By Karen Stokes
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Pre-College Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence, (PEOPLE) is a program to help students gain access to college specifically UW System schools with an emphasis on UW Madison. The program offers full tuition scholarships to UW-Madison.
“When a student is admitted to the program it can help families overcome the many struggles they may have economically,” said Shanee McCoy, assistant director at Milwaukee Precollege. “We provide services to them throughout the academic year and the summer from eighth-grade all the way up through college to make sure they are going to be successful.”
The services range from one-on-one meetings to discuss grades, goals, after school tutoring and college tours. They discuss topics such as what it means to be a Milwaukee Public School (MPS) or Madison Public School student and what does it mean to be a Black male in the school system in this climate today.
Students can apply from any middle school, but the program is in 17 MPS high schools and four Madison high schools. The Milwaukee schools are Hamilton, Audubon, Bay View, Bradley, Golda Mier, Vincent, Madison, Milwaukee Marshall, McDowell Montessori, Pulaski, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Milwaukee School of Languages, Riverside, Reagan, Rufus King, South Division and Washington.
There’s a summer component to the program where students spend time at UW-Madison.
Upon enrollment in the precollege program, the eighth-grade students will attend a local PEOPLE Summer University I, one day workshop.
Freshmen and sophomores will attend PEOPLE Summer University II & III. They’ll live on UW-Madison’s campus for two weeks while attending classes in mathematics, English, and science. Students will also take practice-ACT exams during these summers to help them identify challenging areas.
Juniors stay on campus for five weeks. During their stay, students participate in the College and Career Kickstart Program. This program includes an internship with a campus or community partner and a student leadership development program.
Everything in the program is free. Funded through the State of Wisconsin and UW-Madison, the summer component, all food, events, supplies and activities are included in the program.
McCoy is an alum of the PEOPLE program and is extremely passionate and has a deep connection with the program and believes in its mission and purpose.
“I had a great time and I have built friendships that I still maintain in my adult life,” McCoy said. “I was able to go to college with my tuition paid. It helped me understand what I wanted my major to be and what I wanted my career to be.”
PEOPLE is the UW’s most successful venture in creating such opportunities and improving campus diversity.
Applications will be accepted through March 6, 2020. To apply for the PEOPLE program, go to peopleprogram.wisc.edu. Students in the eighth-grade, spring semester are accepted. You can attend any eighth-grade school of your choice but must attend the 17 MPS and four Madison partnership schools.
In addition to the online application, students need to submit transcripts, letter of recommendation, two essays, an autobiography and attendance record.
Go to peopleprogram.wisc.edu to apply and learn more about PEOPLE.
Deadline is March 6, 2020.