Prospective Parents

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Iowa BIG?

Iowa BIG is a high school program designed to help students lead their own learning journey and discover their gifts, talents, and interests.

BIG is a place where students get to learn through projects and work they care about.

BIG is a place not only to learn the course standards, but how to get along in the world and build the skills to make them “present-and-future-ready.”

Story from XQ  |  Iowa BIG

Video by XQ America

Why should your student consider this?

There are many reasons you should consider BIG for your son or daughter:

  1. They are an exceptional student ready to apply their learning to real-world situations.
  2. They are bored or disengaged at school and need to rediscover their love of learning.
  3. They need to engage with “job-keeping” skills like adaptability, responsiveness, collaboration, critical thinking, and learning to persevere through mistakes and failures.




Like any other high school course, students receive grades on their ability to demonstrate each of the essential standards.  The courses and grades appear on their transcript just like any other course in high school.


How does grading work?

What do colleges think of BIG?

Our students consistently gain admission to colleges of their choice and have been very competitive at winning scholarships. College admissions and scholarship committees seek students who:

  • Can and have implemented what they’ve learned
  • Have strong passions and interests
  • Own their own learning journey
  • Know how to make things happen

BIG focuses on developing these aspects within your daughter or son, therefore giving them a distinct advantage.

Can my child still take courses and participate in
co-curricular activities at their current high school?

Absolutely! We want your son/daughter to experience all the great traditions and activities happening at their high school. BIG is a program of each high school involved so they remain a full member of their home school – often referred to as the “mothership” by BIG students.

 What courses are being offered?

Below are the course lists by district for students enrolling in the program.

i am iowa big.

A video explaining Iowa BIG to students, by students.

Video created by Ambivalence Studios (2018)



If you’re interested in your student attending BIG, talk to them.  Make sure you’re on the same page.  Once they’re ready, have your son or daughter talk to their counselor and let them know they want BIG on their schedule.