fbpx
A student waves at her virtual classmates during an online class. Text on image says: online college prep classes for grades 1-12a student waves at her virtual classmates during an online class

Badger Precollege Online

Badger Precollege is pleased to offer engaging online courses to students in grades 1-12.
Each live online course meets for one to two weeks and includes high-quality educational and social content to help prepare students for the college experience — all backed by the academic reputation of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Classes are offered synchronously, meaning that students are together in the same virtual classroom at the same time. Along with synchronous instruction, courses include homework to be completed outside of class. Check out a sample daily schedule below!

Online Community building

In addition to academic enrichment, students will have the opportunity to build friendships in a community of like-minded individuals. Through virtual activities, group experiences and other opportunities, students can begin to explore life as a Badger and gain insights into preparing for college.

Students will connect daily through activities and ice breakers with other students in the program. Group experiences can include small group discussion and collaboration to make each session interactive. Additionally, as with other Badger Precollege Programs, students will always have access to administrative staff, community managers and instructors to help facilitate student success and connection.

Participation Badges

All high school students who take a Badger Precollege program are eligible for our Badger Precollege Badge program. Through their academic work and participation in community base events, students have the opportunity to earn a multi-course badge, academic excellence badges, and community engagement badges.

Top 30

best global university, 2019
U.S. News & World Report

Rank #1

for volunteer-producing schools,
Peace Corps

At a glance

High school sessions: Grades 9-12

I: June 14-25, 2021
Tuition: $1,200 domestic/$1,440 international per session

Middle school sessions: Grades 5-8

I: July 5-9, 2021
II: July 12-16, 2021
Tuition: $300 domestic/$360 international per half-day session, 10% discount with multiple registrations.

Elementary school sessions: Grades 1-4

I: June 14-18, 2021
II: June 21-25, 2021
Tuition: $200 per session

High School Courses

Session 1: June 14-25, 2021

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Curves and Crises: Poverty, Politics and Pandemic

Poverty in the U.S. has been present since the nation’s inception, although the rates, shapes and implications of poverty have varied widely. While the COVID-19 pandemic is a very recent global development, its impacts are already far-reaching and devastating. Are we, as Americans, up to the challenge of confronting the implications of COVID-19 as they pertain to our most vulnerable citizens? Can real efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic be fashioned at a time when trust and confidence in our government and politics are at all-time lows? This summer course will address these and related questions by 1) reviewing the history of poverty and its recent trends in the U.S., and 2) examining the myriad effects of COVID-19 on people at or near the poverty threshold. A series of virtual visits to organizations, agencies and political/policy offices will provide students first-hand exposure to the people and institutions grappling with these challenges.

This course is intended for students interested in political science, poverty studies, policy analysis and public health.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: The Department of Political Science

Ethics: Philosophy of Right or Wrong

Are inequalities of wealth unjust? Do we have an obligation to care for our natural environment? Is abortion morally permissible? Are these even questions that have objective answers, or must they always be matters of opinion? This course will explore a long philosophical tradition of taking these questions seriously. We will examine them systematically, with an emphasis on rigorous argumentation and analyzing the assumptions behind different positions. Readings will come from philosophers of historical and contemporary significance, and will consider a variety of moral issues in current society. Students will be asked to challenge their own ethical positions and will develop skills of critical thinking, respectful discussion and clear writing.

This course is intended for students interested in philosophy, ethics, critical thinking and analytical reasoning.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: The Department of Philosophy

Symphony in Black - CANCELED

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021.

Students in this course will explore the rich, yet lesser-known history of Black composers and their music, both in the classical genre and popular varieties. Students will learn to connect African-American history and events of the time with music’s subject matter. We will study early Black composers such as Scott Joplin, William Grant Still, and Louis Armstrong, while also delving into the music of popular artists such as Nina Simone, Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé. In addition, we will explore how issues of social justice are addressed and what statements are made by various composers and performers in their music.

This course is intended for students interested in History, African American Studies, Black History and Music History.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: The Mead Witter School of Music

Satellite Science and Programming for Meteorology

Have you ever wanted to see the Earth’s weather and climate from outer space? This course will expose students to a variety of tech applications used for viewing the Earth-atmosphere system. Students will learn how to forecast severe weather events, analyze Earth data from different wavelengths and experience outer space through a weather satellite simulation. Students will also get experience with computer programming, including data analysis using the programming language MATLAB. This course will feature guest lectures from SSEC engineers and scientists, who will cover topics such as weather instrument engineering. Through a diverse and interactive curriculum, students in this course will try out a variety of skills and technologies related to weather and climate science.

This course is intended for students interested in computer science, climate science, satellite science, weather studies and meteorology.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: The Space Science and Engineering Center

High school program application process

Step 1: Complete the online application. Application is open until May 31, 2021.

Step 2: Upload supporting documents into the application system or send them directly to Badger Precollege.

  • Completed essay. ~100 words per question, ~300-350 words total. Please be sure to answer all three questions in your essay:
    1. Why do you want to attend this program?
    2. How will this program and experience benefit you now and in future growth?
    3. What are one or two activities, memberships, clubs, responsibilities, etc. outside of school that you are involved with, and why are they important to you?
  • Grade report. Should reflect one or more terms of academic work starting no earlier than one prior school year.
  • Letter of recommendation. Can be from a teacher, mentor, coach, counselor, etc. (optional for all applicants)

All course levels will receive notification regarding next steps within four weeks.

If you have any questions about the requirements, please contact the Badger Precollege office.

Middle School Courses

Session 1: July 5-9, 2021
Session 2: July 12-16, 2021

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Beyond 2001: The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence (Session 1 & 2)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be broken into three stages:

  1. Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI)
  2. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and
  3. Artificial Super intelligence (ASI).

This class will examine the transition between the first two stages, analyzing the impact, benefits and risks of AI in our world today. We will also consider what may happen if the hypothetical final stage, ASI, is ever achieved. This course is designed as an academic enrichment opportunity for all students completing grades 5-8.

The Ethics of Biotechnology (Session 1 & 2)

Who owns genetic and medical data and how do we protect individual privacy? GMOs: for or against? What are the ethical issues surrounding the use of stem cells? What are your thoughts surrounding cloning? This discussion and research-based course will explore these and other ethical questions related to developments in the field of biotechnology. PACE online courses have been adapted for an online environment and offer a challenging enrichment opportunity taught at a faster pace.

Exploring the Brain: Introduction to Psychology (Session 1)

Have you ever wondered how our brain processes SO much information? Or how we can learn to control our own behavior and that of others? This course will take a deep dive into how the brain works and how psychology shapes the world around us. If you are interested in learning more about the specific parts of the brain, key psychologists and theories, and mental health, then this is the class for you! PACE online courses have been adapted for an online environment and offer a challenging enrichment opportunity taught at a faster pace.

Intro to Computer Science (Session 1 & 2)

Learn about Object-Oriented Programming and how to write and execute code using the Java programming language, via the Greenfoot programming environment. Explore coding by exploring a set of interesting scenarios, solving coding problems and competing at a fun coding challenge. Then begin to design your own game or simulation! Students will learn programming fundamentals while participating in authentic coding activities that place an emphasis on problem-solving and creativity. PACE online courses have been adapted for an online environment and offer a challenging enrichment opportunity taught at a faster pace.

Laws of Negotiation and International Politics (Session 1)

This class examines the strategies used to negotiate issues and how laws impact conflict management. It will also take you closer to becoming a master negotiator. If you want to expand your use of spoken and written language, and develop a critical ear to analyze influences on them, this class is for you. A different, current world issue is chosen each year as a focal point of the class. The focus this year will center around the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international relations. PACE online courses have been adapted for an online environment and offer a challenging enrichment opportunity taught at a faster pace.

Math Behind You: Algebra II (Session 1)

This course takes practical life questions — How is slope used? How tall is that building? — and uses them to explore algebraic thinking, expressions and equations. The outcome of utilizing these concepts is to formulate answers. Functions, slope and tangent rations are examined, as well as linear equations and indirect measurement. Students’ critical thinking skills are also put to the test as they learn how to use data to make predictions. It is the expectation that students have a strong foundation and content knowledge of Algebra I and Geometry prior to enrolling in this course. PACE online courses have been adapted for an online environment and offer a challenging enrichment opportunity taught at a faster pace.

Mythbusters (Session 1 & 2)

The Discovery Channel show Mythbusters is popular for a reason: We all love to validate or debunk a good myth! This class utilizes robust discussions and thought experiments to test your critical and scientific thinking skills as we examine common myths through a scientific lens. This course will explore the questions such as, Do you think that myths are built on truths or untruths? Do myths encourage or discourage further scientific research and examination? And much more! This course is designed as an academic enrichment opportunity for all students completing grades 5-8.

Mythology 101 (Session 1 & 2)

Demigods, gorgons and titans, oh my! Discover mythology throughout the world, starting with the ancient Greeks and traveling the globe. We will look at mythology through various lenses, reading myths, acting stories and creating new myths of our own while examining commonalities and unique qualities of each culture’s mythological tradition. We will also look at the impact of mythology on our popular contemporary culture: any Percy Jackson or Disney’s Hercules fans out there? Join us on our journey from Olympus to Yomi to the sun to the underworld and back again! PACE online courses have been adapted for an online environment and offer a challenging enrichment opportunity taught at a faster pace.

Neuroscience (Session 1 & 2)

With the explosion of innovative technologies and new knowledge about the brain, the field of neuroscience remains on the frontier of contemporary science. This course will give a solid foundation in the anatomy and physiology of the brain and expand your understanding of how basic neurological processes relate to cognition, emotion and behavior. PACE online courses have been adapted for an online environment and offer a challenging enrichment opportunity taught at a faster pace.

Space Exploration Adventures (Session 1 & 2)

This class will ponder the question, What’s next in the field of space exploration? We will explore the evolution of space exploration, from rockets and satellites to animal explorers and the manned space missions of today. This discussion-based class will utilize space imagery and study recent developments in the field as we continue to ask, How much farther, and further, can we go? This course is designed as an academic enrichment opportunity for all students completing grades 5-8.

Middle school program application process

Middle school programs are open to all interested students. There are no additional documents. Simply complete the online registration when available. All course levels will receive notification regarding next steps within four weeks.
Application closes May 31, 2021.

Elementary school programs

Badger Precollege also offers programs for elementary aged students. The Growing Early Minds Program, GEM, is designed as an academic enrichment opportunity to inspire and engage students completing grades 1-4.

Learn about GEM & enroll

High School Session

High school courses run Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m., during each two-week session. The morning features a brief overview meeting, one hour of synchronous instructional time, and a 45-minute activity session featuring a variety of activities, including college preparation sessions and informal activities based on student interest. After a lunch break, students will have a two-hour synchronous period designed for group work, interactive activities, guest speakers and work time for projects and course activities. There is an optional community-building block at the end of the day. Some courses are offered in the first session in June and others are offered in the second session in July. Students are welcome to take a course in each session.

Middle School

Middle school courses run Monday–Friday, in a choice of two sessions, July 5–9 or July 12–16. Courses may be offered in one or both sessions; the curriculum will be the same for each. Students will meet during a live Zoom morning period, 9 a.m.–noon, OR a live Zoom afternoon period, 1 p.m.–4 p.m. They may also choose to attend both periods, morning and afternoon. Each half-day period includes two or three activity blocks as well as staff-led opportunities for community building and engagement with peers. An optional community-building lunch block is offered each day from noon–1 p.m. There is no additional cost for this lunch block, and students may pick and choose days to attend.

Elementary School

Elementary courses feature two hours of instruction each day: A 90-minute Zoom meeting from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. each day, and an additional 30 minutes of extension activities to be completed at home. At-home activities may include pre-recorded lessons or content-related videos, assignments to be completed for the next session or an opportunity to continue working on an activity started in class.

A limited amount of need-based financial aid funds are available to domestic students. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide scholarships to international students at this time.

You may apply for a scholarship in one of two ways. If you are eligible for free or reduced lunch, please complete and submit the DPI Financial Aid Form.

If you are not eligible for free or reduced lunch, submit the first page of the 1040 form from the most recent year’s tax return. If any extenuating circumstances apply and are not reflected on the tax return, please also submit a letter of explanation.

All scholarship applications are due with a complete program application by May 15, 2021. Scholarship application materials should be submitted to the Badger Precollege office.

There is a nonrefundable application fee or deposit required for all courses. Refunds may take up to eight weeks to process, starting from the time a written request is received by the Badger Precollege office.

Badger Precollege reserves the right to cancel classes when necessary, including those for which enrollment numbers are not sufficient, or those for which a highly qualified instructor is unavailable. In the case of course cancellations, we will be happy to help you choose an alternative course. If no acceptable alternative is available, we will refund any tuition paid, minus any non-refundable application fees or deposits.

There is a nonrefundable application fee or deposit required for all courses. Refunds may take up to eight weeks to process, starting from the time a written request is received by the Badger Precollege office.

Refund Schedule

All program applications must be accompanied by the nonrefundable application fee before they can be processed.

Period Percent of Refund
Withdraw during the period of registration up to one month prior to the first day of the program: 100% refund

Full refund will also be issued in the following cases, regardless of date:

  • A course of choice is canceled.
  • All course choices are closed.
  • Financial aid is not adequate for participation.
  • Student injury or illness.
Withdraw during the period of one month prior to the first day of the program – two weeks before program start 90% refund

Nonrefundable 10% is used to cover class supplies, books, transportation, and teacher salary costs incurred during this period of program planning.

Withdraw during the period of two weeks before program start – opening day of camp 80% refund

Nonrefundable 20% is used to cover risk management fees, University Health Services fees, class supplies, books, transportation, and teacher salary costs incurred during this period of program planning.

Other 0% refund

Students dismissed for disciplinary reasons are not eligible for any refund. Students voluntarily leaving while the program is in session are not eligible for any refund.

Support for international participants

At Badger Precollege, we provide international students with engaging coursework and programming while offering different levels of support to ensure the best experience possible. In addition to the traditional program opportunities, international students have access to:

  • A Badger Precollege Community Manager who will work closely with international students to create a fun and educational atmosphere while in the program. The Community Manager will be available for students to communicate any ideas, concerns, or issues relevant to the programs.
  • An orientation session that covers all relevant information for the program and any questions that students or their families may have. It will cover technologies used in the program, what to expect within each synchronous course set up, expectations for the program and work done outside of course time, time zone set up, and many other topics.
  • Specific activities dedicated to creating awareness around different cultures and individual sessions that introduce the culture and community of Madison and the University.

English proficiency recommendations

To be successful in the Badger Precollege Online Program, we suggest that students demonstrate at least intermediate-level English through a minimum TOEFL score of 80 or IELTS score of 6.5 or Duolingo English Test score of 105. If you do not have a test score available but would like to see if your English is proficient for the program, you may request a phone or video interview with program staff. To schedule an interview, please email info@precollege.wisc.edu.

Time zone considerations

Badger Precollege Online requires students to participate in online synchronous learning during central time on the days listed. Please use this tool to take this into consideration if you live in another time zone.

More From Badger Precollege

Make the most of your summer with Badger Precollege and sign up to be with us the entire summer! For additional opportunities for High School Students, check out Badger Summer Scholars and ALP, a WCATY program. For additional opportunities for Middle School Students, check out STEP, a WCATY program.

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

How will COVID- 19 impact Bader Precollege Online?

Because this program is fully online, you can expect no cancellations or changes to our program due to COVID-19.

Online learning

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

What is the online program like?

Classes are held synchronously, meaning that you will be in the same virtual classroom with other students at the same time. Classes include small and large group discussions, collaborative projects and short lectures so students can connect and engage with one another.

What technology is required for the online program?

We ask that you have access to a reliable internet connection. Chromebooks, Windows, Linux and Apple computers are all welcome.

Is this program completely online?

Yes. You do not need to be in Madison or on campus to take this program.

Why should my student take an online precollege program?

Online precollege programs ensure your student and family’s physical safety from COVID-19. They also provide an opportunity to learn from and engage with experienced instructors and peers, and to prepare for college — academically, financially, socially and culturally.

Course offerings

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

What will students gain from these programs?

All students gain a more full understanding of the college experience at UW–Madison and beyond. Elementary and middle school students will expand their educational horizons, learning about subjects that will help them succeed in their journey to college. Classes cover topics that aren’t typically offered until high school or later, giving students a head start in exploring their academic future.

High school students will have the opportunity to learn about the college admissions process, financial aid applications, campus life and more. Our courses showcase the many topics students can study in college, giving students an advantage in deciding their college major.

Are students assigned homework outside of class?

Yes. In some of our courses, students will be asked to complete work outside of class. This typically will be no more than 30-60 minutes per night, but the level of homework is dependent on the course.

Why are the high school programs noncredit?

Noncredit programs allow students to take a college-level course without having to worry about the pressure of grades or exams. This helps give students the space to explore new subjects and areas of interest. Rather than grades, students receive personalized feedback on assignments and papers.

Can a student enroll in multiple sessions?

Yes, students can take one course per session. We encourage students to apply for multiple sessions so that they may explore additional courses and topics.