High School Students Can Earn Free College Credits Through ACE Program

ACE application deadline February 19

Deadline to apply is February 19, 2021

Are you a sophomore in high school who really wants to go to college but maybe you feel like it will never happen for you? Your mom already works two jobs to make ends meet. There is no “college fund.” Besides, no one in your family has ever gone to college so why should you be any different?

If any of that sounds like you, you can apply to the ACE program at Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) and if accepted, earn up to 24 college credits by the time you graduate from high school, all paid for by a scholarship! That’s an entire year of college under your belt for free. But you need to hurry, the application deadline is Feb. 19.

ACE, or Achieving a College Education, is a nationally recognized program that targets students, like you, who think going to college and earning a degree would be too hard or not an option at all. If accepted into the ACE program, you would take college classes with other ACE students over the summer and on Saturdays during the Fall and Spring semesters of your junior and senior years.

Jennifer Armour, Student Services Analyst - ACE Program and Hoop of Learning Program, said the benefit of taking classes with other ACE students is that you all share an experience you may not share with your other friends.

“They’re with students who understand the sacrifice they are making to put their future first and work hard in doing something new,” she said.

Alejandra Medina Garcia, an EMCC student employee and former ACE student at Glendale Community College, said one of her fondest memories of her time in the ACE program was getting to meet so many other high school students like herself.

“I met some awesome people in the program, all high school students like me from different districts,” she said.

As an ACE student, you would be surrounded by a support system of staff who are there to help you every step of the way.

“We care about their education and experience,” Armour said. “We love seeing our students grow over the two years and hear how they are doing after they’ve graduated from high school.”

You see, ACE is a lot more than the 24 college credits you will already have as you cross the commencement stage to receive your high school diploma. ACE sets you up for continued educational success after you have graduated from high school.

“The ACE program helped prepare me for the rest of my college experience,” Medina Garcia said. “I had a better understanding of what was expected of me from my teachers, classes, and for myself.”

Medina Garcia applied to the ACE program because her parents, who immigrated to the U.S. when she was about 3 years old, have always instilled in her the importance of education.

“I also thought it would be great to get a head start in college,” she said. “I had some great experiences with my professors. They were very helpful. I learned a lot.”

Medina Garcia also said being in the ACE program helped her get another scholarship to finish her Associate Degree.

“It looked really good on the application,” she said.

As an ACE student, you would also participate in an orientation and workshops on financial aid, money management, study skills, resume writing, career opportunities, and more.

“Our ACE team is passionate because we genuinely care about students,” Armour said. We want our students to look back on their time in the program with joy and to leave ACE feeling confident in themselves and their abilities for life and college.”

Armour said her favorite part about being involved in the ACE program is helping students, especially when they are starting their path to college and life.

“I love seeing them light up when they talk about their achievements and goals and dreams or when they learn something new,” she said. “I love knowing that even on the smallest level, I helped them. Whether it is with a smile or simple advice, I helped a student keep going and that keeps me going as well.”

To apply and learn more about the program, including eligibility criteria, go to https://www.estrellamountain.edu/students/ace.

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