Middle College

Middle College

San José Middle College is an advanced program for juniors and seniors who take two to three (2-3) free college classes and four (4) high school classes on the San José City College (SJCC) campus. Students earn a high school diploma while accumulating transferable credits for community colleges and four-year universities.

Middle College specifically serves students who need to leave the comprehensive high school environment and achieve success in both high school and college classes. These students are given mentoring, academic support and tutoring, study and time management skills, and career exploration opportunities.

While at Middle College, students and staff form a close community that focuses on respect, support, and both personal and academic achievement. Our students have been accepted into all major UC, private, and state schools.

“Middle College has helped me become focused and ready to start a four-year college.” - Hayley


What is Middle College

Middle college programs exist on college campuses all over the United States, and there are a number of programs in the greater Bay Area. Each program is different in its requirements and approach to alternative learning.

The Middle College program at San José City College got its start in 1991. We are administered by San José Unified School District, under the Learning Options department, and we maintain a close relationship with SJCC and its leaders.


Academic Life

Middle College students earn college and high school credits at the same time. Students can get individualized tutoring, support, and academic planning. There are a wide range of transferable college classes that also fulfill the requirements for high school graduation. Plus, college courses are free!

Additionally, students are expected to take on the responsibilities of college students when it comes to creating and following a daily schedule.

Instructional Calendar

In order to give our students a full day off from college and high school classes, Middle College follows a modified version of the San José Unified and San José City College schedules. However, the number of days of instruction remains the same as the rest of San José Unified. 

Differences from the San José Unified calendar include: no Fall Break in October; shorter Winter Break in February; earlier SJCC Spring Break; and earlier last day of instruction in the Spring.

A Day in the Life

Middle College classes run from 10:45 AM to 2:15 PM, Monday through Thursday, with a half hour for lunch. Friday classes run from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, with no lunch. Typically, a student schedules college classes in the mornings before their high school start time. Most students take 2-3 college classes.
NOTE: Middle College students cannot schedule college classes during high school hours.

While this is the “typical” schedule, students have flexibility in choosing their college courses.  Students can choose early morning, afternoon, night, and/or weekend classes


Students must test at a reading and writing level of 2 or 3 on the San José City College placement test, which is used as a prerequisite for many college classes.

Students should have at least 2.0 GPA. This is a requirement for all inter-district students.
Students need to demonstrate a certain level of maturity through their school records and come to Middle College with strong recommendations.

NOTE: Interdistrict transfer students must renew their applications annually.


Students will take all high school courses on the San José City College campus and are responsible for their own transportation.

Students will be enrolled in 6-9 credits of college coursework. Students are responsible for attending class regularly and for all communication with their college instructors.

San José Unified’s behavioral guidelines apply to this program. Those guidelines are defined in the Student Handbook, which is updated and distributed annually to students and parents.

Grades, Graduation & Home High Schools

The high school program issues six-week progress reports twice a semester and report cards twice a year. College instructors do not need to issue progress reports. However, we solicit them twice a semester on behalf of Middle College students.

Students graduate with their home high school and need to order graduation materials directly from that school. Interdistrict students will graduate with other Learning Options programs. Middle College has a special event every June to honor our students.

Students may participate in their home school activities, such as dances and sporting events.


Application Process

There are three (3) phases to the application process. Students should not apply to San José City College until their Middle College application has been reviewed by the staff

Phase 1

The student completes and delivers the Middle College application packet to the Middle College office on the campus of San José City College at 2100 Moorpark Ave., San José, CA 95128. The office is located in the Student Center, across from the main parking garage, in room SC-211.

The application packet includes:

  • Administrator Recommendation
  • Teacher Recommendation (core subjects only)
  • Student & Parent Questionnaires
  • 504 Plan (if applicable)
  • IEP Letter (if applicable*)

* An IEP placement meeting with San José Unified is required prior to Middle College enrollment. Learning Options representation is required if a decision to place a student at Middle College is made.

Click below to download each part of the application packet and a checklist:

Phase 2

All students are required to complete a San José City College (SJCC) application form online. After submitting the application, the student will be assigned an SJCC student ID number, which is required in order to take SJCC placement tests. Middle College staff will assist in this process.

All applicants are required to take the SJCC reading, writing, and math placement tests. Students must schedule an appointment (online) after they receive their SJCC student number via email. A photo ID is required to take the tests. Test results will be given to the student at the conclusion of the test.

Phase 3

Students who are accepted into the Middle College program will receive notification and must register for SJCC courses. Accepted students will need to sign a Middle College Behavioral/Academic/Attendance Contract.

Reasons for Refusal

Students may be declined admission to the Middle College program for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the following:

The student does not score a 2 or 3 on the reading and writing sections of the SJCC placement test.
The student has demonstrated substantial behavior or attendance issues.
Transcripts indicate that the student may not be successful in the Middle College program.
The admission interview brings to light issues that suggest the program will not meet the student’s needs.



“I came to Middle College because I wanted to become a better student”- Lydia

“The staff really cares about you both academically and personally.” - Jennifer

“The Middle College staff has been great because they provide you with a plan in order for you to be a successful student.” - Lilly

“I like the class size of Middle College and how the people you meet become like your family.” - Alyssa

“The students at Middle College strive for academic success, which causes us to motivate each other.” - Jadon


Location & Office Hours

Middle College at San José City College
Student Center, Room SC-211
2100 Moorpark Ave.
San José, CA 95128.

Click here for directions and a campus map

Office hours
Monday through Thursday
8:30-9:00 AM and 2:15-3:15 PM

Instructors are generally in the office on Fridays from 12:15 PM to 2:00 PM, and a counselor is available Monday and Thursday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Have more questions? We may have already answered them…

How will credit from college courses be counted by the student’s high school?

A typical 3-credit college course translates to 10 high school credits. College courses that are more than 3 credits can translate to as many as 15 high school credits.

Do you offer AP classes in the high school program?

We do not offer AP courses in the high school program, although students have the option of making their core courses Honors courses. AP classes are designed to allow students to earn college credit and show themselves ready for college-level work while still in high school. The college courses Middle College students take serve both of those purposes.

Will Middle College hurt/help my chances of getting into a four-year university?

A number of our students have gone directly to a four-year university. Middle College follows the A-G subject requirements. Many colleges and universities are familiar with the concept of middle college programs, and some weigh the college courses taken by high school students.

Is there a GPA bump for passing college classes?

There is no direct GPA change when students pass college classes, and these classes are not weighted by San José Unified. However, some colleges and universities will weigh those grades. For example, San José State does not weigh college course grades, but most UCs do.

How much does this program cost?

Students must arrange for their own transportation, and they can either buy a parking pass for the campus or qualify for reduced bus fare.

What type of support is offered?

Students are given one-on-one support with their high school classes and meet with Middle College staff several times a semester to check in on their progress. Further support in academics and personal time management is provided as needed. SJCC support services, which include tutoring in math and writing and health and counseling services, are also available to all Middle College students.

How many college classes can I take?

Students, by law, are allowed to take no more than 11.5 college credits a semester. In practice, students need to take 6-9 credits a semester, and the majority of our students take 6 credits. This may end up being two 3-credit classes or a 5-credit science or math class paired with a 1-credit physical education or music class.

Which high school classes will I take? Do I have to?

All students need to take four (4) high school classes to meet the required 180 minutes a day. Some returning Middle College students may take an extra college course the second semester of their senior year and become office assistants. Otherwise, students will typically have two core subject courses and two elective courses. One standard elective is Sociology. Other electives change as needed each year.

Will I be able to play sports or go to prom?

You will be able to participate in any extracurricular activities of your home high school as long as they do not conflict with class times. If you come to Middle College as an interdistrict transfer, you do not have a home high school. All Middle College students may participate in clubs and student activities on campus at San José City College.

Will I be able to graduate with my home high school?

If you come to Middle College from a San José Unified high school, you will be able to participate in the graduation ceremony of your home high school. If you come here as an interdistrict transfer, you will be able to participate in the Learning Options graduation ceremony.