Liam Martin Thompson is a busy high school senior at Mountain Oaks Charter School. Besides applying to colleges, he is also completing an Eagle Scout project, playing and refereeing for youth soccer leagues, lifeguarding, volunteering, participating in 4H and working part-time jobs in landscaping. And would you believe he is also an avid snowboarder? As if his plate were not already full, he is also enrolled in an online Trigonometry class through Coastline Community College’s “Special Part-Time Program” for 11th and 12th grade students.

Because his high school does not offer Advanced Placement classes, Liam decided to earn college credit through Coastline’s Special Part-Time Program. Liam explains that students in the program receive free tuition but must pay required student activity fees and purchase their own course materials.

Liam explains that he became interested in taking college classes during spring semester of his 10th grade year. He recalls hearing about the Special Part-Time Program for high school students through his

high school college counselor and “after being walked through the process by the staff of Amador College Connect, I was taking my first college class by the next fall.”

Liam advises high school students who are interested in the program to involve their school administrator as early as possible to obtain the school’s approval. The school’s approval and that of the student’s parent or guardian must be noted on the Special Part-Time Program High School Release Form that is submitted to Coastline for admission to the Program.

Enrolling in an online class allows for a more flexible schedule and for a student as busy as Liam, this is important. He advises fellow high school students, “online classes require a lot more self-teaching and time management throughout the semester” but adds that the professors at Coastline are “always available by email if you have questions about the course material.”

Liam encourages his high school peers to take advantage of this opportunity, “if you are at all interested in furthering your education past your high school diploma, make an appointment to meet with the staff at Amador College Connect and they will help you get your foot in the door before college even starts.” Rachelle Saldate, Coordinator at Amador College Connect concurs and advises students to “start the application process at least four months prior to the beginning of a term because the classes available for high school students fill up fast.” She adds, “October is the month to begin planning for January term” and students can start the process by calling her at 209-217-8239