The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records. During elementary, middle and high school, FERPA rights regarding a child’s education records apply to parents/families and students. For university students, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from parents to the student alone. This means that parents and families of UW–Madison students do not automatically have the right to access their student’s records on their own.
Fortunately, your student has ways of sharing important information with you. The quickest, easiest way for parents and families to receive information about their student’s grades, financial statement, or other student information is for the student to provide it. Students can look up information online, print it off, and give or email a copy to their parents and families. Records can be accessed by students in their Student Center, their online hub for personal and enrollment data. (Please note that, as part of general security procedures, students are discouraged from sharing their official campus log-in credentials with anyone.)
Students can print a letter certifying enrollment status (full-time, halftime, etc.) for insurance, scholarships, and more by logging in to Student Center, selecting the “My Academics” link, and selecting the “Print Enrollment Verification” link.
Students who need enrollment verification to meet Wisconsin voter ID requirements should print the “voter enrollment verification” letter, which is also available within the “My Academics” tab in Student Center.
UW–Madison has eight undergraduate schools and colleges: the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Wisconsin School of Business, School of Education, College of Engineering, School of Human Ecology, College of Letters & Science, School of Nursing, and School of Pharmacy. The Guide is the official record of the degrees, majors, and certificates offered at UW–Madison. It lists the requirements needed for these programs, as well as the master list of courses presented by each school and college. To be successful, students should be familiar with the requirements for their specific schools and colleges.
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.
Every student is encouraged to work with a career advisor and can start career advising as early as the first semester. Each individual school or college offers career services, and the Career Exploration Center (CEC) works with students looking to explore their options.
Learning Support Resources
Learning support resources come in many forms around campus. Services range from the general (e.g., Greater University Tutoring Service, Writing Center) to the specific (tutoring programs for departments [e.g., Mathlab, History Lab] and courses [e.g., English 100, Biochemistry 501]). Resources span academic fields as well as the physical campus, with some tutoring centers offering satellite locations for convenience.
University Housing offers free tutoring in the residence halls and in many dining facilities for chemistry, mathematics, and writing. It also provides convenient on-site academic advising in several residence halls through the Cross-College Advising Service (CCAS).
GUTS provides free peer-to-peer tutoring to students on a variety of subjects, including academics, study skills, conversational English, and foreign language.
UW Writing Center tutors can help students with writing in all disciplines and at all levels. The center also offers free writing workshops that cover exams, research papers, job portfolios, and more.
The McBurney Disability Resource Center facilitates classroom accommodations for students with disabilities. We view disability as an important aspect of the diversity of UW-Madison and are committed to creating an accessible and inclusive educational experience for students. The McBurney Center partners with students, faculty, and staff to design accessible environments and to provide academic accommodations so that students can engage, explore and participate in the Wisconsin Experience.
International Student Services
International Student Services (ISS) supports international students at UW–Madison. Beginning with orientation and throughout the duration of their studies, student visa holders can work with ISS to learn how to maintain and achieve the benefits of their status. ISS also helps international students adjust to life in the U.S. by offering programs and services that promote personal, academic, and professional success.
Studying or Working Abroad
The International Academic Programs (IAP) office offers more than 200 programs spanning six continents for students of all majors. Courses through IAP programs can count toward degree requirements, allowing students to stay on track for graduation. Scholarships, grants, and financial aid are available.
The International Internship Program (IIP) works with students of all majors looking to gain experience and explore careers through international internships. Students can intern around the world or in the U.S. Advising, academic credits, and scholarships are available.
First-year students enroll for their classes during orientation (SOAR). Continuing students start enrolling for spring-term classes in November, summer-term classes in March/April, and fall-term classes in April. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisors or advising groups (contact information is listed in Student Center) for help choosing courses that fit their academic goals. Advisors’ schedules get tight during these enrollment times, so students should plan ahead. Before enrollment, it’s good practice for students to check Student Center to confirm that there are no “holds” on their academic records. Holds can be related to many things, including library fines, tuition payments, or simply the need to meet with an advisor. Some holds will not allow class enrollments until they are cleared.
Textbooks and Class Materials
Instructors may require specific textbooks, photocopied course packets of selected readings, or other materials such as lab equipment and art supplies. There isn’t one single place where all instructors list all materials. Students should look for email messages from instructors before the start of class, as some instructors use email to send the list of required materials. When instructors have finished selecting required textbooks and other materials, students can find that information in a few places:
• The Course Search & Enroll app and My Course Guide (find the Course Guide widget in MyUW), which show textbook information in the “Sections” detail panel of many classes.
• The Textbooks and My Courses widgets in MyUW.
• The Academics tab of Student Center (find the Student Center widget in MyUW).
Campus libraries have many course materials reserved for short-term loan. Course packets are available at various campus copy shops.
The UW–Madison Libraries rank among the top research libraries in North America. Librarians provide students with on-demand research assistance in person and via chat, text, and phone. Instructional tutorials and workshops also assist students during all stages of the research process. Libraries provide free access to equipment (e.g., laptops, cameras) and a variety of spaces for all types of study needs.
The Division of Information Technology (DoIT) provides technology services to UW–Madison. The Help Desk provides expert advice, support, and repairs. DoIT offers dozens of no-cost or discounted software packages for students and provides tech classes and training sessions and campus email and calendar support. There are also 2,000-plus computers across campus available for use in infolabs.