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Required application materials

Using the Common Application, you'll need these to apply for UW–Madison Online:

  •   Application fee
  • The $70 fee (U.S. dollars) is due with your application and is non-refundable. Electronic payment is preferred.
  •   Essay
  • In 300-500 words (about one page), answer the following prompt: Tell us why you would like to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and include why you are interested in studying the selected major. Submit your essay in the Common Application. Your essay gives us an idea of who you are and what you want to accomplish. It allows us to complete a more holistic review of your application and might also be used for campus program and scholarship review.
  •   Official high school transcripts
  • We review your high school record to check for proof of graduation and completion of core preparation requirements and to learn more about your educational background. High school grades will play a more important role in the admission review for applicants who have completed fewer transferable college credits.
  • If you earned your General Educational Development (GED) certificate or a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED), submit your official score report in addition to all high school or home school transcripts.
  •   Official post-secondary transcripts
  • Request official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you attended. The transcripts should include all college-level coursework completed to date, including your current term in progress, and (if applicable) college classes taken while in high school.
  • Electronic transcripts must be sent through a secure document sending service to etranscripts@admissions.wisc.edu. Transcripts sent through email, as an attachment, will not be accepted as official.
  • Paper transcripts sent to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment must bear an official school seal or be printed on the school’s custom watermarked/security paper. Students applying from outside the United States, please review country-specific official transcript requirements.
  •   Letter of recommendation
  • We require you to submit one letter of recommendation written by someone who can attest to your academic ability, such as a teacher, school counselor or faculty member. Have a discussion with your chosen recommender first to see if they are willing and able to provide a letter.
  • We encourage applicants who have been away from formal classroom teaching for an extended period, you can request a letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to your 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.
  • If you are having trouble submitting the letter via the Common Application, you can select one of the alternative options below to share that with your recommender:

    Recommendations mailed to our office must include your full name, birth date, and campus ID number (if known). Additionally, letters of recommendation from a school staff member may also be sent through Naviance. Please note that letters of recommendation expire after one year from the date it is written.

  •   Optional: official test scores
  • While not required, you are welcome to send your ACT or SAT scores if you have taken either test. Your results are considered supplemental academic information and may help strengthen your application.
  • Test scores should be sent directly from the testing service. Our test code is 4656 for the ACT and 1846 for the SAT. Do not send your results rush (SAT) or priority (ACT); we receive all scores electronically on a daily basis so there is no advantage to rush or priority delivery.