By Gail Wilson Staff Writer
Ever look up and notice that there are 16 year old high school students in your classes? Ever wonder what it might be like to go to college for free? According to the Minnesota Department of Education, Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) is a program that allows 10th,11th and 12th graders to earn college credit while still in high school. These young students aren’t paying a dime to take the majority of classes everybody else is.
“The main benefit is getting college credits and taking college classes for free. Not having to pay any money,” said PSEO student from Andover high school Julia Kays.
Kays is one of many students at ARCC Getting a jumpstart on one’s education while still in high school is now an option for students.
“I really like it. I like being in high school with all my old friends but I also like to get the college experience before I actually go off to college after my senior year. It’s nice to get some college credits in beforehand, just to get ahead of schedule a little bit,” said Kays.
There are some nice benefits to high school students who enter the PSEO program.
“I really like the program. It gives me the flexibility with my schedule. I don’t have to be in the classroom all day everyday which is really nice. It means I get to work a lot of afternoons, “ said Brenna Scullen of Andover High School.
Going to college while still in high school does come with a few challenges.
“It’s really really difficult. It’s a little bit of a transition. A little bit of a jump from high school classes to college ones. Just getting used to different professors and stuff is a little bit of a stretch for me,” said Scullen.
Being a PSEO student means making some sacrifices in order to achieve the goal of education.
“I am not at the high school all the time so I don’t’ get to see my friends as often. I am not in the same building with them and that’s not my favorite thing. I suppose I am just kind of missing out on a little bit of that high school experience but it’t worth it to me to be here,” said Scullen.
Scullen said she still participates in plenty of high school activities even though attending ARCC.
“I am still at the high school every day. I don’t miss out on quite as much as some people who do full time PSEO. I still go to dances and still do some clubs and extracurricular and stuff,” said Scullen.
In contrast to scullen, 18 year old PSEO student, Samantha Davis, is missing quite a bit of high school for her senior year.
“Currently I am a senior in high school but I am a full time PSEO at Anoka Ramsey. Currently I have 16 credits here so I couldn’t have any classes at the high school. Some students do have classes at college and their high school but I do not. I chose to do college full time,” said Davis, a student at Blaine High school and ARCC.
Davis is also enjoying the many benefits of having a PSEO experience.
“You get free college which is really nice. You save a lot of money. It is just like a jumpstart for my future towards my career. It’s a great experience too. I will have one less year of going to school so I will be able to start working sooner and paying off student loans and all that,” said Davis.
According to one student at ARCC, being a PSEO student is really worth it and a great opportunity.
“I love getting the college credit and getting an education is so awesome and helpful. It’s nice to be exposed to that a little bit at a time rather than most kids who graduate and are kind of thrown into it and are on their own to do all this stuff. It’s kind of testing the water a little bit before you get thrown into the deep end,” said Scullen.