Before You Apply

Attending PSEO at the U of M is a big decision, and a major lifestyle change from high school. Read through these points carefully before applying to the UMTC PSEO program. They may help determine whether PSEO is a good fit and prepare you for the application process, enrollment, and life at the U of M.

1. Prospective PSEO students have several ways to get their questions answered.

  • PSEO admission information sessions are scheduled on-campus in February and early March every year.  
  • Due to the volume of prospective students, PSEO academic advisers are unable to meet with you in person. Our website can answer many of your questions, but if you need additional information, please contact our front desk at 612-626-1666. Admitted students will meet with their PSEO academic adviser at summer orientation in July or early August to discuss their class schedule and to register.

2. PSEO is about more than just academic strength.

Three important qualities are critical to your success in PSEO:

  • Independent learning style. Most learning in college happens outside of class, especially in larger lectures. If you prefer more consistent instructor interaction, PSEO courses may be a struggle for you.
  • Disciplined time management. You should be highly well-organized and able to manage your workload without the help of parents or instructors.
  • Willingness to seek help. You should be prepared to draw on a wide array of resources, such as the writing center, peer tutoring services, and instructor office hours.

3. PSEO is challenging; straight A's are not expected.

  • The average high school GPA for accepted PSEO students is around a 3.9, and the average U of M GPA for PSEO students is around a 3.5. A 4.0 GPA in the UMTC PSEO program is not typical.
  • STEM classes (e.g., math, chemistry, physics, biology, and statistics) can be especially challenging.
  • Most high schools don’t weigh PSEO courses, so PSEO students aiming for a top high school rank may be at a disadvantage compared to students who stay at high school.
  • Grades earned in PSEO will remain on your U of M college transcript. Student information, including grades and advising notes, is considered protected and private, even if the student is under 18. Read more about student record privacy at the U of M and the federal legislation (FERPA) that guides record privacy.

4. It may be difficult to balance PSEO in an already busy schedule.

  • The U of M does not consider high school activities—such as band, sports, standardized tests, or even college entrance exams—to be legitimate excusable activities. If these commitments conflict with an exam in a U of M class, instructors may not accommodate you.
  • The amount of outside work required in PSEO classes and commuting can make time management a challenge. This is especially the case for part-time students, students with jobs or extracurricular interests, and students in U of M STEM classes.
  • Part-time students generally don't use the tutoring resources at the U of M due to their high school schedule. Even full-time students can sometimes find accessing tutors, instructor office hours, and other extra help at the university difficult.
  • In PSEO, you will need to be self-disciplined enough to track your own grades. In high school, counselors know your grades throughout the semester, but PSEO academic advisers at the U mostly rely on you to alert them of academic issues. Even your parents will learn about your grades only when you tell them. (Student information for those under 18 years of age is considered private. For details on student record privacy, see One Stop.)

5. PSEO students may have limited access to university courses.

  • As a PSEO student, you will register in late July/early August, after most undergraduates have already registered. Your course options can be limited compared to those available to non-PSEO undergraduates.
  • We recommend applying to multiple PSEO programs in case certain necessary courses become unavailable at the U of M. The Minnesota Department of Education has a listing of schools that offer PSEO. You can be enrolled in more than one PSEO institution at a time. 
  • Courses that may be tougher to access or unable to access:
    WRIT 1301: University Writing or Freshman Writing
    BIOL 2002: Foundation of Biology I
    CHEM 1061/1065: Chemical Principles I or General Chemistry I
    ONLINE MATH: The U of M does not have semester-length, online math options available for students. We do have 9 month, extended-term options, but these are not open to PSEO students.
    SPAN 3015W: Spanish Composition and Communication (and some of the lower level Spanish courses)
    PHYS 1201W/1301W: Calculus-based physics courses
    Graphic design courses
    STAT 1001/3011: Statistics courses
    MGMT 1001/1005: Business courses
    Upper division (junior/senior year) courses in biology, computer science, engineering, and business
  • You are typically limited to a maximum of 12 credits (3−4 academic classes) your first semester.
  • Taking 1-2 courses, or being part-time PSEO, can be challenging for some of our students. Since PSEO students register after incoming freshman, courses at specific times are limited. As a result, it can make scheduling around your high school schedule difficult.
  • If you have no high school chemistry experience and plan to take it at the U of M, please note that CHEM 1015/1017: Introduction to Chemistry is mostly online. There is an in-person lab, but spaces are not guaranteed. Therefore, if the online format doesn't fit your learning style, talk with your counselor about taking chemistry in high school or at a different PSEO institution. Most students who begin PSEO without any chemistry knowledge and want to major in STEM as an undergraduate either take chemistry at their high school or another PSEO program before they take CHEM 1061/1065: Chemical Principles I at the U of M. 

6. You have until the end of the semester’s second week to decide whether to stay in PSEO.

Once accepted, you have a long time to decide whether to stay in the PSEO program. You can freely withdraw* from PSEO:

  • immediately after receiving an admission decision in May;
  • after attending orientation in July or August, should the available courses not interest you or fit in your schedule; or
  • midway through the second week of the semester (as long as the high school classes are open).

* Students can choose to either defer PSEO enrollment to start in the spring semester, or decline enrollment entirely.

7. Talk to your high school counselor about PSEO before the summer.

We advise talking with your high school counselor about course options as soon as you can, since registration starts in late July/early August. We suggest asking your counselor these questions:

  • “What are my remaining high school requirements?”  The high school balance sheet you submitted with your PSEO application may only show general high school requirements, like “English.” Make sure you know the details (e.g. whether any English course will work, or just composition, or three composition credits with literature credit, etc.). 
  • “What PSEO classes will fill my high school requirements?” Requirements vary by high school, and PSEO advisers know only what might work. Your high school counselors know what will work. Review our common courses page with your high school counselor.
  • “How many U of M credits fulfill one high school credit?” Usually you need to take one 4-credit U of M semester course to meet one full year of a high school requirement. Confirm this information with your high school. 
  • “How do I change my high school schedule if I end up with a different U of M schedule than expected?” You will register in July or August, later than most undergraduates, and course options may be limited. We strongly recommend that you make a full-time schedule at high school as a back-up plan and work with your counselor after summer PSEO orientation to adjust your high school schedule based on your U of M courses.
  • “How will my PSEO grades be incorporated into my high school GPA?” Many high schools do not weight PSEO college courses and can negatively impact your high school GPA. Since the average PSEO college GPA is 3.40, this could possibly impact your high school GPA if your high school does not weigh your PSEO grades. 

8. All new PSEO students are required to attend one summer orientation session.

View the Application Process and Timeline section for information on PSEO summer orientation and registration dates.