As you come close to finishing high school, you’re going to be literally bombarded with everybody telling you to do PSEO. So here’s my PSEO pros and cons list, from an average student.
I’m an average student. I don’t get straight As, and I’m not in all ‘honors’ classes or anything like that. But, I was very interested in pursuing college, and also interested in just ending school.
Look, no matter your degree, it’s going to take time. Even if you’re just trying to get an associate’s degree or even go to law school, it just takes a ton of time.
And let’s be honest- nobody likes school. It’s boring, lame, etc. So I’m gonna say it how it is:
PSEO is literally college instead of high school. So if you do PSEO for 2 years, you will literally graduate high school with your associate’s degree.
That means by the time you’re 18, you could have a job paying you $40/hour already.
If you’re on this post, you’re probably having some doubts about the entire PSEO process. I can’t blame you, so let’s discuss some PSEO pros and cons- from the point of view of an average student. (in sports/activities, not a great GPA, been suspended a few times, late assignments, etc.)
Let’s just start with the pros. I’m going to be straight up with you, PSEO is an AWESOME thing to do, and I encourage EVERYBODY to do it. But, truthfully, there are some downsides to it. (Although, the pros far outweigh the cons…)
So let’s just get into this, and by the way, I’m not some college advisor or anything trying to make some quota. I’m a student currently enrolled in PSEO, and just sharing how great it is.
#1 – All Your College is Paid For
Yep that’s right. Every single class, every single book you need, everything is paid for.
Worried about student loans? You’re not alone. It’s estimated that college costs are rising to nearly $30,000 a year.
While PSEO does not cover you to go live on campus, it does cover you going to classes or taking those classes online.
While most of the college costs come from dorming, the classes themselves can be very expensive.
Luckily, my community college only charged around $3,000 a semester for nearly 20 credits. However, many private universities will charge nearly $10,000 for the same privilege.
Regardless, it will be completely paid for.
Without saying, this is going to save you a TON of money. We all know college is expensive, and best-case scenario, you could save up to $40,000.
Plus, if you only want something like an associate’s degree, you could get it done by the time you finish high school.
That means you will literally never have to pay for college in your life. And you can just enjoy your high-paying job right out of the gate.
So in terms of PSEO pros and cons, like what downside is there to saving money? This is definitely one of the best ‘pros’.
#2 – You Save Tons Of Time (Cut off years of college)
#2 on this PSEO pros and cons list is simple, just time. (And you can’t get time back, no matter how hard you try)
Hear me out. I’m sure you’ve heard things like ‘senior year is the easiest’ or ‘you barely have classes in the last years’. Well, those kids aren’t wrong.
So why even do them? I was looking at my class schedule for my senior year and it was basically useless.
The only classes I needed to graduate were English and World History. The other literal 9 classes were just ‘fill-in-the-blank’ useless classes that amounted to nothing. Like, what’s the point of me even going to school then?
Instead of doing those useless 9 classes, I now have replaced them with 9 courses directly progressing towards my nursing degree.
I just cut off an entire year of school by doing PSEO. Sure, it would’ve been fun to go to high school and not really have many assignments, but what’s the point?
Waking up at 7 AM every day for 180 days a year just to do literally nothing in class? And speaking of, that brings me to my next point.
#3 – You Don’t Have To Wake Up For School
Yeah, people hate college. But it’s far better than waking up every day at 7 AM for no reason.
And for some reason, high schools take attendance so seriously. If you’re 3 minutes late to homeroom you’ll probably get suspended (which doesn’t even make sense but don’t get me started on that).
But the thing about college, is most classes are structured to only meet 2-3 days a week. Obviously, every college does it differently, and if you’re living on campus your options will likely be different.
Personally, for me, I have all of my classes online. And in the rare exception, I do have to show up for a class in person, it’s usually only on Tuesdays and Thursdays at like 2 PM in the afternoon.
This lets me sleep in, have a more flexible schedule to actually work at my job, and save money for the future, and I feel great being well-rested.
I am so glad I don’t have to wake up that early for school anymore- it really affected my mental health, and not in a good way.
#4 – PSEO Actually Means Something, It’s Not ‘Useless’
I’m not saying a high school diploma is useless. But I think many of us can agree that we have to take many classes that are just useless and endless.
As aforementioned, 9 of my classes senior year literally meant nothing. I am the kind of person that doesn’t take things seriously unless I see a true goal or outcome from it.
And taking ‘Living Skills II’, ‘Creative Writing’, ‘Introduction to Foods’ aren’t nessecarily horrible. But they don’t make me graduate, and they don’t get me a degree.
Sure, those classes are for some people, and they’re not useless. But at that rate, I was more interested in advancing in my actual career than just going to classes that are ‘fillers’ more than anything.
I never have liked school ever, but I still manage to get all my college work done no matter the class because I know it actually amounts to something. And that something is a journey towards a job I can actually support my future family on.
#5 – It Gives You A Chance to Mess Up
Taking PSEO classes gives you the chance to mess up.
Here’s something I’d like to admit. I took AP US History a few years ago in 10th grade. Now, I never needed it. I got a 3 on the test, and my degree for nursing doesn’t even require a history class at all.
So, it was essentially useless. I spent 1-2 hours every night studying for that class, doing the reading, taking notes. Doing long DBQs and essays.
But you know what? I don’t regret it. It actually did prepare me a ton for college. I think college is easier than that AP class I took. Frankly, I am glad.
College is a huge step up from high school. The professors really don’t care if you start falling behind or if you stop caring. You paid for the class, not them. High school is free, and the high school gets more money by you getting better grades.
College isn’t the same way. If you don’t care about the class, the professor won’t chase you, the prof will just let you go.
Many kids in their first semester of college get horrible grades because they just aren’t used to how much work and/or studying you need to do to actually pass the classes in college.
Doing PSEO in a way gives you a safety blanket from this. If you really mess up a class and end up failing or needing to drop it- that’s okay. At least you didn’t have to spend $500-600 on it (and that’s if you’re at a cheap college).
And, this way when you actually hit college and have to spend your hard-earned money, you’ll know the right way to approach college and get it done the right way.
#6 – Explore Your Career
Over 50% of people change their desired major or degree in college.
So why spend $7,000 a year (again, at a cheap college) for classes you might not even ultimately take?
Doing PSEO means all of your classes are paid for. So if you’re unsure if you want to do law enforcement or nursing, you can take some of those classes almost risk-free. Sure, you have to do the work, and it is tough- but at the end of the day, you don’t lose any money.
#7 – Even Just Doing Generals Will Set You Ahead
Doing generals in your PSEO years will set you far ahead.
Most college degrees will expect you to have taken just some basic ‘general’ classes. These include things like: biology, chemistry, history, english, economics/gov.
You’ll usually only have to take one of each, and just at the starter level. But make no mistake, these classes do cost money, they are tough, and they do take time.
If you’re ultimately unsure what degree you’re getting, it can never hurt to just take the college english classes or basic science classes. Even small things like communications or history may save you thousands in the long run.
Plus, you won’t have to pay for it. So even if you’re unsure, you can still make some progress instead of taking ‘study hall 1010’ at your high school.
#8 – Great Option If You’re Getting Kicked Out
Okay, this is a rare instance. But I figured I would add it to the PSEO pros and cons list anyways.
I know some readers here may be dealing with a situation where once they graduate high school or turn 18 they are getting kicked out of their parent’s house.
This is obviously, not ideal. And having to get a minimum wage job at the McDonald’s that barely covers your rent every month doesn’t give you much room to start taking college classes. (Although, McDonald’s does have a great tuition reimbursement program).
This is a great option if you’re going to get kicked out. This means you can race towards getting an associate’s degree way faster and on your way out of poverty. Plus, having ‘some college’ instead of just a high school degree will actually go really far in terms of employment.
Many employers will see this as a ‘well, he’s certainly trying in life’ rather than ‘high-school deadbeat that isn’t going to do anything’.
I won’t sterotype, but there’s a reason so many employers will ask for any college period. It’s not so much to see if you’re ‘smart’- but it’s more so to see if you have a plan for the future and/or are a hard worker. They know if they see any college at all you went above and beyond in life.
This is mainly because high school graduation is basically forced by law. So, when you do any college, it shows a lot about your dedication. And if a college looked at all your transcripts and past and accepted you, it also says a lot about you (in a good way of course).
In this PSEO pros and cons list, I have definitely written enough pros that you probably have already submitted an application to your school and college of choice.
But, check this cons list first before you decide all of that. While I think that PSEO is the best move for most people, there are a few that would be better off just sticking to their high school- and not for bad reasons.
#1 – Your Social Life Will Be Axed
Many people argue that if you’re in PSEO, it’s a better opportunity to meet friends at college. And I do believe that wholeheartedly. If you are a social animal, this may end up working better for you.
But, usually, it won’t. If you aren’t living on campus or you’re still in high school, it just really screws your social life.
You’re going to have a weird mix of seeing your friends at high school every few months for pep fests or whatever and another weird mix of seeing people at college.
It’s also hard if you have friends at high school that aren’t in PSEO. This means you guys will likely split up.
Now, this is a natural part of life, and would probably happen regardless if you’re in PSEO or not. I just want to warn you ahead of time that if your friends are super important to you now, you might want to discuss with them about going to the same college or something ahead of time.
#2 – Sports Are Typically a No-Go
So, one of the biggest PSEO pros and cons includes sports. On one hand, you’re able to apply for sports at the college you are studying at. You are also able to stay and do sports at your high school.
But in practice, this usually doesn’t work out. Your college may be far away, or you might have classes during the time your high school sports team practices.
This ends up being a big problem for a lot of my friends including me. How am I ever supposed to go to wrestling practice when I am over 40 minutes away and my class doesn’t even end until practice is almost done?
Or how are you supposed to plan your game days around your college tests and exams? Or how are you supposed to be able to even drive back home to practice or games in time?
In theory, you think it can work out. But ultimately, it just ends up being a bigger mess that usually forces you to not do sports in general.
If it is something really important to you, I am sure you can make it work out. But this is something I figured I would warn you about before you dive headfirst into PSEO. (Especially considering some people’s senior years on their sports team are the most important)
#3 – You Usually Cannot Live On-Campus
I’ll be honest. I’ve never been one that wants to live on a college campus. It’s like a billion dollars cheaper to live in your own apartment. (Rent for my apartment is $800, my college dorm is $1400/month).
And if I really want to go to a party (which I think parties are overrated- and I’ve been to a lot) I can just drive there. I don’t need to be living on campus to go to a party.
Ultimately though, many people find it hard to do college and not be on campus. There are a lot of distractions back at home that can take away from focusing on college.
My friend David has a hard time studying for college at home because he feels like his parents interrupt him too much when doing classwork.
So, this is one of those PSEO pros and cons that falls into what you’d like to do. I couldn’t even imagine living on-campus ever, I think it’s expensive and I like my cozy home anyways.
But, for some people, that’s an important thing. Especially when college grades and credits follow you forever. This isn’t high school anymore, this is going to be sent to any graduate school or any other college you want to attend.
Conclusion of the PSEO Pros and Cons List
Look, PSEO is one of the best things you can do in life. It will accelerate your college career and put you on a good path for life.
Even if everything in your life goes to for lack of better terms, all-hell, you will still be able to pull yourself out of the dirt with a little bit of college to back you up and keep you pushing.
But, there are a few cons, and if you’re the starting line-up for the football team or sports play a significant role, you might want to reexamine your options. (Plus- if you’re that good at sports, you can likely get a full-ride to a college anyways).
However, for most people, PSEO is definitely the move. So all I recommend is talking to your school’s guidance officer about it, they will help you make a really informed decision. Including part-time PSEO, where you still have a mix of going to high school and college.
Good luck! And feel free to ask any questions about the programs in the comments below, I will respond quickly!