Earning College Credit as a High School Student

UW System campuses offer a number of opportunities for academically talented high school students to enroll in university courses, providing students an opportunity to pursue college credit in the high school.

The Youth Options Program is a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) program in which Wisconsin public high school students in 11th or 12th grade can attend a Wisconsin institution of higher education for the purpose of taking courses for high school and college credit.

Youth Options requires that interested students are seeking high school credit for postsecondary course work. A UW campus will award university credit for any course taken at the university level. If attendance is approved by the school board, the cost of tuition, fees, and books is paid by the school district.

A student interested in Youth Options completes a Wisconsin DPI Youth Options Program Plan and Report. This form is available in high school offices and must be completed by March 1 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester (there is no summer enrollment in this program).

Students must also apply to the college campus and meet all admission requirements and application deadlines. Admission to a UW System campus is offered if the student meets all requirements for Youth Options enrollment and space is available. The criteria to be accepted typically indicate strong academic qualifications as measured by rank in class, GPA, ACT/SAT score, a rigorous curriculum in high school, and/or letters of recommendation.

Students hoping to enroll in Youth Options should talk with their high school counselor for more information. Students should also request information from the UW System campus where enrollment is desired.

Choose the campus of interest for more detailed information about admission and enrollment.

Youth Options Contact Information

UW Colleges (Freshman/Sophomore Campuses)

UW Baccalaureate Campuses

Special Student Enrollment for High School Students

The UW System welcomes gifted and talented high school students into its campus communities. High school students may apply to a UW System campus for the purpose of taking college-credit course work prior to graduation from high school.

High school students interested in taking college-level courses must meet the established admission criteria of the UW System institution. High school students, once admitted, are commonly referred to as "high school specials." This means that the student has been approved by the university to take courses for university credit as a non-degree-seeking student.

Interested students must apply for admission status as a high school special by completing the appropriate forms and submitting required transcripts, test scores, and/or letters of recommendation.
Consult the campus of interest for more detailed information about admission and enrollment.

High School Special Student Contact Information

UW Colleges (freshman/sophomore campuses)

UW Baccalaureate Campuses

Course Options

Course Optionsallows students enrolled in a Wisconsin public school district to apply to take up to two courses at a time at an Educational Institution. Participating students remain enrolled in their resident school districts for the majority of their classes. The courses are taken directly from the educational institution either physically at the campus or online. Students interested in Course Options should talk with their high school counselor for more information.

More Options for High School Students

The University of Wisconsin-Extension offers university-credit course work through Independent Learning. Independent Learning coursework offers online, print-based, and print-based with an e-mail delivery option.

Some UW System campuses have made arrangements for offering college credit with certain high schools. An example of this is the Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) at UW-Oshkosh, College Credit in High School at UW-Green Bay:dual credit courses for high school students at UW-La Crosse and Partners in Education at UW-Whitewater. Check with a high school counselor for opportunities to earn college credit through a UW System campus while in high school.

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