Admissions and New Student Communication

This resource provides an overview of admissions steps, timeline, and various communication that new fall semester admits receive from the university. The steps and timing are relevant to spring and summer admits too, although dates will be different.

The fall application for admission always becomes available on the first day of classes for the following fall.

Applicant submits application

Programs set their own application deadlines by term. Most fall deadlines are between mid-November and mid-January.

Program reviews application

  • In the Applicant Center, it states that the application is under review.
  • Applicant will not receive any communication from the Graduate School until the program recommends for admission.

Program recommends applicant for admission

  • After the program enters a recommendation code, the system will automatically add a “Missing Official Transcripts” code and an email is sent instructing the applicant to provide official transcripts.
  • If an applicant already has official transcripts in the admission system (e.g. if applicant sent official transcripts early), they will not receive the “Missing Official Transcripts” code or email. Graduate School staff will determine if the applicant needs to submit additional documentation and will manually send the official transcript email.
  • Once a program recommends an applicant for admission, the applicant will be able to accept or deny the program recommendation in the application system.

Applicant sends official transcript

  • When official transcripts are received by the Graduate School, they are uploaded in the application system as document type “official transcript”.
  • Once official transcripts are uploaded in the application system, it will take the Graduate School up to three weeks of processing time. Transcripts are processed in the order in which they are received.

Graduate School admits applicant

  • Admission is not complete until the Graduate School makes the official admission decision.
  • If official documents do not show a posted degree and conferral date, applicants receive an email stating official admission and asking for final transcripts which need to be sent before the first day of class.
  • If official documents show posted degree and conferral date, applicants receive an email of official admission. No more documentation is needed from the Graduate School.
  • International Students: Once the applicant is officially admitted to the Graduate School, the applicant will receive an email with information regarding the I-20 process and next steps in Terra Dotta.

Onboarding emails from the Graduate School begin in May each year. First is a welcome from the Dean.

Matriculation is one week before enrollment begins.

Graduate School matriculates applicant

  • The last step of the admissions process is matriculation, which begins approximately 11 weeks before classes start.
  • Once an applicant is matriculated, the admission panels in SIS are no longer accessible to admission staff for edits.
  • The Office of the Registrar term activates matriculated applicants.
  • At term activation an O365 (WiscMail) email address is assigned. Students can begin using O365 email and calendar, which will automatically appear for them in MyUW. No notification is sent about this.
  • Once term activated, students are assigned enrollment appointment dates. The Office of the Registrar emails students listing the appointment dates.
  • The Bursar places Terms and Conditions enrollment holds, which inform graduate students of their financial responsibilities associated with enrolling for classes and explains consequences of not meeting obligations. Enrollment holds are removed automatically when students complete the agreement in their Student Center.

The second onboarding email is sent in mid/late June, just prior to the date when graduate students can begin enrolling.

ISS emails new international students several times throughout the summer.

New Graduate Student Welcome invitation is sent in mid-July and a reminder in mid-August.

Student enrolls in classes

  • Graduate students are held accountable to all Office of the Registrar and Graduate School deadlines after enrollment.
  • When students enroll in classes, they are able to get their Wiscards.
  • Students can pick up their bus pass the week before the semester begins, but must have their Wiscard first.
  • At this point they are Badgers! Campus resources are available to them.
In early August UHS emails notification about Violence Prevention training.

New Graduate Student Welcome is always the Wednesday before fall semester begins.

Other common questions:

    When are graduate students eligible for financial aid? Does the Office of Student Financial Aid contact them?

    There is no typical timing for graduate students when it comes to financial aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) becomes available each year on October 1st for the following academic year. Students could then submit that FAFSA throughout the entire academic year the funding is for. This means a graduate student first attending during the 2021-2022 academic year could wait until April 2022 to submit their FAFSA and still get financial aid for the 2021-2022 academic year.

    Many graduate students wait to submit the FAFSA until they know whether they have been awarded other funding like assistantships. Graduate students are also much more likely than undergrads to submit the FAFSA after they’ve gotten their tuition bill and sometimes even after the academic year has begun. The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) recommends that if you need financial aid for the fall tuition deadline, to have it submitted by July at the latest.  

    The OSFA does not reach out to prospective graduate students to prompt them to submit the FAFSA. They do remind continuing graduate students when the FAFSA becomes available each fall, as well as remind them of other resources the office provides.

    If a graduate student submits the FAFSA to apply for financial aid, OSFA will communicate with them in the following ways: an email PDF of the financial aid offer; and an email notification that first time federal loan borrowers are required to complete a Master Promissory Note and typically Entrance Counseling.


    When can newly admitted graduate students can apply for jobs on the Student Jobs portal?

    The Student Jobs portal is public access, so anyone can view posted positions at any time. UW-Madison students will be able apply for UW-Madison opportunities within the portal utilizing their NetID once they have enrolled at UW-Madison or by creating an account. However, HR has some more specifications for when they can begin working:

    Semester Eligibility. A student may not be employed prior to the first payroll calendar day of the student's first semester of enrollment. Summer eligibility is the only exception (see below). Students who graduate, or complete an academic semester and will not be enrolling in the following semester may continue to be employed as a Student Hourly only through the last day of the student hourly pay period of the completed semester. Students who withdraw from school during a semester are no longer eligible for Student Hourly employment as of the date of withdrawal.

    Summer Eligibility. Any student who has been accepted for fall enrollment, or is continuing in the fall semester after completion of the spring semester or is enrolled during the summer is eligible for summer employment. For non-UW–Madison students, the unit must confirm the individual’s eligibility as stated above.

    Note that each job will have different application deadlines and start dates.


    When can newly admitted graduate students access and apply for funding through the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH)?

    Anyone will have access to view the various funds offered through WiSH, but a student needs to have activated his/her NetID and password to be able to access the application and tracking portion of the website.


    KeywordsFlowchart flow chart admissions processes communication new admits applicant recruitment steps procedure email emails welcome   Doc ID84285
    OwnerAlissa E.GroupGraduate School
    Created2018-07-25 14:36:01Updated2024-07-09 14:25:55
    SitesGraduate School
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