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Admissions FAQs


Applying as a High School Senior

Students interested in being considered for direct admission should make sure to choose a business major (or “undecided business”) as their first choice of study on the UW–Madison application. The Office of Admissions will then review your application for admission to UW–Madison and for direct admission to the Wisconsin School of Business. If you do not list a business major as your first choice, your application will be considered for admission to UW–Madison, but will not be considered for admission to the School of Business.

Absolutely! At summer orientation, or SOAR, you’ll work with an academic advisor to schedule your fall semester classes. Many freshmen directly admitted to the School of Business take a few business classes their first year, but keep in mind there are also several credits of liberal studies that need to be completed in order to graduate from UW–Madison.

The UW–Madison Office of Admissions manages all freshman admissions, including direct admission to the School of Business. Specific questions about applying to UW–Madison should be directed to their office.

The application is holistic, but there are some things that may help indicate your interest in business. For example, continuing to take math all four years of high school, getting involved in business organizations if they’re available, working part time, or continuing to take rigorous courses to the degree they’re offered at your high school.

If you’re admitted to UW–Madison, but not directly admitted to the School of Business, you will be considered a pre-business student in the College of Letters and Science.

It can be. Many other business schools almost exclusively admit students directly from high school, while at the Wisconsin School of Business nearly half of all students are admitted through the pre-business process. The Wisconsin School of Business is also smaller than many other Big Ten business schools.

The Pre-Business Process

A pre-business student is any student who is interested in studying business, but who has not yet been admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business.

  • The pre-business application is open once per year for two weeks during spring semester. Most students choose to apply during their freshman year, but applicants should apply whenever they feel their application is the strongest.
  • Students will submit an essay response and a résumé. GPA will also be reviewed, but UW–Madison students don’t need to take any extra steps to submit transcripts to the admissions committee.
  • There are a number of eligibility requirements that students must meet in order to apply to the Wisconsin undergraduate business program. Be sure to review these requirements before applying. Please note that these are minimum eligibility requirements you must meet in order to be able to apply; not everyone who meets these minimum requirements will be accepted as admission is competitive.

Yes! There is no requirement that students be formally classified as “pre-business” in order to apply to the Wisconsin undergraduate business program. However, we highly encourage anyone interested in business to meet with a pre-business academic advisor before applying to ensure you’re on the right track. You can schedule an appointment with our pre-business advising team using Starfish.

The admissions committee considers each applicant’s qualifications holistically, evaluating academic and non-academic strengths, talents, and gifts. There are three parts to the pre-business application:

  • Cumulative UW–Madison GPA (minimum 2.75)
  • An essay response
  • A résumé

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many resources available to prepare for the application, including workshops and pre-business academic advising.

You may apply once for admission to the Wisconsin undergraduate business program. Your application must be submitted within your first four semesters at UW–Madison.

The application for pre-business students is open once per year for two weeks during spring semester. Students will receive admissions decisions by July 1 at the latest.

The admissions committee will not consider supplemental materials. If there is something you would like us to know about you that you feel is not covered by the other parts of the application, please tell us in the optional essay section of the application.

The application is considered complete once it has been submitted online, and there will be absolutely no changes or updates considered after it’s been submitted. Please review all of your materials carefully before you submit the application.

The Wisconsin undergraduate business program is competitive and not everyone who meets the minimum eligibility requirements is admitted, which ensures that you will be joining a focused and engaged student body. Recruiting employers return to the Wisconsin School of Business year after year to fill internships and full-time positions because they know they will find talented, motivated, and well-prepared students.

Although admission is competitive, we do everything we can to help you prepare for the admissions process. Our focus is on helping you succeed and make the best choices for your future.

Students are highly encouraged to meet with a pre-business academic advisor to discuss a parallel plan. There are several majors in other campus colleges that can be a great option for students interested in business, like economics, personal finance, and retailing and consumer behavior.

Nonbusiness students also have the option of pursuing one of three business-focused certificates.

No. Nearly half of all Wisconsin business students are admitted through the pre-business process and all students have a similar undergraduate experience. Our average time to graduation is less than four years, and that includes both direct admit and pre-business students.

Applying as a Transfer Student

Students enrolled in the University of Wisconsin System or the Wisconsin Technical College System who are interested in a fall start may apply directly to the Wisconsin undergraduate business program. Eligible applicants must follow the application requirements and deadlines for both the undergraduate business program and Office of Undergraduate Admissions. You must complete both of the following steps to be considered for admission to the Wisconsin School of Business:

  1. Complete the transfer admissions application to UW–Madison through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Applying to UW–Madison does not automatically create an application for the School of Business.
  2. Separately, complete the pre-business application for the Wisconsin undergraduate business program in March preceding your intended fall enrollment term.

We strongly recommend that all applicants review all WSB undergraduate admissions policies.

The four pre-requisite courses in communications, calculus, economics, and psychology must be completed or in the process of completion at the time of application. Any of these in-progress courses must be successfully completed by the end of the application term and cannot be deferred to a later term.

  1. Complete the transfer admissions application to UW–Madison through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
  2. Enroll at UW–Madison and complete a minimum of 12 credits in residence. These credits can be in-progress when you apply to the School of Business as long as they are successfully completed by the end of the spring semester.
  3. Ensure you’ve completed the four pre-business course requirements in communications, calculus, economics, and psychology prior to transferring. Transfer students may complete these before transferring. Once you’ve enrolled at UW–Madison, any remaining pre-business courses must be taken here.
  4. Complete the pre-business application for the Wisconsin undergraduate business program in March. You must apply to the program within your first 4 semesters here on campus.

We strongly recommend that all applicants review all WSB undergraduate admissions policies.

Absolutely! Transfer students are more than welcome to attend pre-business workshops and résumé review week, as well as utilize our essay and résumé guides. Please reach out to the Wisconsin undergraduate business program’s office of admissions at admissions@wsb.wisc.edu if you have any questions about attending these events.

No. The Direct Transfer option is only available for fall term starts. If you’re interested in transferring to UW–Madison in the spring, you then be considered a General Transfer student and would follow the corresponding steps to apply to the School of Business.

Applying to UW–Madison

For information on admission to UW–Madison, either as a first-year student or as a transfer student, visit the website for the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

The Wisconsin School of Business admissions office is not involved in admitting students to UW–Madison. The UW–Madison Office of Admissions is the best resource for any questions you may have about applying to UW–Madison.

Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships

Tuition and fees for undergraduate students are available from the Bursar’s Office. More detailed information on the cost of attendance is available through the Office of Student Financial Aid. Although expenses will vary from student to student, the university bases its financial aid awards on these estimated costs of attendance.

Admitted undergraduate business students pay an additional tuition differential of $500.40 per semester to the Wisconsin School of Business. Minnesota residents pay a tuition differential of $1,000.08 per semester.

Yes. The Wisconsin School of Business provides over $1 million in scholarship support to business students each year.

  • High school seniors applying for direct admission do not need to complete an additional application for WSB scholarships. Applications for admission to UW–Madison are used as first-year scholarship applications for direct admit students.
  • Once you enroll at the Wisconsin School of Business, you can continue to apply for awards each year. The Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH) is a good resource for scholarship opportunities.
  • The Office of Student Financial Aid is a central resource for information and assistance with all types of financial aid options at UW–Madison, including scholarships, grants, and loans.

In order to receive a Wisconsin business scholarship, a student must be an admitted and enrolled business student. Students who do not fall under this category may qualify for other scholarships across campus. More information can be found using the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub.

Technology Needs

We recommend the following computer specifications:

  • Mac laptop or computer running at least OS 10.13 (High Sierra) or Windows laptop or computer running Windows 10
  • Intel Core i5 or AMD A10 processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 256 GB solid state drive
  • 1280 x 768 screen resolution
  • Integrated webcam and microphone (not cell phones)

The School of Business also offers computer labs with Windows Operating software that are open to all students.

Pre-College BEL Program

The Wisconsin School of Business has a Business Emerging Leaders (BEL) Program for promising students who come from diverse backgrounds and have strong academic records and demonstrated leadership skills.

During three summers, starting in the summer after tenth grade, BEL Program participants join a diverse community on the UW–Madison campus for self-exploration, team building, academic growth, and career development. Participants also learn about the opportunities for undergraduates at the Wisconsin School of Business.