What is Wilkes Early College High School (WECHS)?
WECHS is an innovative high school where students have the ability to complete their high school diploma AND a two year degree. This degree, Associate of Arts or Associate of Science, is designed to meet the general curriculum requirements that most college students complete in their first two years. This is a tremendous savings to families, as it allows students to enter the university with college credit and proceed to completing their major quicker than a traditional freshman. Don't worry, you don't need to have a major right now but only a desire to pursue higher education. You will have time to make those decisions during your time here at WECHS.
How do you attend WECHS?
Students wishing to attend WECHS apply during the spring of their eighth grade year. Our Parent Night will be in January along with application distribution. Applications must be completed and turned in by the deadline. Meeting all deadlines is one of the first indications you are ready for WECHS, no late applications will be accepted. After applications are reviewed a list of candidates for personal interviews will be created and students will complete an interview with WECHS staff at their middle school. Once all information has been reviewed, a final decision will be made. All information and decisions are confidential. WECHS does not share information utilized in the decision-making process or provide information regarding why a student is not accepted to the program. This is to protect the integrity of the process.
What costs are associated with this program?
Students enrolled at WECHS receive a tuition-free education. Textbook costs are covered. Beginning in the fall of a students' junior year, they are required to pay an activity fee of $32.50 to participate in WCC college activities. This is a required fee, paid to WCC. Students not paying fees cannot register for classes. WECHS fees may include field trips, graduation, club dues, homecoming, and prom.
I heard that your calendar is different? How so?
Due to community college accreditation and to meet the demands of high school honors courses and college classes, WECHS does follow a calendar that is different from Wilkes County Schools. You can find a copy of our current calendar on the homepage to compare it to a traditional calendar. Keep this in mind as you make your decision to attend WECHS and plan family vacations. Our students begin approximately two weeks prior to the traditional setting and end approximately two weeks earlier. Some workdays may be different or holiday break starting dates.
Do you provide bus transportation?
Yes, Wilkes County Schools provides bus transportation. Students will ride their district bus to their local high school and then ride a commuter bus to WECHS. Due to this transportation system, our school day begins at 8:15 a.m. and dismissal is at 2:50 p.m. Since WECHS follows a non-traditional calendar, there are days when this is not the traditional means of arriving at school. On days when WECHS is in session but Wilkes County traditional schools are not, community bus stops are utilized. Community stops are typically located within the district community such as at an elementary school, middle school or business, and students are responsible for their own transportation to the community stop. The community stops are traditionally on days when there are work days for the traditional school.
What's the advantage of attending WECHS versus my traditional high school? Can't I take college classes at my high school?
In a word - DEGREE. While Career and College Promise (CCP) is a fantastic opportunity in high schools, it does not guarantee you the opportunity to complete a full associate degree. The first two years at any four-year institution are typically spent completing their core general education curriculum. The Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degrees allow you to transfer to a four-year institution, having met a majority of those core general education curriculum requirements. CCP is designed for students to have access to college courses, but they will not necessarily complete a full degree. Through the North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement, select public colleges and universities (and some private ones) accept the community college's designated coursework for an associate degree as equal to the core requirements for that four-year institution along with junior status. This can help save money because all credits earned for the associate degree can be applied toward achieving a four-year degree. WECHS students also have the option to pursue Applied Associate in Science degrees which provide the opportunity for students to go straight into the workforce or attend a four-year institution through special agreements between community college programs and specific four-year institutions (2+ programs). CCP students are responsible for paying a course material fee of $30 per course at the traditional high schools. WECHS students do not pay tuition or material costs.