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Early College for High School Students

Ocean County College is committed to supporting the excellence of our county high school students by providing access to Early College opportunities. Early College allows students the opportunity to earn college credits while in high school, increasing their preparedness for college and enhancing their resumes.  In certain circumstances, these credits can count towards both state high school graduation requirements and for transferable college credit that students can take with them towards an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree.  Discover the ways you can enroll in Early College! three female students studying on a bench on camp at Ocean County College

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The Course Search utilizes a keyword search to find courses, descriptions, and prerequisites. Once you know your prerequisites, you can take the classes you need first and prepare for future semesters.

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Early College Programs

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The Early College at OCC program allows high school students who are ready for college coursework the opportunity to take standard OCC college classes during the semester at any OCC location.  High school students in all grade levels who wish to enroll as a college student may do so with the permission of their High School Counselor or Principal.

Early College at OCC Registration Form

Inside the Instructional Building on the OCC campusThe Early College at the High School program offers high school students the opportunity to earn credits during their regular high school day. These courses are set up through articulation agreements between OCC and individual school districts. Each course meets the standards and curricular requirements of a college class taught at OCC and are taught by high school teachers possessing academic credentials that meet college adjunct requirements.

Each participating district offers a different number of classes each year based on teacher eligibility and course content.  Interested students can contact their school to find out if they are a partner, what classes are offered, and how to register.

Early College at High School Registration Form

students in classroomThis program is for exceptional students, who are in the top 10% of their class AND who have SAT scores which are at least 500 in Math and 450 in Evidenced Based Reading and Writing.  Students who apply to the EAP program are considered for full-time acceptance at OCC in lieu of their senior year in high school.  This is a selective program where students must have permission from their High School Counselor and Principal and interview with the Executive Director of Academic Success for acceptance.

For more information contact the Center for Academic Success at 732.255.0400 x2257 or x2000 or email or

Students Sitting on lawn studyingCollege Academy is a set curriculum for high achieving students to earn an Associate’s Degree (60+ credits) while still in high school.  Courses are offered both at the high school  and at OCC.  College Academy is restricted to specific partner school districts who have articulations with OCC.  Interested students should contact their school to find out if their district is a partner and how to register.

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a United States federal law that governs access to educational information and records.  This act protects a student who has reached 18 years of age or is attending a college at any age (including dual-enrolled high school students).

A student can designate an individual as their “proxy” to have access to select pages in Ocean Connect: Self-Service. View Student Proxy instructions here. Student Proxy does not replace the written consent that must be given by a student in order for the college to release information to a parent or designated proxy. For this, complete the  Authorization to Release FERPA Protected Information (PDF) form.

Additional details regarding FERPA and Student Proxy can be found on our FERPA Webpage.

Benefits of Early College

Many students are ready for college coursework prior to graduating high school.  Students who take advantage of Early College opportunities benefit in a variety of ways.  Early College coursework can:

  • Count toward both High School and College/University graduation requirements
  • Ensure on time or early college graduation by allowing students to accumulate credits before entering college
  • Save time and money toward earning your degree
  • Assist students with completing general education courses required at most colleges
  • Help students gain self-confidence by preparing them for their college career through completing college-level work
  • Allow students to explore different fields before declaring a major
  • Motivate students to attend college and ease into the transition from high school to college

Related Links

OCC is dedicated to helping its students succeed by offering them the resources and tools necessary. Below is a list of links you may find helpful during your time at OCC and when preparing for your next steps.

Campus Related Links: 

Transfer Related Links:

Financing Early College

Ocean County College tuition is typically lower than most NJ four-year public or private colleges/universities for a similar course and Early College students benefit from an additional discounted rate. Ocean County high school students receive a Board of Trustees scholarship to reduce the cost of tuition.  This can translate into tremendous savings in terms of both time and money.

Taking advantage of the Early College opportunity at OCC for up to 60 credits is comparable to receiving, on average, an $11,000 scholarship per year at a NJ Four Year Public College/University and a $35,000 scholarship per year at a NJ Four Year Private College/University.

This represents huge savings in not only money but also time.  Students that graduate from college faster and get employed earlier have more earning potential, higher lifetime earnings, and are able to save more.

Below is an average cost comparison of NJ Public and Private Colleges and Universities as of 2018:

Early College at OCC NJ Four Year Public NJ Four Year Private
Tuition and Fees for 60 Credits
(Cost of an Associate’s Degree – Half a Bachelors)
$6,000 $28,000 $76,000

Early College courses can save up to*:

  • $22,000 of the cost of tuition and fees for the first two-years at an NJ Four Year Public College/University
  • $70,000 of the cost of tuition and fees for the first two-years at an NJ Four Year Private College/University

*This estimate does not include room and board costs 

calculator, computer, and person holding a penEffective Fall 2023, the tuition rate for Early College courses is $110.00 per credit, which includes the Board of Trustees scholarship awarded to high school students taking OCC courses. Additional fees may apply for some Early College at the HS schools who require books and Early College at OCC and online courses.

Ways to pay for your Early College courses:

  • Payments may be made online by visiting
  • Through your online student portal, Ocean Connect, under the Student Finance tab, you can also pay your bill in full or you can set up a payment plan if one is available. For more information on paying online, visit the Paying for College page.

Apply for the Jump Start/Academy Grant (PDF) to help pay for courses!

Start at OCC, graduate, transfer anywhere, & save thousands off the cost of your tuition!

cost of attending OCC red bar graph $9,150 2 years at ocean + 2 years at public 4 year school red bar graph $37,180 save 34% 4 years at an NJ public 4 year school red bar graph $56,061
2 years at OCC 2 years at OCC + 2 years at a
4-year public NJ college
4 years at a 4-year
public NJ college
2 years at OCC + 2 years at a
private NJ 4-year college
4 years at a private NJ 4-year college

*Utilizing 2019-2020 Tuition and Fees Schedule
*Does NOT Include Yearly Room and Board Costs at 4 Year (approx. add’l $10-$15k per year)

Frequently Asked Questions

Early College students are held to the same standards as regular degree seeking Ocean County College students.  Students should meet all college pre-requisite and readiness standards (Policy 5165) and have permission of their school counselors and parents prior to registration.

You should work with your school counselor to see which courses you qualify to take.  Here is a link to the state of NJ list of Approved General Education Courses at OCC. This list offers a variety of courses that are highly transferable and are likely to be taken within the first two years of college, regardless of where you choose to attend.

Absolutely!  Homeschooled students will follow the same procedures and guidelines for Early College with the exception of having their school counselor or school principal sign the Early College at OCC Registration Form, homeschooled students can have their parent sign instead.

Most college admission pages will specify that even if you are enrolled in dual-credit courses at a collegiate institution, you will not be considered a transfer student.  If you can’t find this information readily during the application process, check with the admissions department at the schools you are applying to.

All credits earned during your time at OCC may be transferred to any public college or university in New Jersey and could be transferred to out of state public and private schools depending on their transfer of college credit policies. Please be sure to check each school’s transfer of credit policies carefully and plan accordingly when considering what Early College courses to take and where you are applying after high school.

New Jersey offers a comprehensive search engine, NJ Transfer, that allows you to compare courses offered at one institution and how it will transfer to another.  This makes it simple to see which of your courses will transfer where depending on what school you want to go to. State colleges and universities in New Jersey are bound to the Comprehensive Statewide Transfer Agreement for students earning an associate’s degree.

For other states, you will have to confirm what credits will transfer with an admissions counselor.

Ocean Connect is the student portal for all things OCC where you can make payments, view courses, check out clubs and organizations, access your OCC e-mail, and more! Ocean Connect is located at under the “My Ocean” link in the upper right-hand corner.  Your initial login is usually:

Username: firstname_lastname

Password: OCC Student ID Number

Simply complete the online application to OCC at the Apply Now page and any of the credits earned in high school will be applied to the major you choose.  Academic Advising will assist you with making the best course choices for your degree.

OCC abides by the intercollegiate athletic eligibility standards of the NJCAA.  All intercollegiate student-athletes must be high school graduates.  While Early College students are not eligible to participate in athletics, they are able to get involved in clubs and activities during the semester they are registered for provided they pay the appropriate student activities fee.

Questions? Contact Us!

OCC Enrollment Services
Student Enrollment Building
College Drive – PO Box 2001
Toms River, NJ 08754
732-255-0482 |

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