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Lessons Learned: My Experience with Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO)

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

Enrolling in the Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), I thought I did it for the right reasons: free college credit and not having to take another AP course while still being able to get the credit. It sounded like a win-win to me.

However, after completing PSEO, I left with more than I had realized. I left with gratitude, persistence, a few W’s on my transcript (ouch), and most special of them all, an A.A in Liberal Arts for less than 2k.

Choosing to do PSEO at 16 is not an easy decision. You are thrown into a whirlwind of societal norms that is not normally endured by a teenager. It is hard, but also rewarding.

When all I knew was the white and blue of my high school lockers, going to a new school without the same people I saw every day scared me. I was excited; PSEO was all I ever talked about. It was also everything I didn’t know.

Maybe that’s what excited me, and maybe that’s why PSEO excites you too. As a alumna at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, here are three things I wish I had known before enrolling in PSEO:

PSEO taught me to be more comfortable with public transportation. The plus side of being a PSEO student at Minneapolis College was that, as an enrolled student, I was allowed access to their student metro cards. I had to get used to traveling alone in the mornings and navigating routes in the city. At first, I was nervous. Eventually, I bought pepper spray as a safety precaution. I grew to love my morning bus rides. I’d watch the sunrise over the bridge through the Metro window.

As PSEO students, we have access to the Mileage Reimbursement program, designed to reimburse 15 cents per mile for 250 miles per week. Students can additionally lift economic limitations off their shoulders with this support.

PSEO allowed me to explore courses that align with my personal interests. At 17, I thought I wanted to be a forensic scientist. Without PSEO, I wonder if I would’ve been holding on to that thought at 21. For my high school Chemistry credit, I enrolled in Forensic Science. I felt that this would allow me to see if I aligned with the Criminal Minds career path or not. Unfortunately, as interesting as it was, it was not a space I would like to be in career-wise every day. However, learning about it was cool.

PSEO taught me to not take education for granted. To learn is beautiful, and to be educated is a gift. PSEO is a bridge tool for success. Not only are you earning free credits, but you are also living the college experience. Now looking back, after seeing the tuition bills come in at university, I didn’t realize at the time how worry-free I could be signing up for courses. I could drop, retake a class, and be okay. Although I am still allowed to do that, the cost is a barrier. Being allowed to endure failure and get back up again absolutely sucks, but it is necessary. Without the economic barrier, more students will be allowed to learn about the “real world” this way.

By Katyanna Taylor

People for PSEO Director of Research Development / Social Media Manager

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