International Participants

Why Madison, Wisconsin?

Come and join WCATY in a unique learning experience from one of the largest research universities in the world. Our programs focus on learning in an immersive environment with engaging college-level courses. Learn why UW–Madison is the perfect place to be in the summer!

Madison from Bascom Hill with a view of the Capitol

  • UW–Madison is one of the top 25 U.S. universities with the largest international students population
  • Madison, Wisconsin consistently ranks as one of the top places to live in the U.S.
  • 1/3 of the UW–Madison campus is nature reserves
  • 82 degrees Fahrenheit/28 degrees Celsius average temperature in summer
  • 5 freshwater lakes
  • 2.5 hours away from Chicago
  • In the Top 10 in research spending since 1972
  • 18-minute walk to downtown Madison
  • Home to the The Dane County Farmers’ Market, the largest producer-only market in the U.S.
  • Named after James Madison, the fourth U.S. President
  • Nestled between lakes Mendota and Monona. It is one of only two major U.S. cities built on an isthmus

UW Map with detailed zoom on Madison, Wisconsin

About the University of Wisconsin–Madison

The top-ranked University of Wisconsin–Madison is situated near the Wisconsin State Capitol. According to the 2014-15 Open Doors Report, UW–Madison is among the top 25 U.S. universities with the largest number of international students during the traditional academic calendar year. UW–Madison is committed to helping students make significant achievements in the world through the lessons they learn both inside and outside of the classroom.

Safety and Security

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently ranked Madison as the fourth safest city in America, and both the city and the university are strongly committed to safety. University Police officers make frequent visits to the residence halls and other campus buildings; they are a friendly and welcome presence. Of course, you should use common-sense precautions during the program.

Support for International Students

At Badger Precollege, we provide international students with engaging coursework and programming while offering different levels of support to ensure the best experience possible. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide scholarships to international students at this time. For 2021 programs, 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 program.
  • 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 course set up, expectations for the program and work done outside course time, time zone set up and other topics.
  • Specific activities dedicated to creating awareness around different cultures and individual sessions that introduce the culture and city of Madison and the University.

English Requirements

WCATY classes are designed for students who would like to study advanced academic content at an accelerated pace. To be successful, students should be ready to use English at a proficient level. Fluency when speaking and writing will be important since most courses have writing and presentation-based assignments.

If your goal is to improve your English communication skills, you may want to consider joining the American Culture And English (ACE) program at the UW–Madison.

Traveling Requirements and Visa

The University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) have determined that summer programs offered by the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY) serving precollege students at UW–Madison are programs that require a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa for any non-U.S. citizen or non-permanent resident. International student applicants are strongly encouraged to bring their WCATY program admission letter among other supporting documents to their visa interview at the U.S. Embassy. The process of obtaining visa and travel documents is the responsibility of the student applicant. The University of Wisconsin–Madison cannot advise students on visa procedures or eligibility. For more information about the application and required travel documents, view the B-1 or B-2 VISA Form, contact the WCATY office or visit the U.S. State Department website.

It is recommended that along with your visa and passport you bring a printout of your acceptance letter and WCATY letter-of-support to justify your visit. Your visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Customs officer at the port of entry determines the period of authorized stay. For this reason, you must give serious and clear answers to the Customs officer during your interview.

Still have questions about WCATY?

Review the ALP International Handbook or contact us.