Early College STEM Academy Logo - ECSA is a partnership between Madison College and the Madison school district

How do I apply?

Applications are available in the counselor office at your school. Students are asked to complete an application, due by 3:00pm on January 25, 2020. As part of the application, that will ask them to identify two adults who will provide recommendations for them. In addition, students will be invited to an interview where they will have an opportunity to share more about their interest in enrolling in the Early College STEM Academy (ECSA).

Who can apply? 

All current 10th graders that meet the initial criteria are encouraged to apply.

If I am not selected as a 10th grader, can I apply again in my 11th grade year?

At this time, we are selecting students for a 2-year cohort only. So applications to the program are for 10th grade students only (to enroll in the program for 11th and 12th grade).

Can students still participate in extracurricular activities at their home high school?

Yes. Coursework for the Early College STEM Academy(ECSA) program will end in time for students to return to their home high school in order to participate in after school activities.

Are there other elective course options available(World Languages, Social Sciences, Humanities, Art, etc.)?

Yes. There are a variety of elective course options available at Madison College that students may choose from. Students must select from regularly offered sections.

Will elective courses be with the ECSA cohort or with other Madison College students?

Elective courses will be with other Madison College students during the regularly scheduled sections. Many of the courses ECSA students take over the two years of the program will be with other Madison College students. It is important to note that ECSA students will be Madison College students themselves!

My child is taking advanced math coursework. Will they have math course options to fit their current placement?

Being advanced beyond the minimum expectation of the cohort will not prevent a student from being considered for ECSA. Students who excel in math will be placed into an appropriate class, based on AP scores, placement scores, or other factors. It is important to note that special cohort classes for advanced students in the first semester will not be arranged; instead, advanced students must select from regularly offered sections that would include other Madison College students. Students who want credit for their high school AP classes will need to take the AP test and share scores with Madison College for consideration for credit.

Will students be able to continue study of a world language?

Madison College only offers Spanish, levels 1 through 5, and French, levels 1 through 5; there are no other world language options. Students would take a placement test in the summer prior to starting courses to identify the appropriate course level. Language courses would be considered electives for students and would be taken with other Madison College students.

What does the daily schedule in the program look like?

The schedule will follow a similar schedule as a typical high school day. Significant differences exist in comparing the week schedule for a student in the Early College program compared to a typical high school setting. Courses in the Early College program will likely be scheduled on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday schedule, so students attend class on 2 or 3 days during the week (compared to 5 days a week at a typical high school schedule). On alternate days, students will attend an academic support time, designed specifically to support students in the Early College STEM Academy program at Madison College.

Where will classes take place?

Most if not all of the courses for the ESCA students will be held at the South Campus.

Will ECSA student all be together for classes for the duration of the program?

ECSA students will not be together for all classes during the 2-year program. They will have a number of cohort classes the first semester and one the second semester. For other courses, they will take regularly scheduled courses with other Madison College students.

Will courses be on a college schedule?

Yes, courses typically follow a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule, like many colleges use. Students will be expected to participate in scheduled time at the Student Achievement Center at Madison college during time outside of their scheduled classes.

What is the start and end time of school?

The plan is for classes for ECSA students to begin at 8:30am and conclude by 2:30pm each day so that students have time to get back to their high schools for after-school activities. However, students are open to enroll in elective classes outside of that time frame if it fits their personal schedules.

How many classes will they be taking in a day?

A minimum full-time college course load is considered to be 12 credits.  That would be four 3-credit classes per semester. Depending on the scheduling of those classes, students would attend two to four classes each day with a 12 credit load. Note, as college students, ECSA students are expected to complete two to four hours of work outside of class for every hour spent in class.

Students may take more than 12 credits per semester; in fact, they need to average 15 credits per semester to complete the 60 credit Associate of Science degree, unless they take summer school. Students may also choose to take less than 12 credits if they need to, though should keep in mind that they need to complete enough credits to meet high school graduation requirements. All ECSA students will be provided personalized guidance for course selection that help meet their academic and career goals.

What courses will ECSA students be able to take?

In the first semester (Fall 2020), the plan is for students to take Introduction to College Writing, Intermediate Algebra, Modern US History, and College Success (1 credit course) as a cohort, meaning they would all be in the same section with no other outside students in the section. Students would also enroll in a PE class of their choice, meaning it would be a regularly offered Phy Ed class with other college students in it. They would also have an option to take one more elective class if they wanted.

In their second semester (Spring 2021), students would take English 1 as a cohort, but all their other classes they would choose from existing regular classes. After that, students would continue to pick courses from the regular offerings that work towards their personal academic and career goals.

My child is in DLI – can they participate in the Early College STEM Academy?

Students currently enrolled in DLI programs can make a choice to be in the Early College STEM Academy, though they will not be able to continue in the DLI program.

My child is in AVID – can they participate in the Early College STEM Academy?

Students currently enrolled in AVID can make a choice to be in the Early College STEM Academy, though they will not be able to continue in the AVID program.

My child is in PEOPLE – can they participate in the Early College STEM Academy?

Students currently in the PEOPLE program will be able to continue and benefit from this while also attending the Early College STEM academy.

Are students eligible for scholarships for additional college work after they graduate from the Early College STEM Academy?


Will students still take the ACT test?

Yes. Students in the Early College STEM Academy are still considered high school students in the Madison school district and will be required to take the ACT test as 11th grade students.