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 some of the most challenging advanced-level work offered at or through your school 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 Years
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. If you take any of these courses in middle school, that will count toward the requirement. 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.
Students who have studied a foreign language using only Rosetta Stone have not fulfilled the foreign language requirement.

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.

Test Scores

Scores from either the ACT or the SAT are required and must be sent directly from the testing agency. We do not require the writing portion of either the ACT or the SAT. 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. 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 28-32 on the ACT and 1330-1460 on the SAT, although there is no minimum required score.

To assure consideration in our Early Action competition, students are encouraged to take the ACT or SAT no later than the end of September. For consideration in our Regular Decision competition, students are encouraged to take their test no later than the end of December.

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. Our TOEFL test code is 1846. TOEFL must be submitted electronically from the testing service. We do not accept the IELTS electronically. Please have a paper copy of your results sent to our office through the mail.

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 Materials

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 essays and require one letter of recommendation from someone who can attest to your academic ability. Use these aspects of your applications to give us a sense of your character, service, leadership, talents, citizenship, and interests.

Required Application Materials

Integrity in Applying

Academic integrity is valued in our community and in the admission process. By signing your application, you certify that it is complete and accurate. We hold you accountable to ensure the authenticity and honesty of your application, essays, and additional materials subsequently submitted.