Seniors utilize PSEO to prepare for college

Students further prepare themselves for college through Post Secondary Enrollment Options.

Ginny Lyons

Erin Long, Staff Writer

College is the next step for many students at Benilde-St. Margaret’s. As a college preparatory school, BSM’s goal is to help students develop a strong foundation for a successful future. However, some upperclassmen take the initiative to further ready themselves for college through programs such as PSEO.

PSEO stands for Post Secondary Enrollment Options which allow juniors or seniors to take college courses that count for both high school and college credits. “It is like hitting two birds with one stone. It is an opportunity for high school students to get a head start,” senior Elyse Vandersteen said.

Since PSEO is only open to juniors and seniors, both Vandersteen and senior Zip Kaffey started it this year as they had recommendations from friends and siblings to do it. “I like college stuff because it is on your own time. You go to lectures, but they are way more laid back as [the professors] don’t care if you are doing your work or asking questions. They also don’t really care if I work ahead and in high school they make you stop [from working ahead],” Vandersteen said.

Both students joined PSEO for different reasons. Kaffey focused on the affordability of college, as PSEO offers free college credit. Vandersteen decided to pursue her musical interests through PSEO, which offers more resources and programs than BSM.

PSEO not only offers the opportunity to explore the academics of college, but it also offers a unique preview of the entire college experience. “I think exposure is key in the whole process. BSM is a great school, as it is a college prep school, but it is not college. When you are in a college, it is completely different,” Kaffey said.

Kaffey leaves during sixth hour and Vandersteen leaves during fourth hour to attend their respective programs. Kaffey goes to Normandale Community College and Vandersteen goes to McNally Smith College of Music. “I would really recommend it; it is not difficult. The professors are really relaxed and Normandale is one of the best community colleges in the U.S.,” Kaffey said.

Even with the extra classes, the homework load is light and enjoyable. They also learn different subjects than they would at BSM as they take classes chosen from a wider variety to find what interests them most. “It doesn’t feel like homework; it is something I like to do. It is not an extra stressor,” Vandersteen said.

Vandersteen believes that PSEO is helping her prepare more thoroughly for her future, as she wants to go into music, a different direction than many students at BSM. “If a person at BSM wants to major in business, BSM will prepare them really well, but if they go to a PSEO place that specializes in business, that will prepare them even more. It is like going to a private, specialty high school,” Vandersteen said.

Through a college preparatory school and PSEO, Kaffey is prepared and ready for college in a variety of ways. “I think that BSM prepared me for PSEO. I would not necessarily say [PSEO] prepared me more for college, it just prepared me in a different way. I think the setting is huge, the aspect of actually being at a college is completely different than a college preparatory school,” Kaffey said.

By taking advantage of their programs, both students believe they have given themselves an advantage in their education and the opportunity to have a smooth transition from high school to college.