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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 Concurrent Enrollment 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 of M course through CIS, you are eligible to receive college credit from the state’s flagship higher education institution, as well as high school credit. When you walk into a course offered through CIS you are actually walking into a U of M classroom. 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:
What classes do I really like and do well in? 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.
Will I measure up? 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.
Do I have enough time to commit to this class? 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 nonacademic 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.
What if I have questions later on? 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 87−97% 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 coursework 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.
Your U of M Internet account provides access to all U of M network resources. We advise you to initiate your account and set your password right away. (Your internet ID (username) is a combination of letters and numbers that is the first part of your U of M e-mail address.)
- 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 e-mail email@example.com. You will need to provide security information. Additional information may be found online at www.it.umn.edu.
Registered students are also assigned a U of M ID Number. 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.
What CIS Alumni Say About the Program
College in the Schools prepared me for what college would be like. It challenged me and made me work harder. Passing the U of M courses I took through CIS and receiving credit for them made me feel confident about going to college.
This is a great way for students to explore and experience more about college classes. It also helps students to get involved and interact with projects, new friends, and awesome new experiences!
It helped prepare me for the amount of out-of-class effort required in college and the level of independence that college brings.
There are so many advantages to even one course. Definitely the best decision I've ever made.
Helped the transition to college; it taught me study skills my peers never learned.
Even if the course is not directly relevant to your career path, the study skills you learn set you apart.
Awesome program. I was fortunate my high school offered many CIS classes. It is enabling me to get a dual degree and still plan to graduate in four years.
I'm ahead of the game and can graduate early if I choose to, which means saving even more money! I encourage all high school students who are interested in pursuing a college education to do CIS!
By taking classes through CIS in high school, I am able to study abroad without adding an extra semester!
All of the CIS classes I took quickly became my favorites in high school, and my teachers were wonderful.
College in the Schools—especially the English and composition classes—prepared me for college-level writing. I also had two of my four semesters of a foreign language (Spanish) covered. I loved my experience.
My two English courses were PHENOMENAL!
I strongly recommend public speaking, not only because it was a required credit, but because it has taught me to use my voice in order to succeed at school.
I wouldn't be where I am academically without CIS.
Excellent opportunity to cut down on student loans with free college classes in high school.
My teacher was amazing and one of the most effective professors I've ever had.
The class changed my life. Easily the best class I took in high school.
I can't recommend this program enough.
Registration/Dropping a Class
To know before you register:
- Typical full-time undergraduate enrollment is 15 credits per semester. Excessive credit may require CCE Scholastic Committee approval. See also Expected Student Academic Work per Credit on page 5 of the U of M Twin Cities CIS Policies guide.
- Letter grades are recorded on your permanent U of M transcript. S/N (Satisfactory/Non-satisfactory) is not an option in CIS. Incompletes, withdrawals, and repeating a course are also discussed in Grading and Transcripts on page 6. See also Providing In-Progress Notification on Academic Performance on page 12.
- 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 the 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. After submitting this form, you will receive e-mail 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 a cancellation form to the U of M 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 (or the first month of a class lasting longer than one U of M semester), the course will be removed from your U of M transcript; after that a “W”, or withdraw, will be recorded. Withdrawal from a U of M class later in the term may require approval and will have billing consequences for your school.
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 are expected to abide by policies set forth by the U of M and the CIS program. Since U of M policies are not written with the high school student in mind, it can be confusing to figure out how they apply to you. Your teacher and the CIS staff can help you with any policy-related issue.
The following are some important policies that you’ll want to become familiar with. Note that each link goes to the document University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Courses in the High School Policies; navigate to the page indicated for the complete and official policy.
Student Eligibility (p 20)—Students who enroll in a U of M course through CIS should be challenged by the experience of college course work but capable of succeeding. Instructors have the authority to override student eligibility criteria, case-by-case, for students who don’t meet the criteria but have a strong chance for success in the particular course. Students who are denied enrollment may appeal the decision to the CIS office if space is available in the class (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details).
Student Responsibilities (p 21)—This includes attendance, academic integrity, and use of personal electronic devices in the classroom. See also Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences (p 10). Additionally, questions about grades are covered in Grade Accountability and the following (taken from Addressing Student Academic Complaints and adapted for CIS):
While grades are not subject to complaint, you are entitled to an explanation for the grade assigned. If you are not able to get an explanation for the grade from your instructor, consult the [CIS faculty coordinator for the course as the appropriate departmental representative.] Students also may wish to seek assistance from [Jan M. Erickson, CIS Associate Director, for tips on the process or from] the Student Conflict Resolution Office. An instructor’s judgment in assigning a grade is not a subject for a formal hearing, and can only be reviewed through these informal processes.
Student Conduct Code (p 13) and Student Conduct Code Procedure (p 16)—These define plagiarism, discuss scholastic dishonesty and other disciplinary offenses, and describe processes for resolution.
Student Education Records and Privacy (p 18)—Release of student information to third parties is regulated by Regents policy, federal law, and state law. Public information at the U includes name, mailing address, email address, telephone number, and dates of registration. Registered students have the right to suppress any or all of their contact 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, following U of M preferred practice, recommends that high school instructors obtain permission to discuss your grades and progress with your parents or guardians. Instructors will provide the permission form for your signature.
Family Education 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.
Transcripts and Credit Recognition
Upon completion of your course, you will have a permanent U of M transcript with your grade on it.
Start early. Begin preparing the day you walk into your first U of M class. Save your syllabus and all your written work and exams from your course so you can provide evidence of the level of work your U of M course required.
Talk to your prospective college. As you consider where to apply for college, contact the institutions and ask about their concurrent enrollment credit transfer policies. Remember, the decision about whether to grant credit recognition is theirs. The vast majority of CIS alumni who respond to our annual surveys are successful when they ask to have their U of M credits recognized by other colleges and universities.
Review your unofficial U of M transcript. As soon as your course ends, review your transcript to make sure that all of your U of M courses appear with the correct grades.
Put your credits to work.
- If you apply for admission to the University of Minnesota, you are not required to submit an official U of M transcript; the Admissions Office will have access to it. Note in your application, however, that you’re taking U of M courses in high school. Your credits are already on a U of M transcript, and they apply on any U of M campus. For further information, contact the Office of Admissions (612-625-2008).
- If you apply for admission to another college or university, you most likely need to request that an official transcript be sent to each postsecondary institution to which you apply, although the exact process may differ from college to college.
Request your official transcript as part of your college application process. For general information, go to onestop.umn.edu and select “Grades and Transcripts.”
If you know your University Internet ID and password:
- From the One Stop home page, log in to “MyU: Academics” via the Quick Link at the right.
- Select the “Grades” tab at the top to verify that your grades are complete and accurate. Arrows display earlier or later terms.
- Select the “Order Official Transcript” option at the bottom of the same screen and follow the prompts.
If you don’t know your University Internet ID and password, you have two options:
- Initiate your student internet account at umn.edu/initiate (see instructions on the page your teacher gave you with your name and U of M Student ID Number at the top) so you can request your transcript online following the above procedure; or
- Call One Stop at 612-624-1111 to verify that your records are accurate and to order your official transcript.
Note: For further assistance with ordering a transcript, please contact One Stop at 612-624-1111. CIS can help if coursework is missing from your transcript, if One Stop is unable to find your records, or if further support is needed with gaining credit recognition. The CIS office cannot provide grades or student account information.
Talk to your college adviser. If your U of M credit is not recognized through the admissions process, discuss credit transfer with your college advisor. Ask who makes decisions about accepting transfer credit. Often this is the department chair.
Prepare to present your case. Make an appointment with the person named by your adviser as the one responsible for accepting transfer credits. Before the meeting, 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.
- Do: Bring your portfolio of materials from your class—the syllabus, any written work you’ve saved, and a copy of the table of contents from your textbook.
- 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.
Understand the different types of credit recognition. 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 additional courses in your major, electives of interest, study abroad, or early graduation.
- 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.
Let CIS know if your U of M credit isn’t recognized. This happens occasionally. If you haven’t already done so, talk with the chair of a department that offers a similar course, and show them your course portfolio. This usually takes care of the issue. If, however, you are still unsuccessful, be sure you understand why the credit isn’t being accepted. Then contact CIS Associate Director Jan Erickson at email@example.com. We want you to be able to use the credit you have earned for successfully completing a University of Minnesota course.
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.
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.
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.
Parent's Guide to College and Career Readiness
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.
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 website. The sections on Study Skills, Life Balance, and Self-Help Materials may be especially helpful.
U Card: 612-626-9900; firstname.lastname@example.org
While CIS students are guaranteed access to all academic resources that they need to participate in a U of M course offered at their high school, this does not include U Cards. Due to the volume of registrations that the CIS program manages, many CIS students will not be able to get a U Card.