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What Kennedy School students and parents should know about PSEO

Published 8:57am Monday, May 16, 2011

As parents of six children who’ve completed their associate degrees as high school students, we’d like to share what we’ve learned about class ranking for Kennedy Secondary School students who earn college credits through the Post Secondary Enrollment Option program.

1) Be aware that choosing PSEO classes will negatively affect your class rank at KSS, even if you earn your associate degree with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

Example: Six Kennedy students graduated from M-State last week, receiving their associate degrees in advance of their high school diplomas.

These scholars include musicians, athletes, a speech team co-captain, and artists. Two earned their associate degrees with a 3.9+ GPA and received M-State’s “high honors” recognition.

Yet, no fulltime PSEO student from Kennedy ranks in the top 5 percent of the Class of 2011, and only one ranks in the top 10 percent. Why? Because they must compete for class rank with Advanced Placement students who are gifted an extra grade point for attempting AP classes—even if they don’t pass the exams granting them college credits.

2) All students who do not take AP classes are affected by weighted grades and have their class rank pushed down because of Kennedy School’s “weighted grades for AP students” policy. However, fulltime PSEO students can lose over ten percentage points in Kennedy class rank, even when they achieve top-of-the-class college scores. This hinders their competition for merit-based scholarships based on class rank as well as “automatic” scholarships from universities that reward the top 5 or 10 percent of graduating seniors.

3) To this year’s graduating PSEO students (and all students who have not taken AP classes), take time to check your high school class rank. Don’t assume that your high GPA means you rank in the top 5 percent or 10 percent of your graduating class. Be aware that most universities offer an appeal process to scholarship applicants if their high school ranks students to advantage a select group. Move quickly, and you may be able to petition your university to take a second look at your scholarship applications.

Finally, congratulations to all 211 of the Kennedy Secondary School seniors who graduate on June 3, regardless of the educational choices they and their parents have made.

And to Rachel Stanislawski, Zachary Johnson, Jennifer DeGroot, Colin Dethlefsen, Danielle Nelson and Shawna Stowman, please know that your M-State graduation moves you into an elite group of Fergus Falls scholars who’ve earned Associate in Arts degrees as high school seniors. Go Otters.

Wayne and Gerri Stowman

Fergus Falls

*PSEO, the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program, was created in 1985 as a means to “promote rigorous educational pursuits and provide a wider variety of options for students.”

  • brenee

    Very good letter!

  • Sayonara

    Mr. & Mrs. Stowman,
    First off, congratualtions to your daughter on graduating from both institutes.
    1)PSEO Classes will not negatively impact your class rank at KSS unless the student is able to effectively obtain an “A” in one of the roughly 5 Advanced Placement classes that the school offers.
    More often than not, it was the grades from freshman and sophmore years that screw up the gpa/rank.
    Also if you look at the graduating class from 2010, many of PSEO students that obtained degrees were near the top of the class. When I graduated I was 5th in the class, HS GPA: 3.997, and MState GPA: 3.92.
    2)As a student who has taken the AP Classes, MState Classes, HS Classes (enriched and not), and normal College Classes, I can tell you that the students in AP Classes are putting in more time and effort than the students out at MState. The classes are thus graded on a 5.0 scale rather than a 4.0 (A=5.0, B=4.0, etc.).
    3)The biggest factor in the lower ranks is the same as it is across the country. Students will take easier classes, getting an A, and boosting their GPAs and class rank.

    Once again congratulations.

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