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Every year, sophomores and juniors in the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District (LGSUHSD) can sign up to complete high school graduation requirements through classes at West Valley College. To be eligible, they must meet certain requirements such as a minimum GPA of 2.8, fill out a concurrent enrollment form, complete application essays, and more. According to the LGSUHSD website, the Middle College program “is designed to provide a supportive and challenging adult educational setting…[that] provides students with an opportunity to stimulate their academic development and their quest for learning.”
LGHS senior Hilary Hunt stated that applying to Middle College two years ago was one of the “best decisions” of her life, explaining, “[I have] met so many amazing people both in the program and just at West Valley. The learning environment is much less toxic than my experiences at the high school were.” She also mentioned that the Middle College program gave her the ability to take classes and access opportunities she “otherwise would not have been able to.”
LGHS junior Elena Rexach concurred. She noted, “I like that [the Middle College program] treats me more like a person…there’s no busy work. I actually have time to do things, while still taking rigorous courses…it’s just less draining.” West Valley is semester based, so classes last for 16 weeks rather than an entire year. Rexach finds that, “shorter terms means that the information you’re learning is actually relevant and useful, not just filler.” A stand-out class for Rexach was Intro to Women’s Studies, which she took last fall. She feels fascinated by insights she gained about society and her future studies as a result of Middle College classes. She noted, “it’s a course that just wouldn’t be offered at a high school, since it’s more specialized and maybe a bit too political.”
Both students enthusiastically recommended considering the Middle College pathway. “The most important thing that [LGHS students] should know is that it is an option. I feel like it wasn’t really talked about much, and I had to go digging to find it,” Hunt recalled. “It’s a super good option if high school feels frustrating [or] you are a very independent student with lots of passion for the subjects you want to focus on.” Rexach also elaborated, “The application process isn’t difficult [or very] competitive.” She recognized that, “It can be scary to try something new, especially by yourself, but honestly, Middle College is so worth the risk. Everyone I know in the program loves it.”
Middle College applications for LGHS sophomores and juniors close on Wednesday, Mar. 15. If they miss this deadline, students can still consider the program for future years and discuss the steps required to take this pathway with their parents and counselors early, so they have time to prepare for the lengthy application process.