Start College Now program gives high school students a head start on postsecondary education

Blog categories


By Erin Eagan


Parents, did you know that your children can begin working toward a college degree or technical certificate while still in high school? The Start College Now program, formerly Youth Options, allows qualified high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to take college courses through their local Wisconsin technical college during the regular academic year.

Start College Now allows students to get a jumpstart on an associate or bachelor’s degree, technical certificate or simply learn more about a field or career of interest — at no cost. Once a student is approved, the local school district will pay the cost of tuition and fees and the student will receive both high school and college credit.

To begin the process, “Students meet with their high school guidance counselor and first determine if they're eligible,” says Jenny Wagner, Moraine Park Regional Pathways Wisconsin Director. Eligibility requirements include being a junior or senior in high school, being in good academic standing and meeting the deadline for applying (October 1 for the 2019 spring semester and March 1 for the 2019 fall semester).

Start College Now.jpg

High school students learning in a lab

Courtesy of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Once eligible, it’s a matter of meeting the needs of the individual student. “It really comes down to what the student is interested in,” explains Wagner. “Work with your school counselor and plan out where you see yourself beginning college, then take courses that are going to apply to your college program.” As long as the course that the student wants to take at the technical college is not a comparable course to what is already being offered in the high school, the student can sign up for that course.

Maybe your son or daughter has aspirations to pursue a career in accounting, or welding, or something in the medical field. Technical colleges offer over 500 programs in 16 career fields. The colleges’ instructors are experts in their field and provide individual attention to ensure your child will get the most out of their education.

Start College Now students can earn college credit and high school credit simultaneously, reducing the total time and cost of obtaining a degree. Then, upon high school graduation, students can transfer their Start College Now credits to any of the Wisconsin technical colleges.

At any point, you are welcome to talk to your local technical Career Prep Coordinator to answer any questions you may have.