Why Choose ALP?

science students on scaffolding of climate instrumentation

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.

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

Residential Daily Schedule

Time Activity
7:30-8:30am Breakfast. Commuter students arrive.
8:30-9:00am Morning Meeting
9:00-11:30am Class: Morning Session
11:30am-12:30pm Lunch
12:30-3:00pm Class: Afternoon Session
3:00-5:00pm Recreational Activities
5:00-6:00pm Dinner.
6:00-8:00pm Evening study session
8:00-10:00pm Recreational Activities. Commuter students to depart.
10:00-10:30pm Block Meetings. Dorm time, preparation for bed.
11:00pm Quiet hours begin

Residential Life

Students reside in Bradley Residence Hall on the Lakeshore side of campus. Students live in groups of approximately 12-15 campers per Residential Assistant. Girls and boys live on separate floors in double rooms, and each floor has its own bathroom and shower facilities. If students wish to room together, each must submit a roommate request form.

Students will be eating all meals at the campus dining facility. The dining service staff does an excellent job of meeting the dietary needs of all students. However, this does require some planning on their end. It is requested that if there are dietary needs, the families contact the WCATY office a month in advance of the program date. If needed, WCATY will connect you with a dining services supervisor or dietitian.

By sharing rooms, eating together, participating in activities, and exploring their surroundings, ALP students define their own diverse community. Recreational activities include sports and games, tours of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, and numerous museums and trips to the famous Memorial Union and State Street.

For Parents

Parents will have the opportunity to meet instructors, educational assistants, residential assistants, and WCATY staff on opening day of the program. Parents are also invited to attend the student exit interviews and closing ceremonies on the last day of the program.


I feel so at home here. I can be myself and love what I love without feeling judged for it…I get to learn so much about the people around me as well as their backgrounds and their stories.

Jamie C., WCATY Alumna

Safety and Security

It is the expectation that students remain on campus for the duration of the program. Students are supervised at all times by educational assistants, residential assistants, instructors, and WCATY staff.

All health-related aspects of camp are handled through the University Health Services (UHS) at UW–Madison. WCATY staff and the UHS staff work closely to make sure students with medical needs are receiving appropriate care. There is a nurse on duty 24/7 and a doctor on call.

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.