UW Madison Acceptance Rate | Strategies and Insights for Admission Success 2024

Two decades ago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison wasn’t exactly a top choice for high-achieving students from across the nation and the world. While it remained a popular and reliable option for local students, the university saw a modest number of applicants. In 2001, only 17,727 hopefuls vied for a spot at UW-Madison, with 12,791, or 72%, ultimately gaining acceptance. At that time, attending freshmen boasted standardized test scores at the 75th percentile of 1350 on the SAT and 29 on the ACT. Fast forward to today, and those once-strong scores now barely meet the average range of admitted students, further complicating the path to acceptance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the 2022-23 academic year, as the acceptance rate has dipped below 50%.

In 2015, the state legislature made a pivotal decision to increase the university’s cap on out-of-state enrollment. Previously, nonresidents were limited to a maximum of 27.5% of the undergraduate population. By the onset of the 2021-22 school year, only 45% of freshmen hailed from Wisconsin, with thousands flocking to Madison from all corners of the United States and over 80 countries worldwide.

What is The UW Madison Acceptance Rate?

The Badger Class of 2026 witnessed a historic surge in applications, reaching an all-time high of 60,260 hopefuls vying for admission. Despite this unprecedented demand, the UW Madison acceptance rate stood at 49%. As tradition holds, gaining acceptance as a Wisconsin resident typically proves to be more attainable compared to out-of-state applicants.

What is The UW Madison SAT, ACT, GPA, and Class Rank?

Based on the latest available statistics for the Class of 2026, enrolled freshmen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison showcased strong academic profiles. The mid-50% SAT range spanned from 1370 to 1500, while the ACT range fell between 28 and 33. Notably, only 18% of applicants submitted an SAT score, with 38% opting for the ACT.

An impressive 54% of freshmen hailed from the top 10% of their high school graduating class, with 87% securing positions in the top 25%. The average high school GPA stood at a commendable 3.88, with a remarkable 48% of incoming freshmen boasting GPAs above 4.0. Additionally, only 5% of the Class of 2026 earned a cumulative GPA below 3.5, underscoring the caliber of academic achievement among admitted students.

What is The Admission Insights at The UW Madison?

Admissions Trends & Noteworthy Points

  1. The Class of 2026 welcomed 8,628 freshmen, a notable increase from the previous year’s 8,465 enrollees.
  2. Impressively, the number of applicants surged by over 12% within a single year.
  3. Among the new students, 3,787 hailed from Wisconsin, showcasing the university’s commitment to its local community.
  4. The inclusion of underrepresented domestic students saw a significant rise, with the Class of 2026 welcoming 1,431 individuals, up from 1,251 the previous year.
  5. Over the past five years, there has been a remarkable 175% increase in the enrollment of National Merit Scholars.
  6. Continuing its commitment to access and equity in admissions, the university has extended its test-optional policy through the 2024-25 admissions cycle.

What is The Admission Criteria at The UW Madison?

UW-Madison places significant emphasis on two key factors deemed “very important” in the admissions process: the rigor of high school coursework and GPA. Additionally, elements considered “important” include essays, recommendations, extracurricular activities, character, and state residency. Meanwhile, “considered” factors encompass test scores, class rank, talent/ability, first-generation status, and work/volunteer experience.

Admission staff at UW-Madison undertake a meticulous review of each application, eschewing formulas or charts. As stated by the admissions office, they meticulously evaluate each application, focusing primarily on academic excellence and preparation. Beyond academics, they seek qualities such as leadership, community contributions, and achievement in various domains like arts and athletics. Diversity in personal background and experiences, along with the potential for positive contributions to the Wisconsin community, are also highly valued.

It’s worth noting that recruited athletes enjoy a significant advantage in the admissions process. With 23 NCAA Division I sports teams, UW-Madison takes pride in its athletic programs, attracting approximately 900 student-athletes to the university.

What is The UW Madison Demographics?

In-State vs. Out-of-State Distribution:

  • In-State: 44%
  • Out-of-State: 56%

Top States of Origin for Recent Freshman Cohorts:

  1. Wisconsin: 2,856
  2. Illinois: 695
  3. Minnesota: 449
  4. California: 368
  5. New York: 217

Regional Considerations:

  • For non-residents, competition is fiercest among applicants from states with large pools of qualified candidates, such as the entire Northeast and the West Coast. Conversely, students from less densely populated states like Alabama and Mississippi in the Deep South, or Wyoming and North Dakota, may have a higher chance of admission to UW-Madison.

Top High Schools Contributing to the Freshman Class (Most Recent Data Available):

  1. Middleton High School: 105
  2. James Madison Memorial High School: 90
  3. Arrowhead High School: 84
  4. Madison East High School: 61
  5. Brookfield East High School: 58
  6. Homestead High School: 56
  7. West High School: 55
  8. Waunakee Community High School: 55

Ethnic Diversity Breakdown:

  • Caucasian/White: 66%
  • Asian American: 8%
  • Hispanic: 7%
  • African American: 2%
  • International: 10%

Countries Represented by Current International Students:

  • China
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Saudi Arabia

Gender Distribution:

  • Men: 47%
  • Women: 53%

Understanding these demographic trends provides valuable insights into the diverse and dynamic community at UW-Madison.

What is The UW Madison Yield Rate?

UW-Madison’s yield rate, which represents the percentage of accepted students who choose to enroll, stands at 29%. This figure is notably lower compared to other prominent state universities such as the University of Michigan, UVA, and UCLA.

The UW Madison Application Process Key Tips

If you’re considering joining the ranks of the 60,000 hopeful applicants vying for admission to UW-Madison in the next admissions cycle, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Application Options: You have the choice to apply using either the Common Application or the UW System Application, providing flexibility in the application process.
  2. Interview Policy: UW-Madison does not utilize interviews as part of its evaluation process, so applicants are not required to undergo interviews.
  3. Legacy Consideration: While the university does not officially favor children of alumni, recent data suggests that legacy students enjoy an acceptance rate 20% higher than non-legacies.
  4. Demonstrated Interest: UW-Madison does not take demonstrated interest into consideration during the admissions process, so factors like campus visits or interactions with admissions officers will not impact your application.
  5. Supplemental Essay: Be sure to allocate sufficient time and effort to crafting a strong supplemental essay required by UW-Madison, as it provides an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities and aspirations to the admissions committee.


In conclusion, navigating the admissions process for UW-Madison requires a strategic approach and attention to detail. Whether you’re choosing between application platforms, considering the impact of legacy status, or preparing your supplemental essay, it’s essential to understand the nuances of UW-Madison’s admissions process.

Remember, UW-Madison values academic excellence, diversity, and a commitment to community engagement. By showcasing your strengths, experiences, and aspirations through your application, you can increase your chances of securing a spot at this esteemed institution.

Keep in mind the key points highlighted here, and dedicate ample time and effort to crafting a compelling application that reflects your unique qualities and potential contributions to UW-Madison’s vibrant community.

With determination, preparation, and a well-rounded application, you can position yourself as a strong candidate for admission to UW-Madison and embark on an enriching academic journey.