Unconventional PSEO

Although Normandale and the University of Minnesota are the most well-known Post Secondary Enrollment Options at Prior Lake High School, the Cosmetology Program through SouthWest Metro District is somewhat unknown. Hayley Albrecht, along with two other PLHS seniors, chose to participate in the program this 2016-17 school year.  

This hands-on PSEO programs allow students to begin their post-secondary education journey early by offering dual enrollment at a college or university that offers classes for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.

According to Joan Berkland, who has been teaching the course for 15 years, SouthWest Metro first offered the course to high school students in 2000. Now 16 years later, 15 different schools offer the program, and Prior Lake students have been attending since 2005.

SouthWest Metro offers a two year program. The first year covers the basics of hair, skin and nails–the three areas of cosmetology. Students learn what make up the three areas as well as how to manipulate them.

Inspired by Tabatha Coffey, who works in the cosmetology industry, Joan Berkland shared that she likes to use Coffey’s show Tabatha Takes Over  as a learning tool. “She has a huge passion for the industry, and is not afraid to let stylists know when they are being lazy or unprofessional. The students love it.”

Berkland expressed that her favorite part about teaching the course is watching her students grow. She explained that she loves her students’ excitement when they tell her about a new skill successfully executed in the real world. “It’s so rewarding being able to teach the skills I have worked on for almost 30 years.”

Much like any other year-long course, each quarter builds on the one before it. Students get hands-on practice after learning about the three different areas, but Berkland added that the second year of the program takes a much more hands on approach.

Receiving a cosmetology license requires 1,550 hours of experience and course study. Students will possess the knowledge base equivalent of a 250 hour basics class by the time they graduate and move on to their post-secondary school of choice. “If a student takes our 2-year program, they could be able to transfer up to 350 hours [provided that] they meet all the requirements of our articulation agreements with the post-secondary school they are interested in attending,” said Berkland.

Growing up around her mother who has a “knack for hair and makeup” and a sister who loves it as well,  Hayley Albrecht has always held a passion for the cosmetology world. Hayley explained that she found out about the program through fellow senior, Olivia Krausert, who is also enrolled in the course, and then contacted her guidance counselor for more information.

Hayley admitted that cosmetology has always been a hobby of hers, and the idea of making it into her profession brought her greater joy.

Now inspired by the likes of Pat McGrath, Anastasia, and Jeffery Paul, Hayley disclosed that she enjoys the skin area of cosmetology because of her preference for doing make-up. “I love how closely we replicate being on the clinic floor. We’re able to choose between working on mannequins or others in the classroom, and it is great to prepare us for actual salon work,” said Albrecht, when discussing her favorite part about the course.

Hayley expressed her excitement about the class credits transferring over to her post-secondary choice after high school stating, “I can start ahead of the game and actually get out on the actual floor and spend less time in basic training.”