Frequently Asked Questions about CSSE

  • What is an Early College?

    Early College High Schools are small schools from which students can graduate with a high school diploma plus an associate degree. Students take honors level high school classes in conjunction with community college courses in order to earn the diploma and associates in 4-5 years. They offer personalized learning environments, a common and coherent focus, and they emphasize accelerated learning for students. North Carolina is a national leader in developing early colleges. Since 2005, the number of early college high schools in North Carolina has more than tripled from 13 to 70. Nationally, about 200 early college high schools are open in 24 states.


    Who can enroll at CSSE?

    All rising ninth grade students residing in Chatham County are eligible to apply to CSSE. Exceptions can be made for upperclassmen if an Early College student is transferring to CSSE from out of county. A maximum of 30 ninth grade students are admitted to the school each year through a competitive admissions process. 


    What kind of student attends CSSE?

    Students arrive planning to attend a four-year university, completing an associate degree in university transfer courses before entering the university as a college junior. One of the things all CSSE students have in common is personal motivation and an ability to thrive in a more independent setting. Otherwise, they reflect the broad diversity of Chatham County. 


    What GPA should students have to be considered for this program?

    We do not have a prescribed GPA expectation, other than you must be a student who has the will, the determination and ability to excel in an accelerated environment.  Students are expected to perform at or above a 2.0% (c) in order to remain in the program.  Because students are expected to accelerate in math, they must be able to complete their 4th required math through the community college which usually requires completion of College Pre Calculus or College Math. 


    How many students are accepted per co-hort?

    Due to the samller nature of our learning environment, we currently only able to accept no more than 35 students each year.  As the program continues to grow, we anticipate increasing our numbers. 

    We are currently offering Science Olympiad, Robotics, Principal's Advisory Committee and BETA Club. We have various clubs held Tuesday through Friday  during PRIME Time. These can include:

    • Makers' Space
    • Video Production
    • Dance Ensemble
    • Board games/gaming
    • Drama/Theatre
    • Arts/crafts
    • Guitar


    Does CSSE offer sports?

    Because of the school’s unique structure and fast-paced academic program, CSSE does not offer varsity athletics. Students are encouraged to participate in community athletic events if they desire.


    What college courses satisfy high school credits?

    High school Graduation Requirements


    What does a typical student day look like?

    Freshmen and sophomores will attend classes at the Chatham Center for Innovation campus between 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Their studies may include classes, labs, academic advising, seminars, enrichment activities, faculty-student meetings, and career counseling. Students may eat an on-campus lunch provided by Child Nutrition Services in the cafeteria on the Chatham Center for Innovation campus. 

    Our upperclassmen will complete the remainder of their coursework on the campus of CCCC in Pittsboro NC.


    What if I want to attend a competitive university?

    You could be far better off than your peers. When you graduate from CSSE, you will have earned two years of college credit and an associate degree.


    What does that mean?

    University admissions officers will know you have the skill and dedication do college work, making your application even more attractive at competitive universities.

    Depending on what courses you complete at CSSE, you could enter the university as a junior and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in just two years — saving plenty of time and thousands of dollars.


    Why would a student be required to do 5th year?

    Students who complete a super senior year (5th) do so usually because of thei selected course of study.  While most students can finish it 4, it is not uncommon for some students to remain a 5th year to complete their chosen course of study.


    What degrees are offered at CCCC through CSSE?
    The Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA) is an agreement governing transfer between the NC Community College System and the state university system that went into effect fall 1997. Under this agreement students completing Associate in Arts (A.A.)Associate in Engineering (A.E.) and Associate in Science (A.S.) degrees at community colleges, with grades of "C" or better, are able to transfer all 60 semester hours of credit to senior institutions, entering the university with junior status. Courses approved for transfer under the agreement have a statement to that effect in the course description in the college catalog.


    What kinds of supports are available for CSSE students?

    All CSSE students receive typical Chatham County Schools Student Services support.  Because our numbers are smaller, all of our students receive much one-on-one support from our staff each and every day. As a college student, there are other supports offered to our students through CCCC's Academic Assistance Center.


    I'm not sure what I want to do when I graduate. Can I still apply?

    Absolutely. We don't expect all students to know what they want to do with their lives. Besides, plenty of college students change their minds, too!

    If you're motivated to get ahead in life, our staff will help you consider all of the options and choose the best courses for you.


    What if I decide late in high school to attend a four-year university?

    No matter what you study at CSSE, you will graduate with a high school diploma and plenty of college credit for transferring to a four-year university.

    CSSE staff works with all students one-on-one to help them make career decisions and take advantage of the many opportunities available.


    Where is CSSE located?

    Chatham School of Science and Engineering is located on the Chatham Center for Innovation campus. The facility is located at 501 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Siler City, NC 27344. 


    Where is CCCC located?

    Central Carolina Community College classes for CSSE students are located on the Pittsboro Campus at 764 West Street, Pitttsboro, NC 27312


    What are the school hours?

    Our school hours for 1st and 2nd year students are from 8:00 until 3:00.  3rd, 4th and potentially 5th year students schedules vary and are not identical to typical school days.  Many classes only meet on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays.  There are rarely classes that meet on Fridays.  Your school day it determined by the courses you are enrolled in.  


    What is the transportation plan for CSSE students?

    Chatham County Schools bus service is provided for all CSSE students.  CSSE students can catch the bus at a designated  pickup stop and will be dropped off prior to 8:00AM each morning at both campuses.  CSSE offers a once a day pick-up from the CCCC campus after 4:00 PM.  Sophomores who are enrolled in college math courses that are taught at the Siler City campus of CCCC, we will be provided bus transportation to and from that location.


    Is transportation provided to return to the base school for specialized courses?

    No, students will take all course work at the Chatham Center for Innovation location for the Early College or on the CCC campus.


    Is transportation provided to return to the base school for non-credit co-curricular opportunities, such as afterschool drama/musical participation or marching band?



    If I go to CSSE, can I take Driver's Education?

    Yes.  While we do not offer Driver's Ed on our campus, our students are transported after school to Jordan-Matthews High School to complete the program there.  We do not offer transportation home, someone will need to pick them up after class from JMHS.