The Parent and Family Program recognizes that UW–Madison families are as diverse as our students. Below we provide specific resources for families of students from a variety of backgrounds, including first-year students, transfer students, first-generation college students, out-of-state students, and recent graduates. Whether your family identifies with one or multiple of these categories, we hope this information is helpful to you and your student.
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The transition from high school to college is an important milestone in the life of your student. While every student is different, we offer advice and conversation starters to help you anticipate things that your student may experience and provide the tools for you to provide support through this transition. The following resources may also be helpful to you as your new student begins to navigate college life.
Welcome Newsletter (PDF)
The Badger Parent Welcome print newsletter is mailed to all registered families of incoming students and posted online. It provides an introduction to the Parent and Family Program and information on orientation, college finances, and how your family can stay connected to your student and the Madison community.
The Badger Parent e-newsletter is emailed five times per year (twice per semester and once over the summer) to registered families of UW students as well as subscribers. The e-newsletter provides important and timely campus information, including news items, year-by-year conversation starters, and handy tips and resources to help you encourage your student’s success.
The Center for the First-Year Experience (CFYE) office offers a variety of programs designed to help freshmen and new transfer students make the transition to UW–Madison. Formal programming includes Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR), Wisconsin Welcome (start-of-semester events and involvement opportunities), and the Transfer Transition Program.
The first year of college is often the first time your student will experience living away from home or sharing a room. Although what students choose to bring often comes down to personal preference, we have outlined some suggestions for what to bring to campus. Keep in mind that after moving in, students can always purchase or bring additional items from home. Finally, they should remember that along with packing essentials, they should bring a sense of self, a sense of purpose, and a sense of humor.
First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) are designed to help first-year students transition to UW–Madison both academically and socially. A FIG is a learning community of about 20 students with similar interests who enroll together in a cluster of classes that are linked by a common theme.
Having a student who is the first member of a family to attend college brings a great sense of pride. UW–Madison believes that academic and career success is possible for students of all backgrounds. We support first-generation college students and their families throughout the college experience through the resources below.
UW–Madison’s Working Class Student Union (WCSU) supports and advocates for working class and first-generation college students and educates the entire UW–Madison community on the benefits of recognizing and celebrating class diversity.
The Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO) provides a supportive learning environment for students from various backgrounds. CeO assists first-generation college students, students from low-income families, and students with disabilities through academic coaching, mentoring, academic and career advising, and structured first- and second-year experiences.
The McNair Scholars Program is dedicated to preparing low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented undergraduate students for graduate education. McNair Scholars engage in research opportunities, attend research conferences, receive one-on-one academic counseling, participate in professional development workshops, and attend seminars on all aspects of graduate school, including the application process.
Sending your student to a new country is an exciting process that comes with its own set of questions. The UW international student population is among the largest of any university in the country, and our campus recognizes the essential contributions international students make to our community. Below are resources for you and your student.
This FAQ provides information in English about specific resources and organizations for international students, visiting Madison, the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), obtaining a Social Security number, scholarships, what your student can expect in the classroom, and much more.
The UW–Madison International Student Services office provides direct support through academic advising, documentation assistance, and sponsored events. The office’s interactive online guide offers information about visa and immigration issues, academics, employment, student life, and more.
The BRIDGE international friendship program connects students from over 30+ different countries with U.S. students to assist with the initial adjustment to the university, to the new culture, and to build meaningful friendships. It is also an opportunity to become a part of an engaging and positive community composed of U.S. and international students.
UW–Madison is home to students from all over the world — and all 50 states. Questions may arise during your student’s transition to a new, and perhaps unfamiliar, place.
Reference information about parking, traveling to and from Madison, moped safety, buses, biking, car sharing, and maps and directions.
Explore a seasonal guide to Madison, the surrounding natural landscape, and campus beauty, along with a host of things to see and do all year long.
Initial residence determinations for tuition purposes at UW–Madison are made by the Office of the Registrar’s Residence Counselors, based on the provisions of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2). In general, one must be a bona fide resident of Wisconsin for at least 12 months prior to enrollment to be eligible for in-state tuition.
Students coming to UW–Madison from a long distance sometimes utilize storage options, especially those who plan to return home during the summer.
Walking, biking, and busing are the most convenient ways to navigate campus. While discouraged, some students choose to bring their cars to school. Students who need to register a car in Wisconsin or obtain a Wisconsin driver’s license should visit the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Students who transfer to UW–Madison may already have a good sense of what college life is like, but learning the landscape of UW–Madison can present new challenges. Transfer students make up nearly a quarter of the UW’s undergraduate student body and are active throughout campus. Several resources are designed to specifically support transfer students throughout their time in college.
Whether a student is preparing to transfer or has already enrolled at UW–Madison, the Transfer Transition Program can help smooth the way. The program’s primary goal is to improve academic and personal outcomes for transfer students by encouraging and supporting positive academic and social engagement. The office provides numerous services including:
- The Transfer Ambassador Program, which connects new transfer students with a Transfer Ambassador to help facilitate the adjustment to UW–Madison.
- The opportunity to schedule pre-transfer advising appointments.
- Information for prospective, newly admitted, and current transfer students.
After your student has been admitted and confirmed an intent to enroll, the Office of Admissions and Recruitment will perform an official evaluation of transfer credits. The office’s transfer course equivalency database and guidelines assist students who wish to evaluate how their courses may transfer.
Whether you’ve stayed connected to UW–Madison or you’re rediscovering your Badger pride as a Badger family, there are many ways to engage with the university.
The Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA), founded in 1861 to promote the welfare of the UW and serve the interests of its alumni, helps graduates from around the world (and their families) stay connected to their alma mater.
Visit the WAA website to learn more about the benefits of being a member and membership opportunities, and explore 100-plus alumni chapters and affiliates that host events throughout the year, including Badger Student Send-Offs for families.