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K-12 Student Online Programs Offered by the University of Minnesota: Part 1

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As the second-largest institution of higher education in the Midwest, the University of Minnesota provides a couple of options for high school students, in addition to a variety of on-campus and off-campus college courses.


Basically, K-12 students can earn college credit at the University of Minnesota through two programs – the Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) and the College in the Schools program (CIS). Also, there are some non-credit online learning opportunities available to youth.

For high school juniors and seniors who are interested in experiencing life on a college campus, the PSEO could be a great choice. Created in 1985 by the Minnesota Legislature to promote rigorous educational pursuits, the PSEO program is now considered as one of the most common ways for K-12 students to get a jump on their college career.

The program serves nearly 600 gifted younger students each year and offers a broad range of academic courses. Statistic shows that approximately 90% of PSEO students who apply to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities are admitted.

In general, PSEO classes are taught by faculty of the University as well as graduate assistants. Apart from classroom-based offerings, it also gives Minnesota high school students the chances to take courses online at the University of Minnesota.

Better still, students will be allowed to take classes for both high school and college credit. And for those expecting to earn high school credit through the PSEO program, it’s possible to transfer the credits to any post-secondary institution when they apply for colleges.

Of course you have to meet certain admission requirements to participate in the PSEO program at the U of M. However, once you enroll in, you do NOT need to pay a penny out of your own pocket for tuition or textbooks. The Minnesota Department of Education will take responsibility for all the costs.

Who is eligible for the PSEO program?

Administered by the Advanced High School Student Services (AHS3) office in the College of the Continuing Education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, the program is available to all K-12 students throughout the state.

That means, no matter you are from Minnesota public, private, home or charter high school, you will be allowed to register concurrently for PSEO program coursework. But notice that those participating in cultural exchange programs cannot enroll in PSEO program.

Besides, if you are a junior, you must be in the upper one-third/ of your class, or score at or above the 70th percentile on a nationally standardized, norm-referenced test. For seniors, the program requires you to be in the upper one-half of your class, or score at or above the 50th percentile on a nationally standardized, norm-referenced test.

Other Admission Requirements:

As I talked above, the U of M offers two types of PSEO programs for K-12 students. So, you can take courses on the Twin Cities campus OR via online and distance learning (ODL). These two programs have respective application procedures and their admission requirements are quite different.

To enroll in the ODL program, you have to notice that the admission criteria are evaluated on a holistic basis. Generally speaking, your high school GPA and class rank are considered as key criteria. Successful completion of rigorous course work as well as your writing samples is also primary consideration.

Other factors such as your test scores, grade trends and readiness of college will be taken into consideration as well. Please notice that students who meet all criteria are not guaranteed admission to the University PSEO Program, since the space is limited to only 500 students every year.

How to Apply for the Post Secondary Enrollment Option?

Go through all the admission requirements carefully to make sure that you are qualified. And then you can get started to apply for the PSEO program.

First of all, list out all the required application materials. Basically, all applicants for the Post Secondary Enrollment Option will need to provide the following items:

1. An Online Application Form
You can complete the PSEO program application form and submit it on this page:
http://www1.cce.umn.edu/extranetScripts/PSEO-Application-Form.asp

Once it’s submitted correctly, an email message will be sent to your in-box. For safety’s sake, you can also send a copy of your application form along with all the other application materials in a large envelope to avoid a delay in processing.

Do remember to provide your Social Security Number while applying for the PSEO program online. Otherwise, your application might be processed incorrectly, and possibly result in delay or a late application.

If you’d like to earn 1 to 11 credits through attending high school classes, choose Part-time status. Well, to get 12 to 16 credits, you should select Full-time status and then take classes on campus or online. It’s possible to request either PT or FT on your application form, but notice that the Admissions Committee will make the final decision for you, depending on the strength of your overall application.

2. A Complete & Official High School Transcript
This transcript should bear a stamp and signature from the high school registrar, and include 9th grade in a separate & sealed envelop with the school’s letterhead.

In the case that your high school uses Docufide or another transcript processing service, you must select the “University of Minnesota-Advanced High School Student Services” option AND then send the transcript to the U of M via POSTAL MAIL.

3. A PSEO Balance Sheet
The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities PSEO Balance Sheet, which lists all coursework remaining for your high school graduation assuming successful completion of your current courses, should be filled out by your high school counselor.

4. A Post-Secondary Notice of Student Registration Form
Often referred to as the “PSEO Form”, it must be signed by you and your high school counselor. And for those who are under 18 years of age, your parent’s or guardian’s signature is also required.

Before you submit your materials, make sure sections 1 & 2 on the “PSEO Form” are completed by you and your high school.

P.S. Both the PSEO Balance Sheet and PSEO Form can be downloaded from the university’s official website.

5. An Essay
The University of Minnesota requires every applicant to send an essay together with his other materials, aiming to have a clear view of the applicant’s writing skills and ability to organize thoughts coherently.

Normally, the university will offer several topics for you to choose from. Once you pick out the one you want to answer, write down your name and the topic at the top of the page. The essay can be typewritten or computer generated (use black ink, 12-oint font and 1″ margins).

Remember, it should be 250 to 500 words in length. Please do NOT exceed 2 pages. Anything beyond 2 pages will not be read.

And you are highly recommended to give a lot of thought to your essay. It might lead to the different between full-time and part-time registration. And sometimes, it might even determine whether or not you will be admitted to the PSEO program.

6. A Personal Statement
In addition to an essay, you also have to write a personal statement to demonstrate your writing skills. Simply explain why you want to participate in the PSEO program at the U of M, discuss your academic goals and describe what you expect to gain from this program.

If you’d like to tell more about yourself or your academic record that you don’t get a chance to describe elsewhere in the application, consider writing an additional statement. Write your name at the top of the page and also use black ink, 12-point font and 1″ margins.

Note:
Having all these six items well prepared does not mean that you can send out your application materials right now. It’s possible that the University requires you to add a few more materials to the application envelope, such as:

• MELAB or TOEEFL scores;
• College coursework transcript – if you’ve completed any college courses outside the University of Minnesota, be sure to provide an official transcript;
• A photocopy of college entrance exams – applicants home-schooled for the past year or longer, as well as K-12 students whose transcript is narrative rather than graded, will be required to take college entrance exams, like ACT, SAT or PSAT. And then you need to send a photocopy of your exam score.

When you finally get all these things ready, put them together in ONE large envelope. And mail the completed application materials to:
Admission Committee — Advanced High School Student Services
University of Minnesota
107 Armory
15 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 5545

Additional Tips
To ensure you a smooth and hassle-free application, I also list out a few more things that are worth your attention. Take a look.

I. The University of Minnesota only accepts applicants once per year.
II. You can only apply for Fall semester, since the PSEO program at the University of Minnesota does not admit new students for the Spring semester.
III. The annual application postmark deadline is April 1. So, no matter you are applying for the Fall or Spring semester of the next academic year, you have to send out your application materials no later than 10 business days before the deadline.
IV. Make sure your application is completed by the postmark deadline, otherwise it will be considered “late” (just like those postmarked after the deadline).
V. Applications mailed between April 1 and May 1 might be considered on a space-available basis. However, those postmarked after May 1 will not be reviewed.
VI. To check the status of your application, you can contact the Advanced High School Student Services (AHS3) Office.
VII. Please do NOT send your application materials directly to the University of Minnesota. Or they will arrive at the Office of Admissions, instead of the AHS3 office.
VIII. Normally, you can receive a decision letter in June, since it will be mailed by the end of May.
IX. If your application is approved, be sure to meet with an adviser to register in person in June or July. You will also be required to attend an online orientation session at the beginning of June, and attend an on-campus orientation in August.

Note: This web site is not affiliated with or connected to University of Minnesota. For accurate and professional information, go to University of Minnesota official site.

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