The PSEO option that was made available to me as a high-schooler was the best choice my parents and I made concerning my formal education.
We first heard of PSEO by means of our school district when I was just finishing my junior year. Learning that I could take college courses for free and apply the credits I would earn towards my last year of senior high, my parents and I decided that I would register for classes at Century College. Upon talking to a counselor, we found out that, in order to be accepted at Century, I needed to take an assessment test. This test involved 3 parts, reading, writing, and math, and would assess what my placement level was, determining if I needed to take basic courses in these areas or bypass them for college-level courses.
Passing the assessment test and receiving an acceptance letter, I proceeded to register as a full-time student, taking 12 credits per semester. I chose this route and took classes that served a two-fold purpose. First, to optimize the full benefit of PSEO by completing the credits I needed for high school. Second, to attain my degree as a Dental Assistant in a shorter period of time.
I have to say that most of my courses were enjoyable, positive learning experiences. It was hard, but productive work, and the professors were very helpful, informative and giving of their time. I was surprised to see that most had reserved time on their syllabus for “office hours,” or times when we as students could come and talk with them concerning the lesson, questions on homework assignments, or any other concerns. With some of the courses, such as writing, the professors would also encourage us to use the various study labs as tools for our disposal. These labs had everything from computers used for composing papers to lab assistants, who would aid in proofreading.
Never in the 4 years that I attended Century College did I ever have problems or issues about being homeschooled or being a PSEO student. The college as a whole was very accepting and I would venture to say that a majority of their student base were pupils coming through the PSEO program.
Overall, the experience I had in this program was wonderful. It was such a blessing to know that I was getting a head start, earning credits toward my vocation and also being able to enjoy my senior year of high school. Because I chose to take college credits in high school, I was able to start Century’s Dental Assisting program and earn my degree much sooner. This was very beneficial to me because, at that time, there was a high demand in the working public for dental assistants.
Upon reflection, I would strongly encourage anyone who is contemplating PSEO to go for it! This program is an experience that has the student in mind, promoting education and encouraging learning, while making finances a non-issue.
(This article was written by Casey Olson and published in The Grapevine in 2005.)