A Jumpstart to College: The Perfect Program for Getting a Step Ahead


HCC PR & Marketing

The JumpStart program allows current high school students to earn college credits from HCC.

Joshua Panepento, Staff Writer

Being a senior in high school can be a stressful experience. Students are focused on making significant decisions, such as which colleges to apply to, while trying to stay on top of their schoolwork. For Lucas Howarth, being a high school student and taking college classes was no tall task.

During the 2020-2021 school year, Howarth’s senior year at Atholton High School, he enrolled in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) JumpStart program. JumpStart is a partnership between HCPSS and Howard Community College to help students gain college credits.

The program is open to all HCPSS high school students and offers a variety of courses such as humanities, business and social sciences. JumpStart students can also enroll in mathematics, world language and technology courses. Through JumpStart, Howarth took courses such as English, economics, statistics and political science.

“When I was a freshman my mom had mentioned the program and I thought, ‘that’s a lot of work,’ but … I knew a few people who were taking most of their classes at HCC,” Howarth said. “They seemed to be able to have a lot more flexibility.” 

Howarth found the JumpStart application process to be simple. Students can submit an application on the Howard Community College website and can find additional information about the application process on the HCC JumpStart website.

Flexibility is important for Howarth, who worked as a lifeguard during the school year. “I’ve been working 25 hours a week for the past couple of months and planning my own schedule is pretty helpful.”

The JumpStart program does not just help students earn credits; it also helps prepare them for their future and facilitates a smoother transition from high school to college courses.

“[JumpStart] 100 percent helps you feel more prepared [to transition from high school to college courses]. It’s a little different because of Covid-19, but I think the different work schedule there is in college helps with time management … instead of sitting for seven hours a day and then going home to do homework,” Howarth said.

With a handful of classes being online due to Covid-19, there are many options to fit students’ schedules. Learning how to organize a schedule and manage time as a high school student are important to create a smooth transition into college.

[JumpStart] 100 percent helps you feel more prepared [to transition from high school to college courses].

— Lucas Howarth, JumpStart student

“It showed me how you need a lot more independence. In high school, every single day you go in, you know what time you’ll be there and they tell you everything you have to do.” Howarth explained. “In college, you’ll have an assignment that they might mention at the beginning of the semester and you just have to plan for it. Time management is a big thing you have to learn.”

Creating this smoother transition was critical for Howarth, who is currently majoring in flute performance at the University of Maryland.

Howarth shared advice for current and incoming high school seniors.

“I think the JumpStart program is a great way to get a jump start on transfer credits and to just get prepared for college,” Howarth said. “Overall, the program has really been worthwhile and I would recommend it to anyone.”

To learn more about the JumpStart program and how it can accelerate your journey of earning college credits, click here.