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Why Choose PSEO? Five Common Questions Answered  

By Northwestern on Friday, March 29, 2024

What is PSEO?  

PSEO, or Postsecondary Enrollment Options, is an opportunity for Minnesota high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit before graduating from high school. They can complete high school requirements and earn free college credits by taking courses at a participating college or university.   

Students can take anywhere from 1–18 credits and take classes online or in person. Some institutions also offer the opportunity to live on campus.   

The Minnesota Department of Education explains the benefits, “PSEO courses are a great way for high school students to challenge themselves academically, earn college credit, and save time and money…The student will be expected to be a responsible, self-starting independent learner.”  

Note: All students attending classes on-campus at Northwestern must agree to and sign UNW’s Declaration of Christian Community. Our students participating online do not have this requirement. 

What does PSEO cost?  

The Minnesota Department of Education assures students, “Tuition, fees, and textbooks related to the course are provided at no cost to the student.” Additional fees will depend on the campus. At UNW, students can opt-in to meal plans if they choose, and they will have to cover parking on campus. Pricing will vary based on which living option they choose. Students who live on campus will have to cover housing.  

Taking PSEO classes in college can help minimize debt. Students will likely graduate earlier since they took classes throughout high school, avoiding the cost of a couple of semesters of tuition.   

Tip: Take your undergraduate science general credit as a PSEO student. Equipment needed for labs will be covered, and textbooks will be provided.   

What if I don’t know what I want to do after college? Is college even right for me?  

One of the benefits of taking college  classes while still in high school is that it offers students the opportunity to explore different majors and interests. shares, “Studies show that 50%-70% of undergraduate students change their majors at least once, and the majority change their majors at least three times.”   

Students need the opportunity to explore different interests. PSEO lets students explore anything from radio, to ceramics, to chemistry, or graphic design while they hone in on their interests and strengths. College can be an expensive experiment, but PSEO offers a “free trial” while you decide what field you want to pursue.  

Tip: Take general credits as a PSEO student that would fit with a wide variety of majors and take a couple of introductory major-specific classes to explore a variety of degrees.   

Will I struggle to adapt to college life as a high schooler?  

The transition to college can be rocky. There are different standards set by college professors, and there is a transition period for every student as they learn a new way of taking notes, studying for tests, and handling the balance between school and social life. Time management and self-discipline tend to be the most challenging for PSEO students. The responsibility to submit work on time and manage calendars for two schools falls directly to the student. 

As a PSEO student, that process can occur at a transitionary pace. Students often take a lighter load or supplement a smaller high school load with college classes. This offers a runway as they adapt to college-level learning in a smaller dose. Students often live at home and have a built-in support system.   

Can I graduate with a degree before I am done with high school?  

High school students enrolled in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program can earn an associate degree alongside their high school diploma. This program allows students to explore a variety of general classes across different fields, helping them decide whether pursuing a four-year degree is the right choice.  

Northwestern offers three associate degrees for Dual Enrollment Students: an Associate of Arts and Bible, an Associate of Science in Computer Science, and an Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies. While considering if an associate degree is a good fit, students should consider their plans after graduation. UNW’s required Bible courses would be available at a reduced rate for our Dual Enrollment students. 

An Associate of Arts and Bible, or Liberal Studies can help fulfill college general education requirements and ease the transition into a 4-year degree program.   

The Associate of Science in Computer Science degree program teaches foundational knowledge in computer systems and languages. It is ideal for students who want to enter a career in IT, software development, or database administration directly after graduation.  

PSEO can be a wonderful option for students looking to earn college credits while in high school, but it can bring up questions along the way. Our admissions team is happy to meet with you to answer any questions you might have about your time at Northwestern as a PSEO student. Request information today!