Enrollment FAQs

1) When do I enroll?

Log in to your Student Center through MyUW and check the box on the right – it will tell you the earliest time you can enroll.
Enrollment seasons fall around November and April. Generally, the more credits you’ve taken, the earlier you can enroll. Certain courses may be open earlier to certain majors who are required to take that course. 

2) How do I enroll?

Use the Course Search & Enroll App to find classes, build your schedule, and plan future semesters.
See the Registrar's Office list of Demos & Tutorials

3) How can I best prepare for my (enrollment) advising appointment?

You can enroll for the spring term in November and the fall term in April, and it’s important to note that this is peak advising season. We encourage you to prepare for your appointment by taking the following steps:
  • Schedule earlymake your appointment 2-3 weeks in advance
  • Review your DARS Reportsee what classes you still need, and which have prerequisites
  • Create a Wishlist – and bring a list of alternative courses
  • Make goals – bring a list of what you want to accomplish in the upcoming semester
  • Know your commitments – what are your responsibilities and time commitments for the upcoming semester?
  • Use this Checklist to help you prepare for your advising appointment!
Also, remember that your advising appointment during enrollment season may be different from an appointment outside of this time.
During enrollment season you will meet with you advisor to plan your courses for the next term, and your conversation will mainly focus on this topic. This is why it can be helpful to check in with an advisor during non-peak season so you can have some bigger picture conversations about getting involved, your graduation timeline, achieving your academic and career goals, etc.

4) What is a hold and how do I get it removed?

A hold is a freeze on your student account that prevents access to course enrollment and/or your transcript. Holds can be put on your account at any time for a variety of reasons, such as:
  • Needing to meet/check-in with an advisor
  • Needing to pay a fine or tuition
  • Needing to return library books
  • Needing to officially declare your new major and notify your former advisor of the change
Click on the hold in your Student Center (upper right, main page) to see details and find out which office placed the hold. You should contact that office well in advance of the date you’re able to register for courses to find out what you need to do to remove it. 

5) How do I drop a class?

Use the “drop” tab under the Course Enrollment section in your Student Center. Watch this quick demo for step-by-step instructions: Demo – Drop a class

6) Why am I on a waitlist? How does it work?

You’re on a waitlist because the class you tried to enroll in is closed/full. If other students in that course decide to drop it, the students on the wait list will be contacted in the order that they signed up.
Closely watch your @wisc.edu e-mail for a message from the department that you can add the class. Check in often, as you may only have a window of 1-2 days to add the class!

7) Why can’t I get into a class?

Read the error message to see why you can't enroll. You might not be able to get into a course for several reasons:
  • You don’t meet all the prerequisites

  • The class is opened up to students in a particular major or who are living in a certain residence hall. Check to see if there’s another section available that isn’t restricted. If there isn’t a non-restricted section, check Class Notes (the pinned note icon) to see the date when it will open up to everyone.

  • You might be a first year student, but have a sophomore standing because of how many credits you have. Check Class Notes to find the contact info for the department so you can explain your situation and ask for permission.

  • The section might be reserved for transfer students, first-year interest groups (FIGS) or for freshmen only. 

  • The class may be closed. If this is the case, you can enroll on a wait list

8) How do I get into a closed class?

If a class is closed you can add yourself to the Wait List.  Here are some step-by-step instructions.

9) How do I swap discussion sections without losing my spot?

Use the “swap” tab in your Student Center to swap sections. You will only be dropped from the section you’re enrolled in already if you’re able to add the new section you want. Please note, swapping after the Add Deadline requires permission. 
Watch this quick demo for step-by-step instructions: Demo – Swap a Class
Tip: Look up the section that you would like to swap your current section for beforehand.

10) The courses are listed as 3 or 4 credits. What should I take?

Some classes may give you the option of taking the course for either 3 or 4 credits. Check the class notes to see if a reason is given as to who should take what number of credits and why - for example, grad students may be required to take 4 credits, while undergrads might be required to take 3.
If there is no reason given and you're struggling with this option, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
  • What is the difference in workload?
  • What are my educational goals for taking this class?
  • How many credits will I be taking?
  • Is there a particular credit range I’m working toward? (e.g. 14-17, etc.)
  • What other commitments or obligations do I have for next semester?
Advisors encourage dialogue around these types of decisions so don't hesitate to seek input! If you're still unsure after discussing and weighing your options, it might be helpful to enroll for the 4 credit course and consult your instructor the first day of classes. 

11) How do I know that I’m enrolled in the “right” courses?

Plan ahead by mapping out your graduation timeline. If you haven’t already done so, make sure you schedule a meeting with your advisor well before or after enrollment season (November and April) to map out your graduation timeline.
Check your major’s graduation timeline. If you’ve declared a major, check if your major has a graduation timeline. You can generally find this on your department or major’s website.
Look over your DARS Report. Check through your DARS Report in your Student Center and see what classes you have left to take, and plan ahead by seeing what pre-requisites you’ll need for future classes. 

12) What will happen to my financial aid if I drop classes or withdraw for the term?

Dropping or withdrawing from classes may or may not affect your financial aid for the current term or your aid eligibility in future terms. See the Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements for details. 
If you have questions about the impact on your financial aid if you drop a class or withdraw from a term, we encourage you to speak with a financial aid counselor and talk to your assigned advisor about how the decision will affect your graduation timeline.

13) How do I enroll for transfer credit this summer at another university?

First check to see how the credits will transfer back to UW-Madison.
For UW System schools
For MN or IL schools
If the course is not listed in either of these sources 
Submit a request with the Office of Admissions Transfer Credit Evaluation Service (CES) before you enroll. Then, contact the prospective university’s Office of the Registrar, Admissions or Student Services Office for details on their registration process. 

14) How do I register for independent study?

Ideally, you would register for credit through your professor’s department, and the process for doing so varies by department. Usually, it involves contacting someone in the department’s office and completing a form. Start by asking your professor if they would help you get started. If your professor’s department doesn’t offer independent study credit, check in with your advisor.

15) How do I get credit for an internship?

If you have a declared major, first check with your department to see if there is a course for credit or independent study option.
Look into L&S 260, another option open to all UW students (regardless of major). L&S 260 is a 1 credit, online course  while you complete your internship.
And if you are looking for an internship abroad, the International Internship Program can provide you with advising and resources to help you get started exploring opportunities, applying for scholarships, and getting course credit. 

16) How do I find a good class?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you search the Course Guide for a course that's interesting and engaging:
  • Is there a particular topic or issue I want to learn more about?
  • Is there a particular set of skills I want to develop or explore?
  • Does the course help balance out my other courses?
  • Does the course offer a teaching format that is different than what I’ve experienced in other courses?
  • Is there an instructor I’ve heard great things about?
  • Does my graduation timeline play a role in the search?