Group photo of the 2017 ISSI cohort

International Student Summer Institute (ISSI)

The 2020 International Student Summer Institute has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

At UW–Madison, we want to ease your transition to American university life. The International Student Summer Institute (ISSI) allows you to come to UW–Madison several weeks ahead of the fall semester and take a class with other international students experiencing campus life for the first time.

Your 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 three-credit class meets Monday through Friday, for two hours each day. You will listen to faculty lectures, build note-taking skills, learn to be an active participant in discussion sections, and grow comfortable in the atmosphere of an American classroom. It is a rigorous course and you will be required to study and complete homework every day.

Your instructors

UW–Madison’s highly qualified instructors have many years of experience in the United States and abroad.

Your community

While attending the institute, you will become familiar with campus resources, participate in group activities outside of the classroom, meet new friends, and begin to adjust to life in the United States. You and the other participants will experience typical American activities such as baseball games, bonfires and cookouts, outdoor recreation, and visits to local attractions. You can also enjoy the UW–Madison’s athletic facilities as well as attend art, theatre, and music events offered all summer long—and many of them are free.

Top Reasons to Attend


Advance your English communication skills.


Adjust to American academic culture.


Become familiar with campus resources and choose your favorites.


Meet new people, make new friends.

ISSI students are welcomed to UW-Madison

Application and Admission

Thank you for your interest in ISSI. The Institute is open to international freshmen who have been offered fall admission at UW–Madison. Space is limited.

Students can apply using the online application form (coming in 2020). Program applications are due May 1, 2020. In the application, you will be required to provide a brief statement explaining why you want to participate in the Institute. You must also accept your offer of admission to UW-Madison before submitting your Institute application.

We will notify you about the status of your application within two weeks of applying.

NOTE: ISSI participants will complete all placement testing, including mathematics, English as a Second Language (ESLAT), and foreign language, on campus this summer.


Kronshage residence hall.

Housing and Dining

You will live in Kronshage Residence Hall, a modern residence hall located along the UW–Madison lakeshore. Rooms are fully furnished and sheets, pillows, and towels are provided.

Your roommate will be an Institute participant. Food money is included as part of the Institute costs. Upon arrival at UW–Madison, you will receive a dining card with funds on it for food. You may purchase food at several different locations across campus.

In the last week of classes, you will move from Kronshage Residence Hall into your assigned University Housing location for the 2020-2021 academic year, before most other students arrive. Institute participants are required to sign a contract to live in University Housing for the 2020-2021 academic year.


Expenses to participate in ISSI include tuition and fees, housing, dining, health insurance, and classroom materials. Your individual expenses will depend on how much you choose to spend on food, as well as your personal spending money. The estimates below are provided for planning purposes and are subject to minor variations.

2020 International Student Summer Institute Estimated Costs*

  • Tuition and Fees: $4,814
  • Housing and Dining: $972
  • SHIP Health Insurance: $116
  • Classroom materials: $40
  • Placement Testing: $0

TOTAL: $5,942

*Costs are subject to minor variations as final summer 2020 tuition, fee, and other cost information is released during spring 2020.

As an Institute student, your summer experience will include attending a two-day Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) program and completing your mandatory check-in with International Student Services. Students will also complete their placement tests on campus this summer. More information about these programs will be given to you when you are accepted into the program.

UW–Madison and U.S. immigration requirements mandate adequate health insurance for all international students and their dependents. The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) provides comprehensive health coverage for medical issues, mental health counseling, and prescriptions beyond the services provided by UHS. SHIP enrollees have access to a network of hospitals across the United States to provide coverage in case of travel during your time at UW–Madison.

Learn more about the importance of SHIP Insurance and how to meet their requirements in this video.

Important 2020 Dates

July 24-26:

Move-in days

July 27:

First day of summer course

August 16:

Participants move from Kronshage Hall to their academic year University Housing location

August 21:

Last day of summer course


Attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) for first-year students

September 2:

First day of fall courses

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