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College Readiness
In This Section

Preparing for College

Earning College Credit in High School


The cost of one college credit in Minnesota can vary from $150 (for a 2 year/tribal college) to $800 (for a private 4 year college). Imagine the time and money a student can save by taking courses in high school that can also earn them free college credit.

Students should always try to take courses that will challenge them to expand their knowledge. Advanced courses like AP, IB, PSEO and CIS are a way for students to challenge themselves and to earn both high school and free college credit at the same time.

AP (Advanced Placement)
AP sections are offered for many high school courses and students can take one or more AP courses at a time. Exams are given in May and MN students are given a fee reduction to take exams: check with your student’s counselor regarding exam fees. Students must score a 3 or higher on the exam to earn college credit in the US; minimum scores vary depending on the college. To see individual colleges’ AP credit policies, click here!
IB (International Baccalaureate)
IB courses are offered at many high schools and students take IB courses in multiple subjects at the same time. Students test during their senior year in each subject area and if they receive a total score of 24, they can earn an IB Diploma (which is often equivalent to 1 year of college credit). Colleges over the world have different policies on how they award credit for IB exams. Check with colleges directly to learn about their specific credit policy. 

PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Options)
PSEO courses are taken at the college while in high school. 11th and 12th grade students can take PSEO classes part-time or full-time. 10th grade students can take one career/technical course and upon completion of that course with a C or higher, are eligible for one additional career/technical course. The PSEO Reference guide is available here. For more info about PSEO, click here

CIS (College in the Schools)
CIS is a college course taught in the high school by a college professor or a specially trained teacher. If a student passes the course, they receive both high school and college credit. Your high school registration information will have a list of any CIS courses at your high school.

CLEP (College-Level Examination Program)
CLEP is another way students can earn college credit. Exams have been developed for different subject areas and students pay an exam fee for each test. Students may choose the CLEP option if they have experience outside of school such as fluency in Spanish. For a list of CLEP exams and the scores MN colleges require, click here!