Middle College High School at Vol State

Q and A

What is a middle college high school?

A middle college high school is a small school designed so students can earn both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree or up to two years of credit toward a Bachelor’s degree. Middle college high schools have the potential to improve high school graduation rates and better prepare all students for high-skill careers by engaging them in a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum and compressing the number of years for a college degree.


Why is a middle college high school needed?

A postsecondary education is essential for financial and personal freedom in today’s economy. A four-year college graduate earns two-thirds more than a high school graduate does. An Associate’s degree translates into earnings significantly higher than those earned by an individual with a high school diploma alone.


Aren’t high school students too young to do college work?

Over the last decade, opportunities for high school students to earn college credit have expanded. Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and dual-enrollment courses give many students the opportunities to take college-level courses and earn college-level credit.


Who does the middle college high school serve?

The middle college high school focuses on young people for whom the transition into postsecondary education is problematic. Its priority is to serve low-income young people, first-generation college goers, English language learners, students of color, and non-traditional students, all of whom are statistically underrepresented in higher education and for whom society often has low aspirations for academic achievement. This initiative will increase the number of these young people who attain an Associate’s degree or two years of college credit and the opportunity to attain a Bachelor’s degree. As of the 2010-2011 school year:

75,000 students in 28 states attended middle college high schools. Nearly 75 percent of students enrolled in middle college high schools were African-American or Latino.

Fourteen early college high schools specifically served Native American students.

Twenty-nine schools specifically served students who previously dropped out or were unsuccessful in traditional high schools.

The majority of students enrolled in middle college high schools across the nation will be the first in their family to attend college.

Nearly sixty percent of middle college high school students are eligible for free and reduced lunch.


How many middle colleges are there in our country?

There are approximately 277.


Is the middle college high school designed for gifted and talented students?

As with many innovative educational pathways to a high school degree and beyond, middle college high school is appropriate for a wide variety of young people. Partners in the early college initiative believe that encountering the rigor, depth, and intensity of college work at an earlier age inspires average, underachieving, and well-prepared high school students. However, these small schools focus on students for whom a smooth transition into postsecondary education is now problematic.


What is the difference between middle college high school and dual enrollment or Advanced Placement?

What sets middle college high school apart from dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, and other pre-college programs is the reach and coherence of the blended academic program and a relentless focus on underrepresented students. As with middle college high school, Advanced Placement and dual enrollment strategies give students a taste of college, yielding multiple benefits:

For students, better preparation for college;

For institutions, lower remediation costs and higher retention; and

For high schools, improved understanding of the demands of college and an expanded set of curricular offerings.

However, only middle college high school:

Fully integrates students’ high school and college experiences, both intellectually and socially;

Enables students to earn up to two years of college credit toward a degree while in high school, not just a few college credits;

Blends the curriculum as a coherent unit, with high school and college-level work melded into a single academic program that meets the requirements for both a high school diploma and, potentially, an Associate’s degree; and

Grants college credits through the postsecondary partner institution and enables students to accumulate the credits toward a degree from that institution or to transfer them to another college.


Who is eligible to apply for the Sumner County Middle College at Volunteer State Community College?

Any student entering their eleventh or twelfth grade year enrolled in a Sumner County public school and has scored a composite score of 19 or better on their ACT with subtests of at least English (18), reading (19), and math (19).


What are the admission requirements?

In order to effectively address student performance/needs and determine which students could most benefit from the program, candidates must complete an Application for Admission. All students who have completed the tenth grade, live in Sumner County, and are enrolled in a Sumner County public school are eligible to apply for admission. Students must have an ACT composite score of 19 or higher and sub-scores of at least math(19), English(18), and reading(19). Students must also have at least ten (10) high school credits which include: Algebra I, Geometry, English I, English II, Physical Science, Ecology, or Biology I, World History, and Lifetime Wellness. Students who attend Westmoreland High School may substitute Algebra II for Geometry but will have to take Geometry at E. B. Wilson Virtual School through the MCHS program.

Upon acceptance to the Sumner County Middle College High School , each student must submit an online application to Volunteer State Community College, which is completed during Orientation.


Are home-schooled students living in Sumner County eligible for admission?

Only students who completed at least their tenth grade year while being enrolled in a Sumner County Public high school are eligible to apply for admission.


Where do students attend the Sumner County Middle College at Volunteer State Community College?

Students attend this high school on the Gallatin campus of Volunteer State Community College.


What is the typical schedule of a middle college student?

The middle college does not follow the same daily schedule as the traditional high school. In fact, high school courses follow the block schedule of Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday like those of college courses. Thus, each student has a different schedule based on the days and times of his/her college courses and the days of their high school courses. In other words, the middle college does not have a set begin or end daily time. If a student’s first class begins at 1:10 pm on M,W then he/she does not report until the start of class. If a student completes all his/her classes by 10:00 am, he/she may leave campus. All students must report daily to the middle college high school office. Per state law, attendance must be recorded on a daily basis and by class period.


Are there expenses to attend the middle college?

Through the utilization of grants and scholarships, middle college students will not be required to pay tuition nor will they incur the expense of textbooks. They will, however, be financially responsible for any supplemental requirements. Students will be apprised regarding any fees that may be assessed. Students must apply for the Dual Enrollment Scholarship after being admitted to the middle college and Volunteer State Community College.


Will middle college students receive a high school diploma?

Yes. Students that graduate from the Sumner County Middle College High School at Volunteer State Community College will receive a high school diploma when all graduation requirements have been fulfilled. Students who earn the required 22 Carnegie units and the 23 ½ credits and also earn the required 60 college credit hours, will receive a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree from Volunteer State Community College.


What high school will be listed on my diploma?

Since middle college is an accredited high school and students who attend middle college have actually transferred from another accredited high school, all diplomas will be conferred by the Sumner County Middle College High School at Volunteer State Community College.


Will I have a graduation ceremony?

Middle College High School graduates are recognized and receive their diplomas during a commencement ceremony which is scheduled in accordance with the other high schools in the district.


May I take on-line courses?

The middle college was established to give students a college experience. Therefore, all courses will be taken on the Volunteer State Community College Gallatin campus.


Will my credits transfer to another college?

Upon high school graduation, students who attend the middle college do not have to remain at Volunteer State Community College. Credits may transfer to other colleges and universities.


Is transportation provided?

Students who attend middle college will be responsible for their own dependable transportation to and from the college campus.


Who teaches the courses?

College courses are taught by college professors and will have college students in them. College students may range in age from 16 to 80.


Will the middle college have a prom?



Can middle college students play sports as a Volunteer State Community College athlete? Can middle college students return their zoned school to play sports?

The middle college does not have athletic programs. If a student wishes to continue with his/her participation in a sport or other extra-curricular activity, he/she should not attend the middle college.


Do students attend their home/zoned school as well?

Once a student enrolls in middle college, they are no longer considered a student at their previous school. In fact, they are viewed as a visitor when on their previous campus.


Where do middle college students eat lunch?

Students may eat in the Volunteer State Community College cafeteria. They may leave campus to eat lunch if time permits, or they may bring their lunch.


If a student starts the program as a junior, will he/she need to reapply as a senior?

Upon being admitted to the middle college, a student will remain until graduation, as long as they meet academic, discipline, and attendance standards.


What happens if the student does not meet the above standards?

They will forfeit their privilege of attending the middle college and will be transferred back to their zoned school. If this happens, his/her parents will be billed the cost for the uncompleted semester and/or the unsuccessful semester.


Will middle college students receive grades?

Yes. Middle college students will receive grades in all subjects. Parents of middle college students will receive a quarterly grade report from the MCHS.


What are the benefits/advantages of being a middle college student?

Opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree while earning a high school diploma

Earning college credit while simultaneously earning a high school diploma

Taking rigorous courses which better prepare students for a successful college career

Schedule flexibility

Accessibility to a state-of-the-art library and computer labs

Opportunity to explore career paths

Exposure to the college experience


Increased maturity

Identification with a community of learners

All of the above, with little to no cost to students or their parents


Who should a parent or student contact if they are interested in learning more about the middle college?

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the Middle College High School Office at (615) 230-3470.

MCHS Mission

The mission of SCMCHS is to provide an opportunity for juniors and seniors to complete college courses on the campus of Vol State while pursuing their high school diploma.

MCHS Vision

SCMCHS students will complete all requirements for high school graduation while pursuing an Associate's degree or a minimum of 24 transferable college credits.  Graduating seniors can continue their education at VSCC, apply to a four-year college, or enter the workforce prepared to be a productive citizen.