The University of Wisconsin System plans to implement a direct admissions program for eligible Wisconsin high schoolers next school year, UW System President Jay Rothman announced during an Oct. 5 UW Board of Regents meeting.
Of the 13 UW System campuses, only UW-Madison, UW-La Crosse and UW-Eau Claire have opted out of the program. The decision to participate was left up to each university.
The new direct admissions program will grant Wisconsin high school students automatic admission to one or more UW System schools, doing away with the traditional college application process for students who meet qualifications set by each of the respective participating universities.
Qualifications for direct admissions would be based on academic performance and take aspects like grade-point average and class rank into consideration when making admissions decisions.
Kelly Tyrrell, director of media relations and strategic communications for UW-Madison, told The Daily Cardinal the goal of the direct admissions program is to grow enrollment at UW System campuses that have seen a decline in enrollment in the last decade.
“UW-Madison currently does not face an enrollment challenge,” Tyrrell said.
According to Tyrrell, the number of freshman applicants to UW-Madison was at an all-time high of 63,537 in 2023. UW-Madison is already exceeding a 2015 commitment to enroll at least 3,600 Wisconsin residents in each freshman class, according to Tyrrell.
Separately, a Board of Regents enrollment policy requires UW-Madison to enroll at least 5,200 new undergraduate students annually who are Wisconsin residents or Minnesota reciprocity students based on a three-year rolling average, Tyrrell said.
The university exceeded this goal with its most recent average of 5,600 Wisconsin or Minnesota students, Tyrrell told the Cardinal.
Rothman said he hopes to boost enrollment system-wide and simplify the admissions process for students within the state through the direct admissions program.
“I hope that direct admissions will not only grow enrollment but also streamline the admissions process and help expand the number of Wisconsin residents with a UW degree,” he said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The UW System plans to send out the first direct admissions letters in July 2024.
Anna Kleiber is an arts editor for The Daily Cardinal. She also reports on state politics and campus news. Follow her on Twitter at @annakleiber03.