching at NCC in 2017. “I took a tour of the police station and was hooked,” she said.
During her time in Early College, Hannah was inspired to work toward her Criminal Justice Certification as well as her Associate’s Degree in Psychology.
“When the rest of my high school is getting their diplomas, I’ll be getting my college diploma,” she said. Hannah graduated from high school early as well. “I liked my high school, but I was really happy to have more of an adult environment,” Hannah said, “It’s been pretty cool.”
Hannah will complete her degree and certification next year, and move on to either a four-year program or a career in the military of police force. “If I went into the military, I would definitely join the Marine Corps,” she said, adding that her brother is a Marine. “At a Police Department, I would want to be a detective of some sort; but I still have a year to figure it out,” she said.
To anyone considering the Early College program, Hannah says “Go for it.”
“If anything else, take a few classes; you won’t regret it. It’s cheap, you feel successful, and you’re part of something bigger than just high school.”
While still a student at Londonderry High School, Nicholas Codner said he enrolled in Early College to get a head start. “I was interested in Early College because I could get classes done ahead of time and earn credit - kill two birds with one stone,” Nick said.
He ended up taking several college-level classes on campus, including physics, pre-calculus, English, statistics and political science.
“I was able to get a full year of credit, and it was also my first college experience at an actual college campus,” he said.
After graduating high school in spring 2017, Nick now plans to enroll in Cybersecurity Networking at NCC - an Associate's Degree program new to campus in fall 2017.
Ultimately, he wants to pursue his Bachelor's Degree. “I want to transfer to a four-year college; UNH Manchester,” he said. Led by NCC Professor Barbara Bancroft, all the credits from the Cybersecurity Networking program at NCC will transfer seamlessly from NCC to UNH Manchester.
A homeschool high school student, Matt Koble got his first NCC experience in the summer of 2014 when his brother brought him to an art class for an impromptu visit.
“My brother dragged me to an art class,” he said, adding the experience launched his interest in NCC, “Then in spring of 2015 I came back and started Early College.”
Through Early College, Matt collected enough credits to be accepted at UMASS Lowell as a junior-level student where he will study mechanical engineering in fall 2017.
“When I first started at Nashua Community College, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he said. Matt considered getting an English degree, or skipping college altogether.
“My brother is in electrical engineering, so I started taking math and science and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed building stuff, so mechanical engineering interested me. It’s a lot of math, science and building; very hands-on.”
While NCC doesn’t have a dedicated mechanical engineering program, Matt selected courses with credits he could leverage into a program at UMASS Lowell.
His advice to future students?
“Definitely get involved. I was student senate secretary, and I was in many, many clubs, and I loved them all, it was just amazing,” he said.
While in high school, Julia Mungovan said she was unsure where to start her college education.
“In a newsletter from my high school I found out that Nashua Community College visiting my school to give information to potential future students,” Julia said, “Little did I know that meeting I attended would have impacted my life as much as it did.”
She learned how much opportunity is available for students to get college credits while enrolled in high school. “In high school I was already involved in multiple CTE programs that offered college credit to local universities. Thanks to Nashua Community's Early College Program that I learned about my college credits earned in high school didn't have to stop there,” she said.
During her senior year, Julia was enrolled in both college and high school, splitting her day between two schools. “College for me was in the mornings from 8 - 11 a.m. and high school was from 11:30 - 2 p.m. I loved my schedule because I was still able to participate in all of my high school sports and extra-curricular activities as well.”
" I had more freedom than my fellow high school classmates and I felt a new sense of responsibility while getting a taste of what college was like. I feel this experience prepared me so much more for college although it was a challenge at times it made my freshman year less of a transition because I knew what was expected of me," she said.
With her Running Start and Early College credits combined, Julia was able to finish her first semester of college before graduating high school. “The best part about the Early College Program at NCC was the significantly discounted prices they offer for students taking college classes while still in high school,” she said.
I have nothing but great things to say about my experience and I encourage all high school students to take advantage of this amazing opportunity because it is a very rewarding experience that pays off in the long run,” Julia said, adding she plans to continue her education at NCC with a dual major of Hospitality and Business Management.
“Early College allowed me to become familiar with the staff and the college campus itself, which is a big part of why I am involved in various clubs and activities that go on at the college,” she said, “Overall I can't thank this program enough for playing such a huge role in my success today.”
Jocelyn Fulford, Class of 2017
After completing her high school diploma in February, Nashua Community College senior Jocelyn Fulford, 17, graduated from the Electronic Engineering Technology Program at NCC in May 2017.
“It’s not that hard,” Jocelyn said of tackling college-level courses while in high school. “Everyone thinks college is super hard and super tough,” she said, adding while classes are challenging, “It is super fun.”
At first, Jocelyn said she was a “little nervous” about taking college-level classes and working alongside older students. However, she said she found a good community at NCC. “The other students were like ‘cool, welcome to the club,’” Jocelyn said, “I made a ton of friends here. Everywhere I went, it felt like a fun and relaxing and exciting place to be. I liked hanging out here. It felt like a good community.”
After graduation, Jocelyn moved on to UNH Manchester to study electrical engineering; something she began here at NCC. For her capstone project, Jocelyn created a cat-activated motion detector that opens the bathroom door when her cat is locked out. “It allows her to have access to the bathroom when I’m away—it was a complete success!”
Anthony’s Early College exploration happened spur of the moment. “I came in looking for college after high school, and Susan offered Early College classes,” he said, referring to Early College specialist Susan Smith, “I thought it was a good idea, and my family supported me.”
During senior year of high school at Nashua North, Anthony spent all his time at NCC. “I took all my classes here, I didn’t go to high school,” he said.
Starting with engineering, then switching to his real passion – computer science – Anthony ended up jumping ahead a full year in his college education. “It’s a really good deal,” he said.
Aside from the academic advantage, Anthony said the experience helped him adjust to the idea of college, “It helped me figure out how college operates.”
Anthony will be heading to UNH Durham on a Granite State Guarantee scholarship in fall 2017 to study Computer Science. The scholarship covers everything except room and board.
Looking back on his time with NCC, he said the faculty made an impression. “The teachers here are awesome; they were all helpful, and always had time for me.”
Madison was drawn to Early College for its affordability, but also found supportive professors and mentors who helped her on her way toward an expedited Bachelor of Science degree.
"I always wanted to go to college, but wasn't sure how I could go without plunging myself and my family into tens of thousands of dollars into debt," Madison said.
"I saw advertisements for NCC's early college program at my high school and at age 15, I hatched a plan on how to put myself through college debt-free. I wanted to finish my high school education early, and start taking college classes full time at NCC, at their discounted rate. To do this, I took extra online classes through VLACS (Virtual Learning Academy Charter School), and got into programs that awarded school credit for working and volunteering."
To fund her education, Madison worked three jobs.
"The goal was to earn one year's worth of tuition at an affordable institution,” she said, "By age 16, not only was I enrolled full time in college, I was steering my life with the autonomy usually delayed by another two years."
At NCC, Madison was able to take courses continuously throughout the year, putting her two years ahead of schedule for her education.
"I am now 18, and while normally I would have just graduated from high school, I am anticipating having my Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology and premedical coursework by the end of next summer. Thanks to the early college program at NCC, I will be able to finish my Bachelor's degree in just two years and at a fourth of what traditional students are paying for college tuition," she said in July 2017. Madison plans to complete her Bachelor's in Biotechnology at UNH Manchester during the 2017-2018 school year.
"What has been the most satisfying about my college education has been surpassing challenges I never saw myself facing. At NCC, I was offered research, internship and employment opportunities. In fact, this August, Dr. Mousavi and I will be presenting our research on a theoretical chelation therapy for zinc poisoning at the American Chemical Society conference in Washington D.C. I love Nashua Community College; the environment, my classmates and my professors," Madison said.
She thanked faculty and staff who supported her while at NCC, specifically Dr. Debra Costa-Nino, Dr. Aliyar Mousavi, Dr. Steve Laken, Professor Richard Danner, John Knorr, and Susan Smith
"High school students interested in a college career should contact Sue Smith and inquire about the early college program," she said.
Aaron Bertram took Running Start classes during his time in high school, traveling between his home school of Mascenic and Conval High School to get the software development courses he wanted.
“One day I came back to Mascenic, and Susan Smith happened to be there. She talked to me about Early College,” Aaron said.
Then in fall 2016, Aaron was not able to get the classes he wanted from the high schools, and decided to explore on-campus courses at Nashua Community College.
“I started last fall, and took classes in spring,” Aaron said, speaking during the summer 2017 term. Although he started at NCC with software development in mind, he switched to computer networking.
“I have always liked computers, and I always liked playing around with networks,” he said.
Adjusting to life on a college campus as a high school student wasn’t a problem, Aaron said, “It’s a little more of a challenge, but it’s definitely worth it. You get to meet a lot of different people; it’s really an adventure.”
Aaron graduated high school in June 2017, and plans to continue his education at NCC in fall, with half of his Associate’s Degree in Computer Networking already finished.
For life after NCC, Computer Science Professor Barbara Bancroft said Aaron is also working on landing an internship in preparation for transferring to a four-year college.
During her senior year at Alvirne High School, Maria discovered she could earn dual high school and college credit through Early College at NCC.
She took her first course, College Composition, in fall 2016. “I was still looking around for college during College Composition, but I really liked my teacher and NCC—even though the class was on a Saturday,” she said.
Interested in nursing, Maria decided to learn more about the nursing program on campus. “I met with Susan Smith; my advisor, who is wonderful. Susan explained the nursing program and preparation,” she said.
By spring 2017, all her high school credits were fulfilled, and Maria could focus on completing nursing prerequisites; tackling Anatomy and Physiology first.
“It’s wonderful, I like coming here, and I’m really proud to call this my school,” she said. “Everyone has been really helpful and kind.”
Graduating from Alvirne in June 2017, Maria enrolled in Anatomy & Physiology II for the summer term.
She plans to join the nursing program full-time in fall 2018, “After I get my nursing degree here, I will mostly likely start working as a nurse, and quite possible keep working toward my BA.”
Maria is also considering a career as an OR nurse, or working toward her MA degree to be a nurse practitioner.
Justin Apostol, 17, signed up for Early College in August 2016, and began taking classes at NCC that fall. A student at Londonderry High School, Justin was looking for classes beyond what his high school could offer.
That’s when his guidance counselor suggested Early College at NCC.
With only two days left to enroll, Justin signed up for courses in the Computer Science degree program. He continued taking classes at Londonderry High School, where he graduated in June 2017. Over his time at NCC, Justin took Web Design I & II, Networking, English and Physics.
He is now enrolled at NCC and is transitioning into the Software Development Program for fall 2017, taking a summer class in C++ and four more classes in the fall semester.