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University Of Wisconsin Madison Computer Science Acceptance Rate

Last Updated on November 13, 2022 by Fola Shade

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the best public universities in the country. You can get a computer science degree there, and it’s not too hard to get into!

The acceptance rate for Computer Science has been around 60% over the last 5 years. If you have a solid GPA and SAT score, you should be able to get accepted.

However, if you think you might want to apply to other schools as well, check out our guide on how to get into Purdue University’s Computer Science program

Twenty years ago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison was hardly a hot-ticket destination for stellar students from all over the country/world. While always a popular and sound choice for locals, only 17,727 teens applied for a chance to become Badgers back in 2001 and 12,791, or 72%, were ultimately accepted. That year, the 75th percentile standardized test scores among attending freshmen were 1350 on the SAT and 29 on the ACT. Today, those scores, while strong, would barely place you in the average range of admitted students–a select group that is chosen from a pool of almost 46,000 highly-qualified seniors.

In 2015, the state legislature increased the university’s allowable cap on out-of-state enrollment, which had previously limited nonresidents to a maximum of 27.5% of the undergraduate population. The impact was immediate and dramatic. By the start of the 2019-20 school year, just 50.3% of freshmen were Wisconsin residents, with thousands flocking to Madison from all 50 U.S. states and 87 countries from around the globe.

Given this increased desirability and selectivity at UW-Madison, the intent of this article is to give those considering applying to the university:

1) An understanding of what you are up against.

2) More data on which to accurately assess your chances of admission.

3) Advice for how to get your application to UW-Madison stand out, even against other superb applicants, particularly for those applying from out-of-state.

To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:

  • UW-Madison’s Class of 2024 acceptance rate
  • SAT, GPA, and class rank of accepted Wisconsin applicants
  • Admissions trends from the Class of 2024
  • UW- Madison’s system for rating applicants
  • A look at the demographics of current UW-Madison undergraduates
  • The percent of accepted students that attend UW-Madison (yield rate)
  • Tips for applying to the University of Wisconsin
  • How to assess whether applying to UW-Madison is even worth the $60 application fee (for you)

Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.

UW-Madison Acceptance Rate – Class of 2024

There were an all-time high of 45,941 applications for admission into the Badger Class of 2024. In-state applicants were admitted at a healthy 73% rate, while non-residents gained admission at a 53.8% clip. In the previous cycle, Class of 2023 applicants were admitted at a 54% rate overall, with an in-state admit rate of 68%.

UW-Madison Admissions – SAT, GPA, and Class Rank

According to the most recent statistics available (Class of 2023), the mid-50% SAT range for enrolled freshman was 1330-1450; the ACT range was 27-32. Only 28% of applicants submitted an SAT score while 79% included an ACT result in their application. The average ACT score was 29 and the mean SAT score earned was 1386. Among enrolled 2019-20 first-year students, an impressive 57% hailed from the top 10%, while 90% earned a place in the top 25%. The average unweighted high school GPA was 3.87; an astonishing 43% of entering freshmen possessed above a 4.0. Under 5% of the Class of 2024 earned lower than a 3.5 cumulative GPA.

Admissions Trends & Notes (Class of 2024)

  • The Class of 2024 was made-up of 7,306 freshmen, down from 7,550 the prior year.
  • The number of applicants to the Class of 2024 rose 4.6% from the previous cycle.
  • New students included representatives from 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.
  • The University of Wisconsin admitted 73% of in-state applicants into the 2020-21 freshman cohort versus 68% into the 2019-20 class.
  • The 989 underrepresented domestic students of color represented an increase of 19.8% from the Class of 2023.

How UW-Madison Rates Applicants

UW-Madison considers only two factors as “very important” to the admissions process: rigor of high school course load and application essays. Items that are “important” as part of the admissions process are: GPA, standardized test scores, recommendations, and state residency. “Considered” factors are: class rank, extracurricular activities, character/personal qualities, talent/ability, first-generation status, and work/volunteer experience.

The UW-Madison admission staff reads every application carefully and, in their own words, “We don’t use formulas or charts. We read each application thoroughly, one by one.” In reviewing each applicant, they focus first on “academic excellence and preparation.” Straight from the admissions office: “Beyond academics, we look for qualities such as leadership, contributions to your community, and achievement in the arts, athletics, and other areas. We’re also seeking diversity in personal background and experience and your potential for positive contribution to the Wisconsin community.”

It is also worth highlighting that recruited athletes enjoy a huge edge. This is because UW-Madison takes great pride in their 23 NCAA Division I sports teams. Overall, approximately 900 student-athletes are presently attending the university.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public university known for its strong research reputation. Popular majors at UW-Madison include computer science, economics, biology, finance, and psychology. In this post, we’ll cover basic admission statistics for UW-Madison and you can increase your chances of admission.

How Hard Is It to Get Into University of Wisconsin-Madison?

During Fall 2020, the University of Wisconsin-Madison received 53,800 applications which jumped nearly 17% from the previous year, and the acceptance rate was 54.5% in 2020. 

Although UW-Madison is competitive, your personal chances of acceptance may be higher or lower depending on several factors including your test scores, grades, extracurriculars, and diversity profile.

Average Academic Profile of Accepted UW-Madison Students


The average high school GPA of admitted students was 3.87 in 2020.


In 2020, the 25th percentile SAT score was 1300 and the 75th percentile was 1440. For the ACT, the 25th percentile was a score of 27 and 75th percentile was 32. 27% of applicants submitted an SAT score, and 78% submitted an ACT score. UW-Madison is now test optional until 2023.

Class Rank

51% of admitted students were in the top 10% of their graduating class, and 88% in the top 25%.

What is UW-Madison Looking for? 

UW-Madison admissions look for students who are strong academically and who are involved in their communities. Besides taking AP, Honors, or IB classes, students can differentiate themselves from other applicants by demonstrating that they are leaders through extracurriculars, work experience, and personal interests. Applicants should write essays that showcase this experience and discuss how their interests are aligned with UW-Madison and how they can contribute to the university’s community.

How UW-Madison Evaluates Applications

According to the UW-Madison’s Common Data Set, the factors below are considered “very important”

  • Rigor of secondary school record
  • Application essay

These factors are “important”:

  • Academic GPA
  • Recommendation
  • State residency

These are “considered” : 

  • Class rank
  • Standardized test scores
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Talent/ability
  • Character/personal qualities
  • First generation
  • Racial/ethnic status
  • Volunteer work
  • Work experience

These are “not considered” : 

  • Interview
  • Alumni/ae relation
  • Geographical residence
  • Level of applicant’s interest

Who Gets Into UW-Madison?

Let’s look at the demographics of current undergrads (2020-21 school year):

  • In-State: 62%
  • Out-of-State: 38%

Note, however, that the percentage of in-state students has been decreasing with each successive freshman class in recent years.

The greatest number of current undergrads hail from the following states:

  • Wisconsin: 17,078
  • Illinois: 2,940
  • Minnesota: 2,803
  • California: 1,060
  • New York: 876

Among non-residents, competition is stiffest among those hailing from states with endless streams of qualified applicants (the entire Northeast & the West Coast). If you hail from the Deep South like Alabama (6 current undergrads) or Mississippi (5 current undergrads) or a less-populated state like Wyoming (4 current undergrads) or North Dakota (5 current undergrads), your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances at UW-Madison.

Within the state, the high schools producing the most current Badgers are:

  • Middleton High School: 102
  • Arrowhead High School: 86
  • West High School: 75
  • Brookfield Central High School: 69
  • James Madison Memorial High School: 62
  • Verona Area High School: 61
  • Brookfield East High School: 58
  • Homestead High School: 53
  • Madison East High School: 53

Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Caucasian/White: 69%
  • Asian American: 7%
  • Hispanic: 5%
  • African American: 2%
  • International: 10%

Current international students are citizens of the following countries:

  • China: 55%
  • India: 8%
  • South Korea: 6%
  • Malaysia: 5%
  • UAE: 2%
  • Taiwan: 2%

Looking at the gender breakdown, the university presently enrolls more women than men:

  • Men: 48%
  • Women: 52%

Interestingly, women enjoy a higher acceptance rate (57%) than men (51%).

UW-Madison’s “Yield Rate”

UW-Madison’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted is 32%. This figure is significantly lower than other powerhouse state universities like the University of Michigan (45%), UVA (43%), and UCLA (37%).

Tips for Applying to UW-Madison

If you plan on joining the 45,000+ UW-Madison hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • You can apply using either the Common Application or the UW System Application.
  • UW-Madison does not use interviews as part of their evaluation process.
  • The university does not officially grant any favor to children of alumni, however, recent data reveals that legacy students enjoy an acceptance rate 20% higher than non-legacies.
  • UW-Madison does not consider “demonstrated interest” so you will not be judged on whether or not you made a campus visit, contacted an admissions officer, etc.
  • Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental essay required by UW-Madison. In the 2020-21 cycle, the prompt was as follows:

1) Tell us why you would like to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In addition, please include why you are interested in studying the major(s) you have selected. If you selected undecided, please describe your areas of possible academic interest.

CT Advice: This is an opportunity to truthfully explain why you feel the University of Wisconsin-Madison is your ideal postsecondary home. You can reference non-academic factors, but don’t forget to also address your future major or potential area(s) of academic concentration. This write-up may include particular classes you wish to take, professors you wish to study under, specific research and internship opportunities, or study abroad programs.

Should I Apply to UW-Madison?

Those with SAT/ACT scores within the mid-50% mark for UW-Madison who are also at the very top of their respective high school class are absolutely viable candidates to UW-Madison. If you live in Wisconsin, your road to acceptance will be much smoother than if you are an out-of-state or international applicant. You will need to bring forward even better academic credentials if you do not hail from the Badger State. Of course, it goes without saying that all teens applying to a school of the University of Wisconsin’s ilk also need to also have a proper mix or “target” and “safety” schools on their college list.