Bucksbaum Academy Students

Issues & Concerns

It’s awesome to be in a place where a 3 a.m. conversation about theoretical physics—complete with a big plate of cheese fries and plenty of napkin math—is ordinary.” –Patrick (early entrant from Kansas City, Missouri)

Am I Ready?

We recommend that students have completed the equivalent of their sophomore year in high school, have a composite score on a standardized test (i.e., ACT or SAT) at or above the national 95th percentile, and have earned at least a 3.5 GPA before applying. We interview all qualified applicants to determine readiness.

> Financial Aid Information

Our Students Say:

  • “It was strange at first to live with someone else. I realize that I enjoy my time by myself and having a roommate makes this a challenge sometimes. It’s nice because when I have a problem with a homework assignment, I know people on my floor can help me with it.”
  • “I was really worried about people finding out that I was just a junior in high school…but it rarely ever comes up…most of my friends outside of the program (which means the majority of my friends) don’t even know, it's not really something that comes up in regular conversation.”
  • “Join clubs and groups right away. A lot of people put this off because they want to focus on academics. They do have a point: these extracurriculars shouldn’t consume your life. But joining groups right away gives you friends outside of Daum/class and a feeling of belonging to UI.”
  • “Be open to experiencing new things. Don’t freak out during your first midterm week…you’re not alone in the misery. Don’t put off studying TOO long… it’ll just hurt you in the end-trust me.”
  • “Classes here are entirely different than high school or anything I expected. I absolutely LOVE lectures. It gives me a chance to process information and then take it back and review it in a discussion. I love it!”
  • “Classes are a lot different than high school – as in you have to study!”
  • “My social life is excellent. I am meeting plenty of new people, but more importantly, I am making real connections with people.”
  • “I have made a few good friends in and outside of the program. I have friends now in all my classes, never sit alone at meals, and have people to do things with on weekends. I am pretty content with my social life.”
  • “It’s like ‘family’ on my floor…I like being able to run up to see friends on the other floors. It’s also good to be within walking distance of everything.”
“This program has certainly enabled my daughter to start the next phase of her education early instead of wasting time treading water in her high school.” –Parent of 17 year old early entrant

Letting your child leave home early to attend college can be a challenging experience. Once your students enter the University, they can always return home to visit, but there’s no doubt that going to college changes your relationships, whether they go after their sophomore or senior year.

Parents are included in the information day, interview, and welcome lunch. Parents are encouraged to contact the Belin-Blank Center at any time with questions or concerns. To learn about what your child should do to prepare to apply for early entrance, please see the student section of our website.

How can you assist your child in preparing to apply for early entrance?

Preparation for college should begin early. This College Prep Guide offers helpful tips about academic preparation and the college selection process.

Pre-college programs

Each year, Iowa offers a variety of camps, courses, and other programs for students in elementary through high school. Program areas range from music, sports, science, and math to entrepreneurship, forensics, and wildlife. For many students, youth camps are a fun and educational introduction to campus life.

The Belin-Blank Center runs a number of excellent summer residential programs as well. These programs are both academically and socially stimulating experiences which are great introductions to the staff at the B-BC and The University of Iowa’s campus. Check out our summer programs.

We asked early entrance parents their advice to future parents. Here’s what they have to say:

  • “We are quite relaxed having our son in the program. If he were a regular UI freshman, he would be without the excellent supervision and guidance that the Belin-Blank staff is providing him. ”
  • “Do it! What they ‘lose’ as a senior is far outweighed by what they gain in getting real challenges and opportunities.”
  • “Listen to your son or daughter…They know best.”
  • “The staff are supportive and act as advocates for the students. They (students) are better off than if they entered as regular freshmen.”
  • “This has given (our son) the opportunity to save an entire year that would have otherwise been largely wasted.”
  • “Our son needed to be in a university setting-he was ready academically and emotionally to be out of high school. This is a great program…do it!”
  • “The program works! She has adapted to the different teaching styles of her teachers and the different learning that goes on compared to high school. She is very happy.”
  • “Our daughter was home last weekend. As I drove her back to campus she said, ‘I’m so glad that I’m not in high school anymore.’ Enough said!”
“The early-entrance program was the partner needed for these students to have a fulfilling senior year... This expert staff advocates, cares, and provides the needed support system.” –Chris Schultz, TAG Strategist (retired), Council Bluffs, IA

A student has come to you indicating their interest in attending college early. Now what? Here are some issues and concerns that often come up in our interactions with school officials. We recommend that you consider these issues and have discussions with the student about them as they are making their decision about early entrance at Iowa.

  • Will the student have enough credits by the end of their sophomore year to graduate? Most of our students graduate two years early or use coursework from The University of Iowa to finish requirements for their high school diploma. Nearly all of our students have been able to successfully complete their high school diploma through one of these options.
  • If the student will not graduate prior to entering the program, how will you communicate which courses are needed and which ones at Iowa will count for that credit?
  • Remember, one year of high school credit is equal to one semester of credit at the university.
  • The student may want to come back for events throughout the year, such as prom or the graduation ceremony. How will this be handled? Will they be allowed to serve as a valedictorian for their class?
  • How will the local scholarships handle this student’s applications? Will you recommend them for scholarships when they enter Iowa or after they have completed all of their high school requirements?

Many of our students will be National Merit finalists. They complete the process at Iowa, and the scholarship begins applying to them as they enter their third year.