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New freshman

A page within Admissions

Applying for admission

We take a comprehensive holistic approach when reviewing each application. Your academic performance in the classroom (rigor of courses and high school transcript) is the most important factor in our review of your application. We also consider factors such as ACT or SAT test scores, extracurricular activities, demonstrated leadership, essays, and letters of recommendation.

Application materials 

  • UW System application for admission –
  • Nonrefundable application fee
  • High school transcripts (may be uploaded with the application for admission).
  • ACT or SAT scores (optional) (ACT code: 4672, SAT code: 1914)
  • Letters of recommendation (maximum of 2) (optional)

Admission considerations

Primary Factors

  • Course rigor
    • Including taking full advantage of senior year
  • Class rank and GPA
    • Including demonstrating a positive grade trend
    • Middle 50% Range of Admitted Students – Class Rank: 68th to 90th Percentile
    • If a high school does not provide a class rank, then cumulative grade point average will be considered in the admission decision





Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II

3 4
At least two credits from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science or advanced courses in these disciplines
3 4

Secondary Factors 

While academic preparation is the primary criterion used in the admission review process, we consider other secondary factors that may contribute to the strength of an application, including:

  • ACT or SAT scores (optional) (ACT code: 4672, SAT code: 1914)
    • Middle 50% Range of Admitted Students – ACT: 23 to 27
    • Middle 50% Range of Admitted Students – SAT: 1130 to 1270
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Demonstrated leadership
  • Special talent
  • Essays: each essay response should be 250-650 words.
    • Essay prompt #1
      • This part is all about you. Tell us about something you’ve done — academically or personally — and what you’ve learned from it. Was it a success or a challenge? Did it represent a turning point in your life? How did this particular moment in your life influence you, and how will it continue to influence you as you pursue your college education?
    • Essay prompt #2
      • Please respond to ONE of the following: 
        1. How will your life experiences or commitments enrich the UW-La Crosse campus community?
        2. Tell us why you are interested in attending UW-La Crosse and what aspects of the campus are especially important to you.
  • Employment
  • Letters of recommendation (optional)

The Wisconsin Guarantee

New freshman applicants from Wisconsin may be eligible for guaranteed admission to UW-La Crosse. This program will be available to students planning to enroll for Fall 2025 and beyond. Students must apply during their senior year of high school (or final year of homeschool or online school). 

Wisconsin residents qualify for this program by meeting one of the following criteria:

  • Enrollment in a public, private, or tribal high school in Wisconsin with a class rank in the top 10% (upon completion of 11th grade)
  • Enrollment in homeschool or virtual private school with an ACT score at or above the 90th percentile (nationally)
  • Selection as a National Merit Scholarship finalist

Participation requirements:

  • Complete the UW system application for admission
  • Meet admission requirements as outlined by the Board of Regents
  • Demonstrate successful completion of senior year coursework
    • Admission may be revoked due to deterioration of academic performance, misrepresentation of academic information, academic misconduct, or failure to receive a high school diploma.

Additional information about high school transcripts

Unofficial high school transcripts may be uploaded with the application for admission.  In addition, high school transcripts may be sent from your high school to the UWL Admissions Office.  An official final high school transcript with graduation date (sent directly from your high school) will be required for all admitted students enrolling at UWL.

Additional information about ACT or SAT scores

UWL’s current test optional policy means applicants will choose whether or not to submit standardized test scores, such as the ACT or SAT, as part of their admission application. Visit Testing & Scoring for additional information.

If an applicant has previously submitted test scores to UWL but indicates on the application that they would not like their scores considered, test scores will not be viewed during the application review.

Applicants are encouraged to send official test scores directly from the testing agency or may self-report test scores.

Self-reported test scores may be submitted in either of the following ways:

If you submit self-reported scores, please note that your official test scores (sent directly from the testing agency) will be required prior to enrollment.  Any discrepancies from self-reported test scores may result in rescinding our offer of admission. 

Application periods

Fall term - application available beginning August 1

All complete applications received by February 1 will receive full consideration for admission. Applications received or completed after February 1 will be considered on a space-available basis.

Spring term - application available beginning April 1

Applications will be considered on a space-available basis. 

Materials to submit

  • UW System application for admission –
  • Nonrefundable application fee
  • High school transcripts (may be uploaded during application) and senior year courses/class schedule
  • ACT or SAT scores (optional) (ACT code: 4672, SAT code: 1914)
  • Letters of recommendation (maximum of 2) (optional)

Admissions decisions

After all materials required for your application are received, an admission decision will be mailed via USPS in three to five weeks.  You can also track your application status online through WINGS.  Access information will be sent to applicants after they submit an application.

Postpone decisions 

Some applicants may be placed on a postpone list, in which an admission decision is made at a later date. Review of the postponed applicants begins in early December and continues thereafter, dependent upon the number of applications received and space available in the freshman class. These applicants are typically contacted after the application priority date of February 1 with an update on their status. They will be notified of a final admission decision no later than May 1. Postponed applicants will be given an opportunity to provide additional information for their application. This may include:

  • Senior year grades
  • ACT or SAT scores (if not previously submitted) or higher scores from retaking the exam
  • 1 or 2 letters of recommendation
  • Documentation verifying the addition of senior year courses (including any college/university course work)

Test Optional

Our temporary test optional policy means applicants may choose whether or not to submit standardized test scores, such as the ACT or SAT, as part of their admission application. Applicants choosing to not submit standardized tests will not be at a disadvantage nor will it negatively impact their application review.

Although we are test optional, submission of scores may increase your chances of being awarded freshman scholarships.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why would a student submit standardized test scores for admission consideration if they don’t have to?

A: A student might decide that their score gives a more complete picture of academic achievements and potential.

Q: Should I go test optional and not turn in my scores?

A: It is important to know that for many of our applicants, submitting scores is a great idea if you have them. Some students do not realize that scores they consider low can still play a positive part of our decision process. For example, 25% of students admitted for Fall 2020 scored a 22 or lower on the ACT.

Q: Will I have a different chance of admission if I don’t provide test scores?

A: We will not treat applicants without scores differently than those who do provide them. If we determine we cannot offer you admission (by sending you a letter of denial or putting you on a postpone list) and you did not provide scores, you will be given a way to provide your scores at that time.

Q: How do I indicate I will not be providing test scores?

A: There will be a question on the UW System application that asks if you wish to be considered for admission with or without test scores.

Q: Should I take the ACT or SAT?

A: We do not have a preference. Applicants can submit the ACT, the SAT, or both, and we’ll consider your best score. See the Superscore section for additional information. We recommend that all students take either the ACT or SAT exam. You will have an opportunity later to determine if you would like to include your test score in the application review.


If you choose to submit standardized test scores and have taken a test multiple times, UWL superscores both the ACT and SAT.  Superscoring is the process of averaging your best section scores from all of your test attempts.

UWL considers your highest section scores across all the dates you took the ACT or SAT.  Rather than confining your scores to one particular date, we will take your highest section scores in each section, forming the highest possible composite score.  We need to receive all of the sections of each ACT (English, math, reading, science) or SAT (reading and writing, math) to calculate an ACT or SAT superscore.

UWL does not consider the writing portion of either test.

If you have been admitted to UW-La Crosse, congratulations! Check out our admitted new freshman page to complete your next steps.