Berrien County 5th Year Early Middle College Program

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Get a head start on college and in life by earning substantial college credit or certificate for FREE, while you're still in high school through the Berrien County 5th Year Early/Middle College program.  Tuition, books, and fees are provided at no cost to students and families! 

How does it work?

Basically, you will earn a college degree and or career certificate. Students take college classes during 11th and 12th grades along with their high school classes, and then attend college full time during a fifth year of high school to complete the program.

What are the benefits?

Save a ton of money. The national average cost of attending a four-year public college is more than $28,000 per year. By starting college while in high school, you could cut your college costs in half.

  1. Get a head start on your career. Whether you earn a career certificate or an Associate's Degree, you will advance through your educational path and start your career years faster than a traditional educational program.

  2. Transition smoothly to four-year colleges. Lake Michigan College and Southwestern Michigan College participates in the state-wide Michigan Transfer Agreement and has individual transfer agreements with universities throughout Michigan and Indiana.

What degrees can I earn?

A current list of options is available on our Programs of Study page.

Where will I take my classes?

You'll take classes at your high school or Berrien County CTE PA 56 Shared-Time Programs, and on the campuses of Lake Michigan College or Southwestern Michigan College. 

Sounds like a challenge. Will I have help?

Absolutely! Support systems like the Summer College Success Bootcamp, Early/Middle College seminars and mentors, plus all the regular advising, tutoring, and library services from your high school, LMC and SMC will help you be successful. 

Students who elect to enroll in the Berrien County 5th Year Early/ Middle College commit to:

  • Attend a week-long Summer College Success Bootcamp during summer vacation.
  • Successfully complete college course work in their junior and senior years of high school.
  • Extend their high school graduation date by one school year. Students will, however, participate in high school commencement with their original graduating class.
  • The completion of an associate's degree or certification to their high school graduation expectations.

Contact Melissa Springsteen, Early/Middle College Consultant for more information at or   (269) 471-7725, ext. 1304, or speak with your high school guidance counselor.

Contact Information

Early/Middle College Consultant

Melissa Springsteen 
(269) 471-7725, ext. 1304

Students and their families may also contact their local high school counselor/guidance office. 


Cohort 5-Class of 2023
July 13-17, 2020


Cohort 4-Class of 2022
July 8, 2020


Berrien County 5th Year Early/Middle College Handbook

Program Overview

Lake Michigan College Testing Center Hours

Southwestern Michigan College Testing Center

Berrien RESA, Lake Michigan College and Southwestern Michigan College comply with all federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination and with all requirements and regulations of the United States Department of Education and the Michigan State Department of Education.