Accelerated College Experience (ACE)

Oakland ACE is an early college program for students enrolled at participating Oakland County high schools.

Oakland ACE offers students the opportunity, guidance, and support to earn as much as an associate degree while still in high school.  

Students who meet the eligibility criteria apply during 10th grade and commit to a three-year program spanning grades 11 and 12, and an additional year as a full-time student at Oakland Community College (OCC). Splitting time between courses at their home high school and college classes at OCC, students work toward their diploma and college degree at the same time.  

There is no cost to the students for tuition, fees, or books.

To be eligible to apply to Oakland ACE students must:

  • Be a student in grade 10, to complete the Oakland ACE program in grades 11-13.
  • Have a high school GPA of 2.3 or higher.
  • Qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch program, or be a first-generation college student (parents without a 4-year degree).
  • Be on track to complete all high school graduation requirements.
  • Earn qualifying scores on COMPASS English test administered during the application process.
  • Be enrolled in a participating school district.

Program Overview

The Oakland ACE (Accelerated College Experience) program serves motivated high school students enrolled in participating Oakland County school districts. Students apply for admission into Oakland ACE in the 10th grade and, if selected, begin the three-year program in grade 11. Oakland ACE is designed to serve students who are at risk of not enrolling in post-secondary education. This includes students from families with little or no history of post-secondary education (First Generation) and students whose household income qualifies for Free/Reduced Lunch. 


In order to motivate and support students taking on the rigors of both high school and college coursework, Oakland ACE students are required to attend a weekly College Success Seminar all three years of the program. Students also benefit from the monitoring and guidance of Oakland ACE staff, and professional counseling from both high school and college counselors.

Students accepted into the Oakland ACE program agree to an additional year of high school. During the first year (grade 11), students attend both their high school and Oakland Community College for the equivalent of a half-time schedule each. Students attend their high school for typically two classes each day during the second year (grade 12) and spend the third year completely on the OCC campus as a full-time college student.

Student programs of study are very individualized. However, the typical student enrolls in approximately 14 hours of college credit during grade 11, 20 credit hours during grade 12, and 28 credit hours in their final year. This allows students the ability to earn the 62 college credits that many OCC degree programs require.

By joining the Oakland ACE program, students and families agree that the student will not be eligible to receive their high school diploma until the end of their fifth year of high school. At least one high school graduation requirement will be taken through OCC in the fifth year.


Students admitted to Oakland ACE are required to attend a weeklong orientation program during the summer between grades 10 and 11. This program is designed to help students acclimate to the rigors of the early college program.

During all three years of the program, students are required to meet weekly in a seminar setting where they are engaged in a college readiness and life management skills curriculum. Topics include responsibility, attendance, preparation, follow through, communication, and stress management. Students learn to advocate for themselves. Students also meet regularly with Oakland ACE staff, who monitor progress toward both the high school diploma and associate’s degree.

Students have access to counselors at their high school and at OCC. Supplemental services such as tutoring, which are available to all OCC students, are also available to Oakland ACE students through campus Academic Support Centers.

Program Benefits

Students accepted into the Oakland ACE program can earn as much as an associate’s degree, or up to 60 credits for transfer. There is no cost to the student or family for tuition, books, required materials, or fees.

Transportation to OCC classes is the responsibility of the students and families.

Application Process

Eligible students interested in joining the Oakland ACE program must submit applications during the second half of the 10th grade. The application process includes several components including recommendations, an essay, and a standardized test.

Steps to Apply

Step One

  1. Print and complete the Oakland ACE Application Part 1.
  2. Submit the application to your high school counseling office for signature and forwarding to Oakland Ace.

Deadline: March 1, 2018

Step Two

  1. Take the Accuplacer (Reading) Practice Test online. The practice test is mandatory. Print results and bring it to the Accuplacer (Reading) Test at any Oakland Community Collage, or OCC, campus.
  2. Use Accuplacer (Reading) Practice Test results and the WritePlacer Guide with Sample Essays to practice writing and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Make arrangements for the Accuplacer and WritePlacer exams at any OCC campus. 

Deadline: by the end of March. Opportunities for retakes and late applicants continue until program is full. Check with school counseling office for individual school testing deadlines.

Step Three

After receiving qualifying scores on the placement steps mentioned in Step Two, work with your high school counselor to assemble all pieces of the Oakland ACE Application which includes:

  • Information Sheet
  • Parent Signature Form
  • Essay
  • Two Recommendation Forms
  • High School Transcripts

High school counseling department submits application.

Deadline: April 27, 2018 Application deadlines vary by school district. Check with school counseling office for individual school deadline.


Jim Troost

Accelerated College Experience Program Director

Rachel DeYoung

Early College Student Support Coordinator

Kimberly Mason

Project/Department Assistant