Intro

 

Thank you for your interest in Uni High.  The inquiry and information stage for our 2024-2025 admissions process has started. If you have questions about Uni High or would like to sign up for an informational session, please review the information below or complete our inquiry form

We will also host informational sessions beginning in late November through early February. Please complete the inquiry form to sign up for one of these sessions. Our applications will be available in early January. 

The typical point of entry for Uni High is 8th grade, but we accept students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades on a space-available basis.

 

Uni Facts

University Laboratory High School (Uni High) is a public high school affiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We enroll about 300 students in grades 8-12. Students are admitted via an application process and any student who is/will be a legal resident of Illinois by the first day of school can apply.

We are located on the University of Illinois campus at the corner of Springfield and Mathews in Urbana.

As a public school, Uni does not charge tuition. We do have student fees, and students buy their own books, but we offer financial assistance when needed. We are proud that no student will be unable to attend Uni because of limited financial resources.

- Most students enter in 8th grade, but there are a few transfer openings each year for grades 9-11.
- There is no tuition and we have income-based fee-waivers for all fees.
- We’re proud of our unique curriculum!
- We have a small enrollment – about 310 students total in grades 8-12.
- We offer students the freedom and independence of an open campus.
- We offer unique, interesting, and challenging classes.
- We offer many fine arts, sports, and club experiences.
 

Who should apply to Uni?

We love to see applications from passionate, creative risk-takers who have done reasonably well in school. (Everyone makes mistakes.)  

Current 6th and 7th graders can apply for next year’s 8th grade (subfreshman) class. Current 8th - 10th graders can also apply as transfer students for a limited number of openings.

Uni students are motivated students who want to learn and are open to learning and exploring in many different ways. They will be able to handle the freedom and responsibility of an open campus, and they are flexible in their expectations of school. Our students are often looking for non-traditional approaches, more independence, a smaller environment, and a safe place to take risks.

We also understand that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so we do accommodate 504 plans and Individual Education Plans, and we offer extra help in math and writing for students who want it.

Application Information

No standardized test: There is no required standardized test. Admissions decisions will be based on the application (which will be online), letters of recommendation, a timed writing sample, and transcripts from last year and this year.

The application: The application link will be available in early January. Applicants will complete and submit the application online. The application is designed to be filled out primarily by the student. There is a parent statement to be completed by a parent or guardian, and students may need assistance getting recommendations and transcripts.

Writing assessment: The student questionnaire portion includes several short and long essay questions. 

Fees: There is a $35 application fee, and waivers are available. Please contact unihigh-admissions@illinois.edu if you need assistance with the application fee.

Admissions Decisions

Uni always tries to build a class of incoming students that represents the surrounding communities. We do not consider home school districts, family relationships, or affiliation with the University of Illinois. The admissions process is name-blind (the committee NEVER sees the applicants’ names throughout the process). 

There is no magic formula for admission. We look at the whole application.

Requirements: There is no “cut-off” GPA. You do not need straight As; less than perfect grades will not keep a student out of Uni. If you don’t participate in organized activities, that’s fine with us. If you do, that’s good too. If you’ve won awards - great. If you haven’t - that’s not a problem. A committee of teachers will look at your whole application and think carefully about your place at Uni High. 

We can only accept about 65 8th-grade students each year. We typically have many more qualified students whom we would love to accept, but we just don’t have room.
We try to invite students who are open to new experiences, are excited about learning, and who are flexible and likely to enjoy both traditional and non-traditional classes.
Please remember: Admissions decisions are final. There is no appeal process.

Curriculum

Uni has a non-AP, all-honors curriculum. While we require a certain number of credits in traditional high school subjects, we also offer a changing array of electives. Classes range from traditional lecture- and test-based classes to completely hands-on active learning classes. As a laboratory school, our one constant is that things change. 

Our teachers are experts in their fields and decide what they will teach. The curriculum can change from year to year based on research, experience, student feedback, and experimentation.

Check out our curriculum here, but keep in mind that it’s always changing. The graduation requirements are here.

In addition, some students may do independent study projects or take University of Illinois classes for college credit starting their Junior year.

We do not teach AP classes or give AP exams at Uni.

World Languages

We offer classes in French, German, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish. Uni students are required to complete two years of World Languages. Please click and read the details about how students are assigned to language classes. Due to our small enrollment and small class sizes, students are not guaranteed enrollment into their first choice language. 

More information about our language program

Extracurriculars

Uni has a wide range of extracurriculars, athletics, and fine arts opportunities, and students can propose their own clubs at any time.

Fine arts: Uni’s Fine Arts programs include visual arts, theater, chorus, orchestra, madrigals, and jazz band. About 70% of Uni students participate in the arts.

Athletics: All of our sports have a “no cut” policy, so anyone can participate in any sport, even if they have never tried it before. Find out more about athletics here.

Clubs: Any student at Uni can propose a club to the Student Council at any time. As students graduate and new students begin, the variety of clubs changes. There are usually about 50 clubs at any given time. We also have student government at every grade level and an elected Student-Faculty Advisory committee.

Prospective Family Meetings

If you’d like to find out more about Uni, we recommend signing up for one of our prospective family meetings through our inquiry page. 

Our prospective family meetings will be held both in person at local libraries and through Zoom. Zoom links will be emailed one day before the meeting.

The meetings feature a PowerPoint with additional information about opportunities at Uni as well as more information about the application process. Each meeting will have some time for questions and answers at the end and will last approximately one hour.  

Transfer Applicants

The primary entry point for University of Illinois Laboratory High School is 8th grade. Applicants for grades 9-11 are accepted on a space-available basis. We do not accept new students for 12th grade.

More information for transfer students 

Homeschooled Applicants

Applicants who have been homeschooled are welcome to apply to Uni. The general guidelines for 8th grade (subfreshman) and transfer (9-11) applications should all be followed; homeschooled applicants will complete the same application.

More information for homeschooled applicants

Nondiscrimination Notice

The commitment of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to the most fundamental principles of academic freedom, equality of opportunity, and human dignity requires that decisions involving students and employees be based on merit and be free from invidious discrimination in all its forms. The university does not engage in discrimination or harassment against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, national origin, citizenship status, ancestry, age, order of protection status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, arrest record status, unfavorable discharge from the military, or status as a protected veteran and complies with all federal and state nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, and affirmative action laws, orders, and regulations.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies:

Director of the Office for Access & Equity
616 East Green Street, Suite 214
Champaign, IL 61820
accessandequity@illinois.edu
(217) 333-0885

Please refer to the University of Illinois System website for the most up-to-date statement on Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Other Sexual Misconduct.