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

Two decades ago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison wasn’t a top choice for students beyond its local borders. With just 17,727 applicants in 2001, 72% were accepted. The 75th percentile scores for admitted freshmen were 1350 SAT and 29 ACT. Fast forward to today, those scores would barely meet the average. The University’s acceptance rate is now below 50%, complicating the question of how to get into UW Madison in 2022-23.

In 2015, the state legislature increased the cap on out-of-state enrollment, allowing nonresidents to make up 45% of freshmen by the 2021-22 school year. Students now flock to Madison from all 50 U.S. states and over 80 countries, transforming UW Madison into a global destination.

What is The UW Madison Acceptance Rate?

A record-breaking 60,260 applications flooded in for the chance to join the Badger Class of 2026 at UW Madison. The university accepted 49% of applicants, maintaining the tradition of Wisconsin residents having a relatively easier path to acceptance.

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

For the Class of 2026 at UW Madison, the mid-50% SAT range for incoming freshmen spanned from 1370 to 1500, with an ACT range of 28-33. SAT scores were submitted by only 18% of applicants, while 38% included their ACT results. Impressively, 54% of freshmen ranked within the top 10% of their high school class, and 87% secured a spot in the top 25%. The average high school GPA stood at 3.88, with a remarkable 48% of new students boasting a GPA above 4.0. A mere 5% of the Class of 2026 held a cumulative GPA lower than 3.5.

What is The Admission Insights at The UW Madison?

For the Class of 2026, the University of Wisconsin-Madison welcomed 8,628 freshmen, a slight increase from the previous year’s count of 8,465. Impressively, there was a remarkable 12% surge in the number of applicants within a single year. Among the new students, 3,787 were Wisconsin residents. Additionally, the Class of 2026 included 1,431 underrepresented domestic students, up from 1,251 the previous year. Over the last five years, there has been a notable 175% increase in the enrollment of National Merit Scholars. Notably, the university has extended its test-optional policy through the academic year 2024-25.

What is the Admissions Criteria at UW Madison?

UW-Madison places utmost importance on the rigor of a student’s high school course load and their GPA, considering these factors “very important” in the admissions process. Additionally, essays, recommendations, extracurricular activities, character, and state residency are deemed “important.” The university also takes into account factors such as test scores, class rank, talent/ability, first-generation status, and work/volunteer experience, marking them as “considered.”

The admission staff at UW-Madison follows a meticulous approach, reviewing each application thoroughly without relying on formulas or charts. Their evaluation focuses on academic excellence and preparation as the primary criteria. Beyond academics, the university seeks qualities such as leadership, community contributions, achievements in the arts and athletics, and other diverse experiences, emphasizing an applicant’s potential for positive contributions to the Wisconsin community.

What is The UW Madison Demographics?

Let’s delve into the demographics of the current freshmen at UW-Madison (2022-23):

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

The largest number of students from a recent freshman cohort came from the following states:

  • Wisconsin: 2,856
  • Illinois: 695
  • Minnesota: 449
  • California: 368
  • New York: 217

Competition among non-residents is fiercest from states with a constant influx of qualified applicants, predominantly in the Northeast and West Coast. However, if you’re from the Deep South like Alabama (1 current freshman) or Mississippi (1 current freshman), or a less-populated state like Wyoming (2 current freshmen) or North Dakota (0 current freshmen), your location could enhance your admissions chances at UW-Madison.

Within the state, the high schools contributing to the Badger first-years are (based on the most recent available data):

  • Middleton High School: 105
  • James Madison Memorial High School: 90
  • Arrowhead High School: 84
  • Madison East High School: 61
  • Brookfield East High School: 58
  • Homestead High School: 56
  • West High School: 55
  • Waunakee Community High School: 55

Shifting to ethnic identity, the breakdown is as follows:

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

Current international students are citizens of the following countries:

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

Regarding the gender breakdown, the university currently enrolls more women than men:

  • Men: 47%
  • Women: 53%

What is The UW Madison Yield Rate?

UW-Madison’s yield rate, which represents the percentage of accepted students who choose to enroll, is 29%. This number 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

For those aiming to be among the 60,000 hopefuls in the upcoming UW-Madison admissions cycle, consider the following:

  1. Choose between the Common Application or the UW System Application for your submission.
  2. UW-Madison does not incorporate interviews into its evaluation process.
  3. While the university officially doesn’t give preferential treatment to children of alumni, recent data suggests that legacy students experience a 20% higher acceptance rate than non-legacies.
  4. Demonstrated interest is not a factor in UW-Madison’s admissions process, so you won’t be evaluated based on campus visits or communication with admissions officers.
  5. Ensure you invest ample time and effort into the supplemental essay required by UW-Madison. In the 2022-23 cycle, Common App applicants were prompted to share why they want to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison and express their interest in selected majors or potential academic areas if undecided.


Applicants with SAT/ACT scores falling within the mid-50% range at UW-Madison and who also rank at the pinnacle of their high school class stand as strong contenders. Residents of Wisconsin generally encounter a more favorable path to acceptance compared to out-of-state or international applicants. Consequently, non-residents should aim for exceptional academic achievements to enhance their prospects at UW-Madison.