Prospective Students

Talk to An Advisor

Pre-Transfer Advising Appointments

Our pre-transfer advisor works specifically with prospective undergraduate students who are thinking about transferring  to pursue a degree on the UW-Madison campus. We can help connect you to information and resources that you need or are interested in.

Our appointments can be either 30 or 60 minutes in length, they are free, and you can currently schedule them to take place over the phone, via Google Meet, or via Zoom. We hope to be able to return to offering in-person appointments soon.

To make an appointment, visit our calendar at go.wisc.edu/trfappointment.  We recommend that if you’re a prospective or applying student with a lot of questions, you make a 60-minute appointment so that we have enough time to cover everything.  If you have already been admitted to UW, or just have a few questions you need help with, a 30-minute appointment usually works best.

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What do prospective student appointments cover?

Appointments are tailored to your questions. Here are common topics we can cover in our appointments.  A 60-minute appointment is likely to be able to cover most of these topics, but in a 30-minute appointment we may only get to a few of them:

  • Degree requirements, including general education & breadth requirements
  • How the courses you’ve already taken might apply to your UW degree
  • Course selection in preparation for transfer
  • Your timeline for transferring, and how the process works
  • Campus resources
  • Next steps after admission to UW-Madison
  • How academic advising works once you get to UW-Madison
  • The Wisconsin Experience and how you can go about shaping yours
  • Transfer Transition Program events for new students
  • Transfer student words of wisdom
  • Student life and concerns about academic and/or social transitions

Are there topics you can't cover?

Yes, thanks for asking!  We are not an admitting office, so we can’t talk about your individual likelihood of admission or what you can do to make your application more competitive.  For that, we recommend making an appointment to talk to a transfer admissions counselor in the Office of Admissions and Recruitment at 608-262-3961.

Other topics outside of our scope are:

  • Likelihood of admission to individual schools, colleges, or limited enrollment majors
  • Assistance with writing or reviewing application essays.
  • Evaluating credit
  • Transfer into or entry into graduate-level programs (e.g. PharmD, DVM, MA/PhD)

Are these appointments for both in-person and online transfer students?

Right now our pre-transfer advisors work only with students planning to pursue their degrees in person on the UW-Madison campus. Students interested in the online-only degrees should contact an enrollment coach at 608-400-7459 for more information on those programs.

When is the best time to make an appointment?

You should make an appointment when you think you need one. We typically have times available Monday through Friday between 9am and 4pm, and you can book up to two weeks in advance. Although we sometimes have next-day appointments available, we recommend planning ahead as much as you can.  If you want or need to, you could have multiple appointments with us before you transfer to UW-Madison.

Who are your advisors?

We currently have one professional advisor on staff – Tracy Mores.  She’s been working with transfer students at UW-Madison for twelve years.  We hope to be adding a new advisor soon!

If you’d prefer a student perspective on the transition, you can make an appointment with one of our Transfer Student Coordinators. Please visit transfer.wisc.edu/tsc to select a student and make an appointment.

What if I'm an admitted student with questions?

If you’ve got questions about next steps after admission, how to read your credit evaluation, how to find housing, or how to have a successful transition, we’d love to still chat with you!  The 30-minute appointments are the perfect length for admitted students.

That said, admitted students receive their first official academic advising towards their degree at the Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) Program that takes place during the break before your first term (see panel below for more info on SOAR), so we cannot help you with registering or selecting your courses for your first semester here.

If you’d like to have a student perspective about the transition, you are welcome to make an appointment with one of our Transfer Student Coordinators. Please visit transfer.wisc.edu/tsc to select a student and make an appointment.

Can you help me choose my classes for my first semester at UW?

Academic advising, course selection, and enrollment for admitted students takes place at our Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration Program (SOAR). SOAR takes place during the break before your term of admission begins. In order to register for a SOAR date, you must first accept your offer of admission in your Student Center. You will then receive an email inviting you to register.

Please note that if you have been told by Credit Evaluation Services that you need to take a placement test, you must take the test at least two weeks before your SOAR reservation.

How will I know who my permanent advisor is?

You will be assigned an academic advisor at the SOAR program.  The name and contact information for that person will be provided to you at SOAR, and will be available in your myUW portal in the Starfish app afterwards. You can use the Starfish app to schedule appointments with your advisor during any future term.

Your calendar looks full. Are there other advising resources on campus?

Our calendar only shows available appointments for the next 14 days, so if there are no available times, you will not be able to schedule anything immediately.  Additional appointments should open up as time passes, and sometimes people do cancel appointments, so be sure to keep checking back for new availability.

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: calendly.com/futurebadger/transfer-meeting

Our Cross-College Advising Service which works with undecided students on our campus may be able to answer questions about degree programs.  You can reach out to them via phone at 608-265-5460.

Additionally, some school and college advising offices have the capacity to work with prospective students.  A link to each of their websites is located in our Additional Resources section at the bottom of this page

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 links to the applications. Transfer applicants currently must use  the UW-System Application to apply.

Tips

  • 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 onwisconsin@admissions.wisc.edu.

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 or IELTS score. If the applicant has completed a college level English composition course at a US college or university, they may be eligible fo a waiver. Please visit the Admissions website for details on how the waiver is granted.

TOEFL scores must be submitted electronically from the testing service. Our TOEFL test code is 1846.

UW-Madison does not accept the IELTS electronically. Please have a paper copy of your results sent to the Office of Admissions through the mail.

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.