How to Get into University of Wisconsin Madison: SAT and ACT Scores, GPA and More

how to get into university of Wisconsin Madison - image by Magoosh

If you’ve ever been to Madison, chances are that the University of Wisconsin-Madison charmed you. Perched on the lakefront, the school’s campus is full of bright leaves in the fall, snow (lots of snow!) in the winter, and tons of greenery in the spring. But UW is so much more than that. From its famously activist student body to its Big Ten sports, there’s something at the university for everyone.

In this post, we’ll look at what you need to know about University of Wisconsin-Madison admissions and how to get into University of Wisconsin-Madison: University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT scores, University of Wisconsin-Madison ACT scores, and more!

How do you get into University of Wisconsin-Madison? Take a look at the basic stats.

University of Wisconsin-Madison at a Glance

University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT Scores (middle 50%)1310-1490
University of Wisconsin-Madison ACT Scores (middle 50%)27-32
University of Wisconsin-Madison admissions rate54%
University of Wisconsin-Madison GPA average (average) 3.9

University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT Scores

What do the SAT scores look like for students accepted at the University of Wisconsin? As you can see in the above chart, the middle 50% of University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT scores range from 1310-1490. In other words, 25% of admitted students scored below a composite (overall) score of 1310, and 25% scored above a 1490.

What does this look like by section?

Math 680-780
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing630-710

This table tells us even more about University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT scores. University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT scores in math are significantly higher than the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores, with the middle 50% between 680 and 780 (compared to 630 and 710). Does this mean that you can’t get into the University of Wisconsin if your Math score is lower than your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score? No! All it does is give a snapshot of the average UW student.

What if your scores are significantly different in each section—for example, if you have a 760 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing but a 550 in Math? This puts you within the middle 50% of University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT scores at 1310, but with an astronomical Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score and an about average Math score. If this is the case for you, you might consider retaking the exam (changing your Math study plan in the meantime).

While it’s not uncommon for students to score higher in one section than another, the median University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT scores are pretty even, so it’s a good idea to balance out your application by moving your scores in both sections as high as possible.

University of Wisconsin-Madison ACT Scores

What can you expect to see in University of Wisconsin-Madison ACT scores? If you’ve looked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT scores, the University of Wisconsin-Madison ACT scores won’t shock you. The overall composite ACT scores (middle 50%) are 27-32. Here’s a breakdown by section.

Section25th Percentile75th Percentile
English 2734

We can infer a few things from this data, particularly with the above composite scores. First of all, note that University of Wisconsin-Madison ACT scores are slightly higher in Math than in English—similar to the school’s SAT scores. However, the ACT English scores have a wider range, with the top 25% of students scoring above 34 in English, whereas the top 25% of students scored above 32 in Math.

In other words? University of Wisconsin-Madison ACT scores vary a bit more than their SAT scores do. And, because the school (like most) accepts both tests, it’s a good idea to see which test suits you before proceeding with prep—it could give you an admissions advantage!

University of Wisconsin-Madison Admissions Rate

The University of Wisconsin-Madison admissions rate is 54%. What does this mean for you? Overall, applicants have about a one in two chance of being accepted. However, the higher your grades, class rank, and test scores are, the better your chances of getting a (now largely metaphorical) fat envelope.

What else can you do to increase your chances of being part of the54% University of Wisconsin-Madison acceptance rate? Ashley C. at Transizion recommends distinguishing yourself outside of the classroom, which could boost your application even if you don’t have top-notch test scores or GPA:

uw madison sat scores uw madison act scores how to get into uw madison admissions advice from ashley -magoosh

“While grades and class rank are important at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, admissions officers also look for applicants who give of themselves and learn both inside and outside the classroom.
Participate in community service opportunities that you’re passionate about, and pursue your academic interests in your free time as well. This could include signing up for an extra course, designing your own projects or experiments, attending camps, completing internships or job shadowing, or simply reading every book or watching every video you can on a topic.

Prior to working on your application to Wisconsin-Madison, make a list of all the ways you’ve given back to your community (whether it’s your neighborhood, school, church, or another community you value). If you’ve also had leadership experience while volunteering, even better!

Then, list the ways you pursue your academic interests outside of school. Try to hone in on one or two key areas of interest so that your application can tell a ‘story’ of deep engagement with your unique passions.

You’ll be able to demonstrate these qualities through:

  • Two essays
  • Activities/employment summary
  • One letter of recommendation

Show the admissions team that you’re community-oriented and self-motivated, and you’ll demonstrate that you’re a great fit for Wisconsin-Madison.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison GPA Average

Before anything else, let’s talk about what we mean by GPA. Your GPA (Grade Point Average) takes your grades and expresses them in terms of a 0.00-4.00 scale. On this scale, an A is worth four points, a B is worth 3, a C is worth 2, and a D is worth 1. University of Wisconsin-Madison GPA average? 3.9 on the 4.0 scale.

That’s pretty high. It translates to mostly As with a handful of Bs. Depending on where you are in your high school career, there may or may not be anything you can do to improve your GPA at this point. However, even if you’re not going to receive any more grades before you apply to the University of Wisconsin, it’s important to keep in mind that there are still parts of your application that you can influence: your essays, letters of recommendation, and test scores.

In an ideal world, would your GPA be in the vicinity of 3.9 before you apply to the University of Wisconsin-Madison? Sure. But if you’re slightly below this and UW’s your dream school, should you still apply? Definitely!

University of Wisconsin-Madison Freshman Profile

Beyond the test scores and GPAs, what does the University of Wisconsin-Madison freshman look like? First of all, the school has around 30,000 undergrads—so if you’re worried about fitting in, don’t be. No matter what you’re interested in, chances are someone else at UW is interested in it, too!

How to get into University of Wisconsin-Madison and become part of the next freshman class? In terms of class ranking, 57% of freshman ranked in the top 10% of their high school class. Grades, class rank, and curriculum were the most important factors in admissions, followed by test scores (and then essays and letters of recommendation).


How many years of foreign language is required for University of Wisconsin-Madison admissions?

Most admitted students study a foreign language for three to four years—and Rosetta Stone based courses don’t count! If you were educated in a language other than English through at least eighth grade, you’ve already satisfied the foreign language requirement.

Does University of Wisconsin-Madison admissions superscore?

Unfortunately, no. (A superscore is a combination of your highest sectional scores from different dates of the ACT or SAT.) If you’re worried that your test scores are well below the University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT scores or University of Wisconsin-Madison ACT scores range, you might consider taking the exam again.

What is the University of Wisconsin ranked?

The U.S. News and World Report’s most recent rankings have UW-Madison ranking 42nd among national universities. This is based on so much (including University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT scores and University of Wisconsin-Madison ACT scores, but also taking into account many, many other factors). Not too shabby!

How to Get Into University of Wisconsin-Madison

How to get into University of Wisconsin-Madison? The most important aspect of University of Wisconsin-Madison admissions is your high school performance: your GPA, your courses, and your class rank.

However, making sure that your scores fall within the University of Wisconsin-Madison SAT score range or the University of Wisconsin-Madison ACT score range will really help your shot at University of Wisconsin-Madison admissions. (Whether you go for the SAT or the ACT, you can study with Magoosh with a guaranteed improvement to your score.)

Finally, emphasizing your work within the community in your application will also help. At the end of the day, put together the best application you can, know why you want to go there, and make this shine through!

Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

magoosh logo checks


  • Rachel Kapelke-Dale

    Rachel is a Magoosh Content Creator. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. As a test-prep instructor for more than five years in there different countries, Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her novel, THE BALLERINAS, is forthcoming in December 2021 from St. Martin's Press, while her memoir, GRADUATES IN WONDERLAND, co-written with Jessica Pan, was published in 2014 by Penguin Random House. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn't strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. Join her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

2 Responses to How to Get into University of Wisconsin Madison: SAT and ACT Scores, GPA and More

  1. Gabriella Smith March 4, 2020 at 5:17 am #

    I am interested in majoring in Business Administration.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 6, 2020 at 1:30 pm #

      Congrats, Gabriella! I’ll note that we are a test prep company and aren’t actually affiliated with UW Madison–we just try to provide information that our students will find helpful. If you are looking for help to ace your admissions tests, check out our Premium programs 🙂

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply