Requirements and Expectations
Our transfer admission counselors review each application individually and are looking for students who demonstrate strong academic ability. Toward this end, we evaluate candidates based on both their high school and college records, valuing applicants who demonstrate strong performance in a challenging curriculum.
Academic Course Preparation
Prior to applying for transfer admission, students must have completed (or be completing) at least 24 semester hours of transferable course work. This essentially equates to one year of college-level study. We do not accept transfer students at the freshman level.
When reviewing applications, we pay particular attention to the college-level course work you have completed, and specifically:
- Cumulative grade point average (GPA). Competitive not only for admission to the university, but for your intended major as well. Please note: GPA calculations will include all grades received for repeated courses; the initial grade, as well as grades received in second and subsequent attempts will be included in the GPA calculation.
- Rigor of course work. Appropriate for continued study at UW–Madison and increasing in difficulty.
- Course breadth. Showing a combination of English, math, science, literature, social science, and foreign language.
- Grade trends and patterns. Steady or improving trends and patterns that show consistency across all academic areas.
- Required courses. Applicants must have completed one year each of high school algebra, plane geometry, and college-preparatory math, and two high school years or two college semesters of a single foreign language.
High School Record
Your academic performance in high school will be more or less important to us depending on how many college credits you have earned. Generally speaking, students who are in their first two years of college-level course work will have their high school records more carefully analyzed. The more college-level work you have completed, the less we will rely on high school performance criteria such as rigor of course work, academic GPA, grade trends, and class rank.
Regardless of the number of college credits earned, your high school transcript (supplemented in some cases by your college transcript) must show that you completed the following required course work:
- Algebra: One year in high school
- Plane Geometry: One year in high school (cannot be modified, basic, or informal)
- College-Preparatory Math: One year in high school, or 1 college course at the level of Algebra 2 or beyond
- Single Foreign Language: Two years of the same language in high school or two semesters of the same language in college*
* Students who have studied a foreign language using only Rosetta Stone have not fulfilled the foreign language requirement.
American Sign Language (ASL) may be accepted to meet the foreign language requirement for admission if it is taken through the student's school and is reflected on an official transcript.
Scores from either the ACT or the SAT are not required of transfer applicants. However, if you've taken either test, we encourage you to provide us with your scores. Your results will be considered as supplemental academic information and may help strengthen your application. We do not require the writing portion of either the ACT or the SAT. Test scores should 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.
Transfer applicants from non-English speaking countries must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. This is not necessary if the applicant has completed a college level English composition course at a US college or university. 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.
Numbers alone do not determine admissibility. Nonacademic factors may also be considered. We look for students with special or unique talents, who bring significant extracurricular or employment experiences, and those who give of themselves and who will enrich our campus community. While nonacademic factors will make a good applicant strong, they will never make an academically weak applicant admissible.
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.