CAE Scholar FAQs

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Admissions/About CAE

Q: How did I get admitted through CAE to UW-Madison?

A: Students are referred and admitted to many different schools and colleges within UW-Madison and in many different ways. Students who are admitted through CAE and the College Letters and Science are referred to the College from the Office of Admissions. The College of Letters and Science and CAE completes a holistic review of referred applicants and admits a cohort of students each year.

Q: How can I learn more about SCE?

A: The Summer Collegiate Experience (SCE) is a credit-earning summer-bridge program for students entering the University. More information on SCE can be found here.

Q: If I’m admitted to the College of Letters and Science, can I still switch to a different school or college?

A: CAE recognizes the importance of students’ major and career endeavors, and as such, supports students’ pursuit of majors outside of the College of Letters and Science. The CAE advisors and staff have strong working relationships with advisors from other schools and colleges and can assist students with the process of transferring and applying to academic programs outside of L&S.

Q: Can transfer students join CAE?

A: Transfer Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many support systems offered through CAE. Please fill out an on-campus application, if interested in joining CAE.

Q: Can I join CAE if I wasn’t admitted to the program as an incoming first-year student?

Yes, there are many ways you can get involved with CAE if you weren’t admitted to the program as an incoming first-year student. For instance, you could request additional learning support in the form of an Academic Mentor, apply to receive the Lawton Undergraduate Retention Grant Program, or apply to an internship through the CAE Career Ready Internship Program– just to name a few. For a full list of ways to get involved, please explore our website and reach out to the individuals listed as contacts for each area of CAE.

Q: What is the difference between CAE and the Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO)?

A: The Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO) is a federally and state-funded program that serves students who meet specific federal family income guidelines, and students with documented disabilities. CAE is housed in the College of Letters and Science and works with a diverse set of students who are admitted through the college. Both programs provide academic and social support to enhance students’ success at the university.

Q: What are the benefits of working with CAE?

A: CAE is an office that exists for students’ benefit. We encourage to explore the CAE website to learn more about how CAE can assist you in your pursuit of success. A few benefits include: direct and frequent access to advisors, in-house learning support for almost any subject, priority registration as 1st and 2nd year students (register with juniors), access to L&S assistant dean services specifically within CAE, connections to experienced CAE students through the peer mentoring program, and ample study/gathering space in the Center.


Q: What are the 1st and 2nd year CAE requirements?

First-Year Requirements

  1. Participation in at least one of following High Impact Practices: The Summer Collegiate Experience (SCE)Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS), First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs)Residential Learning Communities (RLCs), Honors, and/or internships
  2. Schedule and meet with your CAE advisor a minimum of 3 times per semester
  3. Submit a mid-term progress report each semester
  4. Schedule and meet with CAE faculty member Larry Edgerton a minimum of one time per semester

Second-Year Requirements

  1. Schedule and meet with your CAE advisor a minimum of 3 times per semester
  2. Attend and participate in events, workshops, and programs, including the Empowering You Conference and the CAE Capstone Symposium & Celebration
  3. Complete a CAE Capstone Project, a significant learning project on the Wisconsin Experience


Q: What opportunities are there to become more involved with CAE?

A: CAE offers numerous opportunities for students to get involved. Students are encouraged to meet with CAE advisors regularly, offered opportunities for tutoring services through Academic Mentoring, work with CAE as an academic mentor, a peer mentor, or a student project coordinator, obtain an internship through the CAE Career Ready Internship Program, be part of an academic community such as the Academy and/or SySTEM, and to get involved with Alternative Spring Break.

Q: What is the CAE Peer Mentoring program and how can I become a CAE Student Leader?

A: The CAE Peer Mentoring Program supports first-year students’ transition to the university. Student Leaders are paired with first-year students and serve as mentors to assist the students with academic and social adjustment to college. The CAE Peer Mentoring Program hires once a year during the spring semester for the following academic year. Look out for the application on the CAE website or contact the peer mentor coordinator.

Q: What are High Impact Practices?

A: HIPs, according to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), are “…teaching and learning practices that have been shown to academically benefit college students from many backgrounds, especially historically underserved students.” Educational research studies suggest that HIPs increase rates of student retention and student engagement. Students have been shown to benefit immensely from engaging in these activities throughout their college tenure.

Q: What are the services offered by assistant deans that are different from academic advisors?

A: Assistant Deans in CAE are also Assistant Deans in the College of Letters & Science. Therefore,
a key role of Assistant Deans is to provide comprehensive information and insight about L&S academic rules, deadlines, and procedures.They also offer a space for students to talk openly about their academic needs and put forth requests for exceptions to L&S academic policy.  In brief, assistant deans can make discretionary decisions based on the interpretation of the L&S policies as they relate to individual student cases.

Academic advisors work very closely with students to assist with their adjustment to college-life, and to guide their scholastic decisions. Academic advisors help students to recognize and achieve their educational goals.  They help students examine their academic strengths & interests; then, they help students prioritize majors and areas of study based on those strengths and interests. They also work closely with professors and other university administrators and stay up-to-date on program changes.

Q: What is the CAE Career Ready Internship Program and how do I apply?

A: The CAE Career Ready Internship Program, funded by a grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, provides paid career-related internship opportunities to L&S junior and senior students who have demonstrated financial need, with an emphasis on students of color, preparing them to be business and community leaders. The CAE Career Ready Internship Program intentionally leverages the power of HIPs, coupled with reflective opportunities, to help students get the most out of their Wisconsin Experience. Students have been placed in a variety of for-profit and nonprofit placements to support their short- and long-term career goals. Internship placements are designed to last one semester (fall, spring, or summer) for 10-20 hours per week, but can be extended based on employer and student intern agreement.

Q: What is The Academy of Learning Communities (TALCO)? How can I apply? What are benefits of being a part of the program?

A: TALCO is a post-baccalaureate preparation program for undergraduate students interested in going to law school, medical school and/or graduate school. Please fill out an application, if interested. Students are admitted on a rolling basis. Read more about TALCO.

Q: How can CAE help connect me to resources across campus?

A: CAE works in partnership with numerous offices across campus and can provide students with contact information, reminders about beneficial upcoming events put on by other offices, and direct students to the appropriate person or office to help with whatever questions they may have.


Q: How can I schedule an appointment with my CAE advisor?

A: You can schedule an appointment online in two ways. 1) Visit your MyUW page by clicking on the Scheduling Assistant app and search for the advisor you wish to see. A link to your assigned advisor should show up on the Scheduling Assistant homepage. 2) Visit the Connect with a CAE Advisor  page.

You can also call the CAE front desk at 608-263-5068 or stop in to make an appointment in person.

Q: What do I go to my CAE advisor for?

A: Your CAE advisor is a resource to help you navigate transitions and challenges and to support you in important decisions. Here are a few ways CAE advisors can help you: understand degree requirements and registration, connect you with key resources across campus, including additional advising units in your areas of interest, find scholarship and internship opportunities, and clarify academic policies and requirements.

Q: Can I switch CAE advisors?

A: We encourage you to work with your assigned CAE advisor, but also want you to be your own best advocate for what works best for you. You are more than welcome to meet with any CAE advisor or CAE staff member to get the assistance you need.

Q: Can I continue working with my advisor, and with CAE, after my second year?

A: Yes. There are some specific requirements during your 1st and 2nd years, but you can continue to meet with your advisor and utilize CAE services through the duration of time at UW-Madison.

Learning Support

Q: What learning support does CAE offer?

A:  One-on-One Academic Mentoring and Peer Learning, and Writing Support. One-on-One Academic Mentoring is available for any course a CAE student enrolls in; if we currently do not support the course, we will begin the hiring process for someone who does. We also want students to engage with relevant learning centers (if available) before assigning a One-on-One Academic Mentor.

Peer Learning is a group of 4-8 students taking the most challenging courses 1st and 2nd year students take. These groups are facilitated by our most experienced and best trained academic mentors. In this setting, students collaborate with each other to master important concepts in the course, all facilitated by the Lead Academic Mentor.

Q: How do I sign up for learning support?

A: CAE students must first schedule an appointment with a CAE advisor or a Program Coordinator. Non-CAE students must first complete an intake form for a 1-1 academic mentor, or schedule a meeting with a Program Coordinator for Peer Learning.

Q: Is there a fee for learning support services?

A: CAE Academic Mentoring and Peer Learning are 100% free to eligible students.

Q: Is any L&S student eligible to receive learning support services?

A: Yes, L&S non-CAE students are eligible for Academic Mentoring provided they meet the following criterion:

  • L&S or undeclared students during their undergraduate career;
  • First generation, low income and/or underrepresented students of color;
  • Students who do not have options through other campus programs that offer tutoring support.

Q: What is the difference between academic mentoring and tutoring?

A: Tutoring is a reactive service, where students wait until they have questions or experience difficulties to visit tutoring. Academic Mentoring is focused on supporting students to avoid difficulties within challenging courses. Additionally, Academic Mentors…

  • will assist students in overcoming difficulties in the class and answering questions whenever they arise.
  • collaborate with students to develop study skills, exam-taking skills, and time-management skills.
  • assist students in approaching and engaging faculty and navigating academic resources in higher education.
  • offer tips and strategies to be successful in the classroom.

Q: What is the difference between academic mentoring and peer learning? Can I sign-up for both during the same semester?

A: One-on-One academic mentoring involves individualized support for any course, while Peer Learning engages students with peers to create a team of learners.
There is no limit to the number of peer learning and/or One-on-One academic mentoring requests.

Q: Can I have both an academic mentor and a student leader? How would I benefit from/utilize one versus the other?

A: Academic Mentors collaborate with students around academic transitions and skills, while Student Leaders collaborate with students around social transitions and skills. Yes, students are encouraged to engage with both programs!

Finances/ Scholarships

Q: Can CAE help me get a scholarship?

A: The CAE advisors work closely with each of their students to identify the student’s financial needs and concerns. They assist their students in identifying and applying for scholarships. Often times, they serve as an advocate by writing letters of support and recommendation on behalf of the student.

CAE also award the Shinners Family Fund Scholarship annually to in-state CAE students and coordinates the Lawton Undergraduate Minority Retention Grant, an incentive- and need-based retention grant awarded to Wisconsin resident students from four targeted student populations (African American, Latino, Native American/American Indian), and Southeast Asian of Vietnamese, Cambodian, or Laotian descent.