For 25 years I served as a middle school guidance counselor, directing students and parents to various resources they could use to reach their academic goals. Now, as a counselor serving University of Nebraska High School students, I see our program as an amazing option for gifted students not yet in high school.

Educators and parents interested in pursuing UNHS for your eighth-grade student should first consider the following questions:

  • Does your student have the academic ability to be successful in a high school level course?
  • Does your student have the independent learning skills to be successful accessing and participating in a course alone?
  • Is your student motivated to pursue a course away from their peers whether during the scheduled day or afterward?

If you and your student can answer, “Yes,” to these questions, then UNHS may be a great opportunity for exploring interests, challenging and engaging, and/or pursuing courses that won’t fit in a student’s high school schedule. UNHS offers more than 100 core, elective and Advanced Placement® online courses, covering all subject areas and including STEM and career-related topics.

Many eighth graders choose to take their UNHS course during the summer. This gives them more time to focus on the course and prepares them for fall. However, a student can start any day of the year and may complete the course at their pace, with up to one year to complete.

One detail that I find particularly beneficial for these students is that if they decide to take a UNHS course during the school year they can stay in their middle school building to do so. I know of many students during my time who would have been much more comfortable staying at their middle school than transferring to the high school. This also makes the logistics of offering gifted students extra academic opportunities much easier.

No matter when you choose to start a course, it is important to check with the local high school before enrolling to ensure it will accept the credit. I have encountered some instances where a specific completion date was needed in order for the credit to be accepted, so this is an important detail to confirm.

Once you have taken care of all of the logistics, your student can dive into the course work during which they have access to our teachers who can help with various questions. However, it is up to the student to schedule their time and study hard to earn success.

I hope this information is useful to you. We look forward to having you and your student choose UNHS!