ISSI students gather around a laptop in a classroom

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 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.

The application for Summer 2024 has closed.

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, for two hours each day. 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.

You will take the UW–Madison English as a Second Language Assessment Test (ESLAT) during the program on August 21. Based on your writing sample, you will be placed in an ESL Course (ESL 114 through ESL 118) or exempted from your English language requirement.

In addition to ESL 113, students can get support with their transition to UW–Madison with CP 125: The Wisconsin Experience Seminar. This small, interactive course is designed to help students transition successfully to academic and student life at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Students will explore campus resources and opportunities; their skills, identity, interests, and goals; and the history and purpose of UW–Madison to help them make the most of their Wisconsin experience. This seminar is not required for ISSI students, but recommended.

Program at a glance

Who: Incoming international freshmen

When: July 29–August 25, 2024

Where: UW–Madison Campus

2024 Estimated cost: $5,209.99

ISSI Information Session

Drop in to ask your questions about the ISSI program.

Zoom Link

Session Dates:

  • Monday, April 29, 2024; 4 to 5 p.m. Central time
  • Wednesday, May 1, 2024; 10 to 11 p.m. Central time
  • Friday, May 3, 2024; 6 to 7 a.m. Central time

Your Badger 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 UW–Madison campus resources.


Meet new people, make new friends.


Get a head start on your UW–Madison journey.

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 2024. Applications will be processed on a rolling basis. Space is limited, apply early for best consideration.

Step 1: Accept your offer of admission to UW–Madison.

Step 2: 
Apply for the program

Step 3: Summer Term coordinators will notify you about the status of your application within two weeks of applying.

Email us at summerterm@wisc.edu

Student studying on laptop

Important 2024 dates

Feb. 12: ISSI application opens
May 19: ISSI application due
July 10: Last day to submit your final official transcript to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment
July 27: Move-in day
July 29: First day of ISSI
Aug. 21: Take English as a Second Language Assessment Test (ESLAT)
August 25: Last day of ISSI
September 4: Fall semester instruction begins

View an ISSI sample schedule.
View the Admitted ISSI Student Pre-arrival Checklist.


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Program Cost

Tuition & Segregated Fees: $5,209.99

**In addition to the tuition and segregated fees, students will be charged a one-time official document fee of $130 by the Registrar’s Office to cover future transcript requests and other documents and a $100 International Student Services (ISS) fee each term of enrollment. There are other fees that may be assessed on a student’s account. please visit the Bursar’s Office website to learn more.

ISSI summer housing fees: $841 (29 nights)

Health Insurance: All international students and visa dependents are required to have UW–Madison approved health insurance coverage. For more information, please visit Health Insurance for International Students.


You will live in a triple room with two other ISSI students at Smith Hall, a modern residence hall located on the Southeast of the UW–Madison campus. Rooms are fully furnished and sheets, pillows and towels are available.

Institute participants are required to sign a contract to live in University Housing for the 2024–2025 academic year.

In the last week of classes, you will move from Smith Hall into your assigned University Housing location for the 2024–2025 academic year, before most other students arrive.

If an ISSI student ranks the Chadbourne Residential College (CRC) as their #1 preference for the 2024–25 Academic Year, the students will be guaranteed placement in CRC.

Optional Summer Meal Plan

Summer residents living in the University Residence Halls for the 2024 Summer Term can choose to purchase a Summer Block Meal Plan. Summer residents who do not choose the summer dining meal plan can purchase meals individually with a credit card, debit card, or Wiscard.

Estimated Dining cost: $500

SOAR Program

ISSI participants are asked to sign up for one of the following virtual SOAR sessions, participants are expected to complete the SOAR program before the first day of ISSI, July 29, 2024.

Session: June 17–June 20, 2024
Session: July 22–July 25, 2024

Placement Testing

ISSI participants will take the UW–Madison English as a Second Language Assessment Test (ESLAT) during the program on August 21. ISSI participants are strongly encouraged to complete other required placement tests before the first day of ISSI, July 29, 2024.


Instructions will be given to you when you are accepted into the program.

Health Insurance

All international students and visa dependents are required to have UW–Madison approved health insurance coverage. You must enroll yourself and any visa dependents in SHIP or file a qualifying waiver by the compliance deadline unless you qualify for an Automatic Waiver. For more information, please visit Health Insurance for International Students.

Helpful Resources

Hear from our students