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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.

Click the plus (+) icons to read details about each step.



Steps Timing


Application for fall 2021 admission will open on September 2, 2020.
Application always opens the first day of classes.

  • Applicant Submits Application
    • Applicant receives email to activate their application account that they just created.  View a sample of this email.

    • After submitting the application, applicant receives an email confirming successful submission.  View a sample of this email.

    • A campus ID is generated by SIS that evening and an email containing the campus ID number is sent to the applicant the next day. The upload runs Monday through Saturday in the PM. Those who apply on Sunday will not receive an email until Tuesday morning.    View a sample of this email.

    • Applicant will appear in SIS after the nightly upload.

Programs set their own application deadlines by term.
Most fall deadlines are late December or January.

Onboarding emails begin in late May. First is a welcome from the Dean.
Matriculation date is June 8, 2020 for fall 2020.  Usually this is 2 weeks before enrollment.

  • Graduate School matriculates applicant, becomes student
    • The last step of the admissions process is matriculation.  Matriculation occurs two weeks before the enrollment appointment date.  At this point, admission panels grey out so admission staff can no longer make changes.  The admissions stack is made available to the Registrar’s office so they know who is coming. The Registrar’s office runs term activation, which is the eligible to enroll file. 

    • At term activation 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 to them about this.

    • The Office of the Registrar posts the enrollment appointment dates on their website.  View the Office of the Registrar's email that is sent at matriculation.  

    • 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.

Second onboarding email sent in late June.
Enrollment date is June 22, 2020, varies slightly each year.
ISS emails new international students several times; for example, in 2018, July 12, July 27, August 3, and August 21.
New Graduate Student Welcome (TBD whether in-person or online, due to COVID-19) invitation sent July 14, 2020, reminder August 11.

  • 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!  All campus resources are available to them.


Early August UHS emails notification about Violence Prevention training.
New Graduate Student Welcome (TBD whether in-person or online, due to COVID-19) is the Wednesday before fall semester begins.




See also: FAQs from International Student Services (ISS)


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. For example, the 2020-2021 FAFSA became available October 1, 2019. Students could then submit that FAFSA throughout the entire academic year the funding is for. This means a graduate student first attending during the 2020-2021 academic year could wait until April 2021 to submit their FAFSA and still get financial aid for the 2020-2021 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.







Keywords:Flowchart flow chart admissions processes communication new admits applicant recruitment steps procedure   Doc ID:84285
Owner:Alissa E.Group:Graduate School
Created:2018-07-25 13:36 CSTUpdated:2020-05-04 21:26 CST
Sites:Graduate School
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