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Heartland Community College

Early College Opportunities

Our College NOW program is for high school students interested in early college opportunities through Heartland! 


College NOW students can:

  • earn high school and college credit (dual credit) 
  • experience early college and career exploration
  • take courses on-campus, online, at a high school/career center
  • have a better transition to a full-time college or career experience
  • decrease time-to-degree completion and lower overall college debt
  • finished a high school diploma & college certificate/degree simultaneously


Getting Started...

  • Whether you plan to take Heartland courses on campus, online, at a high school, or at a career center, you must complete the applicable admission process steps outlined below. *If you intend to take HCC courses on-campus or online before turning 16 years old, there are additional early admission steps for you to complete.* 

    Heartland Application  

    First, you must submit the Heartland student application - it's free and easy! *You need only apply once to become a College NOW student.* 

    • Make sure you enter your correct (1) birth date, (2) high school graduation month and year(3) email address, and (4) start term/semester when prompted(Note: Avoid using your high school email address if possible.)
    • If you have more than one home address, enter the one you consider your primary address, where you wish to receive mail.
    • Application processing generally takes 3 to 5 business days, but could take longer during high-volume times OR if an error is detected on your application.
    • You must set up your myHeartland student account using the information provided in the welcome letter sent to the email address you entered on your application.
    • Email with questions about your application status or welcome letter.

     Placement Testing


    Next, you may have to complete the Heartland Literacy (Accuplacer) and/or Math (Aleks) placement test(s) if required for the Heartland courses you plan to take unless you have other eligible test scores. Learn about placement testing and ways you may be exempt on the HCC Testing Center website.

    Early Admission 

    If you want to take Heartland courses not offered through an early college partner high school or career center before turning 16, you must complete additional early admission process steps (PDF).




  • Registration Timelines

    You can access the Heartland schedule based on the dates in the registration timeline chart to view available on-campus/online courses each semester. Once you see the course(s) you want to take, make sure you have met the placement requirements listed for the course(s). You can click the course titles on the schedule to see placement requirements.

     Term Schedule Available Registration Begins
    Summer 1st Tues in February 1st Tues in March
    Fall 1st Tues in March 1st Tues in April
    Spring 1st Tues in October 1st Tues in November

    Home School Community 24-25 NOW News Update (PDF)

    Required: Complete the Heartland Financial Responsibility Agreement.


    Ready to Register? 

    • College NOW students who have not taken classes on-campus/online should call to make an appointment with an advisor. Advisors are also available for drop-ins in the Community Commons Building on Heartland's Normal campus. 
    • College NOW students who have previously taken classes on-campus/online may: (1) make an appointment with an advisor, (2) come to HCC during drop-in hours, or (3) email the Advisement Team.
    For Advising
    Call 309-268-8027
    Drop-In Hours
    (Normal Campus) 

    Mon-Fri 12 pm - 4 pm
    Community Commons Building 1000

    HCC Advisement

    College NOW Campus Student Roadmap (PDF) 

  • Select Your High School or Career Center

    You will see potential 24-25 Heartland courses chosen by high school and career center administrators. Your high school counselor is your main contact person to enroll in those courses. (Note: You need Adobe Acrobat Reader for PDFs.)


    • These courses are tuition-free, offered during the regular school day, and most are taught by qualified high school district instructors. (Some schools may charge a fee. Students/parents are responsible for purchasing required textbooks/materials.)
    • Don't forget to complete the HCC student admission process outlined above to earn college credit. (The course lists in the chart indicate the required placement for each course.)
    • HCC staff enrolls students based on rosters submitted by each school/center. (You should confirm your enrollment status with your high school counselor or career center support staff.)
  • Heartland Student Benefits

    Drop/Withdrawal Instructions 

    *If taking Heartland courses for dual credit, talk with your high school counselor before following these instructions to drop/withdraw from a Heartland course:

    • Log into 
    • Select Student Center, then enter your username and password.
    • Choose the Manage Classes option; you should see Drop Classes in the left panel to continue the process.   
    • Click on the term header (i.e., Fall 2022, Spring 2023) to view your currently enrolled courses and select the appropriate course(s) for drop or withdrawal. 

    View HCC's academic drop and withdrawal deadlines:

    • When you drop a course before the drop deadline, you will receive a refund, and no "W" will appear on your HCC transcript.
    • When you withdraw from a course after the drop deadline but before the withdrawal deadline, you will not receive a refund, and a "W" will appear on your HCC transcript.

    Graduating? Continue At HCC!

    Successfully completing HCC courses as a College NOW student means you can easily continue on to earn a degree or certificate at Heartland! Simply resubmit the Heartland application, but this time as a First Time College Student with Credit. Don't worry! You'll keep the HCC login credentials and email address. Then, you can plan your transfer to another college/university!   

    Access Your College Transcript

    The grade you earn will be recorded on your unofficial and official HCC transcript.

    *Colleges use official transcripts to determine your financial aid eligibility. If you continue your college education after high school graduation and plan to seek financial aid, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress.

    Important Academic Calendar Dates 

    Summer 2024 

    4w1 May 20 May 21 June 10 June 14
    4w2 Jun 17 Jun 18 Jul 8 Jul 12
    6w1 May 20 May 22 Jun 20 Jun 28
    6w2 Jun 3 Jun 5 Jul 3 Jul 12
    6w3 Jun 17 Jun 20 Jul 17 Jul 26
    6w4 Jul 1 Jul 3 Jul 31 Aug 9
    8w1 Jun 3 Jun 7 Jul 15 Jul 29-Aug 1

    Fall 2024

    8-week (1) Aug 19 Aug 23 Sept 20 Oct 11
    8 week (2) Oct 14 Oct 18 Nov 25 Dec 9-13
    12-week (1) Aug 19 Aug 27 Oct 18 Nov 8
    12-week (2) Sep 11 Sept 19 Nov 12 Dec 9-13
    16-week Aug 19 Aug 30 Nov 6 Dec 9-13


College NOW Plus Scholars

  • The application window is closed. 

    The 2025-2026 application will open during Fall 2024. 


    Current Scholarship Recipients

    Names of 2024-2025 recipients forthcoming... 

    School Scholar Name Graduation Year
    BHS Alyssa Geraghty 2024
    BHS Matthew Grayson 2025
    BHS Yvett Hernandez 2024
    BHS Jasmin Mendoza 2025
    BHS Ariana Rider 2024
    NCHS Joanna Beto 2024
    NCHS Believe Yayu 2025
    NWHS Alexandria Caruthers 2025
    NWHS Benedicte Diamonika 2025
    NWHS Kai Gibson 2024
    NWHS D'Amaurie Griffin 2025
    NWHS Moncerrat Ramos 2024
    UHS Mariana Sanchez 2024
  • Current Scholarship Recipients

    Names of 2024-2025 recipients forthcoming... 


    Scholar Name

    Graduation Year


    Kylee Anderson



    Lillian Campbell



    Isha Gollapudi



    Vedha Sai Garapati



    Jayden Altine



    Sahithyaa Balraj



    Lucas Karr


    The application window is closed. 

    The 2025-2026 application will open during Fall 2024. 



Frequently Asked Questions

  • College NOW students are Heartland students who can take a variety of college courses. Here are two main categories of Heartland courses:


    • These courses are common for 1st-year and 2nd-year students no matter the college/university.
    • Heartland offers general education courses aligned with the Illinois Articulation Initiative.
    Career Technical

    • These courses are connected to particular degree and certificate pathways at Heartland that may transfer to other colleges/universities in various ways.
    • You can review the current degree and certificate options offered at Heartland. 

    *Heartland also offers developmental (non-credit bearing) courses that help students advance to the next level of coursework and elective courses that may transfer to other colleges/universities in various ways.

  • According to the Illinois Community College Board... 

    Dual credit is:

    An instructional arrangement where an academically qualified student currently enrolled in high school enrolls in a college-level course and, upon successful course completion, concurrently earns both college credit and high school credit

    Dual enrollment is:

    An academically qualified student who is still enrolled in high school also enrolls in a college-level course at the community college. Upon successful course completion, the student exclusively earns college creditno high school credits are earned.

  • Both provide opportunities for students to earn college credit while in high school. Four-year colleges and universities routinely accept dual credit and advanced placement course credit; however, students must check with the college/university they intend to transfer to for information about how those credits transfer. Please note the following:

    • Heartland dual credit courses are college courses for which students earn transferrable college credit; they appear on your collegiate transcript upon course completion. 

    • Advanced Placement (AP) courses are high school courses for which students do not automatically earn college credit upon completion. Rather, students must register to take an exam and achieve the required score denoted by various colleges/universities to be awarded college credit. Heartland offers credit for particular advanced placement courses.


  • You can drop or withdraw from Heartland courses according to the deadline set for each semester. It is important to know the difference between the two:

    • After the drop/refund deadline, you can still drop a class until the withdrawal deadline. However, a “W" will appear on your college transcript to indicate a withdrawal. At that point, you are no longer eligible for a refund. (Note: A withdrawal counts as an unsuccessful attempt but does not impact your college GPA.)
  • Yes - it is very important that you take the right courses once you know the college major/career you eventually want to pursue.
    To learn more about your options, connect with the HCC Advisement Team in any of the following ways:

    For Advising
    Drop-In Hours
    (Normal Campus)
    HCC Advisement
    Call 309-268-8027 Mon-Fri 12 pm - 4 pm
    Community Commons Building 1000


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