Early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs) include a course and/or exam that give students a chance to obtain postsecondary credit while still in high school. Courses (whether stand-alone or in conjunction with an exam for postsecondary credit) must be aligned to postsecondary standards.

Tennessee students have an unprecedented opportunity to pursue education and training beyond high school through Tennessee Promise, a scholarship and mentoring program which provides high school seniors with two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee. Early postsecondary opportunities ensure that students are ready to take full advantage of the Tennessee Promise and succeed in education and training after high school. Research has shown that students who participate in early postsecondary courses are more likely to enroll and persist in postsecondary environments.

Early postsecondary opportunities allow students to:

  • earn postsecondary credits while in high school.
  • become familiar with postsecondary rigor and expectations.
  • develop confidence and skills for success in postsecondary learning.
  • make informed postsecondary and career decisions.
  • decrease the time and cost of completing a certificate or degree.

We challenge all districts in Tennessee to continue thinking about how to develop a robust portfolio of early postsecondary opportunities. The ‘portfolio’ approach, in which a school offers two or more early postsecondary programs, helps ensure that college credit and/or a technical credential is accessible to all high school students. The eight opportunities offered in Tennessee appeal to diverse student interests, needs, postsecondary aspirations, and levels of prior academic performance.

Early postsecondary offerings are also factored into school and district accountability measures as an “indicator of school quality and student success” as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The indicator focuses on two key areas: opportunity and readiness. Early postsecondary programs provide broad opportunity and access to ensure student readiness for future education and careers.


EPSO Puzzle Graphic

Early Postsecondary Opportunities Available in Tennessee


Rockvale EPSO Spotlight:  


Student Spotlight:

Wren Augustine
Wren Augustine-
"I chose to take EPSO classes because of the possibility of having college credit when I go into college. As of right now, it looks like in some subjects I can potentially be a junior when I first start college and practically already have my associate degree.  Not only do these classes give me a head start for college, but they also challenge me in high school right now. With the classes I am taking I get to do things from learning how to properly research to further my career goals like becoming a doctor. I would say my top two EPSO classes I have taken are clinicals and research. In clinicals I am allowed to leave school to go out to different clinical places and shadow and integrate myself with other clinical staff. In this class I am not only getting to go out and have hands on experience before college, but I could possibly leave with my CCMA license as well. In ray research class, not only was I challenged and able to learn what college class could look like, but I also was able to learn proper researching and execution skills for and future college assignments.  For anyone looking to possibly take an EPSO class, I would definitely recommend . I have learned and got to experience so much within these classes, and they have truly helped me. With a little hard work and dedication, you can do and learn extraordinary things in these classes."