This fall, over 50 high school students are taking classes at the U of I through the High School Concurrent Enrollment Program (HSCE), according to Kimberly Hansen, freshman processing coordinator at UIUC. While some come from other public high schools, the majority are from Uni High and, as Uni is a program of the U of I, these students get to take college courses without paying a cent. The only requirement? A GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Many students choose to take a UIUC class because it specializes in a specific subject that fascinates them, from Global Studies to higher math. Additionally, many courses in the U of I STEM departments are more advanced than those offered at Uni. Reed Phillips, a Uni senior, is taking a differential equations class because “it was the next step after Calculus 2-3”. Uni students also speak very highly of the professors.
“I would go to office hours all the time and the whole department was great,” says Ha Tran who has taken classes in the Computer Science Department.
Here’s what you need to know to get involved. High school students must apply through the SSO for the class they wish to take, and are accepted at the discretion of the department. Following acceptance, they can register online after the undergrads do at the start of the semester. Make sure the class you want is in a manageable time slot, and that you are taking all of the required classes for your Uni High schedule!
Keep in mind that the classes marked as level 100s-200s are classes without pre-requisite requirements–usually more appropriate for non-degree students; unless you are looking for a more specialized course. You’ll be looking for classes marked ‘open’ in the course catalog. If a class a student wants to take is marked ‘restricted’, the student must contact the department or professor to request an override. It is very important to communicate with your professors about test dates, advises one Uni student. Tests are often offered in several different periods and it is important that you show up to the one to which you’re assigned!
Many students say that coordinating their U of I class with their Uni schedule was difficult. In order to take a UIUC class, you need around 90 minutes of unscheduled time for the class itself, not to mention some time to get from Uni to the campus building in which the class is held–and back! HSCE students often have to arrange with their teachers to be a bit late on days when their U of I class meets.
Dr. Radnitzer advises students to keep their Uni teachers informed of classes they drop from the very beginning, to avoid grading mistakes. Students should also be aware that they are starting a permanent college transcript when they enroll in HSCE.
Hansen recommends that students take only 1-2 UIUC classes at a time. While she wishes the process were less complicated, she remarks that it is good practice for high school students to be able to speak comfortably with professors and deal with all the “red tape” associated with applying to college.
Hansen says, “A lot of it is perseverance.”