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Encourage your UW-Madison student to make Summer Term part of their college experience

Did you know that six out of ten UW students participate in at least one Summer Term before graduation? It’s true! With more than 1,000 3-week, 4-week, and 8-week courses available on campus and over 100 online, UW-Madison’s Summer Term is a great way for your student to catch up with his or her studies, or get ahead on credits toward graduation.

Why do it? The benefits of taking Summer Term

  1. It’s a great way for students to catch up on—or get ahead in—their studies.
  2. Earning credits in the summer can help students who participate in semester-long study abroad programs, co-ops, and internships to graduate on time.
  3. Difficult classes can be easier for students to tackle in the summer. Courses are not easier in the summer, but students are more likely to thrive in a difficult class when they are not juggling a full course load.
  4. It’s an opportunity for students to get ahead of the curve—and hopefully into their desired school or college.
  5. Participating in Summer Term can save both time and money.
  6. Summer Term can eliminate the need to spend an entire extra year on campus.
  7. Summer term can save students time and parents money. Summer Term makes it possible for students to graduate on time—even if they are participating in a semester-long co-op, internship, or study abroad program — saving money on tuition and rent for an extra semester on campus.
  8. Summer Term may give students a competitive edge. Schools and colleges can be tough to get into. Taking classes in the summer can help students earn the credits and grades they need to get into their desired areas of study on time.
  9. Online summer classes can make it possible to earn credits from anywhere. Does your student plan to spend the summer working, at an internship, or simply hanging around your house? No matter what his or her summer plans entail, making room for a class or two is possible thanks to UW-Madison’s online courses (plus online classes travel well, so they likely won’t interfere with any family vacation plans).
  10. Summer Term keeps students productive between semesters. Whether on campus or online, summer term is a great way for students to keep their studies going throughout June, July and August.

What’s it like? Accelerated classes and expectations

In order for your students to participate in summer classes, they should:

  • Expect to spend approximately 18 hours per week on each 8-week, 3‑credit course.
  • Have regular access to a computer with high-speed Internet if taking courses online.

Accelerated summer courses

What should your student expect if they take a 3-credit or 5-credit course in 8 weeks? How much time will they be in class?

Typical 8-week summer courses, as compared to regular spring/fall courses:

3-credits: lecture only

5-credits: lecture, discussion, and lab

How does my UW-Madison student succeed? Tips for Summer Term Success

Summer is a more relaxed atmosphere for students to be in school, but the pace of classes can be two to three times faster due to the condensed nature of summer term.

Here are some tried-and-true ways that students can succeed in a class with an intensive pace:

  1. Students need to give summer courses top priority. Although there are a lot of fun things to do in Madison during the summer, students need to make sure they don’t become a distraction from their classes. To be successful in Summer Term, advise students to use these activities as incentives to finish their schoolwork, not as a reason to avoid it.
  2. Mental preparation is key. Recommend students review course basics and buy their books prior to the first day of classes.
  3. Attend every class. Because the Summer Term format is so intense, missing even one class can be detrimental. Therefore it is important students plan their work schedules and trips around their course schedule.
  4. Study and form a study group. Finding the perfect summer study spot will help students focus on their classes, as will forming a regular study group with their classmates.
  5. Ask questions often. There is no such thing as a dumb question. Asking questions can help clear up any confusion and verify that course material is being understood.
  6. Long classes and lectures can be tough to power through, but getting enough sleep and bringing healthy snacks to eat during class can help students stay alert.
  7. Manage your workload. Advise students to make a conscious effort to manage their time. Students who are aware of how they spend their day can maximize productivity, which makes staying on top of schoolwork (and saying “yes” to that beach day) easier.

What courses are available?

Choose from more than 1,000 face-to-face courses and 100 online courses with our searchable summer course list. Browse courses by subject, courses available online, or courses that fulfill requirements like Ethnic Studies.

What are the terms and how much does it cost?

What about housing and summer jobs?

Never fear-there are plenty of housing options and opportunities for summer employment that won’t interfere with your child’s summer curriculum.

Not familiar with Madison? Check out the Guide to Madison.

Summer Term has plenty to offer for adults, too

P.S.: Are you interested? Parents can also be a part of UW-Madison’s Summer Term by applying as a University Special student. Visit the Adults and Professionals page for more information on special student requirements and how to apply.


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It is financially beneficial to complete a degree in four years with two Summer Terms, rather than taking a fifth year.

Learn more


Application process opens March 1, 2017.



Enrollment begins March 2017.



On campus and online