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Frequently Asked Questions about SCATS

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us via email at gifted@wku.edu or by calling (270) 745-6323.

 All times CDT.

For those considering enrollment:

(Please also see the SCATS Experience)

What classes are taught at SCATS?
The overall course selection changes every summer, although some classes are taught multiple years in a row. We always provide a diverse curriculum that include the arts, the humanities, mathematics, and science. Students accepted to SCATS receive a list of that year’s courses a few weeks before camp; from a list of about 30, students rank their top ten choices and are scheduled in four, which they attend every weekday. For a list of classes taught the previous year, go here.


Size of classes
For an optimum teacher-student ratio, classes are capped at 16 students; some classes will have fewer than 16.


Who teaches SCATS classes?
About half the teachers are drawn from the WKU faculty and outstanding area teachers; the other half are students in the WKU graduate program in gifted studies who teach at SCATS as their graduate practicum. All teachers want to work with high-interest and high-ability students and understand how to create courses that challenge and excite gifted and talented students.


What is the daily class schedule?
Each camper takes four classes every weekday during the two weeks of SCATS, two classes each morning and two each afternoon. The academic day starts at 8:45 a.m. and concludes at 4:15 p.m.


What is the difference between being a residential or nonresidential camper?
Residential campers live in an air-conditioned residence hall with residential counselors who will be involved in activities when the campers are not in class. In the evenings and on the weekend, residential campers participate in a variety of cultural, educational, and recreational activities.

Nonresidential campers are dropped off each morning before classes and picked up each afternoon when classes end. They do not participate in extracurricular activities, with the exception of the talent show, banquet, and dance on the final two evenings of SCATS.


What is a typical day like for residential campers?
On a typical weekday, campers make their way together to the Downing Student Union (DSU) to eat breakfast around 8:00 a.m. They then walk to their first class, which begins at 8:45 a.m. They go to lunch together between their morning and afternoon classes. When classes end at 4:15 p.m., they walk back to their residence hall to check in with their counselors and hallmates and have free time before dinner, then walk back to DSU to eat. After dinner, unless there is a special event, they choose from a wide range of Optionals, small group activities run by the counselors that offer everything from Capture the Flag to chalk art. The day ends with community time, and lights out is around 10:00 p.m. During the last two nights of camp, campers attend and/or participate in the talent show (Wednesday night) and attend the banquet and dance (Thursday night).

On the weekend, campers eat and relax together, do laundry as needed, attend a worship service if they choose to, and participate in special camp events where they meet new friends, learn treasured camp traditions, and make memories.

When not in class, campers are always under the supervision of our counselors.


What makes SCATS courses different from classes during the regular school year?
First, SCATS classes allow students to discover, follow, and develop their academic passions. Teachers offer courses on topics different from what students can access in school, and they shape their courses around students’ interests rather than a required curriculum. In addition, rather than being motivated by grades, students are motivated by their inner desire to learn and to show themselves what they are capable of achieving.

Second, surrounded by peers who want to learn and are also of high-ability, SCATS students are exposed to a cooperative learning environment. There is no competition over grades or class standing, and there is no worrying about carrying the label of “the smart kid.” Class discussions are enthusiastic and thoughtful, and students genuinely value each other's viewpoints. Whether working independently, in a small team, or as a whole class, each SCATS student contributes to and benefits from a positive learning experience.


Can SCATS accommodate a student with special needs?
In most cases, yes. We have experience working with students who require assistance getting around campus, have dietary restrictions, need specific learning accommodations, have ongoing medical conditions, and/or have other special needs. Please contact us directly with any concerns or questions at gifted@wku.edu or (270) 745-6323.


How long has SCATS been around?
SCATS, originally called the Summer Camp, was launched by The Center in 1983. Thousands of young people from across the county and from many foreign countries have since participated in the program. We are proud that for more than 35 years, we have met the needs of high-ability middle school students for summer enrichment experiences alongside like-minded peers.


For those already enrolled:

(Please also see the SCATS Experience)

When may parents visit?  
Many campers come from too far away for visits from parents, so visits are not expected. Parent visits are limited to weekends. Sunday afternoons work best, especially if parents help with laundry. All visits must be planned ahead with written and signed notification from parents. So that we know your plans, parents should do the following by noon on the Thursday preceding the intended visit:

If permission for a visit does not arrive by noon on Thursday, parent visits will be limited to having lunch with campers at the Fresh Food Company in the Downing Student Union on campus. Parent Visit Forms may be accessed on this website shortly before camp starts.  


How much spending money should campers bring?
Everything needed in a regular day is provided for in the registration fee. All recreational activities are included. The only money students need is for laundry and miscellaneous items or snacks. Bringing large sums of money is discouraged.

What arrangements are made for campers arriving by plane?
Please schedule your camper’s flight to arrive at the Nashville, TN, Airport on the first day of camp between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. (CDT). On the last day of camp, please schedule your return flight to leave from the Nashville, TN, Airport between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (CDT).  There will be a $100 charge ($50 each way) for transportation by chartered bus or van to and from the Nashville Airport.

 If your airport arrival and departure times do not fit our guidelines, we can arrange transportation with an airport limousine service. The cost will be $100 each way.

Payment for airport transportation will be due by May 15.

When should nonresidential students be dropped off and picked up on class days?
Parents dropping off nonresidential students should decide on a place to drop off their students near their first class before 8:45 a.m. each day and a place to pick them up near their last class after 4:15 p.m. each day. Note: On the last day, afternoon classes are shortened slightly; classes will conclude at 3:45 p.m.


Will students have access to their cell phones?
Residential campers will turn in their cell phones to their counselor when they check in at camp and will not have access to them except for brief periods on a few evenings when there is phone time for calling home if they wish. For campers concerned about letting go of their devices for two weeks, consider this comment from a camper: “The fact that cell phones aren’t allowed makes everyone interact face to face, and it’s more fun than if they were allowed!”


How can campers receive communication?

By mail:
Student’s Name
c/o Dr. Julia Roberts
The Center for Gifted Studies
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd. #71031
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1031

To ensure prompt delivery, please do not send any mail to the residence hall.

Letter-writing instead of calling is encouraged. For some young people, this experience will be the first extended period away from home. Parents are encouraged to write positive, supportive letters to help students get the most out of SCATS.

By phone:
In an emergency, parents may phone the office at (270) 745-6323 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and a staff member will arrange for the student to return the call. After normal office hours and on weekends, parents may call the front desk at the residence hall, and the desk clerk will see that the student gets the message.

What if campers get homesick?
For some campers, SCATS is their first extended period away from home. Homesickness is not unusual. If campers feel homesick, they should speak with their counselors. In the event that their student writes or calls to report homesickness or roommate problems, parents should stay positive and not overreact; they should contact Dr. Julia Roberts so that together we can help your camper work through problems and have a positive experience.


SCATS Information 


Application Process

The SCATS Experience



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 Last Modified 5/14/20