A head start in LCCC's Early College High School helped Farah Mohammad earn his bachelor’s degree by age 20

When Farah Mohammad brought home a flyer about Lorain County Community College’s Early College High School program, he and his dad, Ali, were interested, but unsure. It seemed like a unique opportunity – earning a high school diploma and an associate degree at the same from the LCCC campus.

“You’re getting your associate degree for free, right out of high school,” Ali says. “It’s fantastic. How could you go wrong?”

But the program would take Farah, a first year high school student, out of his home school district of Avon where he had grown comfortable, made close friends, and was excited to play sports. Farah sat down with his mom and dad for a long talk about the sacrifices he would have to make, and how they paled in comparison to the possibilities in front of him – possibilities Ali never had.

“I talked about how when I was in high school only people in Advanced Placement classes could earn college credit,” Ali says. “I was willing to put in the same effort, but I wasn’t in AP classes, so I felt a bit cheated.”

Ali, who attended college but never earned a degree, says it took just one informational session about the program to convince them both.

“All our questions were answered, and it seemed like an opportunity of a lifetime,” Ali says.

And Farah says he was excited to venture into a new setting.

“I wanted to try something new and once I found out I’d be on the LCCC campus, I thought that was going to be a good environment for me,” Farah says.

Farah Mohammad graduated from LCCC's Early College High School

Building confidence

On LCCC’s campus, Farah found everything – and everyone – he needed to succeed.  

“Brenda Owens was my advisor at the time, and she was so welcoming,” Farah says. “I was a little uneasy and she let me feel comfortable in myself and eased my worries.”  

At home, as Ali watched his son go through the rigor of Early College High School, he saw Farah learn discipline and build confidence with every day.  

“It put him in a college mentality,” says Farah. “By him doing high school and college courses together, he realized he is capable of succeeding at any school.” 

Farah rode that success well beyond his Early College High School experience. After graduating in 2018 with his high school diploma and associate degree, Farah transferred to Cleveland State University as a junior and began working toward a bachelor’s degree with a double major in psychology and health science. He also spent a few years working at Hopebridge, an Autism therapy center in Westlake. 

“It’s been amazing to work with the children there; it’s so rewarding to see their progress,” Farah says. 

In December 2020 – at age 20 – Farah graduated from CSU and is now pursuing a master’s degree through Liberty University. He expects to graduate in 2023 and hopes to earn his doctorate degree after that, while starting his career.  

“I’d like to be a licensed and certified psychologist by the time I’m 25 or 26 and working at a private practice,” Farah says. “Then I’d like to open my own practice one day.” 

As Farah works toward his ultimate career goal, he finds himself returning to the LCCC campus that welcomed him so many years ago.  

“I come here a lot to study; it’s like a home,” he says. “I come here and get centered and can focus on my studies.” 

“Looking back, I wouldn't change anything about my choice to enter the Early College High School program.”
Farah Mohammad, LCCC graduate