University of Wisconsin-Madison

Freshman Applicants: Requirements and Expectations - Office of Admissions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Freshman Applicants: Requirements and Expectations - Office of Admissions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison


Requirements and Expectations

Our admission counselors review each application individually and are looking for students who demonstrate strong academic ability, as well as leadership, community service, creativity, talent, and enthusiasm. We also consider personal characteristics that will contribute to the strength and diversity of our university.

Academic Course Preparation

Your high school record should demonstrate both rigor and breadth in the types of course work you pursue. A competitive academic record should show challenging advanced-level work, such as AP, honors, or IB courses, in as many areas as possible, while maintaining a strong GPA. The following chart shows the number of years that most admitted students studied in each subject area.

Subject Area
English 4
Math * 4
Social Studies 3-4
Science 3-4
Single Foreign Language ** 3-4
Additional Academic/Fine Arts 2
Total Units 19-22

* Math requirement includes at least one year each of algebra, geometry, and advanced math, or an integrated sequence of courses. Courses that will not fulfill this requirement include: statistics, business math, and computer classes.

** Students who are not native English speakers can satisfy the foreign language requirement if they were educated in their native language through grade eight.

GPA & 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 do 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 3.7 and a 4.0, and a class rank in the 84–97 percentile.

Test Scores

Either the ACT Plus Writing or the SAT is required. We consider the highest composite score obtained in a single test administration as your “official” score, although we will look at all scores reported in an effort to get a true sense of your achievement. Admitted students will typically score between 27–31 on the ACT Plus Writing and 1800–2070 on the SAT, though again, there is no minimum required score.

We must receive your test scores directly from the testing service. Our test code is 4656 for the ACT Plus Writing and 1846 for the SAT.

Freshman applicants from non-English speaking countries must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score, unless English was the language of instruction for all courses in all years of secondary school. Generally, admitted students have an Internet-based TOEFL score in the 95-105 range (587-620 on the paper-based test) or an IELTS score of 6.5-7.5. Our TOEFL test code is 1846. Please request that official IELTS scores be sent by paper to the Office of Admissions & Recruitment.

Statement on Score Choice: UW-Madison encourages students to submit all exam scores. It is 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.

Extracurricular Commitments

Numbers alone do not determine admissibility. We look for students with special or unique talents, who give of themselves, and who learn outside the classroom as well as inside. There is space on our application to list your activities and employment experiences. We also have two personal statements, and we’d like to see two letters of recommendation as well. Use these aspects of your applications to give us a sense of your character, service, leadership, talents, citizenship, and interests.

Music and Dance Admission

Students interested in majoring in dance or music must also complete a separate application and schedule an audition for admission. Visit either the School of Music or Dance Program Web site for application information and audition dates.

Integrity in Applying

Academic integrity as a student here, and in the admission process, is valued in our community. As an applicant to UW-Madison, by signing your application, you certify that your application is complete and accurate. We hold you accountable to ensure the authenticity and honesty of your application, written statements, and additional materials subsequently submitted.

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