The College Access Program (CAP) is a three-week summer enrichment residential program designed and coordinated by the School of Education (The School) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW). Consistently ranked in the top ten schools and colleges of education in national studies, the School prepares students for teaching, the health professions, and careers in the arts. In addition to several core education programs, about half of The School's students are enrolled in fine art, dance, counseling, occupational therapy and exercise science programs. Accordingly, the purpose of the CAP is to provide exposure and enrichment opportunities for high school students to help prepare them for college and education-related careers.​

Photo of CAP students

Participant requirements

Participants of CAP must be rising 10th or 11th grade high school students, have at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 grading scale), possess an interest in majoring/working within a field related to one of the education programs offered by The School at UW, and identify as a member of one or more of the following communities:

  • Potential first-generation college student (first in family to attend college)
  • Low-income
  • Racially marginalized community (African American, Latina/o, Southeast Asian, and American Indian)

 *Note: The School of Education at UW includes 10 departments: Art, Counseling Psychology, Curriculum and Instruction, Dance, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, Educational Policy Studies, Educational Psychology, Kinesiology, Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education, and Theatre & Drama.

Application process

Interested students must complete the CAP online application and submit their most recent high school transcript to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within the School of Education (see below for the office address). All application materials are due by Friday, April 17th, 2020 at 11:59pm.

Cost of participation

The CAP has a participation fee of $500 and a processing fee of $25 (for a total of $525). The participation fee covers course instruction, advising, room and board, field trips, meals, and supplies. Only students who are admitted and plan to attend the CAP are responsible for paying the participation/processing fees. Wisconsin resident students who qualify for free or reduced lunch can apply for a scholarship through the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to cover the $500 program fee. Please note: The DPI scholarship does not cover the processing fee. DPI Scholarship Form

During the three-week CAP, students will:

  • Live like a college student within residence halls on the UW-Madison campus for three weeks
  • Learn about the college application process and how to fund their college experience through the School of Education’s (The School) professional staff and faculty
  • Meet and develop friendships with like-minded CAP scholars who are also interested in educational career paths
  • Participate in fun and interactive courses geared toward preparing students for college-level math and writing
  • Learn about a variety of undergraduate degree programs offered by The School
  • Explore multiple career options within the field of education
  • Participate in a variety of field trips (e.g., bowling, ropes courses, trampoline park, etc.)

Math course

Math sessions enable students to explore problem–solving strategies used in college-level mathematics. Students learn critical thinking and effective test taking skills, as well as strategies to be a successful first year college student.

Career development sessions

Career Development sessions enable students to develop a self-awareness of skills and interests in a variety of educational and occupational areas. Students will learn about education-related career opportunities and the academic skills necessary to be successful in those careers. 

Writing course

Writing sessions enable students to focus on developing college–level writing skills. Students will learn strategies for conducting, analyzing, and presenting research – skills which are essential to writing effective academic papers. Students will use these strategies throughout the program to produce formal and informal essays. 

Additional activities

Other activities will include workshops on the college application process, financial aid, academic requirements for college and services available to university students. Students will also participate in weekend and evening recreational and cultural activities.

Additional information

For additional information regarding the CAP, please directly contact Christopher Barnes (Lead Coordinator) at

Travel to and from the University, and all incidental expenses, will be the responsibility of the student.


College Access Program
1000 Bascom Mall, School of Education, Rm. 139
Madison, WI, 53706 

College Access Program
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