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Precollege Academic Campus Experience (PACE)

The PACE program gives students finishing grades 5–8 an opportunity to explore their current interests and passions with like-minded peers in a college setting. Students will spend one week taking an enrichment course designed specifically for advanced middle-school learners. Students may choose to take a class in the first session, in the second session, or participate in both sessions. Scholarships are available.


Engage your academic interests in a college setting. During class, don’t be surprised if you lose track of time geeking out on your favorite subject while facing unique academic challenges. In the classroom, you will become a more independent learner and increase your confidence when approaching challenging academic tasks, both individually and in teams.

By the end of the program, you will develop better time management skills and improve your understanding of yourself, your strengths, talents and areas where you can continue to grow. When you are not in class, be ready to explore different parts of campus, which may further spark your curiosity!

Overall, PACE will help you feel more comfortable and confident sharing your ideas with a broad community of intellectually motivated peers.

Upcoming PACE classes

Session 1: July 8–12, 2024 Session 2: July 15–19, 2024 Session 3: July 22-26, 2024
A Class of Characters (Grades 5-6) A Class of Characters (Grades 5-6) A Class of Characters (Grades 5-6)
Classical Mythology (Grades 5-6) Human Anatomy (Grades 5-6) Human Anatomy (Grades 5-6)
Exploring the Brain: Introduction to Psychology (Grades 5-6) Mission Impossible (Grades 5–6) Mission Impossible (Grades 5–6)
Space Exploration (Grades 5-6) Space Exploration (Grades 5-6) Creative Writing: Lyrics and Poetry (Grades 5-6)
Introduction to Computer Science (Grades 5-6) Rise and Fall of Civilizations (Grades 5-6)
A Touch of Business (Grades 7–8) Behind the Curtain: UW-Art (Grades 5-8) Behind the Scenes: UW Science (Grades 5-8)
Biotechnology: Engineering Life (Grades 7-8) Anime (Grades 7-8) Anime (Grades 7-8)
Medical Mysteries (Grades 7-8) Biotechnology: Engineering Life (Grades 7-8) Math Behind You: Survery of Algebra 2 (Grades 7-8)
Neuroscience (Grades 7-8) Introduction to Computer Science (Grades 7-8) Introduction to Computer Science (Grades 7-8)
Creative Writing: Storytelling (Grades 7-8) Laws of Negotiation and International Relations (Grades 7-8) World Mythology (Grades 7-8)

PACE at a glance

Program Dates

July 8–12, July 15-19 & July 22–26, 2023


In person

Grade Level

For students finishing Grades 5-8

Application Opens

November 28, 2023

Apply by

May 1, 2024


Non-refundable registration fee: $35
Tuition: $580 per session

$30 multi-session registration discount available.

Limited financial aid available. Tuition due on May 15th and June 1st.


UW–Madison campus

Instruction Hours

25 hours per session

Daily Schedule

Time Activity
8:30–8:40 a.m. Student drop off
8:40–8:50 a.m. Morning meeting
9–11 a.m. First class period
11:15 a.m.– 1:15 p.m. Lunch and field trips
1:30–4:15 p.m. Second class period
4:30 p.m. Student pick up

On the last day of each week, families are invited to visit at the end of the day from 3:30-4:15 p.m.

PACE was a perfect mix of fun and learning.

PACE participant

How to apply

  1. Look through the course options available and choose your first-choice course for one or both PACE sessions. Please note that applications are reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis and courses fill on a first-come, first-served basis. Early registration will increase the likelihood of being placed in your first-choice course. If your course selection is full, we encourage you to contact our office to be placed on a waitlist. You will be notified if a place becomes available.
  2. Log in and complete the online application, indicating your first-choice course when prompted. Enrollment in a particular class is not guaranteed as we process applications in the order in which they are submitted, and course availability is subject to change. In the event that a course is closed, you will be contacted by Badger Precollege to select an alternative course. You will also have the option to be placed on a waitlist.
  3. Students will be asked to submit ONE of the following supplemental documents:
    • A copy of a current transcript or grade report
    • A copy of recent standardized test scores (ACT/SAT, PSAT, STAR, etc)
    • A letter of recommendation from someone who has worked with the student in an academic setting

    Students are required to submit one of the above documents. However, students are welcome to submit more than one if they so choose. You will be able to upload a PDF version of your chosen document directly into the application.

  4. Submit the application with the application fee. You will receive an email confirming your submission immediately, then notified of your acceptance decision via email within 3–4 weeks.

If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please visit our financial aid page.


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Where is the program located?

The PACE Program is located on the beautiful UW Madison campus. Our students eat lunch at Gordon Commons, located on the SE side of campus (770 W Dayton St.) and classroom locations are within walking distance to Gordon Commons. Badger Precollege works closely with UW Central Campus Reservations and individual building managers to secure space. This process takes time, as there are many other campus departments and programs scheduling space during the same blocks of time each summer. Individual classroom locations are not confirmed until late May at the earliest.

Is lunch provided during the program?

Yes, lunch for your student is provided as a part of the cost of tuition. Gordon Avenue Market is an undergraduate residence dining facility serving cafeteria style options that offers many food choices each day. Badger Precollege staff will be supervising your child and assisting them in making healthy food choices. If your child has any dietary restrictions or allergies we need to be aware of, please be sure to include this information in your CampDocs online health profile. If a student has severe food allergies or a very restricted diet, they are welcome to bring their own lunch. (Tuition is not prorated in cases where a student brings their own lunch.) A good resource that includes daily menus may be found here. You may also email the nutritionists at UW Housing directly for more information or with questions/concerns: dietitian@housing.wisc.edu.

How do the PACE afternoon field trips work?

In addition to any field trips planned during the morning and afternoon instructional blocks, PACE students also participate in field trips around campus throughout the week, both as part of our large group and also often as part of specific courses. This affords students the opportunity to further explore the UW Madison campus. Field trips are supervised by our educational assistants and Badger Precollege Admin staff. Please keep in mind that ALL field trips are walking field trips around campus. Venues are chosen based on their proximity to the SE side of campus to accommodate students walking, as well as being mindful of the very hot temperatures which often occur during PACE.
We also schedule “field trips” that occur at our afternoon location. Past examples would be visits from the UW Insect Ambassadors and presenters from the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery.

What is the afternoon field trip schedule?

Similar to securing classroom locations as described above, Badger Precollege partners with many other campus departments to secure field trips. Scheduling is complex, and many venues do not begin taking reservations for summer until the beginning of the Spring Semester (late January) or much later. Venues need to secure staffing (typically UW undergraduate students) first to accommodate larger groups and this often does not occur until later in the spring. Past field trips include: UW Madison Campus Tours, The UW Geology Museum, The Chazen Museum, and more.

How do I request a late drop off or an early pick up during PACE?

Requests for late drop off and early pick up should be directed to the program manager/program coordinators. Advance notice is greatly appreciated.
While we try our best to accommodate requests, it is not always possible to accommodate specific times. The volume of requests we received increased tremendously over the past year, making this process more challenging. Our staffing numbers are based on a 1:10 staff to student ratio which we must maintain at all times.
Most PACE classes take some field trips during the instructional blocks, so picking up during those times may not be possible. This will vary between classes.
Requests to pick up in the middle of the lunch/field trip block cannot be accommodated, as all staff are needed to supervise, or we may be in transit during those times or already at a field trip location.
As a general rule, if your student has another commitment in the afternoon, we request that you pick up your student up at 11:00 AM, following the morning instructional block, or at 1:30 PM once students have returned to class following the lunch block.