University Laboratory High School – or “Uni” as it is better known – is one of the great public high schools in the United States. It began in 1876 as a college preparatory school for the University of Illinois. In 1910 it was additionally charged to be a laboratory school for the study of applied methods of teaching. As such, Uni provides a balanced educational program for intellectual, creative, social, and physical development.
Uni High is a public school; however, as a unit within the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Uni is not supported by local property tax dollars. As a result, Uni must receive support from other sources. The State Board of Education provides the greatest portion of funds through legislative funding guidelines passed in 1983. The University of Illinois provides building maintenance, utilities, some salary support, and other services. Since Uni does not receive local property tax dollars, parents are asked to make a donation to help support the annual budget. Currently, private donations provide 30% of Uni High’s budget. Voluntary financial support from parents ensures that the experiences of today’s students match those of our remarkable graduates.
Uni offers a five-year accelerated high school curriculum that begins with the subfreshman year - a combination of the seventh and eighth grades. Requirements are the following:
Uni students have the opportunity to select other courses to add depth and breadth to their requirements.
Additionally, Uni students who are at least 15 years old and have earned a “B” average may enroll concurrently in University of Illinois courses. Uni students are also eligible to work on independent study projects with UIUC professors and to take courses concurrently at Parkland College. Ninety-nine percent of Uni students attend four-year colleges or universities across the U.S. Several graduates each year defer admission to a four-year institution in order to study abroad, travel or volunteer.
Uni students also participate in a wide variety of school activities, and students may start new clubs related to their special interests after securing faculty sponsorship and Student Council approval. Membership in clubs is open to all students. Students assist the school through elected service on the Student Council and the Student-Faculty Advisory Committee. The arts and athletic programs at Uni are among the most extensive in the country for schools of similar size. The athletic program practices a “no-cut” policy that allows any student to participate in competitive athletics. The fine arts programs in music, drama, and art offer similar opportunities for students of various levels of talent. More than 66 percent of the students at Uni play on interscholastic teams, and more than 70 percent of the students at Uni participate in fine arts activities. During the year, Uni students sponsor several school-wide programs. For example in February, during Agora Week, Uni students, parents, teachers, alumni and community experts have the opportunity to take or teach classes that represent the broad interests of the Uni community. This allows students to introduce themselves to new topics and experiences.
All current sixth and seventh graders whose parents will be living in the State of Illinois as of the first day of school are eligible to apply. An application fee of $30 is assessed for each applicant. An application Fee Waiver Form is included in the application for those who are eligible for reduced or free textbooks/lunch. Students must be at least 11 years old on the first day of classes. Students who are enrolled in 8th grade should apply for 9th grade admission. Applications for admission to grades 9-11 are considered only as a space-available basis.
Uni High invites all academically talented students whose parents will be living in the State of Illinois to apply.
Admission to Uni is highly competitive. An admissions committee reviews applications on a name-blind basis and makes recommendations to the Director of University Laboratory High School. Each year, Uni accepts approximately 65 students into its subfreshman class.
The Admissions Committee considers the following criteria when making its decision:
· Demonstration of a superior school record;
· Evidence of strong academic motivation;
· Secondary School Admission Test results;
· Evidence of outstanding creativity, leadership, initiative, or interests;
· Evidence of writing ability based on the SSAT writing sample;
· Information on the application provided by the applicant;
· Two letters of recommendation from teachers of academic areas. (The Admissions Committee will only consider two letters of recommendation. Please submit only two.)
Uni strives to maintain a reasonable balance of girls and boys in the subfreshman class. Admissions decisions are made without regard to home school district, familial relationships or any affiliation with the University of Illinois. Uni strives to build a class of incoming students that is inclusive and representative of the surrounding communities. Admission is for August entry only. Admission decisions are final. There is no appeal process.
Uni is a public school and does not charge tuition. Expenses include student fees (approximately $720-$970 per year) and books and supplies (approximately $500 per year). Financial assistance to pay fees and books is available for families who can demonstrate financial need. Fee waivers are available to those who qualify under federal guidelines for free and reduced status.
Students and families interested in Uni are invited to attend an informational meeting. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. on the following dates: September 17, October 8, November 5, January 7, and February 4.