Blended photo of students working on schoolwork, and UW tulips blooming in the summer.

Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch

The Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch Program is an 8-week online program which allows incoming first-year UW–Madison students to take courses and engage with fellow incoming students during the summer before their first fall semester.

Apply now

Line art graphic of pencil and ruler

Launch your UW–Madison academic career.
Experience college courses and earn five credits towards your degree, before the start of the fall semester.

Line art graphic of computer and connecting wires

Participate online.
All coursework for the program will be online. Courses run June 15-August 7. You can complete them from home, or wherever you spend your summer.

Line art graphic of two hands shaking

Build your Badger community.
Connect and engage with other incoming students, faculty, and staff. Dedicated seminar courses support your transition to college.

Line art graphic of campus building

Get to know campus.
You’ll have the option to move in to your residence hall early with your Summer Launch cohort and learn about campus culture and resources.

Program Details

The Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch program application is open now.

The deadline to apply for the program is May 1, 2020. Students will have an opportunity in their program application to indicate if they are interested in being considered for additional scholarships.

The program courses run June 15-August 9, 2020.

**Because of COVID-19, the optional on-campus programming and early move-in components will not be offered to the Summer 2020 WESL cohort.

Apply here

Over eight weeks in the summer, students will complete three online courses:

  • A 3-credit course which fulfills common requirements (June 15-August 7)
  • A 1-credit seminar focused on learning techniques (June 15-July 12)
  • A 1-credit seminar introducing students to the Wisconsin Experience (July 13-August 7)

Students will consult with an academic advisor during the application process to pick their 3-credit course from the following list. These popular, high-demand courses have been selected as appropriate for incoming students and fulfill common requirements. Program participants will enroll in general sections of these courses with other UW–Madison students.

  • Art 100: Introduction to Art (3 credits)
  • Communication Arts 100: Introduction to Speech Composition (3 credits)
  • Gender & Women’s Studies 103: Gender, Women, Bodies, And Health (3 credits)
  • Journalism 162: Mass Media in Multicultural America (3 credits)
  • Psychology 202: Introduction to Psychology (3 credits)
  • Philosophy 210: Reason in Communication (3 credits)
  • Counseling Psychology 230: Race and the Developing Child (3 credits)
  • Inter-HE 201: Belonging, Purpose and the Ecology of Human Happiness: EcoYou(3 credits)
  • Nutritional Sciences 132: Nutrition Today (3 credits)
  • Dance 168: Dancing Gender: Embodiment, Politics and Feminist Theory (3 credits)
  • Rehab Psychology and Special Education 100: Disability and Society (3 credits)

The 1-credit seminars will be comprised of only incoming first-year students participating in Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch.  Together, the cohort will take the 1-credit course covering learning techniques for academic success and the 1-credit online Wisconsin Experience Seminar to learn about UW–Madison.

The courses included in this program are standard UW–Madison courses, and are taught at an accelerated pace for summer session. These courses will appear on students’ UW–Madison transcripts and their grades from these courses will be included in their GPA. To be successful, students should plan to spend on average 20-25 hours each week on course work and will need to balance summer activities with the program.

Courses for credit are 100% online. Due to COVID-19, the optional on-campus programming and early move-in components will not be offered for the SUmmer 2020 WESL cohort. 

Domestic students who have accepted an offer of admission to UW–Madison for fall 2020 are eligible to participate. Students who are eligible for other early start programs at UW–Madison can contact to verify whether they are eligible for Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch.

Estimated* Summer 2020 Program Costs:

  • Wisconsin Resident: $2,545.69
  • Minnesota Reciprocity: $3,388.34
  • Nonresident: $8,183.14

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

There are no additional charges associated with attending the optional on-campus portion of the program. Students can use their fall dining plan while they are participating in the on-campus programming; students may want to budget for some dining costs if they are concerned about using their fall dining account during the summer program.

Tuition for the program will be due on June 19. If a student needs to drop or withdraw from the program for any reason, contact the program as soon as possible.


Students who apply by the May 1 deadline can also choose to be considered for additional scholarships awarded based on financial need. Students can indicate on their program application that they want to be considered for these additional scholarships. To be eligible for these awards, students must have a 2020-21 FAFSA on file with UW–Madison. Students will be notified in May, 2020 whether they have been awarded.

Some students may be eligible to receive additional aid through the Office of Student Financial Aid. Please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid  to discuss options outside the program scholarships.

Is Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) included in Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch?
  • No, students will register for and attend SOAR whenever works best for them. More information is available on the SOAR website.
Is placement testing included in Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch?
Can I take another class during Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch?
  • It is not recommended for students to enroll in additional courses. Five credits is a substantial amount of work, and online courses require a high degree of independent time management.

Your Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch Path to Fall

June 15-July 12: How to Succeed in College (1 credit). July 13-August 7: Wisconsin Experience Seminar (1 credit). June 15-August 7: Course selected from list (3 credits). Mid-August: Break in program. Late August: Optional early move in & on-campus activities. *All courses are online.

**Because of COVID-19, the optional on-campus programming and early move-in components will not be offered to the Summer 2020 WESL cohort.


If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us at

Up arrow on blue background to indicate an automatic scroll to the top of the page