CAPE students in a group photo

College Access Program in Education (CAPE)

Program Overview

The UW–Madison School of Education is home to a wide range of undergraduate majors for students pursuing careers in the arts, health, and education professions. The College Access Program in Education (CAPE) is a two-week summer collegiate experience for rising high school seniors interested in academic majors/fields within the School of Education. CAPE  students reside on the UW–Madison campus and take a two-credit course taught by faculty and staff in the School of Education. Much like first-year college students at UW–Madison, CAPE students engage in coursework that explores their academic and career interests. 

Summer 2024 Program Dates: Sunday, June 16th-Saturday, June 29th

During the summer program, CAPE students

  1. Explore their interests in the arts, health, or education
  2. Gain exposure to cutting-edge research
  3. Grow their academic skills
  4. Get support preparing for college
  5. Earn college credits for free 

Participants who demonstrate strong desire and potential for their selected School of Education major will be highly competitive for admission to UW–Madison. If admitted, CAPE participants will be considered for a number of scholarships in the School of Education. CAPE is affiliated with the School of Education’s Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion.

CAPE students posing with Bucky statue

Who is eligible to participate?

To be eligible for CAPE, prospective students must meet ALL the following criteria: 

  1. Have a strong interest in one of the following fields of study: the arts, health, or education 
  2. Have a strong interest in attending UW–Madison
  3. Must have completed 11th grade and be preparing to enter 12th grade
  4. Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  5. Be a Wisconsin resident

Cost:  CAPE is Free! There is no cost required to participate in the program.

CAPE encourages students from all backgrounds to apply. This includes individuals who are the first in their family to attend college and would benefit from additional support, those who identify as part of a historically underrepresented group, or those from a low-income background.

Apply HERE!

What to Expect

CAPE students posing in front of a mural

CAPE students live as enrolled students on the UW–Madison campus and experience student life by engaging in hands-on academic and social activities in and out of the classroom. Activities include taking part in expert speaker talks and professional workshops.

CAPE students have a full schedule, spending their days learning about their academic interests and how to navigate college life. Along with coursework, students have opportunities to participate in various extracurricular activities during the weekend, such as attending on-campus events, visiting recreational facilities, or exploring downtown Madison.

Daily schedule

7:30 – 8:15 a.m. Breakfast
8:30 -10 a.m. College Prep seminar
10:15 -11:45 a.m. Discussion and study lab
12 – 1:15 p.m. Lunch
1:30 – 5 p.m. Academic course in the arts, health, or education
5:15 – 6:30 p.m. Dinner
6:30 – 7 p.m. Break
7 – 9 p.m. Study hall or free time
10 p.m. Nightly check-in


The CAPE curriculum prepares students for college, allowing them to engage in courses that nurture academic interests and skills, while earning college credits. 

CAPE offers three different two-credit college courses that introduce some of our exciting academic majors within the School of Education. Each participant will choose an academic course that matches their interests. Summer 2024 courses will allow students to explore special topics in Visual Art, Elementary Education and Special Education, and Health Promotion and Health Equity. In these classes, students will visit cutting-edge research labs, exhibits, and performance studios within the School of Education.

Percival Matthews teaching CAPE students

CAPE Courses


Course Description Major Explored Who would enjoy this course
Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education 405

Special Topics in Disability & Society

This course explores the lived experiences of people with disabilities in society, focusing on definitions of disability, the perspectives of people with disabilities, ableism, and equity and inclusion for people with disabilities. Elementary Education Students interested in K-12 education and administration, student support services, and teaching
Art 448

Special Topics in Visual Art

In this course, students engage in hands-on lessons exploring methods, concepts, and technical processes in visual art.  Art Students interested in graphic design, art education, art activism, art therapy, digital media/art, photography, printmaking, and book arts
Kinesiology 508

Special Topics in Health Promotion & Health Equity

In this course, students engage with researchers in health promotion, movement, and sports sciences. Students will learn what is behind the science and evidence that guides the creation of effective health promotion programs. Health Promotion & Health Equity Students interested in health services and operations, community health, fitness and wellness, mental health, and health education.

Academic Study Skills Discussion: CAPE students participate in a discussion section on study skills that will be integrated into their courses. In this discussion section, CAPE students learn how to apply study strategies to manage the academic demands of college life effectively.

College Prep Seminar: CAPE students also take a college preparatory seminar that will include workshops on transitioning to college. Topics include the college application process, scholarships/financial aid, and various support resources that help students navigate and prepare for college life.

CAPE student testimonials

All participants agreed that CAPE was instrumental in helping them explore their career and academic interests. 

An overwhelming 92 percent of CAPE participants expressed heightened confidence in their ability to be successful in college as a result of the program.

“CAPE gave me a new perspective on future careers and interests.” 

— Sophia Contreras education student 

“In the CAPE College Prep class, I learned about the different majors, study abroad, and financial aid, which helped me tremendously.”

— Jimena Ramirez-Gonzalez, health student

“CAPE helped skyrocket my interests in theatre.”

— Jenny Duarte-Castillo theatre student 

“I felt welcomed and safe to be my true self. Everyone made me feel like I was at home.”

— Ash Anderson, education student

“CAPE helped me gather information that helped me make decisions about my college experience.”

— Iyana Benson, health student

Application and Admission 

  • If you are interested in participating in CAPE for the summer of 2024, the CAPE application opens soon 
  • Applicants must provide the following materials to be evaluated for admission to the program:
    • Student information 
    • Parent/Guardian information
    • Educational information 
      • Upload: high school transcripts (unofficial transcripts are accepted) 
    • Two short essays (500 words or less each) 
    • Students interested in art must also submit a piece of artwork.

Got Questions?

Please contact us with any questions you might have via email at or by phone at 608-263-2912.

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