How do students who commute to the university be successful and stay involved?
At UW–Madison, most students choose to live on or near campus and typically stay in Madison on the weekends. Therefore, students who commute to the university may face added challenges, in addition to the adjustments all students experience when transitioning to college. Parents can support students by encouraging them to take part in the clubs, organizations, work opportunities, and campus and community activities available to all students. It’s important that your student spends time on campus when not in class. Attending athletic events and performances, studying in the libraries, and spending time in the Madison community will help your student feel connected. It is also important to remind students that they are students first. Allowing your student quiet time to study at home, adjusting household responsibilities (particularly during exam times), and encouraging your student to take advantage of academic support will help your student stay focused on college.
- Where do I find information about graduation?
My student is sick and missing classes. What should my student do?
If a student misses classes due to illness, injury, family emergency, or some other reason, it is the responsibility of the student to notify instructors as soon as possible. Your student should contact professors to let them know of the situation and to develop a plan for making up the work. Accommodations and make-up procedures are at the discretion of the faculty member. The Division of Student Life can send notice of absence to instructional staff if the student is unable to do so.
How do students work with academic advisors and when should they meet?
An extensive network of advisors is here to help students connect to campus resources and reach their academic and career goals. All undergraduates are assigned to an advisor in their area of academic interest or to an advisor in Cross-College Advising Service who specializes in working with undecided students. Students should meet with their advisors at least once a semester and discuss topics beyond course enrollment, such as connecting majors to careers, getting involved, and creating a graduation timeline.
How do I see if my student made the Dean’s List?
The Dean’s List is among the ways that UW–Madison recognizes the academic excellence of its students. At the conclusion of each semester, high-achieving students are included on the list and generally receive a letter of recognition from schools or colleges. The honor is also noted on student transcripts. To make the list more accessible to students and families, the Office of the Registrar hosts a searchable website of honorees. In addition to the new website, University Communications sends notices of Dean’s List honorees to local newspapers across the state and country. Please note that a student must have a valid home address on file with the university for this information to reach a hometown newspaper. To change hometown listings, students should log in to the Student Center module of My UW–Madison and select the Personal Information tab. Announcements are typically sent to the largest-circulation newspaper in the student’s home zip code and take several weeks to process after the end of each semester. University Communications also sends a similar list of graduation announcements. Questions about newspaper publishing schedules are best directed to newspapers. However, resends or problems related to newspaper distribution can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What tutoring options are available to students?
Tutoring or learning support resources come in many forms around campus. Services range from the general (Greater University Tutoring Services, Writing Center) to the specific (tutoring programs for departments like Mathlab or History Lab) to courses (like English 100 or Biochemistry 501). Resources span academic fields as well as the physical campus, with some tutoring centers offering satellite locations for convenience. A comprehensive list of resources is available here.
Can my student take classes over the summer?
Yes! Taking Summer Term courses allows students to get ahead in their studies, and can lightens their load for the fall and spring semesters. In just a few weeks, students can add a semester’s worth of work to their academic record—and still have time to savor the best of summer.
From the university’s most in-demand courses to advanced topics, Summer Term combines flexibility with academic rigor. Sessions are three weeks, four weeks, or eight weeks long. The same material is covered as during a traditional semester, but everything moves faster. It’s a quick but manageable pace.
The Summer Term website provides information on courses, dates and deadlines, tuition rates, a guide to Madison, and summer housing options.
My student has an assigned academic advisor. Should my student also work with a career advisor?
Yes, every student is encouraged to work with a career advisor to explore post-graduation options. The career exploration and planning process takes time, and students are encouraged to begin working with career services offices as early as freshman year. First- and second-year students who are not sure what careers they would like to pursue or how to get started are encouraged to visit the Career Exploration Center. Career courses are also available and can help ground students in career development. Each UW–Madison school and college has its own career services office, which is tailored to prepare students in their respective fields for employment and graduate school.
While students are not required to meet with career advisors, it is highly encouraged. Additionally, students can start a conversation with their academic advisors about career interests. Academic and career planning go hand in hand.
Career advisors can work with students at all stages of the career-development process. Even when students have many different career interests, advisors can help them reflect on their skills and interests so they understand how those can be applied to the work world. Career advisors also create plans to advance a student’s interests through hands-on experience. Providing these resources helps students find their way to satisfying careers.
UW graduates are highly sought after by employers and graduate schools across the country. Encourage your student to receive career advising today and gain a competitive edge for the future. To learn more, visit careers.wisc.edu.
- How can my student find a career advisor?
When should my student see a career advisor?
Students should start thinking about career and internship options and opportunities as early as the first year of college. The Career Exploration Center can help students looking to start the career planning process or learn which career development resource on campus is best for them. Students nearing graduation will be best served by their school or college’s career services office.
My student hasn’t picked a major yet. Can a career advisor still help?
In a word: yes! For many students, ideas about their careers, academic and personal interests, strengths, and values are interrelated. Learning about one of these areas can help clarify or refine a student’s understanding of another. Learning about the connections between majors, skills and interests, and careers can help students understand the different paths of the college experience.
Can a career advisor help my student find an internship?
Internships help students position themselves for potential full-time job offers after graduation. Career advisors can help connect students to internship opportunities. In addition, career advisors provide guidance by sharing resources and information about the job and internship application process.
How can my student network and find career opportunities through UW–Madison after graduation?
Many schools and colleges utilize BuckyNet, an online recruiting and job-posting system for students. Creating and maintaining a BuckyNet account enables students to search for jobs and internships, schedule on-campus interviews and advising appointments, and more. Badger Bridge, a professional network supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Association, connects students and recent graduates to established UW alumni for professional advice, support, and opportunities. Throughout the year, UW–Madison also offers career and internship fairs, as well as networking events with employers and alumni.
When should my student fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form?
The 2018–19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available! Every eligible student is encouraged to file the FAFSA. Even if you believe that your student will not qualify for federal financial aid, many scholarships and grant programs still require a FAFSA for consideration. Students who are graduating this year only need to submit a FAFSA if they plan to continue onto another degree program.
Helpful FAFSA filing hints:
- Don’t wait! Make sure your student submits the FAFSA by UW–Madison’s priority date: December 1, 2017.
- The 2018–19 FAFSA will use 2016 Federal Income Tax Return information.
- File online at fafsa.gov.
- Be sure to enter the UW’s school code, 003895 for the “University of Wisconsin–Madison,” to have your student’s FAFSA sent to the UW–Madison financial aid team.
- Have your student review the Student Aid Report (SAR).
- After the FAFSA is processed, the U.S. Department of Education will email your student the Student Aid Report (SAR) that includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and any important messages regarding your student’s FAFSA.
- We’re here to help.
- The Office of Student Financial Aid hosts a FAFSA Frenzy on most Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the fall semester. Visit financialaid.wisc.edu/frenzy to see the dates and locations. Students just need to bring their laptop; there will be staff members on hand to help answer questions and provide free food. Parents and family members are welcome to attend with their student.
- If you have questions about the application process, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid by phone at 608-262-3060 or email at email@example.com.
Looking for scholarships? Visit the UW’s Scholarships List to explore awards and tell your student to log in to Scholarships@UW–Madison to match with scholarship opportunities. Scholarship applications for continuing students are available to complete throughout the year. Deadlines vary, so don’t miss out!
- Don’t wait! Make sure your student submits the FAFSA by UW–Madison’s priority date: December 1, 2017.
What is the Wiscard?
Wiscard is UW–Madison’s photo ID card. It is also a door-access card for students living in University Residence Halls and provides access to library services, recreational facilities, and the Wiscard account. The Wiscard account is a simple, safe, and money-saving method for purchasing food and school-related items at more than 60 locations on campus.
When paying with Wiscard, students receive discounts on food purchases at University Housing, Babcock Hall Dairy Store, and Wisconsin Union dining locations. Wiscard can also be used to purchase other school-related products and services such as textbooks, course packets, laundry in the residence halls, printing, computer supplies, and more.
How can I add money to my student’s Wiscard account?
Money can be added to your student’s Wiscard at any time. There are three ways you or your student can deposit money onto the student’s Wiscard:
- Online. Visit the Wiscard website.
- Mail in a check. Fill out the appropriate deposit form and mail it in to the corresponding mailing address. Be sure that your student’s ID number is in the memo portion of the check.
- In person. Visit the Wiscard Office at 1308 W. Dayton Street (Union South), Room 149.
How does a student explore scholarships?
Scholarships@UW–Madison is an online application that allows your student to match with, apply for, and accept campus scholarships.
We are preparing our tax return. How do we obtain the 1098T form?
You will need to make arrangements with your student to obtain the 1098T form, which contains important tax information related to the payment of tuition and other educational expenses. Since tax reporting can change as the tax season progresses, please visit the FAQs for Tax Reporting provided by the Bursar’s office.
Health and Safety
What are some safe, healthy, and fun ways for my student to get involved on campus?
One of the greatest things about UW–Madison’s large student population is the number of options that are available on campus. There are some 1,000 student organizations on campus to consider joining. Some of these organizations are academic-based and provide excellent ways for students to network and become more involved within their fields of study. Encourage your student to check with relevant academic departments to see what organizations they offer. Other student organizations are interest/hobby-based. Encourage your student to utilize organizations as ways to explore new interests or continue activities with which your student was involved in high school. There are exciting events happening on campus and in the Madison community every day. Encourage your student to learn more by visiting the UW Events Calendar, which lists activities happening on campus, and the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau website, which highlights all there is to see and do in Madison.
What is University Health Services?
University Health Services (UHS) is the UW-Madison student health center. In 2016 and 2017, UHS was recognized by the Princeton Review as the best college health service in the United States. All students are eligible to use UHS services. Experienced, culturally competent professionals provide medical treatment of injuries and illnesses; counseling for a range of mental health and personal concerns; wellness services; and prevention programs for important campus health issues such as alcohol risk reduction and violence prevention. UHS’s Violence Prevention & Survivor Services provide confidential victim advocacy and support to student victims/survivors of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking. These services are available at no cost. Access to UHS is not a substitute for health insurance. For those who need insurance, UHS offers the comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Learn more here.
How do I receive information in the event of an emergency?
The Parent and Family Program will send an email notice if there is an ongoing, critical campus incident. The email will include what the situation is, what campus is doing about it, and how you can support your student. (If you are not a member of the Parent and Family Program, join here.)Only those affiliated with UW–Madison (students, faculty, staff, etc.) may sign up for WiscAlerts directly; however, you can receive the same alerts via text message through Twitter by texting “follow WiscAlerts” to the number 40404. Please note this is a service of Twitter and not UW–Madison.
How does my student sign up for campus safety alerts (WiscAlerts)?
Only those affiliated with UW–Madison (students, faculty, staff, etc.) may sign up for WiscAlerts directly; however, you can receive the same alerts via text message through Twitter by texting “follow WiscAlerts” to the number 40404. Please note this is a service of Twitter and not UW–Madison.
What are some safety tips I can share with my student?
Visit the UW Police Department website for crime prevention and safety tips.
My student is interested in Greek Life. How does fraternity and sorority recruitment work?
UW fraternities and sororities host recruitment and intake processes at various points throughout the year. For some of our councils, there are coordinated efforts near the beginning of the academic semesters as a way to get started. For other councils, efforts are planned and sponsored by chapters individually. More information about fraternities and sororities can be found on the Greek Life website.
- My student is interested in finding a spiritual community. What resources are available?
What are the benefits of joining a registered student organization?
The payoffs of involvement are as diverse as the opportunities on campus. Gaining experience and skills that are relevant to one’s academic major tops the list, according to a 2012 survey conducted by UW–Madison. Nearly 70 percent of students involved with campus activities said they gained career-related skills while being involved. Involvement opportunities serve as ongoing trials of students’ interests and prospective majors.
Involvement also helps incoming students adapt to college life by making a large campus feel more intimate, forming a sense of community, and building new support systems. A majority of students surveyed affirmed other major benefits of getting involved: meeting like-minded peers, as well as those with diverse opinions and life experiences; gaining practical skills, such as communication and teamwork; and boosting self-confidence.
However, successful involvement means balance. A common concern for students, as well as their parents, is becoming too involved and overextending their time. CfLI offers a simple solution: students should scale up (not back) their involvement throughout college. According to the survey, nine in ten students reported that they were actually more likely to complete their degree because of involvement, and that involvement either improved or didn’t negatively affect their grades. (Read more about the benefits of campus involvement and leadership.)
How do students find a job?
We recommend that students follow these basic guidelines:
- Be proactive! Check the UW Student Job Center every day as new jobs are posted daily.
- Explore the UW Student Job Center’s “Links” tab. Some departments post job openings on their own site before posting them on the Job Center.
- If students are eligible for work study, they should indicate that status on their applications, resumes, and cover letters.
- Remember, campus jobs are always becoming available, but the best time to search is at the start of a semester.
- Consider volunteering on campus. A volunteer position can lead to a job in that area.
My student is having a hard time meeting new people. What advice do you have?
Many students have a difficult time adjusting to college. It can be especially hard for students who are not used to being away from home. Your student’s house fellow in the residence hall is a great resource. House fellows are trained in helping students adjust to college. Your student should continue to build a relationship with the house fellow. The Division of Recreational Sports has many opportunities to get involved and meet other students through their Intramural Sports Program, with opportunities for beginner to veteran athletes. Another way for students to feel more connected on campus is to join a student organization. The Center for Leadership & Involvement (CfLI) is located on the second floor of the Red Gym at 716 Langdon Street. The CfLI website lists some 1,000 different organizations. The Wisconsin Involvement Network (WIN) allows students to identify, organize, and coordinate their out-of-class involvement experiences. Getting a job on campus is also a great way to feel connected and meet other students. Most campus jobs are flexible to accommodate a student’s schedule. The UW Student Job Center website lists both university and nonuniversity positions. UW–Madison is a vibrant place, and there are many exciting events happening on campus each day. Encourage your student to learn more by visiting the UW Events Calendar. Connect to campus via social media. UW–Madison maintains active Facebook and Twitter accounts that highlight all of the interesting events, activities, and happenings related to the university. From leadership roles, to volunteering, to social organizations, there are countless ways for students to explore their interests.
How does my student obtain the free bus pass?
All UW–Madison students are eligible for the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) bus pass, which provides unlimited, free access to all city routes. The campus bus routes 80, 91, 82, and 84 are free to everyone, including students, staff, and visitors.
For current information on how to receive new or replacement passes, visit the ASM website.
What services are available for traveling to and from Madison?
Visit our Transportation and Parking page for information on traveling to and from Madison.