An integrated educational experience

The Manhattan Early College School for Advertising (MECA) opened its doors in September 2014 in lower Manhattan. MECA is an innovative Early College and Career (ECC) High School that offers an integrated sequence of high school classes, Associate degree courses at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), and work-based learning experiences through our partners in the Advertising and Media Industry.

MECA offers students the unique opportunity to earn a CTE-endorsed Regents Diploma, an Associate's Degree from the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) – free of charge – and hands-on professional training through our partners in the advertising and media industry. Students engage in a project-based curriculum that blends art, technology, and creative problem solving. MECA students complete a rigorous sequence of academic courses and work-based learning that is carefully designed to help develop their mastery of creative problem solving and effective communication.  Students have the option to graduate in four years with a high school diploma and 30 college credits or to stay for six years and graduate with a high school diploma, a college degree, and two years of paid work experience. MECA graduates will have the academic knowledge, the executive functioning skills, and the work experience required to enter into a wide range of careers and to be positioned as strong candidates for 4-year colleges.

MECA students do not follow the traditional sequential model of finishing all of their high school courses before enrolling in college classes and then waiting until completing college to being a career.  We have created a new approach that is more responsive to the needs of young people.  By integrating high school, college, and the start of a career we are able to provide students with a more gradual introduction to skills and expectations coupled with the targeted support they need to be successful at MECA, at BMCC, and after they graduate from both and enter into a career.


  • Students benefit from small class size (average of 24 students) and a personalized learning model.
  • Students engage in work-based learning that begins in Year 1, which includes site visits, job shadowing, special seminars, mentoring, and internships.
  • Academically eligible students begin taking college courses as early as 10th grade and all students have access to many of BMCC’s facilities and resources such as the library, cafeteria, writing center, and math lab.
  • Students pursue either an Associate's Degrees in Digital Marketing or a Media Arts and Technology Associate's Degree in Multimedia Programming and Design, Video Arts and Technology, or Animation and Motion Graphics—all at no cost to families.
  • Earning a free Associate’s Degree can save students over $34,000 in tuition and living expenses.
  • With a CTE-endorsed Regents Diploma, Associate’s Degree, and two years of work experience, graduates will stand “first in line” for entry-level positions at many Industry agencies.
  • All students receive a professional mentor who helps them navigate their transition into the world of work and stays with them through the program. 
  • All students receive individualized college counseling from both MECA and BMCC college advisors to help them matriculate at a 4-year institution.