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Editorial: Get a head start for workforce in high school

With the rising costs of a college education and the increasing demand for skilled workers across the state and nation, it would be wise for students to take advantage of opportunities while still in high school to get a jump start on college classes — and ultimately the workforce.

In Minnesota, there is a state-funded program that gives high school students the opportunity to take college credits on a college campus or online called post-secondary enrollment options, or PSEO for short. Eligible juniors and seniors can take courses and earn both high school and college credit at the same time.

Juniors who wish to participate have to be in the top 33 percent of their class, and seniors have to be in the top 50 percent. They must also have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and meet the guidelines for the Accuplacer test, which assesses skills in reading, writing and math to determine a student’s readiness for college courses. Once in the course, there are other guidelines a student must meet.

PSEO classes count at both high school and college, and the state pays for the tuition and the books for those classes.

The program is a good way for students to earn college credit while not having to pay for tuition and additional costs that are incurred while attending college. Some students even earn a degree before graduating.

Aside from PSEO classes, Albert Lea students can also take part in concurrent enrollment courses, which are free college-level courses for juniors and seniors that are taught at the high school by the high school faculty through a partnership with Riverland Community College.

Also known as College in the Schools classes, this option gives students a taste of college but lets students do so within the walls of their own high school. Students again can earn both high school and college credit. Students earn college credit based on performance in the course.

Aside from these two options, there are still Advanced Placement courses, which are college-level classes, taught in high school, where a student could earn college credit based on their score on an exam at the end of the year.

We urge high school students to strongly consider these options as they think about their remaining years at the high school level.

You don’t have to be a 4.0 student to take advantage of these classes, and they teach students skills for entering life after high school in college and the workforce. Not to mention they help you save money in the long run.