The College Access Program (CAP) in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a three-week summer enrichment residential program for first-generation college students or students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. For 2017, the College Access Program is scheduled for July 9-28, 2017. CAP students get to discover the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the School of Education's pre-health, education and fine arts programs while experiencing living in University Housing. As a program focused on helping students get a head start on their preparation for college, students in CAP complete math and writing sessions and workshops on college applications, financial aid, academic requirements for college and services available to university students. CAP instructors and CAP leaders are graduate students at UW-Madison.
The program is open to 9th and 10th grade students who have completed their high school academic year. Students must be completing their freshman or sophomore year in high school when applying (e.g., only rising sophomores and juniors are eligible). Students must have a minimum 2.75 GPA and course work which will prepare them for college.
Math sessions explore problem–solving strategies used in college-level mathematics. Students learn strategies to be a successful first-year college student and develop critical thinking and effective test taking skills. Career Development sessions develop self-awareness of skills and interests in various careers. Students learn about career opportunities and the academic skills necessary to be successful in those careers. Writing sessions focus on developing college–level writing skills. Students learn strategies for research, analysis and presentation that are essential to writing effective academic papers. Students use these strategies throughout the CAP program to produce formal and informal essays.
The United Way's 2016 press release Latino Call to Action: Cuéntame Más Report highlighted the College Access Program (CAP) in the executive summary Education: Call to Action: "Success stories Programs like Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) Scholars, College Access Program (CAP), and the Escalera Program at Centro Hispano have demonstrated youth agency and investment in college attainment while building a community of cultural and academic supports, exposing students to a multitude of information and resources ordinarily out of reach for low-income communities of color. Expansion and replication of programs like these expose young people to the prospect of college and provide them with the motivation and necessary tools to get there and obtain a higher education diploma."