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

Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch

The Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch Program (WESL) is an 8-week online program that allows incoming first-year UW–Madison students to take courses and engage with fellow incoming students during the summer before their first fall semester. Students have the opportunity to move to campus early in the fall and experience in-person programming with their cohort

Get an early start on building your Badger community with opportunities to connect with faculty, other students and campus resources. Students will learn more about the Wisconsin Experience and what it means to be a student at UW–Madison.

Application opens February 12, 2024.

Sign up for WESL now

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

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Participate online.
All coursework for the program will be online. You can complete them from home, or wherever you spend your summer.

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

Program Details

Application process/Timeline

The summer 2024 WESL application will be available February 12, 2024 and are due by May 5, 2024.

Coursework

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

  • A 3-credit course which fulfills common requirements (June 17–August 11, 2024) See Course Options tab for more information
  • A 1-credit seminar, How to Succeed in College,  focused on learning techniques (June 17–July 14, 2024)
  • A 1-credit seminar, The Wisconsin Experience Seminar, to learn more about UW–Madison (July 15–August 11, 2024)

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.

WESL students will be asked to sign-up for a weekly 45 minute synchronous discussion time with other WESL students. This will be a requirement of the program and graded. Students will be able to select a time that works best for their schedules.

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. Student’s participation in welcome Canvas components and engagement in their coursework is mandatory. Students can be withdrawn from their classes if they are not actively participating.

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.

Students will need to have access to a device that has microphone and video capabilities and will need access to the internet for the full 8-week program.


Course Options

Students will complete a comprehensive questionnaire to determine which 3-credit courses could be most appropriate for their academic goals. If they have additional questions not answered by the questionnaire they will be given the opportunity to request to connect with an advisor.

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*
  • Communication Arts 100: Introduction to Speech Composition
  • Counseling Psychology 225- Intersectionalities, Self-Awareness, and Social Actions for Change
    • Asynchronous lectures and 50 minute synchronous discussion session. Discussion times will vary and students can select a session that fits their schedule. Discussion sessions will be weekly from June 17 to August 11
  • Counseling Psychology 230: Race and the Developing Child
  • Educational Policy Studies 140: Introduction to Education
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering 252: Introduction to Computer Engineering
    • Synchronous course that meets online every Monday, Thursday, Wednesday and Thursday at 11-11:50 from June 17th to August 11th
  • Entomology 201: Insects and Human Culture- A survey Course in Entomology
  • Entomology 205: Our Planet, Our Health
  • Food Science 120: Science of Food
  • Gender & Women’s Studies 103: Gender, Women, Bodies, And Health
  • Geoscience 140- Natural Hazards and Disasters
  • Inter-HE 201: Belonging, Purpose and the Ecology of Human Happiness: EcoYou
  • Kinesiology 150- Foundations of Health Behavior and Health Equity
    • Synchronous lecture every Monday and Wednesday from 2:00-4:20 p.m. June 17 to August 11
  • Life Sciences Communication 251: Science, Media and Society
  • Nutritional Sciences 132: Nutrition Today
  • Nutritional Sciences 377: Cultural Aspects of Food and Nutrition
  • Plant Pathology 123: Plants, Parasites, and People
  • Psychology 202: Introduction to Psychology
  • Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education 100: Disability and Society
  • Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education 125: Health and Rehabilitation Professions

This list is subject to change

*Art 100- If a student is interested in pursuing an art major it is not recommended that they take this course.

Eligibility

Students who have accepted an offer of admission to UW–Madison for fall 2024 are eligible to participate. Students who are eligible for other early start programs at UW–Madison can contact WIExpSummerLaunch@wisc.edu to verify whether they are eligible for Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch.

Students must complete high school prior to the start of the program on June 17, 2024 to be eligible to participate in WESL. Students will be required to submit their final high school transcript to Admissions before June 7, 2024 or they may not be able to participate in the program. If final high school transcript is not ready by the deadline Admissions will request proof of graduation and successful progress in course work be provided from a school official prior to the first day of the term.

WESL students will have the opportunity to move to campus early and participate in activities with other WESL students.

The early move-in date for fall 2024 will be Sunday, August 25th. Students can indicate their interest in participating in early move-in through the program application.

Some activities WESL students have participated in in the past include scavenger hunts, campus resource tours, lunch with faculty members and many other opportunities to get to know the campus and the Madison area.

Summer 2023 Program Costs*:

  • Wisconsin Resident: $2,253.61
  • Minnesota Resident: $3,239.56
  • Non Resident: $8,218.41
  • International: $8,426.76

Summer 2024 costs will likley be available in mid-April 2024. Costs will be updated when summer tuition rates are available.

Other fees may be applied to a student’s summer bill, including document fees or course specific book fees. To review tuition rates and possible fees that may be assessed on a student’s account please visit the Bursar’s Tuition and Fees page.

Scholarships:

Students can 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 2024–25 FAFSA on file with UW–Madison. Students will be notified in their participation letter whether they have been awarded a scholarship.

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.

*Minnesota students must be approved for reciprocity for the Summer term to pay at the Minnesota rate. Since summer is the last term of the academic year, students must submit a reciprocity application for the academic year prior to their fall enrollment. For example, if you applied to start as a freshman in fall 2024 and you want to enroll in summer 2024 courses, you will need to apply for reciprocity for the 2023–2024 academic year — even if you have already completed a Minnesota Reciprocity application for the 2024–2025 academic year. Apply for Minnesota Reciprocity.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Is Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) included in Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch?

A: No, students will register for and attend SOAR whenever works best for them. More information is available on the SOAR website.

Q: Is placement testing included in Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch?

A: Placement testing is not included in the program program but we encourage WESL participants to complete their placement testing as soon as possible in case test results are needed for your placement into your WESL 3 credit course. For information about placement testing, please see the Testing and Evaluation Services website.

Q: Can I take another class during Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch?

A: 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.

Q: Can I participate in more than one early start program throughout the summer?

A: We appreciate your enthusiasm to get your Wisconsin Experience started, but we encourage you to pick one early start program to focus your time on.

Q: How much time should I plan on spending on my classes?

A: 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. Since the program is so time consuming, students who have other plans during the summer should consider their time commitments carefully. Those that are travelling for more than a few days or have significant work commitments may find it difficult to be successful in the program.

Q: Are all classes for credit?

A: Yes, WESL students will be enrolled in one 3-credit course and two 1-credit seminars. These courses will appear on your UW–Madison transcript and your final grades from these courses will impact your GPA.

Q: Are Minnesota students eligible for reciprocity tuition rates during the Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch?

A: Minnesota students must be approved for reciprocity for the Summer term to pay at the Minnesota rate. Since summer is the last term of the academic year, students must submit a reciprocity application for the academic year prior to their fall enrollment. For example, if you applied to start as a freshman in fall 2024 and you want to enroll in summer 2024 courses, you will need to apply for reciprocity for the 2023-2024 academic year — even if you have already completed a Minnesota Reciprocity application for the 2024–2025 academic year. Apply for Minnesota Reciprocity.

Your Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch Path to Fall 2024

Graphic that shows the WESL timeline. Over eight weeks in the summer, students will complete three online courses: From June 17th through August 11th, they'll complete a course selected from a list worth 3 credits. From June 17th through July 14th, a 1 credit seminar called How to Succeed in College. From July 15th through August 11th a 1 credit seminar called Wisconsin Experience Seminar. From August 11th through August 24th there will be a program break. Then, on August 25th there is an optional early move-in.

Contact

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us at WIExpSummerLaunch@wisc.edu.