As I went through high school, I became increasingly aware that I needed to take advantage of the time, as it was the beginning of building my professional self. One of the ways I could go beyond the basic coursework that was offered was to participate in dual enrollment, which is a practice that gives high school students the opportunity to take courses that allow them to earn dual credits—meaning that one class would fulfill both their high school graduation requirements and postsecondary education requirements.
There are many different ways to earn dual credits, such as taking AP classes. For me, the best fit ended up being Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO), a dual enrollment program that takes place at any college or university that offers PSEO in Minnesota. PSEO is a program that allows high schoolers to take college courses alongside college students at no cost to the student’s family. To me, PSEO seemed like an opportunity too good not to take advantage of.
I first learned about PSEO through my charter school. Since my school didn’t have any dual enrollment courses offered in the building, they instead informed students about PSEO. I ultimately ended up choosing to go to the University of Minnesota full-time for my PSEO coursework.
Due to my supportive high school counselor and my sister, who had done PSEO the year before, the process of signing up wasn’t too difficult. Before classes started, I did an online module introducing me to the program that was run by the PSEO office at the University of Minnesota. I then attended an orientation that included a tour and more information that helped ease me into the program and sign up for classes. By the time I started my first day, I felt like I actually knew what I was doing and didn’t feel completely out of place like I thought I would.
I don’t regret my choice one bit. For one, I graduated from high school with 58 credits towards my bachelor’s degree already done. Doing PSEO also made me more confident in my own abilities and connected me to many new people and resources. Furthermore, PSEO helped me make important decisions about my future.
Because I was able to take classes at the University of Minnesota, I ended up liking the campus so much that I made the decision to continue going there after high school to finish my undergraduate degree. I was also able to take many unique elective classes after fulfilling my high school requirements, which gave me the opportunity to explore my academic interests. This is how I made the decision to major in Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance at the University of Minnesota, and hopefully pursue a law career afterwards.
In the future, I also plan to continue working with a nonprofit organization, People for PSEO, that helps to spread the word about PSEO and all of its benefits to high schoolers. PSEO was a really great experience for me, and I’d like to inform as many students as I can about it so that they can see how many options they really have in terms of education.
My advice for students just entering high school is to take advantage of the next four years by taking some sort of dual-credit classes, because for me, it opened a whole new world of opportunities and knowledge.
Asiya Browne, a Minneapolis native and recent
STEP Academy graduate is an incoming freshman at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Asiya is currently majoring in Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance and minoring in Arabic.