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Direct Admit for the top 5% of Every WI Graduating Class

If you are a Wisconsin high school student in the top 5% of your graduating class, you will now be guaranteed admission to University of Wisconsin-Madison. And, if you’re in the top 10%, you will be guaranteed admission to any of the other Universities of Wisconsin campuses.

Earlier this week, Wisconsin Governor, Tony Evers, signed a bill establishing a guaranteed admission program to the state’s flagship university. Evers stated that the bill is part of an effort to “keep our state’s homegrown talent right here in Wisconsin.”

What does this mean for students and high schools?

  • High schools will be required to create “a method for ranking pupils on the basis of academic achievement.” Ranking systems may include:
    • GPA (grade point average)
    • ACT examination score
    • Course work
    • And “other measures of academic achievement or scholastic merit”
  • Established ranking systems must provide a rank by the end of a student’s 11th grade year and 12th grade. 
  • Applicants must still submit a UW-Madison application by the deadline.
  • Students directly admitted as part of the new law must maintain their academic standing and graduate in order to matriculate. 

How will this affect admission to UW-Madison?

Generally speaking, this bill is likely to have no more than a small effect on admissions. In-state students who were in the top 5% of their class were already being admitted to UW-Madison at very high rates

As with most laws, the true impact will not be clear until its implementation. How will high schools begin crafting their rankings? Will they weight their rankings, giving extra value to AP and honors courses? Will they consider ACT scores, either as part of the ranking or as tie-breaking? Will students be able to see their ranking in real time? 


We are consulting with local school administrators and members of UW-Madison’s admissions team to learn more about the implications of the UW-Madison direct admit policy. 

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