REQUIRED APPLICATION MATERIALS AND DOCUMENTS

FRESHMAN APPLICANTS

A freshman includes anyone who is currently a student in high school or who has not taken college coursework since graduating from high school.

FRESHMAN APPLICATION AND MATERIALS DEADLINES

DECISION PLAN APPLICATION DEADLINE MATERIALS DEADLINE DECISION
Spring Regular Decision October 1* October 8* On or before December 31
Fall Early Action November 1* November 8* On or before January 31
Fall Regular Decision February 1* February 8* On or before March 31

Applications and all required application materials must arrive in our office by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on the noted deadline dates.

Early Action is non-binding. You’ll receive your admissions decision earlier but will not be required to commit until the national deadline of May 1*.

*If deadline falls on a weekend, it is extended to the next business day.

 TRANSFER APPLICANTS

A transfer student is anyone who has attended another college or university after graduating from high school and wishes to enroll in an undergraduate degree program at UW–Madison.

In order to be eligible for transfer admission, you must have completed or be in the process of completing at least 24 transferable semester hours of college-level work after high school graduation. AP, A-Level, IB, and CLEP cannot be used toward the 24 transferable credit requirement. We do not admit freshman-level transfer students.

TRANSFER APPLICATION AND MATERIALS DEADLINES

DECISION PLAN APPLICATION DEADLINE MATERIALS DEADLINE DECISION
Spring Regular Decision October 1* October 15* On or before December 31
Fall Priority Decision February 1* February 15* On or before March 31
Fall Regular Decision March 1* March 15* On or before April 30

Applications and all required application materials must arrive in our office by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on the noted deadline dates.

*If deadline falls on a weekend, it is extended to the next business day.

REQUIRED FRESHMAN APPLICATION MATERIALS

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1. ADMISSIONS APPLICATION

Freshman applicants can apply using either the Common Application  or the UW System Application

UW–Madison does not prefer one application over the other. Please choose only one application and use only that application all the way through to submission.

Please note that we do not start processing fall term applications until September 1.

Applicants will be asked to identify both a first and second choice major when completing the application for admission. If we are unable to offer you admission to your first choice major, your second choice will be considered in our application review to assess interest and preparation. Due to the competitive nature of some of our programs, admissions expectations may be different for students pursuing majors in business, engineering, dance, and music. We encourage you to visit our direct entry page to learn more.

2. APPLICATION FEE

The application fee is $60.00 US and is non-refundable.

Electronic payment is preferred. If you apply using the UW System Application, the fee can be paid by check or money order, drawn on a bank located in the United States and payable to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Send the check or money order to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment. Please include the applicant’s name with payment. Do not send cash.

Application fee waivers are available for applicants with financial hardship. Eligible students can request a fee waiver as part of their application. If the College Board or the ACT grant you a fee waiver, we will accept it.

3. TWO ESSAYS

As part of our holistic review, we refer to the essays you submit to understand more about you. What you choose to share gives us an idea of who you are and what you want to accomplish as part of our community. Tell us about you and your unique story to help us know you beyond your GPA and test scores. Your essays might also be used for campus program and scholarship review.

If you apply using the Common Application, you will be asked to respond to one of the freshman Common Application essays. If you apply with the UW System Application, you will need to answer the following prompt:

  • This part is all about you. Tell us about something you’ve done—academically or personally—and what you’ve learned from it. Was it a success or a challenge? Did it represent a turning point in your life? How did this particular moment in your life influence you, and how will it continue to influence you as you pursue your college education?

All applicants will also need to respond to this prompt:

  • Tell us why you would like to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In addition, please include why you are interested in studying the major(s) you have selected. If you selected undecided, please describe your areas of possible academic interest.

Keep these tips in mind as you work on your writing:

  • Develop your thoughts before you begin the writing process, and create an outline.
  • The maximum word count for each essay is 650, but we recommend planning for 300–500 words.
  • Do not type directly into the web form. Instead, work on your draft in word processing software.
  • Allow time to develop and revisit your writing.
  • Check for spelling mistakes and ask someone to proofread your final version.
  • Be genuine and honest in your writing.

4. COURSE AND GRADE INFORMATION

We require course and grade information from all schools you attended for grades 9–12.

If you apply via the Common Application, you may meet this requirement one of two ways*:

  • Self-report your coursework within the application to meet the course and grade information requirement to complete your application for admission

– OR – 

If you apply via the UW System Application, you may meet this requirement one of two ways*:

  • Submit an unofficial transcript within the UW System Application at the time you complete it

       – OR – 

*If you have already graduated from high school, an official final transcript with your graduation date is needed to meet this requirement.

How to Send Official Transcripts

Students applying from outside the United States can find country-specific official transcript requirements here.

If you were or are homeschooled, we will need additional documentation to complete a full, holistic review of your application. Learn more about specific application policies and requirements.

If you earned your General Educational Development (GED) certificate or a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED), submit your official score report in addition to all high school or home school transcripts.

Note: official transcripts from all schools and colleges attended (including dual credit) will be required prior to enrollment. Incorrect reporting of courses and/or grades may result in your admission offer being revoked and scholarship awards being forfeited. Official college transcripts are also required to award college credit. Official transcripts should be sent directly from each school attended.

GPA and Class Rank: Applicants are expected to achieve a high level of performance in the course work they pursue and an increasingly strong academic record. We ask for your GPA and class rank. We also realize that many schools consider GPA on different scales and some do not report GPA or class rank at all. We consider both GPA and rank in the context of your school. We typically see unweighted, academic GPAs between a 3.8 and a 4.0, and a class rank in the 85–97 percentile.

5. ONE REQUIRED LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION

We require you to submit one letter of recommendation written by someone who can attest to your academic ability, such as a teacher, school counselor, or faculty member. If you choose, you can also submit another letter of recommendation from an additional source, such as an employer, coach, research mentor, community leader, or clergy. Students with an interest in engineering are encouraged to obtain a letter of recommendation from a math or science teacher. Remember to have a discussion with your chosen recommender first to see if they are willing and able to provide a letter.

We encourage applicants who have been away from formal classroom teaching for an extended period to request a letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to their academic potential, such as an employer (preferably a supervisor or manager), a program or departmental trainer, or some other individual in an official instructional capacity.

Those who apply using the Common Application should request a recommendation through that system.

If you apply using the UW System Application, your recommender should select the link that best describes your situation:

Recommendations that are mailed to our office must include the applicant’s full name, birth date, and campus ID number (if known). Additionally, letters of recommendation from a school staff member may also be sent through Naviance. Please note that letters of recommendation expire after one year from the date it is written.

6. TOEFL, IELTS, AND DET SCORES (ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY)

Freshman applicants educated in non-English speaking countries must submit an official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test (DET) score, unless English was the primary language of instruction in all four years of secondary school.

All English proficiency exams should be sent electronically, directly from the testing service.

We do not superscore any English Proficiency exam and score reports cannot be older than two years from the time you apply.

How to Send Official Test Scores

Duolingo English Test (DET)

  • Minimum accepted score: 105+
  • When submitting your score(s): Search category should be “Undergraduate,” then select “University of Wisconsin–Madison”
  • Please do not send to offices listed under “Other,” as we are unable to retrieve those scores
  • The DET should be sent with sub-scores

IELTS

  • Minimum accepted score: 6.5+
  • When submitting your score(s): IELTS does not require a code, so please select our account name, “University of Wisconsin, Madison Undergraduate”
  • Please do not send paper copies of your IELTS scores
  • We do accept the IELTS Indicator

TOEFL iBT:

  • Minimum accepted score: 80+
  • When submitting your score(s): TOEFL test code is 1846
  • We do not accept “MyBest” score from TOEFL nor any English Proficiency exam
  • For each TOEFL you submit, we will require the full score report
  • We do not accept the TOEFL iTP Plus for China, but we will accept the iBT Special Home Edition

If you feel that you qualify for an English Proficiency Exam waiver based upon the requirements above, please submit all required transcripts to our office. Other test scores such as ACT, SAT, or AP (Advanced Placement) scores do not meet the requirements for a waiver. Once your transcripts are received in our office (are no longer displayed on your to-do list in your Student Center), we will determine your waiver eligibility. Waivers will not be processed prior to receipt of both the admissions application and transcripts.

OPTIONAL FRESHMAN APPLICATION MATERIALS

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7. ACT AND SAT SCORES (test optional through the spring 2023 term)

Including scores from either the ACT or the SAT with your application is optional for students applying for admission through the spring 2023 term, with an application deadline of October 1, 2022. You will not be disadvantaged in our evaluation process if you do not include these scores for consideration in your application.

More information on our test optional policy can be found by viewing our ACT/SAT Test Optional FAQs.

You will indicate your choice regarding including test scores at the time of application. The choice that you indicate on your application is final.

If choosing to include ACT or SAT test scores with your application, you are encouraged to self-report your test scores. If self reporting scores: official test scores for each test date self-reported will be required prior to enrollment. Incorrect reporting of test scores may result in your admission offer being revoked and scholarship awards being forfeited.

If applying with the Common Application, you can do so within the application or after in the MyUW Student Center (beginning September 1 and after your application is received and processed). If applying with the UW System Application, in the MyUW Student Center (beginning September 1 and after your application is received and processed). You may also submit your official scores directly from the testing site.

How to Send Official Test Scores

Please note sending official test scores from the testing agency does have an additional costs and will add 2–4 weeks to the application completion process.  Our test code is 4656 for the ACT and 1846 for the SAT. Do not send your results rush (SAT) or priority (ACT); we receive all scores electronically on a daily basis so there is not an advantage to rush or priority delivery.

If you wish to add updated score(s), you can do so by self-reporting in the MyUW Student Center.

To assure that your test score(s) are considered with your application, you must either self-report your scores or have official scores sent from the testing agency, received in our office by our deadlines.

Note: official test scores will be required prior to enrollment for those who wish to have them included in their application evaluation. Incorrect reporting of test scores may result in your admission offer being revoked and scholarship awards being forfeited.

Statement on Score Choice: Students choosing to include test scores with their application are encouraged to submit all exam scores. It can be a benefit to see your complete testing history as part of our comprehensive review, and since we will only consider your highest score (by test date), there is nothing to be gained by suppressing scores through Score Choice. However, applicants are free to use the College Board’s Score Choice option for the SAT and/or the similar option offered by ACT. Superscores are not considered in our review.

REQUIRED TRANSFER APPLICATION MATERIALS

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1. ADMISSIONS APPLICATION

Transfer students can apply using the UW System Application.

Please note that we do not start processing fall term applications until September 1.

You will be asked to identify both a first and second choice major when completing the application for admission. If selecting a major in the School of Business or College of Engineering as your first choice major, you must select a second choice major outside of the School of Business or the College of Engineering. If we are unable to offer you admission to your first choice major, your second choice will be considered in our application review. Due to the competitive nature of some of our programs, admission expectations may be different for students pursuing majors in business, engineering, dance, and music. We encourage you to visit our direct entry page to learn more.

2. APPLICATION FEE

The application fee is $60.00 US and is non-refundable.

Electronic payment is preferred. If you apply using the UW System Application, the fee can be paid by check or money order, drawn on a bank located in the United States and payable to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Send the check or money order to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment. Please include the applicant’s name with payment. Do not send cash.

Application fee waivers are available for applicants with financial hardship. Eligible student can request a fee waiver as part of their application.

The application fee is not required if your last school attended is a UW System institution and it is within one year of enrollment as a degree seeking student at that institution.

3. TWO ESSAYS

As part of our holistic review, we refer to the essays you submit to understand more about you. What you choose to share gives us an idea of who you are and what you want to accomplish as part of our community. Tell us about you and your unique story to help us know you beyond your GPA and test scores. Your essays might also be used for campus program and scholarship review.

You will need to answer the following prompts:

  • This part is all about you. Tell us about something you’ve done—academically or personally—and what you’ve learned from it. Was it a success or a challenge? Did it represent a turning point in your life? How did this particular moment in your life influence you, and how will it continue to influence you as you pursue your college education?
  • Tell us why you would like to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In addition, please include why you are interested in studying the major(s) you have selected. If you selected undecided, please describe your areas of possible academic interest.

If you are applying to transfer from another UW System institution, you will only be required to submit the second essay.

4. COURSE AND GRADE INFORMATION

College Transcripts:

We require course and grade information from your enrollment in any and all colleges and universities. This should include all college-level coursework completed to date, including your current term in progress, and (if applicable) college classes taken while in high school.

You must submit an official transcript from all institutions(s) in which you were enrolled to meet the course and grade information requirement to complete your application for admission.

Official transcripts should be sent directly from each school attended.

How to Send Official Transcripts

Applicants that are currently or were previously enrolled at UW College, a UW System branch campus, or UW Colleges Online must submit their transcripts according to the UW System guidelines.

Students applying from outside the United States can find country-specific official transcript requirements here.

High School Transcripts:

We require official high school transcript(s), sent to us by your school. We review your high school record to check for proof of graduation, the completion of core preparation requirements, and to learn more about your educational background. High school grades will play a more important role in the admission review for applicants who have completed fewer transferable college credits. If you earned your General Educational Development (GED) certificate or a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED), submit your official score report in addition to all high school or home school transcripts. If you were or are homeschooled, we will need additional documentation to complete a full, holistic review of your application. Learn more about specific application policies and requirements.

5. ONE LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION

We require you to submit one letter of recommendation written by someone who can attest to your academic ability, such as a teacher, school counselor, or faculty member. Students with an interest in engineering are encouraged to obtain a letter of recommendation from a math or science teacher. Remember to have a discussion with your chosen recommender first to see if they are willing and able to provide a letter.*

We encourage applicants who have been away from formal classroom teaching for an extended period to request a letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to their academic potential, such as an employer (preferably a supervisor or manager), a program or departmental trainer, or some other individual in an official instructional capacity.

*While we would prefer to receive a letter from the most recent year/semester, many students are taking courses virtually due to COVID-19 and making connections virtually may be challenging for some students. If you think a letter from a past high school teacher, high school counselor, college teacher, or academic advisor can speak to your current strengths as a student, we will accept those letters to make admission decisions.

Recommendations that are mailed to our office must include the applicant’s full name, birth date, and campus ID number (if known). Additionally, letters of recommendation from a school staff member may also be sent through Naviance. Please note that letters of recommendation expire after one year from the date it is written.

6. TOEFL, IELTS, AND DET SCORES (ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY)

Transfer applicants educated in non-English speaking countries must submit a official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test (DET) score, unless English was the primary language of instruction in all four years of secondary school or a college level English composition course was successfully completed at an accredited US institution. This requirement will not be waived for English composition taken at U.S. branch campuses abroad.

All English proficiency exams should be sent electronically, directly from the testing service.

We do not superscore any English Proficiency exam and score reports cannot be older than 2 years from the time you apply.

How to Send Official Test Scores

Duolingo English Test (DET)

  • Minimum accepted score: 105+
  • When submitting your score(s): Search category should be “Undergraduate,” then select “University of Wisconsin–Madison”
  • Please do not send to offices listed under “Other,” as we are unable to retrieve those scores
  • The DET should be sent with sub-scores

IELTS

  • Minimum accepted score: 6.5+
  • When submitting your score(s): IELTS does not require a code, so please select our account name, “University of Wisconsin, Madison Undergraduate”
  • Please do not send paper copies of your IELTS scores
  • We do accept the IELTS Indicator

TOEFL iBT:

  • Minimum accepted score: 80+
  • When submitting your score(s): TOEFL test code is 1846
  • We do not accept “MyBest” score from TOEFL nor any English Proficiency exam
  • For each TOEFL you submit, we will require the full score report
  • We do not accept the TOEFL iTP Plus for China, but we will accept the iBT Special Home Edition

If you feel that you qualify for an English Proficiency Exam waiver based upon the requirements above, please submit all required transcripts to our office. Other test scores such as ACT, SAT, or AP (Advanced Placement) scores do not meet the requirements for a waiver. Once your transcripts are received in our office (are no longer displayed on your to-do list in your Student Center), we will determine your waiver eligibility. Waivers will not be processed prior to receipt of both the admissions application and transcripts.

OPTIONAL TRANSFER APPLICATION MATERIALS

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7. ACT AND SAT SCORES (OPTIONAL)

Scores from either the ACT or the SAT are not required of transfer applicants. However, you are welcome to provide us your scores. Your results will be considered as supplemental academic information and may help strengthen your application. Test scores can be sent directly from the testing service. Our test code is 4656 for the ACT and 1846 for the SAT. Do not send your results rush (SAT) or priority (ACT); we receive all scores electronically on a daily basis so there is not an advantage to rush or priority delivery.

How to Send Official Test Scores