Why Choose PACE?

Engage your academic interests in a college setting. During class, don’t be surprised if you lose track of time while geeking out and being inspired by your favorite subject area, while facing unique academic challenges. In the classroom, you will learn to become more independent as a 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 that may spark your curiosity even further.

Overall, you will feel more comfortable and confident sharing your ideas with a broad community of intellectual youth.


PACE offers a learning opportunity that I would not have had without this program and WCATY itself.

WCATY Participant

What to Expect?

Precollege Academic Campus Experience (PACE) Program Model: PACE gives students completing grades 5-8 an opportunity to explore their current interests and passions with like-minded peers in a college setting. Equally strong emphasis is given to academic rigor, social-emotional development, and community building. Students spend a week taking one accelerated class designed specifically for middle school advanced learners on the beautiful UW–Madison campus. This program was developed to engage, intellectually challenge, and inspire young minds. Not only will students explore their chosen area of study in class, they will also have the opportunity to spark their curiosity during campus field trips during the week. Class sizes are small, affording students the opportunity to connect with mentors, instructors, and peers. In addition to content area related field trips and guest speakers, students will explore all that the UW–Madison campus has to offer during their lunch breaks. Some examples of past excursions have included: The Chazen Art Museum, visits to Makerspace, and a tour of Camp Randall Stadium.

2021 PACE courses will be run through Badger Precollege Middle School Online. This “Powered by PACE” program is delivered FULLY ONLINE. This program features many popular PACE classes, adapted for an online environment, as well as exciting all new course options to explore! Be sure to check individual course descriptions for more information regarding course pacing and expectations.

2021 PACE Daily Schedule: Middle School Online offers a live Zoom morning option, 9am-12pm, and a live Zoom afternoon option, 1pm-4pm each day. Students have the opportunity to take a morning class only, and afternoon class only, or both. Each ½ day session consists of 2-3 activity blocks as well as staff led opportunities for community building and engagement with peers. An additional, optional community building lunch block is offered each day from 12-1 that all enrolled students are invited to attend. There is no additional cost for the 12-1 lunch block, and students may pick and choose days to attend.

Session 1 Courses: July 5-9, 2021

Morning session, 9 a.m.-noon: The Ethics of Biotechnology, Laws of Negotiation and International Politics, Exploring the Brain, Mythology 101, Beyond 2001: The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence.
Afternoon session, 1-4 p.m.: Intro to Computer Science, Neuroscience, Mythbusters, Space Exploration Adventures, Math Behind You: Algebra II.

Session 2 Courses: July 12-16, 2021

Morning session, 9 a.m.-noon: Intro to Computer Science, Neuroscience, Mythbusters, Space Exploration Adventures.
Afternoon session, 1-4 p.m.: Mythology 101, The Ethics of Biotechnology, Beyond 2001: The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence.

Please visit the Badger Precollege Online website for more information.

View the PACE Student Handbook.


PACE was a perfect mix of fun and learning.

WCATY 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 innovative professionals eager to share their knowledge with our students, to current UW faculty and aspiring academics seeking to broaden their community outreach skills.