Early College

Central Piedmont Early College (CPEC) is a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) high school that opened on the Central Campus in August 2023. Early Colleges are small, public high schools, usually located on the campus of a university or community college, which expand students’ opportunities for education success through high quality instructional programming. Students begin at the Early College in ninth grade.

What is Early College?

Early College is part of CMS's Cooperative Innovative High Schools and focuses on first generation college preparatory students, underrepresented students, and students who would benefit from accelerated learning opportunities.

As a graduate of Central Piedmont’s Early College, you will earn a high school diploma and up to two years of transferable college credit or an associate’s degree, tuition free. Books and fees will be provided at no charge.

Benefits of Early College

There are many benefits to enrolling in Central Piedmont’s Early College, including:

  • small classes with rigorous academics, including Honors and Advanced Placement courses
  • significant cost savings from earning college credits in high school that you can apply to a two- or four-year degree 
  • options for industry certifications and hands-on coursework in HVAC, electrical, welding, carpentry, and more
  • access to our Career Services team who can help you identify and achieve your career goals
  • opportunities for internships and apprenticeships
  • transportation available to Central Campus through Magnet Express Stops and public transportation

Characteristics of Early College Students

Early College can be a great fit for academically-driven students who are looking for a different high school experience. Successful students typically have the following things in common:

  • are goal-oriented students capable of handling a rigorous, accelerated course load
  • care deeply about their education and future success
  • seek internships and other opportunities
  • are independently motivated learners, skilled in time management, and are willing to seek out and use resources for support

Application Process

CPEC is a full magnet high school in CMS. Students apply through the CMS School Choice Lottery.

For the 2024-25 school year, lottery applications were due on December 29, 2023. All families who were offered a seat at CPEC have been contacted.

The next opportunity for families to try for a seat at a magnet school with space is through participation in the reassignment/transfer process. This process is handled by Student Placement, but the list of magnet schools with space and the link to apply will be housed on the CMS School Choice Lottery starting on February 1. These requests are processed on a first come, first served basis. The deadline for families to apply and receive a result before the 2024-2025 school year starts is June 30 for early and middle college programs. CPEC currently has a waitlist for 24-25 students; the wait list process will begin on March 1.

Apply for Admission to Central Piedmont Early College

Still have questions?

Contact Principal Erik Turner with questions about the Early College at Central Piedmont.