Maggie Klaers


Discussion surrounds Post Secondary Enrollment Opportunity offered to students

February 16, 2022

PSEO proves valuable  

As an underclassman, I had always heard about the PSEO (Postsecondary Enrollment Options) experience, but I could finally try it out for myself at the start of my junior year. While at first I was overwhelmed with the possibility of taking a college-level course, after taking a leap of faith, I soon realized the benefits that it provided.  

What initially drew me towards PSEO was the chance to not only gain high school credit but also to begin my college transcripts in the process. Because the state of Minnesota pays for all PSEO expenses, I was essentially starting my college education for free, something I don’t think anyone would pass up. After I graduate high school, some of those credits should transfer to any future university. As someone who has always been involved in AP classes, where passing the AP test is the requirement for credit, PSEO seemed like a much better option. 

Another reason PSEO was beneficial was the increased flexibility in my high school schedule. When you take a college class, half of those credits are counted towards high school credits. When I took college writing, those four credits counted as two, which for me was a full year of English in just one semester. 

Because of this, I was allotted open hours during the day to work on PSEO, which allowed me to not only catch up on work, but gave me a mental break. Instead of going to seven periods all day, I would have a few open hours in the morning, which I used to get caught up. As someone involved in a lot of extracurriculars, this was a lifesaver. 

Not only did PSEO give me extra time, but it also taught me a plethora of skills that I’ll continue to use. While I suddenly had much more freedom, that came with the responsibility of staying on top of my assignments without constant reminders. In the fall semester, I took one course through Normandale in a hybrid model, going into class on Mondays and having every other day asynchronous. Balancing this with four high school classes and other activities taught me the importance of time management and organization.  

For the first time, I bought myself a planner and began to track what assignments I had and when they were due. With this, I felt more prepared, and I felt my stress level decrease as I knew what to expect. I learned what organization strategies worked best for me and I found that I was much more productive. All of these are skills that I’ll bring with me in future endeavors. 

Although I only participated in part-time PSEO and not full-time, the experience was a perfect balance for me. I was still able to see my friends and have a “normal” high school experience, while also preparing myself for my future. I’ve never regretted my decision to take PSEO classes and would highly recommend them for anyone interested.

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College courses isolate students

Juniors and seniors are given the option to do PSEO (Postsecondary Enrollment Options) classes at local colleges, and while academically this can be beneficial, the social disadvantages override the advantages. This year I opted to do PSEO part-time and the rest of my classes at the high school. While the majority of the experience was positive, I struggled with several aspects of it. 

It was difficult to take classes when you barely know your professor, and due to how little time there is to build a relationship, there was no way to improve that situation. My classes were online as well, so I had no opportunity to get to know my classmates either. The combination of the two can have a very negative impact on both a student’s educational experience as well as their mental health.

Whatever sense of isolation that is felt through part-time PSEO, full-time must be twice as bad. High school is arguably one of the most defining and important times in a person’s life. For better or worse, it’s a time when much is decided, as well as an experience that will shape who you become later on. However, if a student doesn’t attend school, it is impossible to get this said experience. The sudden transition from a collaborative high school surrounded by friends and peers, to a much more independently functioning college with people several years older at the minimum, can be very jarring. Of course, it’s still possible to make friends and build new relationships, but the adjustment takes a toll. For those who don’t have much free time, this can lead to seeing some high school friends much less as well. The impact of this goes without saying — It’s very hard to be away from friends in this way.

If a student chooses to do part-time classes that are in person, this can lead to additional difficulties. Driving back and forth between schools takes time and resources that may not be available to everyone. Every student is different, so what works for one may not work for another, however certain things — like PSEO — have too many disadvantages to work for anyone.

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