PSEO opens to sophomores

Brandon Klugman, Former Managing Editor

Students enroll at local colleges during high school


While some soon-to-be graduates worry about transitioning to college next fall, senior Abrar Salad has already been taking college courses for an entire school year.


This year, according to counselor Barb Nelson, Salad was one of 23 Park juniors and seniors who took Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) classes at local colleges. That number may grow as the program is now also available to sophomores in certain circumstances.


While students wishing to take PSEO classes their junior and senior years must satisfy certain academic qualifications and successfully apply, freshmen wishing to participate their sophomore year are only eligible if, after all junior and senior PSEO students have applied for a course, additional students are needed to offer the course and they fit specific qualifications.


Ninth grade counselor Barb Nelson said no current freshmen have expressed interest in participating in PSEO as sophomores, a fact that doesn’t surprise her given the limited criteria and the difficulty of PSEO programs.


“Going into a college setting is much different (than high school) and you have to be able to handle that rigor,”  she said. “Kids are more apt to try it their senior year as a stepping stone.”


Salad, who was a full time PSEO student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College this year, said she doesn’t think PSEO classes should open to sophomores, even in limited circumstances.


“I don’t think in general (sophomores) would be mature enough to be treated as a college freshman,” she said. “I think the high school experience is really important and starting PSEO as a sophomore would really take away from that. When you’re a sophomore you can still take advantage of AP and IB classes (also).”


Senior Jacob Meier took one class at Normandale Community College each semester this year. He said he was motivated by the possibility of a lighter course load in college.


“If I take college classes now then I won’t have to take them later, and you save money too,” he said.


While Meier and Salad are happy with their choice to take PSEO classes, freshman Mikka Schacherer said she doesn’t think the decision would be worth it.


“I probably wouldn’t do it because you’re missing out on the whole high school experience,” she said. “In high school all your friends are there and they’re your same age. At a college you can’t relate to your (classmates) in the same way.”


PSEO students earn college credits at no expense to them, which Nelson said is the reason some choose to participate.


Meier said his PSEO classes were harder than high school, but he thinks the additional effort will pay off.


“It’s worth it down the road because your load’s definitely going to be lighter by taking some classes now versus later on,” he said.

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