The Program for Advanced College Credit (PACC) offers college courses taught in your high school. These are the same expectations, workload, learning activities, projects, and exams as the courses taught to first-year students at Saint Mary's University.
It gives you an "edge"
Students have a lot to cope with, both academically and socially, when they first enter college. By taking college courses while still in high school, you have the opportunity to experience the rigors of college coursework and the amount of self-discipline you need to succeed academically in college.
It gives you a "jumpstart"
Registering for college courses while in high school gives you a jump start on your future college program and offers you more options once you get to college: acceleration, reduced requirements.
It keeps you challenged
Taking PACC courses keeps you challenged through the senior year and helps maintain sharp academic skills and good study habits.
It's not just one test
Just like the courses you'll take in college, your grade in a PACC course takes into account the work and effort put in the entire year on various tests and projects.It does not rely on one test on one day of your life. It is a true reflection of what college will be like.
It reduces the cost
With the rising cost of college, PACC courses can significantly reduce those costs.
A recent study by Syracuse University showed that students who take dual enrollment classes are more likely to succeed.
- 87% of students report the classes exposed them to higher academic requirements
- 84% report that their classes helped them develop more realistic expectations of college work
- 86% of the instructors felt that these classes help students learn to manage their time more efficiently
Saint Mary's offers numerous courses in conjunction with PACC. This means Saint Mary's faculty work closely with approved high school faculty to ensure that the courses are being taught as they would be at Saint Mary's. The following is a list of the available courses through Saint Mary's University. Not all high schools offer all courses.
See your high school for a specific list of the PACC courses offered.
Who can register to take Saint Mary's courses through PACC?
To be eligible to participate in PACC you must…
- Be of junior or senior status
- Have at least a 'B' average and a score in (at least) the 50th percentile on a standardized test
- Return the registration form and tuition fee to your high school by the stated deadline
- Achieve enrollment at the discretion of the high school teacher and/or administrator
When I register for PACC courses, what is my official status with Saint Mary's University?
When you register for a course through PACC, you become a part-time student at Saint Mary's. Your academic records from the course(s) you take will be maintained by the Saint Mary's Registrar's Office, as are the records of all Saint Mary's students.
How do I register for PACC courses?
To receive PACC credit, you will receive a registration form from your high school. The form needs to be complete and signed by the student and guardian as well as the instructor and an administrator at the high school. The registration forms are collected by the high schools and returned collectively to Saint Mary's by the deadlines.
What are the registration deadlines?
To receive PACC credit, you must register and pay the required tuition to Saint Mary's during the fall registration period for full-year and fall-semester courses and during the Spring registration for courses offered only during the spring semester. Check with your high school for exact dates.
What does it cost?
The cost of a PACC credit is $70. A three credit class will be a total of $210. Your high school may also charge an administration fee.
Tuition is based on the number of credits designated for the courses. The university requires payment for courses to be made in full at the beginning of the semester in which they are taken unless special arrangements are made in advance.
Checks covering your tuition must be made payable to Saint Mary's University, not to your high school or teacher. All checks and registration material should be returned to the high school.
How will I be graded?
The SMU undergraduate academic calendar is recorded in semester hours. Most PACC courses, however, run for the entire year in the high school and credit for courses is generally awarded at the end of the academic year.
In order to evaluate the overall quality of course work, a system of grade points is used. The number of grade points earned in a given course is the number of credits for that course multiplied by the grade point corresponding to the grade received in that course, as follows:
Can I withdraw from a course?
Yes. If you withdraw within 10 business days of the registration deadline, you will recieve a full refund and no 'W' (withdrawal) will appear on your transcript. If you withdraw after 10 business days, no refund will be given and a 'W' will appear on your transcript. The official Saint Mary's Course Withdrawal Form must be used. Students who do not withdraw officially by submitting the form by the indicated final drop date will be assigned a grade according to work completed.
Will my Saint Mary's grades affect my GPA at the college I eventually attend?
Most institutions do not use grades of courses accepted for transfer credit in their determination of a student's GPA at that campus. There are a few institutions that do incorporate the transfer grades into the cummulative GPA. The best way to verify this is to contact the registrar at the institution you are considering.
If you decide to attend Saint Mary's University, the grade you earn in your PACC course(s) becomes part of your permanent record at Saint Mary's and it will count toward your GPA if you attend Saint Mary's.
How do colleges recognize work done at another institution?
Colleges and universities can recognize coursework taken at other institutions in several ways. Based on the student's transcript, which is proof that he or she has completed college coursework, institutions can transfer the credit hours into a student's program of study, reducing the number of courses the student has to complete on campus to graduate.
They can also offer the student the option of using transferred courses to gain exemption from specific course requirements. These might include courses that fulfill distribution or general education requirements, introductory writing courses, and courses required within a major or minor course of study.
Finally, colleges and universities can allow the student to use transfer courses to fulfill prerequisite course requirements for more advanced study by granting placement in a higher level of a course sequence. All of these forms of recognition may be granted individually or in combination.
You must decide what forms of recognition you are seeking. After you have received your acceptances and decided which institution you will attend, review the catalog to identify all of the requirements for graduation. Then determine which of these requirements might be completely or partially fulfilled by the PACC courses you have already taken.
How do I transfer my PACC classes?
To receive any form of recognition you must request that a transcript from Saint Mary's university be sent to your college.
How do I request my Saint Mary's transcript?
Wait until your grades are on file in the Registrar's Office (usually by June 30th).
It is also recommended that students request a copy of their transcripts for their own personal records. Students may request ten PACC transcripts at no charge. Each request, over ten, will cost $5.00 each.
Are all colleges and universities obligated to recognize my credit hours?
Credit recognition remains the exclusive prerogative of the institution granting it. College policies vary in regard to transfer credit, and may be applied differently from year to year and from student to student.
Many factors affect the decision to accept transfer credit, including the grade the student earned in the course. Usually, however, colleges will accept courses in which you earned a C or above and that are a good match for those you would have taken on that campus. Courses that differ from those the college offers may also be transferred, but often as elective credit. Some colleges will not give credit for a college course that also fulfilled a high school graduation requirement.
Increasingly, transfer credit decisions for some combination of degree credit, exemption, and/or placement are made on an individual basis, on the work the student can show he or she has done in the course. Even at schools where transfer credit is not normally granted, you may be able to negotiate to have your Saint Mary's coursework recognized. So keep your course portfolios and your syllabi so you can show them to college officials who need more information before accepting your transfer credit.
With whom should I negotiate credit transfer?
The first person to talk with about transfer credit is the person at your institution who has the power to make transfer credit decisions. That person varies from institution to institution. Begin by asking your academic advisor or admissions office who you need to see. If no one knows, talk with a college official such as a dean or department chairperson.
Some things to remember
The corresponding academic chairperson will most likely be your best resource in your effort to gain recognition for your Saint Mary's coursework. Admissions representatives usually do not have the authority to make transfer credit decisions. Registrars typically do not make transfer credit decisions, although they may interpret and administer policy established by their academic departments or the institution. Do not try to negotiate credit transfer before you have sent your transcript. If your college is reluctant to give recognition for your Saint Mary's courses, contact our office either in writing or by phone at:
Saint Mary's University PACC
700 Terrace Heights #22
Winona, MN 55987
Be sure to find out the reason for their reluctance; the more information we have, the more useful we can be. Although we can't force any college to accept Saint Mary's credit, we can write letters and/or make phone calls on your behalf.
How do I talk about getting my Saint Mary's credit recognized?
It is important you refer to the Saint Mary's courses you took as Saint Mary's courses, not as PACC; there is no such thing as a PACC course. You should also bring your course syllabi or manuals, course descriptions and, if appropriate, your student portfolio from the Saint Mary's courses you took when you meet with the faculty member or college official who will make the decision about your Saint Mary's credits.
To avoid misunderstandings, please review the following clarifications:
Payment of tuition does not ensure Saint Mary's University credit You are not automatically granted admission to Saint Mary's University upon successful completion of a course taken through PACC The Saint Mary's University transcript certifies college credit earned but does not automatically guarantee its acceptance at any other institution. The grade for Saint Mary's for the course is determined by criteria established by Saint Mary's; the high school grade for the course is determined by criteria established by the high school. Questions about Saint Mary's grades should be resolved, whenever possible, with the instructor.