Prospective Student Resources

The Application Process

The Office of Admissions and Recruitment processes all applications for undergraduate transfer admission.  Application deadlines are typically at the beginning of February and March for admission to the following fall term, and the beginning of October for admission to the following spring term.  Refer to the Admissions website for specific deadline dates and information about decisions. Transfer applicants currently must use  the UW-System Application to apply.


  • Once you have submitted your application, be sure you receive the acknowledgment email from Admissions. Then use the campus ID number they send you to activate your UW Net ID.  This will allow you to log into your UW student center, which is where you will receive all important communications from Admissions.
  • If you have questions about the application process, contact a transfer counselor. They’re very friendly and happy to answer questions. They can be reached at 608-262-3961 or via email at

Application FAQs

Short Application Timeline

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What are the minimum requirements for applying to UW-Madison?

As a transfer student, you need at least:

  • 24 transferable semester credits (which means after high school)
  • 2 high school years or 2 college semesters of the same foreign language
  • 3 high school years or 3 college semesters of math (1 each of algebra, plane geometry, and advanced math like college algebra or calculus)

You should also refer to the Office of Admissions’ official site about admissions requirements.

What is the required minimum GPA for admission?

There is no minimum GPA required for admission.  Admissions looks for strong or increasing grade trends throughout your time in college, but they also use a holistic process that allows them to take things like rigor, course breadth, major preparation, extracurricular participation, letters of recommendation, and a student’s statements into account.

When can I apply?

Fall: Apply by February 1 or by March 1.

Spring: Apply by October 1.

If you want to be on campus for a Fall semester, you need to apply by March 1 of that year. For example, if my first semester at UW-Madison will be Fall 2022, I need to apply by March 1, 2022.

You can also apply a little earlier for Fall admission. If you apply by February 1, you will be considered for the Priority Decision Deadline, which just means that you’ll know your admissions decision sooner. March 1 is the Regular Decision Deadline. The only difference between these deadlines is when you receive your decision – everything else is the same.

What do I need to submit for my application?

The application materials you will need to submit are:

  • Application: info about you and past work.
  • $60 fee: **if you’re currently enrolled at a two-year UW branch campus, you don’t need to pay this fee. Application fee waivers are available for applicants with financial hardship.
  • Transcripts: from high school and all post-secondary institutions you’ve attended (including college credit you might have earned while in high school).
  • 2 essays (Current UW System students need only submit the second one):
    • Tell us about your academic and personal achievements. What have you learned from your success and/or challenges, and how will this 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.
  • 1 letter of recommendation: someone who can attest to your academic ability, such as a faculty member or school advisor. Applicants who have been away from school for an extended period are encouraged 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.

What is Admissions looking for in a successful applicant?

Admissions uses a holistic review process to make decisions on applicants.  This means they don’t use formulas or relyi solely on numbers Generally, Admissions is looking for:

  • 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.
  • Non-academic factors. This could include significant work experience, evidence of leadership, a strong record participation in extracurricular activities, and the presence of special or unique talents.

Are transfer students considered in the same pool as incoming freshmen?

No, the transfer admissions process and pool is completely separate from the freshman process and pool.  You won’t be compared against freshman applicants.

What's the difference between Priority and Regular decision?

There’s no competitive advantage to applying for either the Priority or Regular Decision periods. The advantage of meeting the Priority Decision Deadline is that you will know your admission decision sooner!

What about SAT/ACT scores?

Scores from either the ACT or the SAT are not required of transfer applicants.

If you feel proud of your score or think that your score gives additional information about your academic strength, you are welcome to submit your score as part of your application.

I'm an international student. Do you need my TOEFL/IELTS score?

In general, transfer applicants from non-English speaking countries must submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test (DET) score.Please refer to the Admissions website for information on how to submit test scores.

If the applicant’s primary language of instruction for all four years of high school was English OR if they have completed a college level English composition course at a US college or university, they will be granted a waiver. Please visit the Admissions website for details on how the waiver is granted.

If I signed a guaranteed transfer program agreement or transfer contract, or if I'm in the Connections program, could I still transfer before I meet the requirements?

You can apply for regular transfer admission as long as you have 24 transferable credits completed post-high school, whether or not you have signed a transfer agreement or are in the Connections Program. Your admission will always be evaluated independent of any agreements or programs like Connections unless you have satisfied the contract/program requirements. More detailed information on the available agreements can be found at the Office of Admissions website.

Where can I get my questions about the admissions process answered?

If you are looking for information on the admissions process or admissibility to the university, we recommend making an appointment with a transfer counselor at the Office of Admissions: