What Does It Take to Get Into University of Wisconsin–Madison?

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Beauty and Big Ten athletics combine to make the University of Wisconsin–Madison a desirable spot to earn your college degree. Founded in 1848, this lakeside school lets undergrads take in a game while enjoying the change of seasons. Plus, with more than 4,700 courses and an average class size of just 30 students, the academics at this institution are nothing to joke about.


Wondering if this midwest school is right for you? Read on to see what it takes to get into the University of Wisconsin–Madison and discover tips to help you on your college applications journey.


Want to learn what University of Wisconsin Madison will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering University of Wisconsin Madison needs to know.

Applying to University of WisconsinMadison: A Quick Review


If the University of Wisconsin–Madison occupies a top spot on your list of dream schools, then it pays to be aware of important application deadlines. For Early Action, be sure to submit your application by Nov. 1. Regular Decision applicants should submit their materials by Feb. 1.


All applicants are required to provide the following:


  • UW System Application with official transcript or Common Application with self-reported courses and grades
  • Supplemental Essays
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • $60 application fee
  • 2 essays
  • 1 letter of recommendation from a teacher, school counselor, or faculty member


Note that applicants must provide both a preferred and alternate major when applying to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


University of WisconsinMadison Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


U.S. News & World Report recognizes University of Wisconsin–Madison as one of the largest and best regarded schools in the country. So, it’s no surprise that getting into this institution is no easy feat. Of the more than 35,000 applications UW–Madison received last year, the school accepted around 19,000 for an acceptance rate of 54%.


While these numbers may seem daunting, you don’t have to apply to UW–Madison blindly. Read on for tips and tricks to increase your odds of getting accepted.

So, How Does One Get Into the University of WisconsinMadison?


University of Wisconsin–Madison prides itself on using a holistic approach to the admissions process. Unlike other schools that require minimum GPAs, UW–Madison considers each student as an individual, assessing accomplishments both inside and outside the classroom. However, it’s worth noting that most admitted students have GPAs between 3.8 and 4.0 and a class rank in the 85th to 97th percentile.


Additionally, the university prefers to admit students who have completed the following high school curriculum:


  • 4 years of English
  • 4 years of mathematics
  • 3 to 4 years of laboratory science
  • 3 to 4 years of social studies
  • 3 to 4 years of foreign language
  • 2 years arts


Admitted students typically earn a 28 to 32 on the ACT and a 1330 to 1460 on the SAT, though there are no required minimums. The University of Wisconsin–Madison considers the highest composite score from a single test administration as a student’s official score.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


There’s no one way to guarantee you’ll be accepted at the University of Wisconsin–Madison or any other school on your list. However, you can take steps to ensure your application stands out from the crowd. Read on for our tips:


1. Focus on Essays

Since the University of Wisconsin–Madison requires students to complete two essays, there’s plenty of room to share what makes you unique or different from your peers. The school is seeking a sense of students’ character, so feel free to mention leadership activities, community service, hobbies, interests, and even citizenship. The goal is to reveal something that the admissions committee can’t glean from your GPA or test scores. For more information, check out How to Write the University of Wisconsin-Madison Application Essays 2018-2019.


2. Visit the School

According to the UW–Madison website, the school encourages prospective students to drop by for a visit. Along with attending an information session and taking a campus tour, applicants can sit in on classes, view dorm rooms, listen to guest speakers, and even check out the city. Not only does visiting UW–Madison give students a chance to find out if the school is right for them, but it also shows admissions officers that students are truly engaged.


What If You Get Rejected?


There’s no getting around it: rejection is painful. And with the pressure on high school students to attend top colleges, it’s only natural to feel a little blue after hearing bad news. Remember that there are numerous colleges out there, and one of them is just waiting to admit you.


If you didn’t get into the University of Wisconsin–Madison, consider applying to another similar college, like University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. It’s worth noting that many institutions accept students on a rolling basis, so it might not be too late to attend your dream school.


Not sure what your future holds? Continue applying to a local community college. Because admission costs and requirements for entry tend to be lower, these schools offer students the opportunity to take general education classes for less. You can increase your academic standing and save money in hopes of applying to a four-year school down the line.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to the University of Wisconsin–Madison? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

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April Maguire
Blogger at CollegeVine
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A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.