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How to Get Into UW–Madison – General Information

When thinking about how to get into UW–Madison, you want to consider all parts of the UW–Madison application, especially the UW–Madison application deadline. So, to boost your chances of admission, be sure to maintain a high GPA, explore your interests through extracurricular activities, and use statistics like the UW–Madison GPA requirements to see how you compare to admitted students.

Figuring out how to get into UW–Madison takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdivsor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes graduates from some of the country’s top schools. Want to maximize your admission odds? Create your account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

How to get into the University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wondering how to get into UW–Madison? There are many elements to consider as you begin your “how to get into UW–Madison” research. This guide will help you plan and execute the strongest UW–Madison application possible. Make sure you start preparing well before the UW–Madison Early Action deadline or RD UW–Madison application deadline. 

UW–Madison is one of the more selective universities in the country. So, as you build your how to get into UW–Madison strategy, keep the UW–Madison acceptance rate in mind. To maximize your UW–Madison admissions odds, start preparing early. In other words, set yourself up for success by striving for a high GPA, participating in meaningful extracurricular activities, and studying for standardized tests well in advance of the UW–Madison application deadline. 

In this guide, we will discuss UW–Madison admissions statistics, including UW–Madison GPA requirements and the UW–Madison acceptance rate. We will also review the components of the UW–Madison application, including the UW–Madison supplemental essays and UW–Madison Early Action deadline and regular UW–Madison application deadline. 

Check out our UW–Madison overview here

Is it hard to get into the University of Wisconsin–Madison?

UW–Madison admissions is moderately competitive. Almost 54,000 students submitted a UW–Madison application last year, up 17% from the previous year.

Remember these numbers as you think about how to get into UW–Madison. Because this year’s freshman class is the largest in the history of UW–Madison admissions, it is important to prepare your UW–Madison application well in advance of the UW–Madison Early Action or regular UW–Madison application deadline. 

What is the acceptance rate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison? 

The UW–Madison acceptance rate is a key consideration in your “how to get into UW–Madison” research. For example, the UW–Madison acceptance rate for the class of 2025 was 60.3%

UW–Madison admissions received a record 53,829 applicants for the class of 2025. Approximately 8,465 freshmen enrolled for the fall semester. The total enrollment for UW–Madison is 47,936 students. 

However, the UW–Madison acceptance rate can change each year as it is influenced by a variety of factors, including the total number of applicants and the available space in the freshman class. 

Although UW–Madison has a test-optional policy through the spring of 2025, we encourage you to take standardized tests if you can do so. It is important to make your UW–Madison application stand out, especially because the UW–Madison acceptance rate is competitive.

You should plan to take your first standardized test during your junior year, so that you have plenty of time to retake the test if necessary. Be sure to study for the test well in advance of the UW–Madison Early Action deadline or regular UW–Madison application deadline. Doing so can help you earn scores that align with the average UW–Madison SAT or ACT scores. 

Want to learn more about acceptance rates? Check out our expert guide.

What GPA do you need to get into the University of Wisconsin–Madison? 

As you begin to shape your “how to get into UW–Madison” strategy, you might be wondering how your GPA compares to the UW–Madison GPA requirements. The UW–Madison GPA requirements do not include a minimum GPA necessary for admission. However, the average UW–Madison GPA for the freshman currently enrolled is 3.392.

So, you can assume that there are unofficial UW–Madison GPA requirements for applicants of around 3.4. When you are applying, you want your record to demonstrate that you can succeed in a rigorous academic college environment. 

Matching the unofficial UW–Madison GPA requirements will maximize your UW–Madison admissions odds. It is important to always strive for a high GPA, as the unofficial UW–Madison GPA requirements can change each year based on the academic profile of the incoming class. With UW–Madison admissions becoming more competitive each year, it is likely that the unofficial UW–Madison GPA requirements will continue to rise. 

Junior year grades

UW–Madison will use your junior year GPA to evaluate your admission odds. Consequently, it is crucial that you do well in your high school classes, and that starts with choosing the right courses for you. In truth, you will have a better chance of matching the unofficial UW–Madison GPA requirements if you take advantage of all the resources available to you. 

UW–Madison admissions is looking for students who are incredibly bright, engaged, and passionate. So, if your GPA is lower than the unofficial UW–Madison GPA requirements, don’t worry. There are other aspects of your UW–Madison application that you can work to improve to be considered a strong applicant. 

Wondering how to get into UW–Madison if you do not meet the UW–Madison GPA requirements? Check out our article here. You’ll find helpful tips to make your application stand out, even if your academic profile doesn’t line up with the UW–Madison GPA requirements. 

What does the University of Wisconsin–Madison application require? 

A strong and well-crafted UW–Madison application is fundamental to your “how to get into UW–Madison” plan. There are multiple pieces to the UW–Madison application, and we will review the requirements below. Applicants are encouraged to submit the UW–Madison supplemental essays and optional test scores, well in advance of either the UW–Madison Early Action or regular UW–Madison application deadline. 

First thing to remember is there are two dates to remember for the UW–Madison application. The UW–Madison Early Action deadline is November 1st. The regular UW–Madison application deadline is February 1st

Applicants must submit

Optional application materials include: 

  • SAT or ACT scores

Demystifying the UW-Madison supplemental essays

Your responses to the UW–Madison supplemental essays, which are a required element of your application, will depend on which application you submit.

In addition to the main essay prompts found in the 2022-2023 Common App, there is one required UW–Madison supplemental essay. This essay asks you to describe why you chose to apply to UW–Madison, and why you are interested in studying the major you selected. In other words, this is UW–Madison’s version of the “Why This School” essay prompt. 

Essay #1

The first of the UW–Madison supplemental essays you will respond to has a 650-word limit. Considering its length, you should be prepared to offer specific examples of why you belong at UW–Madison and why you are interested in your chosen major. Be sure to respond to both parts of the question. If you are submitting a UW–Madison application as an undecided major, you should address your academic interests and why attending UW–Madison would benefit you. 

Essay #2

Now let’s look at the second of the UW–Madison supplemental essays. If you are submitting a UW–Madison application through the UW System Application, you will also respond to this prompt. The question asks you to share something you have done, what you learned from it, how it influenced you, and how it will continue to influence you in college. Again, be sure to respond to all parts of this essay question. 

Both of these UW–Madison supplemental essays have a 650-word limit. The more detailed you are in your UW–Madison supplemental essays, the more likely it is that the UW–Madison admissions committee will feel a personal connection to you. 

Use your essays to stand out

If your academic profile is below the unofficial UW–Madison GPA requirements, the UW–Madison supplemental essays could be your opportunity to make your application stand out. We suggest writing the UW–Madison supplemental essays well in advance of the UW–Madison Early Action deadline or regular UW–Madison application deadline. 

Now let’s move on to the optional components of the UW–Madison application. UW–Madison admissions has adopted a test-optional policy for all applicants through spring 2025. You must decide for yourself whether to include standardized test scores in your UW–Madison application. However, if your test scores are strong, it makes sense to submit them. 

To learn more about UW–Madison admissions requirements, visit their website

What extracurriculars does the University of Wisconsin–Madison look for? 

Want to know how to get into UW–Madison? Start by identifying your passions and interests. 

Aside from the UW–Madison GPA requirements, UW–Madison admissions wants to see that you have participated in extracurriculars that have had a positive impact on you. So, be sure to list any of these activities, involvement, leadership, service, employment, talents, or interests on your UW–Madison application. In short, if the extracurricular is meaningful to you, it will be meaningful to UW–Madison admissions as well! 

Because the UW–Madison acceptance rate is competitive, it is important to emphasize your interests and passions through your extracurricular involvements. In conclusion, as you select your extracurriculars in high school, think about the quality of your involvements rather than the quantity. 

In addition to your academics, your extracurricular activities make up your candidate profile. Your candidate profile is a 1-2 sentence description of who you are, what you do, and why colleges should admit you. An essential part of your “how to get into UW–Madison” plan is a strong candidate profile that will set you apart from other applicants. 

Wondering which extracurriculars to include on your UW–Madison application? Check out our guide on how to ace the Common App. 

How does the University of Wisconsin–Madison review applications? 

Now that we have examined the UW–Madison GPA requirements, UW–Madison acceptance rate, UW–Madison admissions criteria, UW–Madison supplemental essays, and UW–Madison application deadline, it is time to move on to the next step of your “how to get into UW–Madison” strategy. 

Once the UW–Madison Early Action deadline and regular UW–Madison application deadline have passed, UW–Madison admissions officers will begin their holistic review process. Each application is read thoroughly, as UW–Madison admissions is looking to admit students who will add to the legacy of UW–Madison. 

Here are some things that UW–Madison looks for in your application: 

  • Academic excellence and preparation 
  • Leadership qualities
  • Contributions to your community
  • Achievement in the arts, athletics, and other areas
  • Diversity in personal background and experience
  • Potential for positive contribution to the UW–Madison community

UW–Madison is looking for students who are intellectually curious and dedicated to making a difference. So, be sure to highlight these qualities in your responses to the UW–Madison supplemental essays and in your overall UW–Madison application. 

Want to hear from current students about how to get into UW–Madison? Check out the UW–Madison Admissions website. 

Will the University of Wisconsin–Madison consider my social media? 

As you explore how to get into UW–Madison, you might wonder if your social media presence will affect your application. Rest assured – an applicant’s social media profile is not considered during the application review process. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you can or should post offensive content on your social media accounts. While these kinds of posts might not directly affect your UW–Madison admissions odds, they could have a major impact in other areas of your life. For example, many employers will review a potential applicant’s social media accounts when they submit a job application. 

Above all, we recommend using social media responsibly. Although it isn’t likely that UW–Madison admissions officers will check your Facebook or Instagram accounts, there is always a possibility. 

Is the University of Wisconsin–Madison a good school for me? 

As you reflect on how to get into UW–Madison, it is important to ask yourself whether UW–Madison is the right school for you. Yes, the UW–Madison acceptance rate is competitive, and students who attend UW–Madison will benefit from the 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio. However, this doesn’t mean that UW–Madison is the right place for everyone.

When you think about how to get into UW–Madison, you might wonder if it is easy to get involved on campus. It is! UW–Madison offers nearly 900 student organizations along with sports, intramurals, arts, and cultural opportunities. So, there are lots of ways to get involved, meet new people, and try new things. 

Another factor to consider as you finalize your “how to get into UW–Madison” research is financial aid. UW–Madison offers both need-based and merit-based aid. They also offer special financial aid programs, like the Bucky’s Tuition Promise and Badger Promise, to Wisconsin residents. 

As the number of college applicants increases each year, it is important to solidify your “how to get into UW–Madison” strategy early. If UW–Madison is your dream school, consider applying by the UW–Madison Early Action deadline. 

As you think about how to get into UW–Madison, ask yourself the following: 

  • Am I interested in attending a public university dedicated to research and public service?
  • Does UW–Madison offer the major I want to study? 
  • How can UW–Madison help me achieve my future goals? 

If you decide that UW–Madison is the right university for you, be sure to submit all required materials well before the UW–Madison Early Action or regular UW–Madison application deadline. 

Click here to take a virtual tour of the UW–Madison campus. 

Additional tips to get into the University of Wisconsin–Madison

Build your candidate profile

As you craft your “how to get into UW–Madison” approach, keep in mind that UW–Madison is looking for applicants who are bright, engaged, and passionate. Pursue your academic interests and seek out experiences that will strengthen your candidate profile. This will make your UW–Madison application stand out. 

Write compelling UW–Madison supplemental essays

Be sure to write genuine, thoughtful responses to the UW–Madison supplemental essays. Remember, the prompts for the UW–Madison supplemental essays will depend on which application you submit. Use the UW–Madison supplemental essays to share additional information about your passions, background, or interests. 

Apply early

Because the UW–Madison acceptance rate is competitive, you should consider applying by the UW–Madison Early Action deadline to maximize your admission odds. You want to build the strongest application possible, so give yourself plenty of time to do so. 

Don’t let the unofficial UW–Madison GPA requirements or UW–Madison acceptance rate stop you from applying! Although there is no guarantee that you will be admitted to UW–Madison, following the tips and advice in our “How to get into UW–Madison” guide will help you prepare the most competitive application possible. Good luck!


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This guide was written by Claire Babbs, UT Austin ’12. If you want to know how to get into UW-Madison, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes graduates from some of the country’s top schools. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.