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WCATY name change FAQ

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Why change the WCATY (Wisconsin Center for Academically Talent Youth) name?

The decision to change the WCATY name was made after careful deliberation and survey feedback from both existing and prospective students and families, along with our program administrators and staff. The WCATY name has served us well for more than 30 years, and we recognize there is important history, tradition and loyalty to it.

The pandemic provided us with an opportunity to think about our goals for the next 30 years of academic programming for young learners. At a time when we are evolving our programs and admissions process to be more holistic and inclusionary to reach a broader range of academically curious and motivated learners, we felt that our program name needed to evolve along with those goals.

Are WCATY programs being discontinued?

No. All of WCATY’s excellent programming will continue under Badger Precollege Senior and Junior programs.

Will this name change affect programming?

No. The academic quality and rigor for which WCATY programs are known will remain the same, along with the focus on creating a sense of community for students who identify as academically curious. Although we are implementing a more holistic application process to ensure that any students who want to attend are able to do so, students will still need to apply to our programs.

If anything, we believe our programs will become more robust for all students as we seek to include those who bring a wider variety of talents and experiences — including international students and neuro-diverse learners. In addition, we are strengthening relationships with academic departments and faculty across the UW–Madison campus to bring the latest, most innovative learning to all of our programs. We’re excited to share these new learning opportunities!

Where do I find programs previously housed in WCATY?

The programs under the former WCATY name will now fall under Badger Precollege Senior (high school programs) or Badger Precollege Junior (elementary and middle school programs) — both of which fall under Badger Precollege.

What is Badger Precollege?

Badger Precollege is UW–Madison’s administrative home to an array of challenging academic programs for students ages 5-18. These programs range from advanced learning programs and STEM classes to music clinics and college readiness conferences. (Other departments on campus have their own, separate youth programs. Explore all UW–Madison youth programs on our website.) Students who participated in WCATY programs can now access a larger portfolio of programming in Badger Precollege — in a greater range of interests and topics. We will continue to develop and grow this portfolio of classes, programs and workshops in the years to come.

What programs are included in Badger Precollege?

As you’ll see on the Badger Precollege homepage, our current portfolio of programs is organized as follows:

Are the program names formerly within WCATY also changing?

No. The programs found under the WCATY portfolio — GEM, PACE, STEP and ALP — will retain their names.

Will WCATY staff and instructors remain the same?

Yes! Staff and instructors who previously supported WCATY programs will continue with Badger Precollege. This includes the following staff: Associate Director of Academics and Development Olha Skyba, Associate Director of Operations and Residential Programs Katie Effertz and Manager of Diversity and Outreach and Commuter Programs Denise Ksioszk — along with our many wonderful instructors and educational and residential assistants.

When will this name change happen?

We are already in the process of changing WCATY to Badger Precollege Senior and Badger Precollege Junior on our website, publications and communications. It may take us a few months to ensure that the change is made on every web page and form, so please bear with us! Our goal is for the name to be fully incorporated by January 2022.

Whom do I contact if I have further questions?

We’re happy to respond to your questions. Please fill out the contact form below.