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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 the most recently taught classes, use the link to the right. 

Size of classes
For an optimum teacher-student ratio, classes are capped at 15 students; some classes will have fewer than 15.

Who teaches SCATS classes?
About half the teachers are drawn from the WKU faculty and outstanding area teachers; the other half are teachers enrolled 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.

I've been overwhelmed by how awesome these students are. They do amazing work and are so excited about learning. I've loved getting to know them.
Johni LeCoffre, 2019 SCATS teacher 

What’s neat is that the pace is a lot faster. For one lesson, I had prepared all the scaffolding to get them to a certain point, but as soon as I put up the first prompt, one of the students went right to where I wanted them to end up. It was wonderful.
Annie Starnes, teacher at SCATS 2020

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

What is a typical day like for residential campers?
On a typical weekday, campers go 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 at the residence hall 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.

My first two lessons took most of the first week to complete because the students got so into it and asked so many great questions. The lessons have been taking longer, but in a good way because of the depth that we're getting into.
John Alexander, 2019 SCATS teacher 

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 38 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)

What should I pack and what should I not pack?

What to bring (please carefully review the dress code information below to ensure you pack appropriate clothing):

  • face masks
  • alarm clock and wrist watch — you are responsible for getting up and being on time
  • blankets, sheets (twin extra long), pillowcases, pillow
  • mattress pad (optional)
  • clothes hangers
  • towels, washcloths, soap, shampoo, toiletries, shower shoes, etc.
  • laundry bag, detergent, quarters for machines
  • umbrella and/or rain coat (you will be walking everywhere on campus in any weather)
  • sunscreen and insect repellent
  • water bottle
  • backpack, paper, notebook, pens, and pencils for classes
  • nice outfit for the dinner on the last night
  • athletic shoes for the Preston Center and comfortable shoes for walking on campus
  • bathing suit (optional — to be used for the pool at the Preston Center)
  • supplies/equipment/instruments needed to participate in the talent show (optional but fun!)
  • running shoes and other outdoor play equipment within guidelines below (optional)
  • camera, cell phone, and charger (optional)
  • stationery and stamps (optional)

Campers may not bring the following:

  • candles, fireworks, incense, lighters, matches
  • televisions
  • any device that allows texting, email, or Internet access (other than one optional cell phone)
  • electronic entertainment or gaming devices of any kind
  • video game consoles
  • blu-ray, DVD, or video players
  • computers, laptops, tablets, hand-held devices
  • laser pointers
  • food products that contain nuts (SCATS is a nut-free environment)
  • tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, or illegal drugs
  • expensive items (jewelry, etc.)
  • high-caffeine or energy drinks
  • bicycles, roller blades, scooters, skateboards
  • knives or weapons of any kind
  • toys that look like weapons such as NERF guns, plastic swords, and water pistols
  • anything potentially dangerous or distracting

Honoring the Code of Conduct includes not bringing these or any other items which are distracting or dangerous. Staff discretion applies in all situations.


What should I wear? Is there a dress code?
Appropriate dress for SCATS consists of casual summer clothes such as shorts, jeans, khakis, shirts appropriate for class, and athletic shoes or comfortable walking shoes. We suggest bringing a sweatshirt or light jacket as well. You may also want to bring a dressy outfit for the end-of-camp dinner.

Please keep these rules in mind:

  • T-shirts/tops should be long enough to cover the midriff and undergarments at all times.
  • “Low-riding” pants can only be worn with shirts that ensure complete coverage of the midsection and underwear.
  • All lettering, slogans, and artwork on clothing must in be good taste.
  • No “short-shorts.”
  • No clothing with holes above the knee.
  • Clothing should NOT draw attention to campers.

Is there a code of conduct? 

SCATS participants and their parents will be asked to sign a code of conduct which states that the camper will abide by the rules of the camp and by the standards of conduct set forth by their teachers. It also stipulates conditions for use of the Internet. The code of conduct also states that campers may not leave campus unless a parent/guardian has made prior written arrangements. Finally, it emphasizes the severe consequences — being sent home without refund of registration fee — if a camper is found with tobacco products, illegal drugs, or alcohol; or if a camper endangers his or her own health or welfare or that of others. This code of conduct exists to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

How much spending money should campers bring?
Campers will need money only for laundry (quarters), miscellaneous items from The WKU Store, and snacks from vending machines in campus buildings (optional). Please do not bring large amounts of money.

What arrangements are made for campers arriving by plane?
To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we will not be accepting fly-in campers this year.


Will students have access to their cell phones?
Camp is an opportunity to make lasting friendships and learn from the opportunities, both in and out of the classroom, available to you. Each camper may bring one cell phone, which will only be used to communicate with parents. Campers will check their phones in with the counselor at check-in. Phones will remain with the counselors, who will determine when short calls may be made. Daily calls will not be possible because the activity schedule varies, and calling times will not begin until after the first three days. Any cell phone not checked in with the appropriate counselor will be taken by a staff member and returned at the end of camp. No other devices which connect to the Internet or make calls are allowed. Parents and campers will sign a form at check-in verifying that their children have no other such devices with them.

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 —mail must be addressed as follows; it may be lost if addressed any other way:
Student’s Name
c/o The Center for Gifted Studies, SCATS
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd. #71031
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1031

Mail is delivered to the office five days a week, Monday through Friday. Counselors will distribute mail as campers return from class each day. Receiving mail is special for campers, and 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 4:30 p.m. (CDT), and a staff member will arrange for your child to call you. After office hours and on weekends, you may call the front desk of Florence Schneider Hall at (270) 936-2711 to leave a message.

Please leave your own phone on at night (not an answering machine), so we can contact you in the rare event that it might be necessary.

What if campers get homesick or have roommate troubles?
Homesickness and roommate adjustment issues are not unusual, especially during the first few days. If your child expresses such concerns, please contact the office so that together we can help your child have a positive and successful experience.

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 Last Modified 1/14/22