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University of Illinois Laboratory High School admissions information
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Welcome Uni Facts
Curriculum Languages
Extra-curriculars Who should apply
Find out more: Zoom meetings Admissions decisions
Information for transfer students Information for home-schooled applicants
Application and writing assessment Fees and fee waivers


Welcome to Uni High!

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.


Some things you should know about Uni High:

Uni is a small, public high school with an application-based admissions process. Most students enter in 8th grade, but there are a few transfer openings each year.
  • There is no tuition and we have income-based fee waivers for all fees.
  • 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.
  • We do not discriminate based on race, gender, identity, disability or family income.

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.

As a laboratory school, we are exempt from state testing, so our curriculum is flexible. Our teachers are experts in their fields who decide what they will teach. This 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.

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


Foreign languages

We offer classes in French, German, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish. Uni students are required to complete two years of a foreign language. 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 bands. 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 change. 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.

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.)

Sixth and seventh graders can apply for next year’s 8th grade (subfreshman) class. Eighth through tenth 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 offer extra help in math and writing for students who want it.


Find out more at prospective family meetings

If you’d like to find out more about Uni, we recommend signing up for one of our online prospective family meetings. Sign-up links will be available 3 days prior to the meeting.

Our prospective family meetings will be held on Zoom this year, and a link to register will be available three days prior to each 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.

The dates and times for the prospective family meetings are:

  • Weds. Oct. 28, 6 p.m.
  • Saturday Nov. 14, 1 p.m.
  • Thurs. Dec. 3, 6 p.m.
  • Saturday Jan. 9, 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday Feb. 2, 6 p.m.

Admissions decisions

Uni always tries to build a class of incoming students that is inclusive and 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 if you would be a good fit for 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.

Information for transfer students (students applying for grades 9-11)


Information for home-schooled applicants


Application:

Our online application will be available on or about Dec. 1, 2020. Please check back here then. The early application deadline is Jan. 15, 2021 and the final application deadline is Feb. 15, 2021.

The admissions process this year has changed! Please read the application information carefully.

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 on or about Dec. 1. 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.

Once we receive the completed application, the applicant will be invited to sign up for a short, timed, online independent writing sample.


Fees:

Keep in mind that we offer financial assistance for all fees for students with financial need, and anyone can set up a payment plan. There is a $30 initial application fee, approximately $1070-$ 1610 in student fees per year, and books/supplies are about $500 a year.

Please contact Susan Layton if you cannot pay the $30 application fee, and she will assist you.