Chatham School of Science and Engineering

Determined. Motivated. Independent. Do these adjectives describe your child? This is the type of student that would excel at the Chatham School of Science and Engineering (CSSE).

CSSE is an early college high school right here in Chatham County. It is located in Siler City. It is a bold approach, based on the principle that academic rigor, combined with the opportunity to save time and money, is a powerful motivator for students to work hard and succeed. Students who attend an early college high school will take honors level classes in conjunction with community college courses and will graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree in 4-5 years. After graduating, they will enter a university as a junior.

All rising ninth grade students residing in Chatham County are eligible to apply to the Chatham School of Science and Engineering. Some exceptions can be made for upperclassmen if an early college applicant is transferring to CSSE from out of county. Due to the more personalized learning environment, they are currently only accepting 30 students each year, after a competitive admissions process.

There is not a prescribed GPA expectation for the students applying, however, the student must be able to excel in an accelerated, independent environment and be motivated to succeed. Students are expected to perform at or above a 2.0 GPA in order to remain in the program. Because students are expected to accelerate in math, they must be able to complete the 4th required math through the community college. This usually requires completion of College Pre-Calculus or College Math.

The degrees currently being offered through CSSE are as follows: Associate in Arts (A.A.), Associate in Engineering (A.E.), and Associate in Science (A.S.). The courses completed with a “C” or better, can transfer all 60 semester hours of credit to senior institutions. The classes eligible will be noted in the college catalog.

For a freshman or sophomore, the students will attend classes at CSSE from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM. The upperclassman will complete their coursework on the campus of Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) in Pittsboro.

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

Chatham School of Science and Engineering offers numerous clubs to participate in. Because of the unique structure and fast-paced academic environment, varsity athletics are not offered, although, students are encouraged to participate in community athletic events if they desire.

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!

For additional information about the Chatham School of Science and Engineering, please call 919-663-5899 or visit

Article by: Jaime Detzi

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