Students progress from high school to college following participation in early college program at SMCC

Twelve of 13 high school students who took classes and experienced college life at Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) last spring through a new early college program have enrolled in college this fall.

Thirteen seniors from Portland’s Deering High School, Falmouth High School and Greely High School in Cumberland participated in the inaugural Spring Ahead program, a Maine Community College System (MCCS) early college initiative. The program provided an opportunity for students to take college courses and complete their high school education completely at SMCC.

The success of the first Spring Ahead program has prompted MCCS to expand the program for the Spring 2020 semester to SMCC’s Midcoast Campus in Brunswick and Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor.

“SMCC was pleased to host the first cohort of Spring Ahead students, and we are proud that such a large number of them are continuing their education to secure bright futures,” said SMCC President Joe Cassidy. “We look forward to hosting more Spring Ahead students in the 2020 Spring Semester, on both our South Portland and Brunswick campuses.”

The Spring Ahead program is aimed at high school students who are ready to explore the possibilities of education after high school but may be uncertain as to the exact path they want to take. Tuition and fees were waived for the first Spring Ahead group, and the College provided each student a $500 book allowance. The students were assigned dedicated advisors who supported them and helped them navigate the ins and outs of college.

Twelve of the students in the first Spring Ahead class enrolled in college this fall ― nine at SMCC and three at universities in Maine and New Hampshire. Among them was Lily Adams, of Cumberland, who made the Dean’s List while taking classes last spring and is now a full-time student at SMCC.

Coming to SMCC while still in high school was a first step in her long-range plan to earn her bachelor’s degree after SMCC and then enroll in a dental school to become an orthodontist. Eventually, she would like to own her own orthodontia practice.

“The Spring Ahead program allowed me to get my feet wet in college while earning college credits,” she said. “It provided me with the resources and support I needed to set me up for future success.”

High schools or students interested in learning more about the Spring Ahead program should contact Mercedes Pour, Director of College Access for the Maine Community College System, at