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 20 – July 2, 2021

July 26 – August 6, 2021

Spend your summer with UW–Madison, exploring a college-level course, living and 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 lively college program with peers from all over the country.

What to expect

Participants in the program will immerse themselves in campus life 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 chose 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.

You will live in the beautiful lakeshore area of campus in Bradley Hall, right alongside the shore of Lake Mendota. After class is over for the day, you will participate in a series of college preparatory workshops, designed to help you become familiar with the college application process and college life. In the evenings, you will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities and relax in the residence hall with fellow participants.

Badger Summer Scholars at a glance

Tuition and Fees

2021 tuition coming soon

Grade Level

For students finishing grades 9‑12

Contact Us

Be a Badger Summer Scholar and:

Learn from instructors at a major university

Prepare for the college application process and college essay writing

Meet students from around the world

Enjoy life on a beautiful college campus

Top 30

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

Rank #1

for volunteer-producing schools,
Peace Corps

Bradley Hall on the UW–Madison campus

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.

A limited amount of need-based financial aid funds are available

If you are eligible for free or reduced lunch in Wisconsin, submit the DPI Financial Aid Form. 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, 2021. 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.
Time Activity
9-11:30 a.m. Class: Morning Session
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Lunch
12:30-3 p.m. Class: Afternoon Session
3-5 p.m. Jump Forward Series
5-6 p.m. Dinner
6-10 p.m. Evening study hall and activities
10-11 p.m. Dorm time, lights out at 11 p.m.


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 7.0–7.5. 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 College Ready @ Badger Precollege program staff. To schedule an interview, please email


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.

Students will also participate in the Jump Forward college preparatory workshop series. This workshop series covers a variety of topics designed to engage students in the college experience. 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, and much more. Through this experience, students will gain valuable knowledge enabling them to confidently jump into their college journey.

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 January 1–June 1 100% 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 June 2 – 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.


Listed below are the course offerings for Summer 2020. We will be updating our 2021 course offerings soon!

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'Swing State' Wisconsin, 2020:  Elections, Politics, Governance and Policy

Wisconsin historically and currently is a key state at the center of political debate and processes involving U.S. local, state and national politics/governance.  We are in the midst of an upcoming 2020 national election including election for president of the United States. Milwaukee is hosting the Democratic Party presidential nomination convention in July which will bring additional focus to the state. Wisconsin presents a useful fulcrum point to explore important political issues, processes, and players including institutions, organizations, and individuals who aim to shape politics and policy for the future. This course provides an overview of the State’s place in the federal system of constitutional and political processes with a focus on pressing issues involving national, local, and international policy and debates. Such issues will include education, health care, foreign policy, international trade, immigration, human rights and election reform.

In addition to regular instructor overviews and directed interactive learning sessions, student will meet with scholars and political professionals who work in Madison, the State capitol. As a pre-collegiate interactive study program, the instructor will also draw on his extensive experience in university advising and student professional coaching to present practical ‘toolkits’ to help further your work on issues and programs of interest to you (e.g., internships, volunteerism, jobs) and strategize as you select and apply to your preferred university/college undergraduate programs.

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

Ethics: The Philosophy of Right and Wrong

Are inequalities of wealth unjust? Do we have obligations of 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 as things one might be right or wrong about. 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.

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

Symphony in Black: Survey of African-American Composers and their Music

In Symphony in Black: Survey of African-American Composers and their Music, students 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 current events (of the time) with the subject matter of the music studied. 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

Learn more about our campus partners teaching this course: School of Music

Satellite Science and Programming for Meteorology

Have you ever wanted to see the Earth’s weather and climate from outer space? At the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), you can get hands-on experience with scientists at an institution that has been observing Earth for over fifty years.

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 virtual reality simulations. Students will also get experience with MATLAB and HTML programming, including building their own web page. This course will feature guest lectures from SSEC engineers and scientists covering topics such as Antarctic ice drilling and supercomputer tornado modeling. Through a diverse and interactive curriculum, participants in this course will try out a variety of skills and technologies related to weather and climate science, but really these skills are useful in any STEM field.

Week one of this course highlights satellite remote sensing. Week two focuses on computer programming. The course will conclude with students creating their own scientific poster that they will present.

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

How to apply

Step 1: Complete the online application, indicating which course track 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 year of grades reflected
  • **if 9th grade, students should submit a progress report with current enrollments
  • Completed essay; 200 words each, ~600-700 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.

Summer Badger Scholars studying in front of a chalkboard.