Seniors take on college courses

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For students who enjoy learning beyond the basic course outline or simply want to get ahead on college work, one option is the Postsecondary Enrollment Options, open to sophomores, juniors and seniors who want to get college credit in high school while avoiding paying hefty fees for a regular college course.

Photo by Kayley Winkelman

For students who enjoy learning beyond the basic course outline or simply want to get ahead on college work, one option is the Postsecondary Enrollment Options, open to sophomores, juniors and seniors who want to get college credit in high school while avoiding paying hefty fees for a regular college course.

PSEO is a unique way to accelerate learning in high school and be introduced into the college environment.

For students who enjoy learning beyond the basic course outline or simply want to get ahead on college work, one option is the Postsecondary Enrollment Options, open to sophomores, juniors and seniors who want to get college credit in high school while avoiding paying hefty fees for a regular college course. The students who choose to take PSEO courses instead of regular high school courses tend to have more flexibility in their schedules and can gain economic benefits in the long run.

High school and college environments are different in the way students are treated and the level of responsibility associated with each one. Because PSEO students experience both environments at once, the transition becomes much easier from high school, where teachers manage students’ time and responsibilities, to college, where students manage it themselves. PSEO students have more flexibility and independence, since college students are treated as adults, and are expected to be responsible for their own work. PSEO students also have to be mature enough to embrace a college environment.

Since most college credits translate to multiple high school credits, PSEO students are able to get ahead on college coursework and complete high school graduation credits much earlier.

“The credits are more dense, but the coursework is similar… I can get more done at one time.”

— Natasha Pilacinski

As senior Natasha Pilacinski explained, “The credits are more dense, but the coursework is similar… I can get more done at one time.”

Being a PSEO student does have its drawbacks, however. Many PSEO students lose social connections at their high school or start to feel disconnected from their peers because of the lack of day-to-day interactions or conflicting events. Some simply choose not to participate in high school social activities.

“You miss out on pep fests, eating lunch with friends, or the homecoming dance,” said Counselor Liz Nelson. “You still can participate in all of these things, but often times you choose not to.”

There are many courses available to PSEO students which meet high school graduation requirements. Just at the University of Minnesota, there are over 140 PSEO classes which meet Stillwater Area High School graduation requirements. Because of the large amount of options available, PSEO students are able to take specific courses that are more fun or interesting to them.

“The classes are more interesting to me. You have a wider range of options for classes to take,” said senior Emily Peck. “They are more geared toward my interests.”

PSEO students have an opportunity to take specific courses, manage their own time, and have some of their college course fees paid for by the Minnesota government. PSEO is a unique way to accelerate learning in high school and be introduced into the college environment.

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