The Transfer Transition Program supports transfer students through pre-transfer advising, first-year programs, and advocacy.

Campus Partner Resources

National Transfer Student Week

Learn more about this national initiative, how to participate, and about who #uwtransfers are and why they make UW-Madison shine!

Learn more about transfer students at UW-Madison

Did you know 28% of transfer students are first-generation college students? Or that 22% of transfer students are also international students? Click the link to learn more about transfer students at UW-Madison!

what campus partners should know about pre-transfer adivsing: the 4-W's

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The Transfer Transition Program provides generalist academic advising to students interested in transferring to UW-Madison. Please feel free to refer all prospective transfer students to us, up to and including those who have applied to transfer and are still awaiting an admission decision. Once a student is admitted, we are more than happy to discuss transition topics and timelines, but we will no longer provide academic advising. For these students, please affirm that they will receive their first official advising toward their degree at the SOAR program prior to the start of their term.


Advising appointments are scheduled for an hour in length. The content of each appointment will be largely determined by the student’s interests and their point in the application timeline. Topics we commonly discuss include:

  • General and school/college degree requirements and structure at UW-Madison
  • how courses they have taken previously might apply to a degree here
  • basic information about limited enrollment program prerequisites they should pay attention to
  • navigating the admissions process and transition timeline
  • what advising looks like once they arrive at UW-Madison
  • non-academic topics including housing options, transportation, involvement, campus resources
  • tips on transitioning from previous transfer students
  • The Wisconsin Experience and ways they can consider shaping theirs

We refer students out to the appropriate office/person when they have questions about:

  •  Individual major requirements
  • Likelihood of admission to the university or individual schools/colleges/programs
  • Limited enrollment programs in general; we provide only basic information about these programs particularly when staff from those programs prefer to speak to students directly.
  • Tips on “improving an application.”
  • Choosing courses in their first-semester (this happens at SOAR).

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Advising appointments are offered Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm (last appointment at 3pm). They are each an hour long, and can be scheduled to be in-person or via phone or Skype. Students who are considering limited enrollment programs with maximum credit limits (e.g. Business, Engineering) are encouraged to make appointments as soon as they realize their interest in transferring.


In-person appointments are held in our Program office in 155 Middleton Building, 1305 Linden Drive (across from School of Human Ecology; entrance on back side of building). Students can schedule their preferred date and time online at, or by calling our front desk at 608.890.4690.

The First-Year Transfer Student Experience

The Transfer Transition Program uses the W-Curve Hypothesis Model when talking to students about the nature of transition. This transition model can apply to anyone in transition such as starting a new job, after moving to a new city, becoming a parent, etc. Transfer students tell us that the W-Curve is most relevant their first semester, and sometimes up to their first-year on campus.

Common Concerns of Transfer Students: 

Almost always, transfer students main concerns tend to fall into two categories: academic success & making meaningful relationships.

Feel behind in progress towards degree
Issues with transfer credit not applying to major
Concerns about the rigor; time management

Identifying “the right” involvement opportunities
Balancing external responsibilities with social/co-curricular time
Developing meaningful relationships takes time (tired of just meeting people)

When Supporting First-Year Transfer Students:

  • Emphasize that ‘ups-and-downs’ are a part of transition and it’s completely normal.
  • Remind them of their transferable skills.
  • Know that culture shock can be amplified/look different depending on students background and other identities.
  • UW-Madison’s transfer student retention rate is 91%. This is high compared to national transfer-retention rates, similar to freshman-start students at UW-Madison, and indicates to us that transfer students are very successful at UW-Madison.