The Keys to Senior Year Success

A UNHS Staff Article Collaboration

Your senior year of high school is a very exciting time. Whether you’re in the classroom or schooling from home, the finish line is in sight! Soon you’ll be starting a new and very important chapter in life. Before you get too carried away though, it’s important to remember that you’re not done yet. Your final year of high school is the most crucial time in the college planning process. This fall there are a few things you can do to ensure a smooth transition if you have plans to attend college next year:

Retake the ACT/SAT

Many seniors retake the ACT and/or SAT at least once during the fall. Make sure to sign up early and create a calendar of dates to keep yourself on track. This is your last opportunity to increase your scores – make it count!

Complete the FAFSA

The FAFSA is key if you’re looking to apply for student financial aid, whether in the form of scholarships or student loans. It only takes a few minutes to fill out. Learn more about the  FAFSA application process at: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid

Narrow down your list of colleges

You’ve probably been looking at a number of colleges, trying to decide which ones are right for you. Now is the time to narrow the list of 3-5 potential colleges of choice. Narrowing down your options helps you find which colleges meet your criteria and makes it easier to manage your application materials. During this time of social distancing due to a global pandemic, consider exploring whether your schools of choice offer virtual options to help you learn more about the institution, such as a virtual campus tour or a video conference with a college ambassador.

Ask for letters of recommendation

Some college applications require letters of recommendation. These can come from advisers, teachers, coaches, or other adult figures in your life. Make sure to check if the college you’re applying to requires this! Don’t wait until the last minute and scramble to find someone willing to write a letter for you. Ask for letters early and remember to send a thank you when completed.

Apply for scholarships

College is an investment, and it can be expensive! Scholarships are a great way to help you finance your education. Check with your college’s financial aid office, talk with your high school advisers, and search scholarship databases to find which scholarships you are eligible for. The U.S. Department of Education scholarship page is a great resource to start with.

Start applications early

Most colleges have deadlines when applications must be completed by, with most regular decision deadlines falling sometime in January. Don’t wait until December to start working on your applications. Take the time this fall to start completing your applications, well before the deadlines. Make sure to check if your school accepts the Common App – it could save you countless hours!

At first glance it can seem overwhelming, but if you take it one step at a time you will be on track for success. And remember to reach out to teachers, advisers, parents, and other trusted adults for support if you need any advice or help. You’ve got this!

Productive Study Strategies for Homeschool Families

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A UNHS Staff Article Collaboration

Whether you’re a seasoned homeschooler or got your first experience with homeschool through the COVID-19 pandemic, you can always create a more productive home study environment for your family.

At the University of Nebraska High School, we have been developing distance learning curriculum for over 90 years. The academic success of each student is our top priority, and an important part of that success is productive, healthy home study strategies.

Read on to give your study routine a boost before the new school year.

1. Establish a schedule and stick with it.

One of the nice things about homeschooling high school is the flexibility you can have with your child’s schedule. You can build in time for extracurricular activities, rehearsals, and practices beyond the regular curriculum with a lower risk of burnout. UNHS courses can be completed at your student’s pace and at any time of day, so you have plenty of freedom to build the ideal schedule.

Once you find a schedule that works, develop it into a routine for optimal results. A reliable schedule makes it easier to consistently study, and regular, predictable studying habits help students retain information better than occasional bursts of studying.

2. Rely on your teachers and advisers.

Just because your family has chosen to homeschool, doesn’t mean you have to manage your child’s entire education alone. UNHS teachers, advisers and customer support staff can be contacted during weekdays and are happy to help you and your student solve problems.

By the time a student reaches high school, he or she should be equipped to independently study for periods of time. However, during independent study, it can be useful for your student to have an expert resource like a teacher to briefly discuss a problem with. UNHS staff members are friendly and passionate about elevating students to new levels of success.

3. Create concrete goals.

Measurable goals with reasonable benchmarks are a simple and fun way to motivate students to achieve more. You and your child can set an overarching goal for each course, then break down that goal into smaller objectives that he or she can accomplish in each unit or lesson.

Be sure to write down each goal and the steps your student needs to take to achieve them, then display the list in a visible place. A physical reminder of a goal makes it easier to reach. Work with your student to monitor progress and feel free to adjust goals to better fit your student’s learning needs. Developing productive study strategies is an evolving process, so don’t be afraid to change direction and try something else.

UNHS is an accredited online high school that prepares students for college and beyond with a wide variety of challenging courses. Visit our website, browse our courses, or contact us today to learn more!

The Next Ten Years

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Ray Henning, UNHS Academic Adviser

As the year 2020 begins, you have probably heard the saying that “time flies.” I am not sure of your personal experience, but for me it seems like the past ten years have flown by so quickly!

With the start of a new decade, I’d like to look back and review some notable events in our history at UNHS, across the globe and within my own personal life since the year 2010.  Perhaps you may even recall a few of these during the years 2010-2019 (a very haphazard list):

  • We witnessed two high profile royal weddings (congrats William and Kate; Harry and Meghan)!
  • In 2010, the 21st Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver, Canada, and a total of 258 medals were awarded across 26 nations.
  • The world did not end on December 21, 2012 as some people had predicted it to (according to the Mayan calendar).
  • In 2013, UNHS joined the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide, now known as University of Nebraska Online, or NU Online for short.
  • In 2014, many people were doing the Ice Bucket Challenge to promote ALS awareness.
  • In 2016, the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians and won the World Series for the first time in 108 years.
  • In August of 2017: For the first time since 1918, we experienced a total solar eclipse.
  • In 2019, UNHS celebrated 90 years of academic excellence!

Personally, I will share three important items that happened in my life during the past ten years:

  • In 2012, my wife was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and after a year of treatment, she is now seven years cancer free.
  • All four of my grandchildren were born (the oldest is now six and the youngest is two years old).
  • I started working at the University of Nebraska High School (UNHS) in 2014.

Now as you look to the future, how do you predict your world will change over the next ten years?  Maybe you will graduate from high school and/or college, get a job, travel, start a family, etc. As I have shared above, so much can happen in ten years’ time!

Noted author J.R.R. Tolkien once said this about time, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

I would encourage you to make the best use of your time and the University of Nebraska High School (UNHS) will be here to support you in your academic and personal endeavors! In fact, we have already been here for over nine decades and continue to be an excellent option for many students who desire to learn independently from an accredited, college preparatory high school.

Let’s count on us all having great things to share when 2030 rolls around!

Your Education, Your Pace

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A UNHS Staff Article Collaboration

Classes, homework, and extracurricular activities can take a toll on high school students, especially teenagers who are yet to master skills like time management – something even adults struggle with. The reality for many is that rehearsals, practices, and even volunteer schedules are among the most demanding parts of a busy teen’s life.

Alanna, a University of Nebraska High School (UNHS) graduate, discovered that pursuing her passion for theater required more dedication than a traditional high school schedule allowed. Likewise, Harrison’s training schedule as a champion skier frequently kept him away from home, but completing his coursework online allowed him to both travel the world for competitions while learning the valuable skills of self-discipline and independence.

Online courses, like those offered by the University of Nebraska High School, allow budding performance artists, student athletes, and other busy students to study at their own pace and set their own schedules. This means that students can study when their concentration levels are high and practice their craft when they aren’t physically or mentally exhausted.

At UNHS, students can enroll year around and complete courses in as few as 5 weeks or as many as 52 weeks. Courses can be used to supplement a traditional high school path or to complete an entire UNHS diploma program online. Learn more about how our school can help students follow their passions without compromising academic goals.

A Refreshing Reflection on UNHS Graduation

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Hugh McDermott, Principal, UNHS

As 2018 nears its end, I have been reflecting on some of the more memorable activities that happened at UNHS this year, and my thoughts immediately turn to our annual graduation ceremony. This past summer, I presided over my third UNHS graduation ceremony. What a fun time it was for all, as we had 18 students attend this year’s ceremony on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus. Relative to previous years, this was a large group to be in attendance and was part of the more than 200 students who graduated with us this year. For those who are not familiar with UNHS, we are a distance education program and therefore we serve students all over the planet. So, it can be difficult for students and parents to travel thousands of miles for the actual ceremony. Therefore, we “live stream” our commencement so that folks around the world can see what it is about and stay connected with us.

At this year’s ceremony, we had 12 students from Nebraska, but we also had students from Thompson’s Station, Tennessee; Centerville, Georgia; Lubango, Angola; Katy, Texas; Bogota, Colombia; and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Our total class of graduates represented at least 31 different countries and 30 of these United States. The graduating class had at least 26 Nebraska students, representing approximately 15% of the total class. The cultural and geographical diversity of our graduates demonstrates the strength of our program and the need that exists for UNHS.

Graduation remains one of those rites of passage that allows students to recognize that a high school diploma is a “big deal.” It’s the culmination of many years of strong academic work and other activities and experiences. Just for a brief moment in time, students can reflect on reaching this milestone which then opens the door to many additional opportunities and experiences ahead of them. At UNHS, we are anxious to support our students in any way we can. Some students take our courses to supplement their local high school diploma, while others take all of their coursework with us to obtain the UNHS accredited diploma.

Here are some comments I gleaned from the 2018 student biographies at our ceremony:

Cassara dreams of one day working for National Geographic or starting her own business and is toying with the idea of pursuing a degree in photojournalism or business management.

Nick is planning to become an electrician and liked UNHS because it allowed him to work independently and at his own pace.

Abigayle’s advice to others is to embrace hard work, not avoid it. Hard work is what helps you grow and achieve what you want in life. Abigayle plans to pursue a Bachelor of Nursing degree.

Jazmine learned that UNHS teachers play a valuable role and are critical to helping students learn. She also encourages students to “find a good role-model or someone you can depend on to help you through difficult times.”

Gabriel had the experience of playing soccer at age 16 in Spain! He believes that taking courses online taught him to assume responsibility for himself, and he is thankful for his teachers who were always there for him. He also mentioned the importance of family support in helping him reach this goal.

Maxwell is looking forward to an internship at a medical center in Omaha, which may also guide him in the direction of his future course work. He commented how UNHS provided him with access to a good curriculum.

Conner expressed several options awaiting him, such as attending a community college to further his skills in auto mechanics, or he may join the U.S. Army or Army National Guard as a helicopter mechanic.  His optimistic advice for fellow students was, “go for it” and to not be afraid of learning online.

Logan indicated that he will pursue an occupational therapy degree because he finds great satisfaction in helping people make the most of their everyday lives. He even is attempting to write a book by the end of this year! His advice, “Keep going! The end is never the end until you say so.”

Emma stated that what she liked best about UNHS was that she was able to travel whenever she wanted without worrying about the structure of a traditional school. This gave her the freedom to learn the way she wanted to and at a speed that worked well for her.

Denton plans to major in Agricultural Business. He was raised in an agricultural community here in Nebraska and was exposed to the business side of it at an early age. He chose UNHS because his local school schedule made it difficult for him to participate in rodeo at the level he desired.

Paul is interested in multiple fields in the area of information technology. What Paul looked for in UNHS was, “I wanted a school that could teach me from home but still challenge me and carry the weight of a proud Nebraska program.” He especially enjoyed psychology and several elements of the English reading assignments.

Camryn is taking a “gap year” to pursue her modeling career before making other career choices. Camryn advises others to establish a schedule that works well for them and stick to it. She also says that in times of need, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.

Jay has recently been an artist intern at a non-profit. Jay is passionate about animation, cosplay, sewing, art, and writing. Jay’s advice is, “Do whatever works best for you and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.”

Odon came all the way from Lubango, Angola (approximately 8,000 miles) and believes in “investing in technological innovation and providing resources to encourage bright ideas and talents.” UNHS allowed him to travel with his family without compromising on his education.

Shaye said that UNHS was a good fit for him as he traveled to Barcelona, Spain to play for a soccer academy. He progressed at his own pace and worked around his soccer schedule. He learned from UNHS that communication is key, and he encourages students to consult with teachers anytime they do not understand a concept or material.

Laura came all the way from Colombia, South America and loved the fact that UNHS courses allowed her to take control of her studies, and she also chose UNHS because of its accreditation. She encourages students to use their time wisely and take advantage of the many things that UNHS has to offer them.

Princesse also came from far away, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and headed to Fresno State University this fall. She believes the courses at UNHS have made her more independent and responsible without sacrificing her ability to participate in her extracurricular activities.

William is planning to pursue a degree in construction management and someday become a general contractor. He learned through UNHS to manage his days well and still make time for his extracurricular activities such as fishing and camping. His advice to others doing online schooling is to maintain a strong network of friends to feel connected and supported.

As I reflected on these students’ comments, I am reminded of how important a role UNHS plays in all of these situations. Every student is unique and UNHS helps each of them meet their specific goals. The UNHS graduation ceremony will always be a special event that reinforces the importance of students earning their diplomas. Congratulations once again to all the graduates of the UNHS class of 2018! And for those interested and eligible to attend the UNHS graduation ceremony in 2019, mark your calendars for Friday, June 14, 2019