Why Choose ALP?

Please note: The 2021 ALP program will be fully online.

There are many options for talented high school students in the busy summer months, but only the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) gives them the chance to learn and live on the beautiful UW–Madison campus. While the campus is big, ALP centers around an engaged and intimate learning environment. Students enroll in one class during the three-week period for an in-depth focus that’s not possible in crowded high school schedules.

ALP offers college-level classes that are developed with the high school student in mind and are led by content experts and experienced teachers. Classes are small—no more than 16 students—to allow meaningful mentoring and personal relationships between students and their instructor. Instructors work individually with each student to identify learning goals and ensure that coursework is challenging, yet not overwhelming. The customized curriculum approach ensures an optimal learning environment, with an in-depth study of the topics and research that define 21st-century knowledge. Classes begin with a pre-assessment of student content knowledge and learning strengths. Students receive detailed written and verbal assessments of subject mastery and recommendations for future study. College-level educational assistants work with instructors to provide additional support.

Time outside of class is thoughtfully planned and coordinated by residential staff—often former WCATY students—to foster additional social and emotional connections between students.


WCATY is one of my favorite places to be because it is like coming to a second home each summer and I would not trade it for any other experience.

Jackie C., ALP Alumna

What to Expect?

ALP engages talented students from across Wisconsin, the nation, and the world in the research-based expertise of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Come and experience a truly unique learning environment where students from across the world can interact, learn, and grow with each other. Be ready to grow in the area of your unique academic interest at a highly accelerated pace and lose track of time while geeking out about your favorite topic. In the class setting, you will utilize resources on campus, learn to become more independent as a learner, and increase confidence when approaching challenging academic tasks. By the end of the program, you should notice better time management skills when handling complex projects and improved understanding of yourself, your strengths, and your talents. On the residential side of camp, be ready to form lasting friendships and engage in residential activities that push your personal boundaries.

2021 ALP Daily Schedule: The ALP program will feature a live, synchronous program experience. The program will run Monday through Friday from 9am-3pm. The first week will focus on community building and an introduction to the course material. Each day will consist of community building activities and course sessions. The second week features a deeper dive into the course material. Students will begin to develop their final project topics and research interests. The last week will focus on research and application. Students continue to learn the material, research their chosen topics, and finish their final projects.

Additionally, 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.

Overall, you will be able to contribute your ideas to a broad community of intellectual youth. When everything is said and done, the WCATY experience is what you make of it.


Not only has WCATY provided me with an advanced learning experience that I would not have at school, it has also given me a space where I can fit in and belong.

Robin A., ALP Participant

WCATY Instructors

Many WCATY instructors return to teach year after year and bring with them their passion for their chosen fields, as well as their passion for educating advanced learners. Backgrounds of our instructors vary widely—from seasoned classroom educators, to UW content experts, to innovative professionals eager to share their knowledge with our students, to aspiring academics seeking to broaden their community outreach skills.