Transformative learning for high school students: Two young males and a teacher work out a problem on a whiteboard.Two young males and a teacher work out a problem on a whiteboard.

Badger Summer Scholars

June 19 – July 1, 2022
July 3 – 15, 2022

Spend your summer with UW–Madison, exploring a college-level course, learning with a community of peers.

Who it is for

Badger Summer Scholars is a transformative learning opportunity for high school students across several academic areas of interest. Applicants should be ready to take the next step in their academic journey and to engage in a rewarding college program with peers from all over the country.

What to expect

Participants in the program will learn what it is like to be a badger and gain valuable experience in a dynamic and challenging learning environment, all while interacting with UW–Madison faculty at a top-ranked university. You will choose one academic track to focus on during the academic day. Class sizes are kept small to allow for an engaging course and are taught by UW–Madison instructors who have the same level commitment and involvement from Badger Summer Scholars as they would from college students.

After class blocks are over, you will participate in a series of college preparatory workshops, designed to help you become familiar with the college application process and college life. You will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities and connect with fellow participants.

Badger Summer Scholars at a glance

Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates for 2022 to be announced soon

Grade Level

For students finishing grades 9‑12

Application Open Dates

November 2022

Be a Badger Summer Scholar and:

Learn from UW Madison instructors

Prepare for the college application process and college essay writing

Meet students from around the world

Immerse yourself in the college experience


best public college, 2022
U.S. News & World Report

Rank #1

for volunteer-producing schools,
Peace Corps

Students will also participate in the Jump Forward college preparatory workshop series, offered during the first activity block built into your schedule. This workshop series covers a variety of topics designed to engage students in the college experience.

Students will learn the ins and outs of the college application process, discover how to craft the best college essay, hear from current students about their experience in college, explore financial aid options and more. Students will also hear from UW–Madison academic departments on topics such as Pre-Law, Pre-Heath and other academic concentrations, allowing students to further explore academic and vocational subjects.

In partnership with UW–Madison Admissions, the Office of Student Financial Aid and the Career Exploration Center who will provide presentations and discussions on college admissions, financial aid, choosing a major and more. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions in a small group setting during live Q&A sessions featuring the same UW–Madison professionals who assist incoming undergraduates on their college-bound journeys.

Badger Summer Scholars staff work closely with our UW–Madison campus partners to provide students with up-to-date information regarding Admissions, Financial Aid and more. Through this experience, students will gain valuable knowledge enabling them to confidently jump into their college journey.

In addition to academic enrichment, students will have the opportunity to build friendships in a community of students from across the US and from across the world. Through group experiences and other opportunities, students can begin to explore life as a Badger and gain insights into preparing for college.

Students will participate in a variety of activities and connect with fellow participants. These activities are designed to offer the students an opportunity to disconnect from the course material and build meaningful friendships with their peers and classmates. While our programs are designed to challenge and engage students academically, we are also committed to providing a space for students to have serious fun and feel safe and comfortable to be authentically themselves.

Students will connect daily through morning meetings, activities and icebreakers with other students in the program. Group experiences are led by our Community Managers and may include small group discussion and collaboration to make each activity session interactive. These activities will range in topic from trivia and Pictionary, to connecting over popular games like Among Us, to more organized workshops that share information about the college application process and college experience. 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.

Time Activity
9-9:30 a.m. Morning Meeting
9:30-10:30 a.m. First Class Period
10:45-11:30 a.m. Activity 1, Required
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Lunch Break
12:30-2:30 p.m. Second Class Period
2:45-3:15 p.m. Activity 2, Optional
3:15-3:30 p.m. Third Class Period, Checkout/Office Hours

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 Summer Scholars 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 Badger Summer Scholars, 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 Summer Scholars 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.

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.

If you are eligible for free or reduced lunch in Wisconsin, submit the DPI Precollege Scholarship Application. Please be sure to complete both sections of the form and have an authorized representative from your student’s school complete and sign Section II: Verification and Recommendation.

If you are not eligible for free or reduced lunch in Wisconsin, submit the first page of the 1040 form of the most recent year’s tax return with Social Security numbers redacted. If extenuating circumstances (i.e. loans, loss of employment) are not reflected on tax return but are impacting your family’s finances, please also submit your financial need story.

Important Dates for Financial Aid

The deadline for all summer financial aid applications is April 10, 2022. Badger Summer Scholars cannot allocate aid to students who have not been admitted to a program*. As such, the student’s program application (including application fee and supporting documentation, such as their grade report, etc.) must be completed by April 10 as well.

*Application materials can still be submitted after the financial aid deadline, but the student will not be eligible for the aid.

Notification of Aid

Families will be notified of decisions via email prior to the first tuition payment due date. Badger Precollege is committed to making an allocation of financial aid funds to allow the largest possible number of students to attend our programs. Families will be required to submit their intent to accept financial aid. Failure to do so by the deadline posted in your award letter may result in a loss of partial or full aid award.

Financial Aid Policies

Applications will be reviewed by Badger Precollege’s Financial Aid Committee. All requests will be considered and maintained in confidentiality. As part of the application process, please remember:

  • Wisconsin students are given preference for scholarship aid, but it is available to everyone.
  • Applicants should first check with school officials to see if local monies are available for program costs.
  • Applicants should inquire about local financial support through businesses, service organizations, etc.
  • All materials supporting your application must be received by Badger Precollege no later than the financial aid deadline.
  • Applicants will be notified of awards before the first payment deadline
  • Aid is determined by analyzing family income and extenuating economic circumstances according to the Income Eligibility Guidelines used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Lunch Program.
  • Available funds for financial aid vary from year to year and past aid awards may not be an indication of current available support.
  • Additional information may be requested from students and/or families prior to notification of aid.

The application fee is nonrefundable. Refunds may take up to eight weeks to process, starting from the time a written request is received by the Badger Precollege office.

Cancelation Policy

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.

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 administrative fees 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.

The jump forward activity was my favorite part! It really helped me understand the college admission process. I was really stressed before about how I am going to apply to colleges but, now I am really excited to start applying with the information I obtained from this course.

Badger Summer Scholars Student


2022 Courses will be announced soon! Please see 2021 summer courses below.

Session I Courses

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Imaging Self: Photography and the Mediated Image

This course explores photography as a vernacular tool for Imaging Self. Through an interdisciplinary practice, the course will reflect on identity through place, culture, and popular media. Focus will be on self-representation, while investigating the representation of others historically, in popular culture and in social media. Online course includes demonstrations, presentations on historical and contemporary practices, class discussions, and assigned projects in digital lens-based based media such as photography, audio, video; analogue print-based works such as handmade prints and zines; and a collaboration on self and community.

This course is intended for students interested in photography, video production, audio production, art and visual art.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: UW–Madison Art

News and Information for the 21st Century

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021.

In News and information for the 21st Century: Students will learn foundational reporting skills for print and electronic media. Together with instructors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s top tier School of Journalism and Communication, students will develop an appreciation of how different media influence the nature of the information presented to citizens. This course will introduce students to basic technical skills of journalism as traditional, mainstream news organizations expand their digital presence. Students learn to define, debate, and reflect on what constitutes “news” and the role of organizations, researchers, and most importantly, themselves and their peers in news creation and consumption. At the end of this course, students will acquire an understanding of how to look for and truly understand who/what is the source behind the content they see. Students will also reflect on some of the most critical challenges faced by journalism today, including misinformation, citizen distrust and polarization and the impact of social media.

This course is intended for students interested in journalism, media, social media, writing, communications and political science.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Design Fundamentals

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021.

This course provides an introduction to basic concepts of visual thinking and composition. Through lecture and studio sessions, you will have the opportunity to learn and apply various theories and principles in the Design field to your own creative process. Additionally, students will learn to evaluate design encountered within their environment. The major course concepts include: the creative process, visual awareness, two‐dimensional composition using design principles and elements, and the contextual influences of design that illustrate the ways history, culture, technology, elements, and materials impact Western design.

This course is intended for students interested in art, textiles, design, fashion and visual art.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: Design Studies

The Science Behind the Animals That Feed and Entertain Us

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021.

In this course, students will engage in discussions and collaborative learning about the important biological aspects of all different types of animals that provide food, entertainment and companionship in our society. From the general animal-lover who is interested in pre-vet studies to those raised on the farm wanting to learn more about how to improve animal production endpoints, top-notch instructors from the Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences will present the theories and science behind topics that include animal nutrition, genetics, physiology, welfare and husbandry for a variety of companion and food animal species. Students will gain an understanding of the broad and unique biological systems that make each species unique, driving their physiology and behavior that we, as humans, are on a continuous endeavor to both understand and harness. At the end of this course, students will gain an appreciation for how complex our relationship with animals truly is and why it is so important to learn more, as it impacts society on many levels. In addition, students will be exposed to a variety of career opportunities geared toward working with different animal species as well as drill down on contemporary issues and topics centered around keeping animals.

This course is intended for students interested in veterinarian science, animal medicine, pre-vet and animal science.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: Animal and Dairy Sciences

Session II Courses

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Business Ethics: Capitalism, Ethics and the Paradox of Self-exploitation

A study of the central ethical problems related to business and how we might apply ethical principles and standards to solve these problems. In addition to thinking about what makes actions right/wrong, we will be concerned with how best to live meaningful lives and what our moral obligations are to each other. So this course will also raise larger social and individual questions about how our professional lives fit into our lives in general. We’ll address moral questions like: Should we hold corporations (as opposed to individuals) morally accountable? Are there things which should not be for sale, such as organs or surrogacy services? When is a product pose too much of a risk to be sold? Is deceptive advertising immoral? Is it morally acceptable to purchase products that were produced in a way that is harmful to the environment or to workers?

This course is intended for students interested in philosophy, business, ethics, social justice and sociology.

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

Elections Have Consequences: The People, Places and Policies that Shaped the 2020 Elections

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021.

A review of American history affirms the old adage: ‘elections matter.’ While the circumstances change, and some election cycles have proven more eventful and consequential than others, we cannot deny that the 2020 elections were extraordinary in so many ways. These include a contested presidential election involving an unconventional incumbent and a long-time Washington senator/former vice president, congressional elections amid a closely divided and highly polarized national electorate, and policy debates involving fundamental and pressing issues. Such concerns include the Covid-19 pandemic, related economic and other societal disruptions, racial justice and a questioning of policing practices, and international affairs involving new challenges from longtime adversaries.

This class focuses on the key people, places and policies that are integral to the unique and consequential realities of the 2020 elections. We will cover the basic history, theories and constitutional parameters of US elections, and the unique contexts and key aspects of the 2020 election cycle. Students will engage directly with professionals involved in various facets of electoral politics at the national, state, and local level, and those who are involved with interest groups and political organizations. As a class we will also debate different policy positions that were prominent in 2020, and consider if specific reforms to our election and related political processes are warranted.

This course is intended for students interested in politics, constitution studies, international affairs, policy studies and political science.

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

Think STEM!

High school students will be taken on a journey of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) as they chart their own educational and career pathways to become the STEM superstars of the future. Students will investigate their own interests, values, and skills, as well as explore the dynamic world of STEM careers and trends. They will learn about accomplished scientists’ and professionals’ success stories and sample the many ways to navigate STEM at UW-Madison. This course will also include talks with UW-Madison experts in STEM.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: The Career Exploration Center

The American Constitutional Tradition

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021.

This unit will examine the Anglo-American traditions of constitutional thought that shape the liberties guaranteed by the US Constitution. With a broad historical scope stretching from Magna Carta to the present, this course will introduce students to central themes in American constitutional thought, including the role of case law, precedent, judicial review, Reconstruction, federalism, and the separation of powers.

Readings will include level-appropriate introductory material as well as excerpts from landmark judicial decisions that have shaped our Constitution. The course will include a range of activities including, lecture, discussion, and response exercises as well as additional digital materials chosen by the instructor.

This course is intended for students interested in law, pre-law, criminal justice, social justice and constitution studies.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: Center for Law, Society and Justice

Write On! Words Have Power! Writing for Social Justice

In Write on! Words Have Power! Students will explore the intersectionality between writing and activism. Students will broaden their idea of what is possible through inspirational readings, writers, guest speakers, and activities. Together with University of Wisconsin-Madison’s top tier Creative Writing Program and a vibrant community of fellow high school writers, you’ll learn how to integrate personal experiences and Social Justice into your work and find authentic expression to answer the following questions: What kinds of Power do words really have? How can each of us get involved in writing for Social Justice?

This course is intended for students interested in creative writing, social justice, English, language arts and sociology.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: Creative Writing

Imaging Self: Introduction to Theatre and the Fight for Human Rights

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021.

This course is designed to introduce students to the basic elements of acting and at the same time, discuss what theatre can do for human rights, and rights for theatre. Students will engage in class discussions, creative exercises, short-form scene work, monologue coaching, play readings, and short articles that address the topic of human rights from a global perspective. Students will be introduced to theatre of testimony, documentary theatre, and realism. In addition, students will learn skills for presenting theatre on an online format and an introduction to film performance.

This course is intended for students interested in art, theater, performance, film and social justice.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: Theatre and Drama

Imaging Self: Dance

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021.

This course provides an experiential introduction to the academic study of dance through self-reflective and creative movement practices. Students will engage in solo and group improvisational movement, along with writing, reading, video viewing, and discussion. The course will culminate in an interdisciplinary creative project focusing on individual embodiment and the elements of dance.

This course is intended for students interested in art, dance, movement and writing.

Learn more about our campus partner teaching this course: Dance Department

How to apply

Step 1: Complete the online application, indicating which seminar you are interested in taking.

Step 2: Upload supporting documents into the application system or send them directly to Summer Scholars staff at Badger Summer Scholars.

  • Transcript, with at least 1 term of grades reflected
  • **if 9th grade, students should submit a progress report with current enrollments
  • Completed essay; 100 words each, ~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?
  • Letter of recommendation – can be from teacher, mentor, coach, counselor, etc. (optional)

Once we receive all application materials, your application is complete. You will receive notification regarding an acceptance decision within four weeks of submitting it.

Application Platform Guidance

Students and Parents, learn how to create an account here: OSM Create an Account Video

Parents, learn how to add your student’s account to your own if you plan to apply on behalf of your student: OSM Proxy Group Overview Video

Summer Badger Scholars studying in front of a chalkboard.

More From Badger Precollege

Make the most of your summer with Badger Precollege and sign up to be with us the entire summer! Check out Badger Precollege Online and ALP, a WCATY program, for additional opportunities for High School Students.



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How will COVID- 19 impact Badger Summer Scholars?

At this time, Badger Precollege is actively planning for fully online programs for summer 2021. Should the ongoing global pandemic allow the university to authorize residential programs, all impacted students will be provided flexible options, including the option to switch into an equivalent or alternate in person program offered by Badger Precollege. We are committed to delivering quality programming, regardless of location or platform, and will provide timely updates and maximum flexibility to our students and families.

What does this program look like if offered in person?

Students will stay in Bradley Hall, located on the lakeshore side of campus. Each participant is paired with another student in the program as their roommate. Rooms are fully furnished and include sheets and pillows and all meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are included in the housing package.

Throughout the evenings and the weekend, residential staff will provide a variety of activities and trips for students to participate in. Students are encouraged to bring camp appropriate activities as well (sporting equipment, games, books, etc.) to use during free time.

Online Learning

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What is the online program like?

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

What technology is required for the program?

We ask that you have access to reliable internet. Chromebooks, Windows, Linux and Apple computers are all welcome. We recommend that you have a minimum 2mb downstream and 256k upstream internet speed.

How will you keep my student safe online?

All programs will have a teacher and teaching assistant in the virtual classroom at all times. A third person, a Badger Precollege Administrator, will float between virtual classrooms to act as an extra set of eyes and ears. All program staff have been background checked and all have taken required training from The Office of Youth Protection and Compliance. All classroom platforms, Zoom, Blackboard and Canvas have been vetted and approved by the University of Wisconsin, Madison. For further questions regarding student safety, please contact The Office of Youth Protection and Compliance, compliance@precollege.wisc.edu.

Course Offerings

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What will students gain from this program?

All Students will gain a more full understanding of the college experience at UW–Madison and beyond. Our 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! Outside of class, students can expect about 30 minutes of homework per night.

Why are the High School programs “non credit”?

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

Can a student enroll in multiple sessions?

Yes! Since students can only take one course per session, we encourage students to apply for multiple sessions so that they can geek out with additional courses.