View of University of Wisconsin-Madison football stadium filled with students and fans from high seats in end zone

College Spotlight – University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Wisconsin- Madison logo

Freshman Update

by Bailey Skahan
March, 2023

College Expert Counselor: Sue Luse

Hello incoming college students!

My name is Bailey Skahan and I am a first year student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I successfully completed my first semester of college and am now tackling my second semester. This is what I learned from my first semester:

View of University of Wisconsin-Madison football stadium filled with students and fans from high seats in end zone
View from the student section at first football game, 2022.

College challenges you but in the best ways possible. You have to grow up very fast. You have a lot of freedom in college but that freedom can be abused really quickly. One way to avoid this is by making a routine for yourself. College is different from high school in the fact that you have a lot more free time. Class doesn’t run for 7 hours out of the day, instead you probably have 2-3 hours of school a day. Then you choose what you want to do with that free time. In college, you get a lot more homework, so during that free time I’d advise you to do that homework, get some exercise, or nap (naps are always essential)!

However, college isn’t just school. It is an opportunity for you to truly find yourself through making new friends, joining activities you’d never thought to be possible, and truly navigating the world as an adult. It’s all about seeing an opportunity and deciding whether to take it or not. Opportunities won’t always find you, you have to find them. 

I have truly enjoyed my time at UW-Madison. The friends I’ve made made Madison feel like home right away. Like most of you, I am from Minnesota so the distance from home isn’t too bad, but I still felt homesick. My advice for feeling homesick in the beginning is to look at moving to college as an opportunity to grow. I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone, don’t just sit in your dorm room. You need to make an effort to make this new environment a second home!

Trust me, the long, grueling process of applying to college will pay off! It is extremely rewarding at the end even if you didn’t end up where you thought you’d be. You will find your purpose even if it doesn’t come to you right away. 

Interested in learning more? We’ve added some facts about the campus and admissions so you can see if Madison might be right for you!

Fast Facts about Madison
Undergraduate enrollment is about 35,000 students
Demanding academic environment
13 schools and colleges
70 programs considered in the Top 10 nationally
Foreign language required for everyone
27% of students participate in study abroad
34% conduct undergraduate research
Volunteering is a tradition (The Wisconsin Idea)
12,000-acre nature preserve, nearby ski slopes
Lots of Badger pride and enthusiasm for sports teams

Madison Admissions
Acceptance rate is approximately 60%
Very important factors are rigor of secondary school record and application essay
Test optional admissions through Spring 2025
46% of enrolled freshman submitted ACT; 15% submitted SAT
Average ACT score 28-32
Average SAT score 1300-1480
Yield rate is approximately 26%
Average high school GPA 3.88

Who would be happy here?
Students looking for challenging academics and a spirited Big Ten atmosphere. Because of its size, the University of Wisconsin Madison also appeals to students who are independent and proactive about seeking out opportunities and who like a large, vibrant campus.