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School Desk Blog: Ukiah High School Middle College – The best of both worlds

More than a quarter-century ago, schools began an experiment in knocking down the walls between high school and college.  Now, the Middle College High School model is well established across the United States.  Early College high schools have been rigorously studied. A 2013 study from the American Institutes for Research found that students who attended early college programs were more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college than their peers in traditional high schools, and were more likely to obtain college degrees.  Ukiah High School partnered with Mendocino Community College to launch its Middle College program in 2018.  

Students accepted into the Middle College Program gain the best of two worlds, college, and high school. A maximum of 30 students per grade-level are accepted, so they will experience all the benefits of a small, caring school environment during the school day and still be able to attend UHS social events or compete in UHS athletics if they want to. Students attend daily UHS classes at the Mendocino College campus instead of the high school campus. Middle College allows the flexibility to take up to 11 units of college courses each semester. 

Middle College teachers and counselors provide a wealth of assistance to guide students in their high school and college success. The transition from high school to college is a challenge for many students, so an important component of middle college is additional support for students to help them keep up with the rigors of the work. Students also receive additional support to help them register for their college courses and make sure they’re taking the right courses to qualify for transfer.  

All college fees and textbook costs are paid for by the Middle College. Most middle college students will complete 30 – 60 college credits by the time they finish high school. With the average annual cost of tuition, books, and fees at the University of California at approximately $18,000, middle college students can realize significant savings on their college education. This program is available for any 10th, 11th and 12th-grade students in Mendocino and Lake Counties.  

The initial application round closed at the end of February, and early enrollment decisions have been made.  There are a very limited number of spots still available for admission for the Fall 2021 term. Interested 9th and 10th-grade students are encouraged to apply during the late application round.  Applications will be reviewed and enrollments accepted until the program reaches capacity at 30 students per grade level.

Middle College Advantages:

  • Smaller classroom size for close interaction with teachers
  • Supportive peer group focused on academic success
  • Earn college credits while in high school
  • Personalized mentoring, academic, & social support

Students should contact UUSD Director of Alternative Education, Scott Paulin, to request an application.  You can email him at