Early College Program

Early College Program

image of woman with a graduation cap with the early college logoA dual enrollment pilot program for rising seniors at select Charles County Public Schools high schools

About CSM Early College

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) is proud to partner with Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) to bring CCPS high school students and their families the CSM Early College Program. Open to rising seniors, this tuition-free program is an opportunity to experience being a full-time college student, save money, and earn a full year’s worth of college credits.

Students will take college classes on the CSM La Plata Campus their senior year, while simultaneously fulfilling their high school graduation requirements. Participating students will earn their high school diploma while also earning a Transfer Certificate consisting of 34 credits at CSM.

Aligning with the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, this pilot program for the 2022-23 academic year is open to 150 rising seniors from four CCPS high schools: Henry E. Lackey, St. Charles, Thomas Stone, and Westlake.

Application Deadline is March 14, 2022

For information about the application or the program contact Shelby Potts at slpotts1@csmd.edu.

Program Benefits

Students who complete the program will earn 34 college credits. That’s half of an associate degree or the first year of a four-year degree.

CCPS covers tuition and course materials, saving each student and their family over $4,500 in tuition.

For their senior year, students will take college classes full-time at CSM’s La Plata Campus and will experience the pace and rigor of college-level coursework.

 Students will have access to CSM's top-notch support services, including dedicated advising and academic support. Services are available for students with disabilities. To obtain information or request services, please visit www.csmd.edu/disabilitysupport.


CCPS will fully cover students’ CSM tuition, administrative fees, and course materials. CCPS will also provide boxed lunches and transportation from students’ home campuses to CSM’s La Plata Campus and back.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the 2022-23 Early College program, students must:

  • Be a senior for the 2022-23 academic year at one of the four pilot high schools: Henry E. Lackey, St. Charles, Thomas Stone, and Westlake.
  • Have a minimum of 20 high school credits by the end of the 2021-22 academic year.
  • Have an unweighted high school GPA of 2.75 or better.
  • Have completed Algebra 2 with a grade of C or higher.

The 2022-23 pilot program will be limited to 150 participants. Applications will be evaluated by a selection committee with representation from CSM and CCPS. A letter of selection will be mailed to the student's home.

Students who are selected for the program will be required to participate in a CSM new student orientation.

How to Apply: Next Steps

  1. Apply to CSM as a Dual Enrollment student
  2. Submit the Early College request form

    The application includes an open-ended writing question:
    • You are to choose one of the two prompts below. Spend a bit of time thinking about the prompt, and then write an essay of three to four paragraphs that explains your unique goals, expectations, and potential challenges. Make sure to include specific details. Take time to edit your essay before submitting it.
      • Think about your career and life goals. How will earning a college transfer certificate at the same time as your high school diploma help you reach those goals? In what ways do you expect your enrollment at CSM to change your high school experience? What might be gained or lost by attending CSM during high school? How might you face any challenges that arise from balancing both high school and college responsibilities?
      • Think about your college goals. What is your overall goal in attending CSM? Name two or more potential challenges you might face in college that you anticipate will be different than challenges you faced in high school. Then discuss how you might deal with such challenges. Be sure to list specific strategies you will use to be successful.

Parents and guardians with questions can contact their child’s class counselor.

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