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MCCC Expands Arts and Communication Courses for High School Seniors in Partnership with MCTS
Cost Savings Are Significant for College-Bound Students

7/10/15


West Windsor, N.J. – In a continuing expansion of academic programs for Mercer County’s high school seniors, ten new areas of study in arts and communication are now available through a partnership between Mercer County Community College (MCCC) and Mercer County Technical Schools (MCTS).

The new programs are: Advertising Design, Communication, Entertainment Tech: Theatre, Entertainment Tech: Musical Production, Fashion/Apparel Design, Fashion Merchandising, Game Design, New Media and Journalism, Photography and Visual Arts.

This latest expansion more than doubles the areas of study now available to high school seniors.  The other programs include TV/Radio Production, Criminal Justice, Culinary, Theatre/Dance, Fire Science and Exercise Science.

The enrollment process begins when students are high school juniors.  As they develop their schedules for their senior year, they can apply to participate in the Career Prep program, which typically includes four college classes – two in the fall and two in the spring.  Then, as seniors they will complete their required high school classes in the morning and take transportation provided by the county to MCCC for afternoon classes.

Two students from Hightstown High School, Brianna Eve Rapp and Nick Concepcion Jr., starred in MCCC’s student production of “Romeo and Juliet” in April.  They took dance classes at Mercer as part of the college’s partnership with Mercer County Technical Schools. Ten additional programs of study will be offered for high school seniors starting this fall, bringing the total to 16. Photo by Robert Terrano.

 

“By expanding the college’s offerings in cooperation with MCTS, we can serve more students and help them to carve out a path for academic and career success,” said Professor Jody Gazenbeek-Person, coordinator of the MCCC Theatre/Dance program, who has spearheaded the growth of the career prep program in collaboration with MCTS’s Assistant Superintendent Dana Hice DePugh.

Gazenbeek-Person describes the multiple benefits for high school seniors. “If students are considering one of these areas as a possible major in college, they can take an MCCC class to make sure it is a good fit.  They can experience the rigors of a college level course in their area of interest.  And, they can earn college credits that very often are accepted by whichever four-year school they decide to attend.  If they decide to come to Mercer, obviously, we accept all of the credits.  That’s a huge cost savings,” he said, adding that seniors may earn up to 13 college credits (four courses).

This latest expansion more than doubles the areas of study now available to high school seniors.  The other programs include TV/Radio Production, Criminal Justice, Culinary, Theatre/Dance, Fire Science and Exercise Science.

Cooperative programs between MCCC and MCTS have been on the rise in recent years.  The Mercer County Health Science Academy was established five years ago and a new STEM Academy (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) will begin in the fall and will be housed on MCCC’s West Windsor campus. 

Gazenbeek-Person, who teaches Acting 101 and Acting 102, has been a major advocate for the Career Prep program. “It’s a good route in these economic times.  The benefits to students and their families are significant,” he said, observing that some high-achieving high school students don’t consider this option because of pre-conceived ideas about career prep and community college.

Gazenbeek-Person says they are missing out on a great opportunity.  “Every student who has taken one of our courses has gone on to a college of their choice with earned college credits.”

Each course is open to 10 to 15 seniors, who may apply online before August 15 to enroll in programs for the 2015-16 academic year.  An adult family member should visit the MCTS website here.  (A green ‘Apply Online’ tab can be found on the right-hand side of the opening webpage.)  Interested rising seniors should also contact the guidance counselor at their high schools.

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