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Free College Courses while still in High School


Sunday, November 13, 2016

PSEO student working on homework

What is Dual Enrollment?

Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to take college courses that count for both high school and college credit at little to no cost. This allows students to save time and money, explore college disciplines and career options, or simply enhance their high school experience with courses not otherwise offered by the high school. Northwestern's two dual enrollment programs are the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program and our Early College program.

student outside Billy Graham Community Life Commons building

What is PSEO?

PSEO is Minnesota's free dual enrollment program for students who meet the qualifications. The tuition and textbooks are paid for by the state of Minnesota. PSEO covers only non-sectarian undergraduate courses, which means courses like our Bible courses are not available through PSEO. Students who meet our PSEO admission standards may participate in fall and spring in 11th and 12th grade; the high school does not determine PSEO eligibility. Both the student and the parent/guardian of the student must reside in Minnesota during the course. If you want to take a Bible course, take a summer course, or will not reside in MN during the course, you can still participate in dual enrollment through our Early College program, wherein you pay the $199 per credit instead of the state.

So what about AP courses?

Dual enrollment is not the only way to earn college credit while in high school, but it is one of the most reliable ways. For instance, some students will take Advanced Placement (AP) courses in hopes of passing the AP test in May. Northwestern even accepts up to 32 credits by examination through tests like AP, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), but you may spend a year or more plus the cost of the test only to not pass the test with a score that earns college credit. On the other hand, dual enrollment courses like PSEO offer college credit through Northwestern for the course itself. Northwestern also does not limit the number of dual enrollment credits we accept.

What do PSEO classes look like?

UNW offers three formats for dual enrollment programs: online, on-site, and on-campus. Our high-quality online program has been around for over 20 years and serves over 1,000 students, making it one of the largest and longest lasting dual enrollment programs in the state. Our online courses offer flexibility within each week to fit the online courses into your busy schedule. There are no set class times. UNW also offers on-site dual enrollment courses at select local private high schools so that you can remain in your high school while taking rigorous college courses from qualified Christian instructors. Finally, for students who want to fully experience Northwestern's campus, UNW offer's on-campus courses to some of our highest achieving students. On-campus students have access to many courses as well as extra-curricular activities like musical ensembles and athletics, and some on-campus seniors can even live in the dorms.

student in Heritage cafe

No matter which dual enrollment option you prefer, UNW provides a team of professional academic advisors who are available to help every student choose wise courses to maximize dual enrollment opportunities. Our advisors can help you meet your academic goals, such as saving time and money, exploring degree requirements, and even completing an Associate of Arts and Bible degree while still in high school!

High school juniors and seniors, apply by December 1 to begin taking dual enrollment courses this spring!

You can find more information about our programs at pseo.unwsp.edu or by contacting us at upadmission@unwsp.edu or 651-631-5126. Also, plan to attend our PSEO On Purpose even on January 28 to get more information about our programs, learn how to prepare academically to maximize dual enrollment, and explore how to be a successful PSEO student or parent of a PSEO student.

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