Student taking only class from home.

International Student Summer Institute (ISSI)

At UW–Madison, we want to ease your transition to American university life. The International Student Summer Institute (ISSI) allows you to enroll at UW–Madison several weeks ahead of the fall semester. You will take an online English course to help improve your academic English skills and become familiar with UW–Madison.

Your course

The three-credit course English as a Second Language 113: Academic Reading and Writing will help you improve your speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills that are essential to your academic success at UW–Madison. The class meets Monday through Friday, 8–10 a.m. Central Time, from dates TBD. You will learn strategies for reading academic texts, learn about and practice what is expected for academic writing, build vocabulary and note-taking skills, learn to engage as an active participant in discussion sections, work on a short research paper, and generally grow more comfortable in the atmosphere of an American university classroom. It is a rigorous course and you will be required to study and complete homework every day.

Program at a glance

Application is closed for 2021
Who: Incoming international freshmen
When: Dates TBD
Where: Online together 8–10 a.m. Central Time
Cost: $4,967

Meet your instructor

ISSI instructor Mary Wang

Mary Wang

I’ve been teaching English since 1977 when I first worked with Hmong refugees in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. After earning my B.S. in English Literature with a Certificate in TEFLA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980, I taught EFL at Nanjing University in China and at businesses, factories and private language schools  in Kobe and Tokyo, Japan for 12 years. I got a Royal Society of Arts Diploma in TEFLA (with distinction) in 1989 and my MA in ESL from the University of Hawai’i-Manoa in 1995. I’ve been teaching ESL at UW–Madison since 1995. I’m especially interested in teaching academic writing and public speaking, training teaching assistants, exploring issues of text ownership and doing cross-cultural training. I love biking Madison’s great bike trails, reading and ice-skating. Come join me! 

Your Badger community

Due to Covid-19, some of the typical on-campus experiences will not be possible for the Institute. However, this will still be an opportunity to meet new friends and strengthen those relationships before you meet on campus in the fall semester. You will also become familiar with campus resources, and take virtual tours of some of those resources. You will learn specifics about opportunities that await you in September, including bonfires and cookouts, outdoor recreation, and visits to local attractions. You will also find out about how to enjoy the UW–Madison’s athletic facilities as well as local art, theater and music events – many of which will be free to you as a UW student.

Top reasons to attend


Advance your English communication skills.


Adjust to American academic culture.


Become familiar with campus resources.


Meet new people, make new friends.


Get comfortable with learning technologies.

Agriculture Hall on a sunny summer day

Application and admission

Thank you for your interest in ISSI. The Institute is open to incoming international freshmen who have accepted an offer of admission to UW–Madison for fall 2021. Space is limited, apply early for best consideration.

Step 1: ISSI requires students to participate in online synchronous learning from dates TBD, 8-10 a.m. Central Time. Please use this tool to take this into consideration if you live in another time zone.

Step 2: Accept your offer of admission to UWMadison.

Step 3: Apply

Step 4: Summer Term coordinators will notify you about the status of your application within two weeks of applying.

Additional Information

Placement Testing:
ISSI participants will take the UW–Madison English as a Second Language Assessment Test (ESLAT) during the program. ISSI participants are strongly encouraged to complete other required placement tests before the first day of ISSI.

ISSI participants are asked to sign up for Session 0830: dates TBD.

Student studying on laptop

Important 2022 dates

TBD ISSI application opens
TBD ISSI application due
TBD Last day to submit your final official transcript to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.
TBD First day of ISSI
TBD Take ESLAT test
TBD Last day of ISSI

Helpful Resources

Email us at summerterm@wisc.edu

Program cost

Tuition & Segregated Fees: $4,967.

**In addition to the tuition and segregated fees, students will be charged a one-time official document fee by the Registrar’s Office to cover future transcript requests and other documents.

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