Admissions Policies: First Year Students
Applications for admission must be submitted electronically.
Applications for the fall semester are accepted beginning September 1 of the previous year. All complete applications received by February 1 will receive full consideration for admission. After February 1, applications will be considered on a space-available basis. Applications for spring semester are accepted beginning September 1 of the fall preceding that term.
To be considered for admission, individuals must submit the following items to the Admissions Office, UW-La Crosse, 2320 Student Union, 1725 State Street, La Crosse, WI 54601 USA:
- Completed UW System application
- Official high school transcript
- Non-refundable application fee
- Official ACT or SAT scores sent directly from ACT/SAT
First year admission requirements
Applicants for admission as new first year students must satisfy the following minimum requirements to be considered:
- Graduation from a recognized high school or the equivalent.
- A recognized high school is
- Accredited by a regional accrediting association or state university
- Recognized or accredited by a state department of public instruction or its equivalent
- An applicant who has not graduated from a recognized high school must provide evidence of satisfactory completion of the requirements for a high school equivalency certificate or a diploma from a recognized high school, school system, or state department of public instruction based on the GED examination, the Wisconsin High School Equivalency Diploma, or other established criteria. Applicants from alternative educational backgrounds, including home-schooled students, should contact the Admissions Office for specific information. Additional documents, testing, and a personal interview may be required.
- A recognized high school is
- Completion of the following 17 high school credits is minimal preparation and is required for admission consideration. Applicants are strongly recommended to take advanced courses beyond the required 17 high school credits. Students admitted on the basis of a high school equivalency diploma are considered to have fulfilled these minimum subject matter requirements.
- Four credits of English.
- Three credits of mathematics, specifically algebra, advanced algebra, and geometry.
- Three credits of natural science with two credits from biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, or advanced courses in these disciplines. (Integrated Science I and II courses will be counted on a one-for-one basis.)
- Three credits of social science (i.e., anthropology, economics, history [U.S. or world], political science [civics/government], psychology, or sociology).
- Four academic credits from the above and/or in the fine arts, computer science, foreign language, or other academic areas.
Candidates for admission must satisfy requirements 1 and 2.
All applications receive a comprehensive review. Due to enrollment limitations and the competitive nature of admission to the university, admission consideration will be primarily based on rigor of courses, high school rank, grade point average, and ACT/SAT scores. While academic preparation is the primary criterion used in the admissions review process, other non-academic secondary factors may contribute to the strength of an application. These may include qualities such as demonstrated leadership, extracurricular involvement, special talent, personal statement, recommendations, and/or adding a diverse dimension to our campus community.
The following is a general profile of our admitted first years for fall 2016. This is reported for the middle 50% range, so 25% of admitted first years fall above this range and 25% of admitted first years fall below this range.
- Class Rank: 69th to 90th percentile
- ACT Composite: 23 - 26
First year candidates for admission must take the ACT or the SAT. Scores must be sent to the Admissions Office directly from ACT or SAT. No admission decision will be made until official scores are received. High school students are recommended to take the exam in the spring of their junior year or early in their senior year.
Information concerning the test dates, locations, fees, and application information may be obtained from any high school guidance office or by visiting the university's Counseling and Testing Center. The ACT/SAT requirement may be waived for non-traditional students.
Mathematics and English placement
Placement into the appropriate level of English and mathematics courses is determined by using scores earned on the University of Wisconsin Placement Exams and the ACT/SAT. Students cannot take classes above their placement level. Course registration in either discipline is limited to those students who have demonstrated their competency through the examinations. ENG 050 Fundamentals of Composition (3 cr.) and MTH 050 Basic Algebra (3 cr.) and MTH 051 Topics in Intermediate Algebra (2 cr.) are courses designed for students whose test scores indicate a low probability for success in college-level courses. Any student may enroll in ENG 050 or MTH 050 or MTH 051, but if the student needs ENG 050 and/or MTH 050 or MTH 051, the students must complete the requirement(s) prior to earning 30 degree credits. Placement exam results expire two years from the date of the exam, after which the placement exam must be retaken.
Concurrent high school/UWL enrollment, Youth Options, and Course Options
UWL offers enrollment options to high school students who wish to pursue university course work while completing their studies in high school. Applicants must have completed at least the ninth grade and preferably the eleventh grade before entering the university. Special admission is granted only to those highly qualified applicants who demonstrate that they can benefit from entrance into college.
The Youth Options (Wisconsin Act 27) Program stipulates that qualified Wisconsin high school juniors and seniors may attend post secondary institutions and the school districts may be responsible for tuition and fees for the course(s) if a student has exhausted all high school course work in the educational disciplines for which they plan to enroll.
The Course Options (2013 Wisconsin Act 20) Program stipulates that qualified Wisconsin high school students enrolled in a public school district may attend post secondary institutions and the school districts may be responsible for tuition and fees for the course(s).
Registration for courses as a high school student is subject to course, program, and institutional enrollment limits.
Admission requirements for concurrent high school/UWL enrollment
- High school seniors must rank in the upper 25% of their high school class or score in the upper 10% on the ACT/SAT (26 or higher ACT composite score or SAT of 1240 in Critical Reading + Math). High school sophomores and juniors must rank in the upper 10% of their high school class. (Youth Options does not include sophomores.)
- Completion of appropriate preparatory high school course work for college courses.
- A personal interview may be required for sophomore candidates.
Application procedures for concurrent high school/UWL enrollment
- Submit a UW System application. Students apply as a "special non-degree" student. The application fee is not required.
- Submit a completed High School/UW-La Crosse Enrollment information sheet.
- Submit an official high school transcript and, if applicable, ACT/SAT scores.
- UW Placement Test scores and AP Test scores (if applicable) must be submitted for math, modern languages, or English courses.
All required materials (1-4) should be sent to the Admissions Office. The mailing address is Admissions Office, 1725 State Street, La Crosse, WI 54601 USA.
Credit by examination and retroactive credit
Students may earn university credit through a variety of options. For specific information, admitted students should contact the Admissions Office and continuing students should contact the college or school in which they are enrolled.
The five options are:
- Advanced Placement Program: Students who have participated in the College Board Advanced Placement program (AP) in high school and have received scores of 3, 4, or 5 will receive academic credit. Transcripts of your AP scores must be submitted directly from the College Board to the Admissions Office for evaluation to determine how academic credit will be awarded.
- College Level Examination Program: The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a national program administered through the College Board. UW-La Crosse follows the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines and recommendations for minimum scores for awarding credit in all subject examinations. Transcripts must be submitted directly from the College Board to the Admissions Office.
- Departmental Credit by Exam: Each academic department will have on file an examination for credit for each course the department determines to be introductory, including courses applicable to the skills component of the General Education Program.
- Retroactive Credit: Three departments (Computer Science, Modern Languages, and Mathematics) offer retroactive credit for previous course work.
- International Baccalaureate: Credit will be granted for "Higher Level" examinations with a score of 4 or greater. Transcripts must be submitted directly from IB to the Admissions Office.
See the Admissions Office for more information on specific types of credit by examination and retroactive credit. Some departments include more information on their department pages in regard to their own policy and procedures.
UWL has specific academic policies regarding how credit by examination and retroactive credit is earned and recorded on a student's transcript. For the full university policy, see the academic polices section.