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College in the Schools (CIS) is a concurrent enrollment program administered by the College of Continuing Education on the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota (U of M). When enrolled in a U of M course through CIS, you are eligible to receive both high school and college credit for your work.
Want to know more? We have created a convenient chart that compares CIS to Advanced Placement, Postsecondary Enrollment Options, and International Baccalaureate programs.
- Are You Ready?
- The Benefits
- Registration/Dropping a Class
- U of M Policies
- Transcripts and Credit Recognition
Are You Ready?
Welcome! When enrolled in a U course through CIS, you are eligible to receive both high school and college credit-from the state’s flagship higher education institution. When you walk into a course offered through CIS you are actually walking into a U classroom. Your teacher has been interviewed, selected, and prepared by U of M faculty to teach the U of M course and has been appointed as a teaching specialist in the College of Continuing Education. The course content, teaching methods, and evaluation of student performance are the same as those of courses meeting on the U of M campus. You will be expected to put in the same effort that a student on campus does. The grade you receive in your U of M courses will be recorded on an official U of M transcript.
Many potential CIS students ask themselves, “Can I do this? How will I know if I’m ready?” We suggest you consider these things:
Academic progress: Satisfactory completion of a particular high school course can be a good indicator of success in a subsequent college course in the same field. For example, if a high school English honors class went well you might be ready for a U of M literature and/or composition course.
Course prerequisites: U of M courses offered through CIS have prerequisites related to GPA, junior/senior standing, class rank, and/or grades in a specific course. These are valid ways to assess your readiness, but not the only ones. If you have reason to believe you can succeed in a particular course but do not meet the eligibility criteria, discuss this with the CIS teacher or high school counselor. Ask what you can do to be considered for the class; often it means providing a recommendation from the teacher of a related class you’ve done well in.
Commitment: Ask yourself if you have the time necessary to study and complete the homework in a rigorous college course. Consider, perhaps with a high school advisor, the number and nature of any other advanced courses you may be taking. Think about non-academic demands on your time and energy, too—jobs, sports, music, clubs, family, and friends. Good time management skills are a plus when it comes to college coursework, but knowing when to say “no” or “not now” is a good skill to have, too.
Advising: One trait of a successful college student is the ability to advocate for oneself, to seek out and use available resources in order to make the best decision, and take the most productive steps to proceed. Start now; ask your questions and get the answers you need. Your CIS teacher or high school counselor can help.
As a successful student in a University of Minnesota course, you will
- get a jump-start on college; CIS alumni surveys have consistently shown that 87% of the respondents successfully had their U of M credits recognized by other colleges and universities;
- gain a competitive edge; college admissions officers look for evidence of rigorous course work in high school transcripts;
- enjoy more flexibility in college; Completing college requirements in high school will give you greater flexibility as a full-time college student;
- learn college skills before your freshman year; the critical thinking, writing, and reading skills will prepare you for success as an admitted college student;
- demonstrate your learning in a variety of ways; in your University of Minnesota course, your learning will typically be assessed through several means—examinations, papers, lab reports, discussions--rather than through a single high-stakes test;
- reduce the cost of your college education; CIS fees are greatly reduced and, in most cases, are paid for by high schools.
What CIS Alumni Say About the Program
CIS was the most wonderful academic experience I had in high school! I think the biggest issue is encouraging kids to at least try to take the courses. The term "CIS" might seem "big" or "scary" at first, but it isn't. I had no idea what I was capable of.
I think CIS is a wonderful program and I highly recommend it. The opportunity to take advanced courses and earn college credits while in high school is rare and incredibly useful.
CIS courses allowed me to get a sneak peek at collegiate expectations while being able to study and learn conveniently (and for free!) at my own high school. It was a huge advantage for me entering my college career.
I greatly appreciated having the opportunity to participate in a U of M course. It attracted enthusiastic and intelligent students, and our teacher was able to stretch us further and give us more independence. It was an enjoyable class.
CIS was just the right amount of challenge for high school. I feel like the classes I took complemented my other college prep coursework very well. The classes were engaging and what I learned was very beneficial in my first year of college.
I was quite ready to be done with my regular high school classes and to take a serious course, so CIS was great. Also, more importantly my teacher was the best teacher I've ever had and he strongly influenced my life.
CIS allowed me to keep taking Spanish courses throughout high school and helped inspire me to study abroad in Peru to keep improving my Spanish.
The classes were extremely useful for my understanding of literature and made the other classes at college pretty easy.
My English classes talked a lot about "controversial" issues involving social norms and social justice. Those ideas are what helped prepare me for college. Critical thinking about real issues has enabled me to succeed my first year of college.
The calculus class made me realize that I love math and I am now studying actuarial science in college!
Loved anatomy thanks to my wonderfully dedicated instructor.
Great program. Best class I had in HS. Inspired me to go for pre-med.
Greatly helped with application essays and applying to college. Helped me learn to write more concisely, which was important in college.
Doing College in the Schools helped ease the transition into college so that it wasn't too hard to adjust to the work load on top of all the other adjustments of college. It also helped me develop a strong work ethic in high school, so I was better prepared.
The CIS program helped prepare me for the type of work I would be doing in college. My freshman year was more relaxed and easier due to the study habits that I already developed during the CIS program.
The opportunities that I was given while participating in CIS through the U of M went above and beyond any other advanced classes I took in high school. My class helped to get me in gear for college and prepared me for academic excellence.
I am very happy and pleased with the program. It helped me prepare for college in several ways: work load, time management & discipline. I highly recommend it.
A wonderful program! It is incredibly helpful once entering college! Most of my general coursework was covered by the credits I had earned in U of M classes! A great opportunity for all high school students!
College in the Schools was great. Not only did it prepare me for the heavy college workload and improve my time management skills, but it also allowed me to explore different types of classes once I got to school since my generals were already done.
It was very nice to be able to have the credits cover a required class so I was able to take a class pertaining to my major.
One of the best choices I ever made. The work paid off twice over in getting ahead in my general courses at college.
I would definitely recommend these classes to high school students because they allowed me to get a full semester ahead in college and now I am able to apply to my college's nursing program a semester early. Also saved me a full semester's worth of money.
Best decision I ever made. I'm now pursuing 2 degrees for the price of 1 in 3 years instead of 4.
Although the expectations of this program were extremely high they provided me with unparalleled experience and knowledge that was and will be endlessly beneficial for college and the rest of my life. I feel lucky to have had this opportunity.
Registration/Dropping a Class
Registration for your U of M course is separate from registration for your high school course. Your teacher will tell you when the registration window is open for the U of M section of your class and provide access to the information you need, when you need it.
Course information: You will provide your own demographic information, and your teacher will provide the information needed to identify the course for which you will request registration.
Registration: Use this e-registration form to request registration by providing demographic data about yourself and information identifying the U of M course(s) for which you wish to register. Immediately after submitting this form, you will receive email verification that your request has been submitted; your teacher will later verify that your request has been processed when your name appears on the U of M class roster.
Cancelling a class/withdrawing: To cancel, drop, or withdraw your registration, submit an e-cancellation form to the U as soon as you make the decision to drop the course for University credit. If the form is received within the first two weeks of class, the course will be removed from your transcript; after that a “W”, or withdraw, will be recorded. Billing consequences for your high school are also determined by how soon you submit the cancellation form.
You must officially withdraw from a course for U of M credit before taking a final exam or completing a final paper or project for the course. Withdrawal from completed and graded courses is never permitted.
Unusual circumstances: In unusual circumstances, you may petition to register after the midterm of the course or to withdraw near the end of the course by submitting a petition form signed by your teacher. The petition is reviewed by the College of Continuing Education Scholastic Committee, and may or may not be accepted. Petitions to drop a class are not approved when the coursework has already been completed and graded.
Tuition: The U of M has a greatly reduced fee for its courses offered through CIS. Per Minnesota law, schools and/or school districts pay fees for public school students. Private schools may require that students pay the fees. Schools may request voluntary contributions in support of CIS. If by chance you receive an invoice for a U of M class, do not pay it. Contact CIS immediately.
Once you submit a registration request for the U of M section of your high school class, you are a bona fide University of Minnesota student!
U of M Policies
Students registered through CIS are U of M students and follow University policies regarding academic integrity and student conduct (among others) as set forth in the Student Conduct Code. Check your course syllabus for additional policies adopted by the department or college that owns the U of M course you are taking.
For complete information on policies such as midterm alerts, repeating a course, grading, and attendance, please visit One Stop.
Student Records Privacy
Release of student information to third parties is regulated by Regents policy, federal law, and state law. Public information at the U of M includes:
- Mailing address
- Email address
- Telephone number
- Dates of registration and registration status
- Major, adviser, college, and class
- Academic awards received and degrees received.
Registered students have the right to suppress any or all of this information. Any information not appearing on this list (including social security number, grades, student ID number, and GPA) is considered private and may not be accessed by a third party—other than University officials who need the information to serve the student—without the student’s permission.
CIS students who wish to grant a parent or guardian access to their grades or progress in the course may do so online by completing a form provided by their CIS teacher.
University officials have access to your student records only in connection with their responsibilities as employees. The University takes precautions to ensure that student data can only be accessed by those with a demonstrated need to know.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects your student rights regarding your educational records in terms of reviewing information, correcting records, consenting to disclosure of records, and filing complaint with Family Policy Compliance Office in Washington, D.C.
U of M ID Number
The University uses this unique 7-digit number to identify you in its system. After all the registrations for your class have been processed, your teacher will give you a sheet of student information which includes your personal ID number. Remember this number—you will need it to conduct business with the U of M.
U of M Internet Account
Your internet ID is your unique account name. Because it provides access to all U of M network resources, you should initiate your account and set your password right away.
- Go to www.umn.edu/initiate and follow the prompts.
- Try it both with and without your social security number; even though you may have registered without it, your U of M records may include your social security number through some other contact with the U, and the data you enter to activate your internet account must match exactly what already exists in your record.
- Keep track of your internet ID and password.
For assistance with your internet account, call Technology Help at 612-301-4357 or email email@example.com. You will need to provide security information such as your Social Security number or 17-digit number on your U Card, in addition to at least one more piece of information in your student record. Information may be found online at www.it.umn.edu/.
A Note About Syllabi
In addition to assignments, a course syllabus contains vital information on course expectations, instructor office hours, key dates, class attendance, advising and disability resources, and grading. So read the syllabus and refer to it throughout the course to stay on track.
Tip: Keep your syllabus (along with all exams, papers, reports, etc.) after the course has ended. If you decide to go to a college other than the University of Minnesota, having syllabi and other documentation available may help you use these credits toward your college graduation requirements.
Transcripts and Credit Recognition
Upon completion of your class, you will have a permanent U of M transcript with your grade on it.
Acceptance of U of M credit
- If you apply for admission to the University of Minnesota, you don’t need to worry about transferring credits. You do not need to apply to transfer your credits because the credits are already on your U of M transcript, and it applies to any U of M campus. Be sure, however, to mention in your undergraduate admission application that you’ve already completed course work at the University. Contact the U of M Office of Admissions (612-625-2008) to request an application.
- If you apply for admission to another college or university, remember that the decision about whether or not to grant credit recognition is theirs. Most CIS alumni survey respondents had their U of M/CIS credits recognized by other colleges or universities. The best way to know for sure is to contact the institution and ask about their concurrent enrollment credit transfer policies.
How to Transfer Credits
- Start early. Begin preparing the day you walk into your first class. Save your syllabus and all your written work and exams so you can provide evidence of the level of work your U of M course required.
- Review your unofficial U of M transcript. As soon as you complete your course, review your transcript to make sure all your U of M courses appear with the correct grades.
- Request your official transcript as part of your college application process.
- Request that an official transcript be sent directly to all colleges and universities to which you are applying and indicate on your application that you have completed University of Minnesota coursework.
- The U of M One Stop website contains the official transcript request form and complete information about unofficial and official transcripts.
- Transcripts may be ordered online, in person, by fax, or by U.S. mail.
- Transcripts are handled by the Office of the Registrar through One Stop Student Services, not by the College in the Schools office. Call One Stop Student Services at 612-624-1111 with questions.
- Talk to your college advisor. Compare syllabi and course descriptions to find alignment between your U of M course and similar courses at your new institution that satisfy general education, major or minor requirements or that may allow placement at a higher level. Find out who makes decisions about accepting transfer credit.
- Meet with the right person. Meet with the person your advisor identified as the one responsible for accepting transfer credits at your institution. In general, it is most helpful to meet with a department chair to make your case. Do: bring your portfolio of materials from your class. Don’t: call it a CIS course! It’s not; it’s a University of Minnesota course that’s offered through College in the Schools.
Types of Credit Recognition
- Credits may be accepted in transfer and apply to your college degree.
- Credits may exempt you from a similar required course.
- Credits may allow you placement into a more advanced course.
Credit recognition will generally be granted for coursework that is similar to courses that are offered at the university or college to which you are applying, but any type of credit recognition means you will have more room in your college schedule for things like additional courses in your major, electives of interest, study abroad, or early graduation.
U of M Credit Not Recognized?
A lack of credit recognition by another school does not mean your time and effort have been wasted in your U of M CIS class. Rigorous high school coursework is factored into admissions decisions at many postsecondary institutions. You have your U of M transcript and may be able to use those credits later if you transfer elsewhere.
Contact CIS if your credit is not accepted. Email Jan Erickson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will be happy to contact the institution on your behalf.
CIS will work with your high school and teacher to ensure that you have access to the U of M resources you need. CIS cannot guarantee that you will have access to all of the benefits of on-campus students.
Disability Resource Center: 612-626-1333 (V/TTY); email@example.com
Services are free and confidential. It’s a good idea to request accommodations as far ahead of time as possible since some accommodations cannot be effectively arranged if they are requested on short notice.
As a University student, you enjoy online library privileges at all U of M libraries. A particularly useful tool is the online Assignment Calculator. You can obtain help 24/7 by email, phone, or online chat.
Moodle Student Help
If your teacher uses Moodle, a course management tool, this student guide can help you navigate its many features.
Study Skills Help: University Counseling and Consulting Services, Student Academic Success Services; 612-624-3343
Information on a variety of topics including time management and study skills are found on the SASS Web site. The sections on Study Skills, Life Balance, and Self-Help Materials may be especially helpful.
Center for Writing: 612-626-7579; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Student Writing Support (SWS) program helps students develop productive writing habits and revision strategies through face-to-face and online collaborative consultations.
The College Readiness Consortium at the University of Minnesota works in partnership with PreK-12 educators and others to increase the number and diversity of Minnesota students who graduate from high school with the knowledge, skills, and habits for success in higher education.