Early College

Western Carolina University offers opportunities to early college high school graduates who have demonstrated the competitive ability to complete a rigorous high school curriculum and maintain college-level academic work.

As an early college high school student, you’ll receive the best of both worlds. Early college high school students have the option to either enter as a transfer student, or enter as a first year student. If you choose to enter as a first year student, you will still reap the benefits of being able to participate in programs such as Western Peaks or Freshman Leadership Institute and still gain the benefits of campus living. While you have to decide whether to apply as a transfer or first year, keep in mind that the total amount of your college credit will determine your class standing (freshman: 0-29 hours; sophomore: 30-59 hours; junior: 60-89 hours; senior: 90 or more hours), which may positively affect things like priority registration, parking privileges and degree program completion. Successful completion of the associate of arts, associate of science or associate of fine arts will allow you to enter as a transfer student. If you do not complete one of these degrees, you will be required to apply as a first year student. Complete of one of these degree programs through a North Carolina community college will fulfill all liberal studies requirements for a degree at WCU, regardless of which application type you elect. (NOTE: Earning an associate degree or fulfilling the liberal studies program does not assure that a student can complete a bachelor’s degree from WCU in two years. Academic program admission requirements, course prerequisites and course sequencing vary from program to program and affect the time it may take to earn a degree. Review the program requirements of your intended major for more information.)

Application Checklist:

All early college high school students must submit the following items:

  • Application for admission
  • Application fee
  • Official copy of high school transcript
  • Official SAT I or ACT score report (including a writing score)
  • Official transcripts of all college coursework attempted
  • Examination results (i.e., AP, IB, DANTES or CLEP subject examination scores)

(Exemptions may apply towards high school transcript and standardized test scores)

Apply Now!

To apply, click here. As an Early college applicant, you can choose whether to apply as a first year or a transfer student. However, please keep in mind the impact of this decision. We have compiled a list of some of the differences here.

Admitted early college high school students should submit an official final college transcript prior to enrollment. Once this transcript has been evaluated, students earning an associate degree will be awarded Western Carolina University credit and enter at junior academic standing, regardless of whether they chose to apply as first year or transfer.

What We Look for in an EC Student:

As a selective institution, a competitive applicant is a student who has:

  • Completed a rigorous four-year high school course load, which includes North Carolina’s Minimum Course Requirements (MCR): 
    • Four units of English
    • Two units of the same foreign language; 
    • Four units of mathematics, including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and an advanced math for which Algebra II is a prerequisite
    • Three units of science
    • Two units of social science, including one unit of U.S. or American history
  • Maintained a competitive cumulative high school grade point average (GPA) both in high school and college courses taken, as compared with other first-year applicants
  • Obtained competitive SAT I or ACT scores (students taking the ACT must complete the writing portion of the exam to be considered for admission).

When reviewing each applicant’s credentials, our admission counselors consider a student’s entire academic record, including high school and college-level work, and while a student’s qualifications may be competitive, admission is not guaranteed.

Application Deadlines:

  • Freshman
    • Fall early action: Nov. 15
    • Fall regular notification: Feb. 1; March 1
    • Spring: Nov. 15
    • Summer: April 15
  • Transfer
    • Fall: June 1
    • Spring: Nov. 15
    • Summer: April 15

For more information about WCU and our admission requirements, follow the links for a first-year applicant or contact the Admission Office at 1-877-WCU-4YOU (1-877-928-4968) or send an e-mail to admiss@email.wcu.edu .

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