Precollege Program

Preparing Students for College

When students enroll in 8th grade, they are assigned a Precollege Advisor. The Precollege Advisor works in partnership with the student, guiding them to successful high school graduation and completion of the precollege program. 94% of precollege students who complete our program enroll in higher education.  We aim to help students be attractive to UW-System Institutions, helping them to receive college admissions offers. The precollege program works with students to build competency in four areas:

  • Build and Master Academic Knowledge
  • Build Cognitive Skills and Strategies
  • Build Self-Management Skills
  • Build Knowledge about College through Experiential Learning

All precollege students have access to PEOPLE’s Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE) sites during the academic year. ACE sites provide tutoring and enrichment that supports PEOPLE’s four competencies and fosters a sense of positive peer pressure which creates a college-going culture. Students have quarterly advising sessions with their assigned Precollege Advisor to set annual goals and review outcomes.

Students receive a variety of services at ACE depending on their grade level and their immediate needs.

Eighth Grade

We support both students and parents along the journey to college. Upon enrollment in the precollege program, students will attend PEOPLE Summer University I, a workshop series designed to prepare students and parents to enter high school with the goal of preparing for college, not simply graduation from high school. The workshops are held in the students community. Our parent retreat is designed to assist parents of first-generation college students to understand the first steps to supporting a college bound scholar.

PEOPLE Program law July 21, 2015, in Madison, Wis. (Photo @ Andy Manis)

Freshmen & Sophomores

PEOPLE Program nursing July 20, 2015, in Madison, Wis. (Photo @ Andy Manis)

After our students enter high school, PEOPLE adjusts its programming to meet their immediate needs.  Throughout the school year, homework mentoring is available at our ACE sites.  In addition to after-school tutorial services, PEOPLE offers free visits to University of Wisconsin campuses around the state.

During the summer, Freshmen and Sophomores attend PEOPLE Summer University II & III. They live on UW-Madison’s campus for two weeks while attending classes in mathematics, English, and science.  Students take practice ACT exams during these summers to help them identify challenge areas and demystify the stigma of standardized tests. The test prep curriculum includes building students’ academic skills and test taking strategies. In the evenings, students work with Social Emotional Learning Instructors to help support self-management skills like effective time management and building healthy relationships.

By housing our students on UW-Madison’s campus, we give them their first taste of college life — invaluable experiential learning that can only be appreciated by sleeping in the dormitories, eating the food, attending the classes, and living in the world of a college scholar.


While Freshmen and Sophomores live on campus for only two weeks, our Juniors stay with us for five weeks!  During their stay, they participate in our College and Career Kickstart Program. This program includes an internship with a campus or community partner and a student leadership development program.  Students select the top three fields they’d like to study and PEOPLE works with the campus and community to ensure that each student experiences an internship or a seminar before they graduate high school.  The precollege internship also includes an Experiential Learning Employability Skills Certificate from the State of Wisconsin.

We kick start their working life by practicing job interviews and professional behavior.

While they work at their internship site, students will also receive intensive preparation for the ACT exam and UW System placement tests.  To ensure that every PEOPLE student has a chance to be accepted to UW-Madison, we work with our students to perfect their college admissions essay and resume writing.

PEOPLE Program Anthropology July 24, 2015 in Madison, Wis. (Photo @ Andy Manis)


Senior Send-off

We hate to say goodbye, but we love seeing our Seniors succeed.  For soon-to-be college freshman, we offer support to help students finish senior year strong and transition to college. Support services include advising for post-secondary plans, preparation for the ACT exam, assistance while completing college applications and financial aid and scholarship forms, and final visits to UW System campuses. Before our students leave high school, we celebrate them with a Senior Send-off — a party for parents, students, and staff who all worked so hard to help our students achieve their dreams.

When a student decides to enroll at UW-Madison, they will attend our Summer Collegiate Experience.  When they arrive on campus, they are no longer Precollege Students — they become College Scholars.