Academically Talented Students Program

The Challenging Academically Talented Students (CATS) program is open to motivated and academically strong high school seniors and juniors who want to enrich their academic experience with an introductory college level course (400-500 level) that do not have pre-requisites.  It is designed to supplement the high school curriculum; NOT replace courses offered at the high school. High school students must submit a completed application, an official high school transcript, and a counselor recommendation letter to the Office of Admissions no later than two weeks before classes begin. The CATS coordinator will then review it for approval. Spaces fill on a first-come, first-served basis, so early registration is recommended.  Students are allowed to take one class per semester during the fall, spring, and summer and must reapply for each term. Students may be considered for two classes per semester after successful completion of one CATS course. ** Please note: Approval of the CATS application does not ensure enrollment in a course.

**Applications for the CATS Program will no longer be accepted for review two weeks prior to the start of UNH classes.

Criteria for CATS Approval

  • Eligible students must be a junior or senior in high school and at least 16 years old at the start of the class. Students must have completed their sophomore year by the time the class starts. 
  • Enrollment in a strong and balanced selection of college preparatory coursework, including mathematics, laboratory sciences, and world language.
  • An overall “B” average and rank in approximately the top 25% or higher of your class.
  • Ultimately, the student must be on track to be admissible to a 4-year college.
  • Exceptions are made for home-schooled students who may have less than junior or senior standing and elect to take laboratory sciences or world languages that are not as easily accessible to a home-schooler.
  • A student who takes a CATS course must receive a C+ or higher in that course in order to enroll in future CATS courses.

When approved, students should contact the Registrar’s Office with their UNH student ID and course they wish to enroll in. Spaces fill on a first-come, first-served basis, so early registration is recommended. Approval of a CATS course does not ensure enrollment in a course.

If there are restrictions (courses, major, college division, pre-requisites, etc.) the applicant is responsible for getting approval from the department head or professor. NOTE: ENGL 401- First Year Writing is a pre-requisite to all other UNH English courses. We cannot approve a request for an English course without evidence of completed English Composition at the college level (at UNH, another college, or through an AP English exam score of 3 or higher). Any course is subject to needing departmental approval or additional information such as placement exams.


CATS students pay the continuing education per-credit cost for courses. In addition to the cost of the course, students are required to pay a registration fee of $20 and a technology fee of $26.00 (1-4 credits), a $15.00 Student Services Fee, as well as course specific lab fees, and the cost of required text(s).

Oyster River High School students, or students who are homeschooled from Durham, Madbury, and Lee, qualify for a one course per semester tuition waiver. Students are eligible to take up to two courses each semester. If a student takes a second course during a semester, the student is responsible for a reduced tuition rate of $800, which will be charged at the time of registration.

Continuing education fees