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Cardinal Virtual Academy

In support of Saint Mary’s Lasallian Catholic mission to awaken, nurture, and empower learners to ethical lives of service and leadership, we have partnered with Cardinal Virtual to provide Lasallian high school students like you with an opportunity to engage in transformative college-level learning and earn college credit while still in high school.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Cardinal Virtual Academy courses are delivered online and asynchronously by instructors trained in best practices for online learning. These courses offer excellence, convenience, and flexibility to suit your busy life, making it possible for you to take Saint Mary’s classes whenever and wherever you have a computer and Internet connection available.

Talk to your high school adviser

With more than 100 years of academic tradition, Saint Mary’s is regularly ranked among the nation’s top higher education institutions by U.S. News & World Report (including ranked online programs), the Princeton Review, and Forbes.

As a Saint Mary’s Cardinal Virtual Academy student, you will be guided through your classes by caring and engaging professors using a variety of learning materials including textbooks, multimedia presentations, discussion forums, and other digital tools. Saint Mary’s professors are there and available to answer questions just as with any other class.


    • Earn dual credit for high school and college credit online.
    • Save money by transferring college credit.
    • Get a headstart on college and understand what it is like to take college courses.
    • Access to university resources to support your academic success.
    • Build confidence while building your future.

  • You are eligible to apply if you meet all of the following:

    • Enrolled in one of Cardinal Virtual partner high schools.
    • Are at least 16 years old.
    • Carry a 3.0 high school unweighted GPA.
    • Have the recommendation of your high school counselor, principal, or head of school.

  • Once you have been accepted and registered for courses, you will begin preparing to study online at Saint Mary’s:

    • Complete training in Canvas, the learning management system
    • Complete the self-paced Cardinal Virtual Academy student orientation course
    • Acquire textbooks online Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Bookstore
    • Create a study plan that includes three hours of academic work per credit per week for Cardinal Virtual Academy courses
    • Prepare for your class by checking your Saint Mary’s assigned email and online course dashboard daily.
    • Take advantage of the student support resources at Saint Mary’s Student Success Center (tutors, Writing Center, library materials, etc.)

Ready to apply?

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Cardinal Virtual Academy accepts new students two times per year for classes starting in the fall semester and spring semester.* Once you have determined you are eligible to apply, follow these steps:

  • Attend a virtual information session
  • Meet with your high school counselor and determine which courses are best for you and your schedule, taking into account your high school workload and your college courses through Cardinal Virtual Academy
  • Complete the online application
  • Register for courses with the directions provided

*Students who apply for the fall semester are eligible to take classes during spring semester without reapplying.


  • You should work closely with your high school counselor and a Saint Mary’s adviser before deciding to drop or withdraw from a course. It is important to understand how these decisions will affect satisfactory academic progress in college, as well as at your high school. Deadlines are established each semester for dropping or withdrawing from courses, and it is your responsibility to meet these deadlines. For information about refunds, contact Catholic Virtual.

  • Saint Mary’s credits earned through dual enrollment programs have been recognized by colleges and universities nationwide. Colleges and universities may recognize coursework taken at other institutions in several ways:

    • Transfer the credits into your program of study
    • Transferred courses can be used for exemption from specific course requirements
    • Transferred courses can be used to fulfill prerequisite course requirements
    • Transferred courses can fulfill prerequisite course requirements for more advanced studies.

  • students must enter Saint Mary’s University, instead of St. Mary’s University when filling out the Clearinghouse form.

    If applying to Saint Mary’s as an undergraduate, there is no need to submit an official Saint Mary’s transcript; however, do note in your application that you have taken Saint Mary’s courses as a part of the Catholic Virtual Academy.