Does the Wisconsin BBA program admit students directly from High School? How does this process work?

Yes. Although the high majority of our students will be admitted under the Sophomore Requirements, the Wisconsin BBA program does admit a select group of top-tier high school students based on a holistic review. 

Visit Wisconsin BBA Direct Admit Program to review the steps and process to becoming a direct admit and statistics on the typical profile of students considered for this admissions process.

How competitive is admission to the Wisconsin BBA program?

There are two fairly consistent averages for admission to the BBA program. Approximately 60% of all students who apply will be admitted to the program. Furthermore, the average cumulative GPA of all admits is typically around a 3.5. This is not a “make-or-break” mark for admission, this is simply an average from the last several years. 

Please visit our Quick Facts to see more Sophomore admission statistics by admit year. 

How do you apply to the Wisconsin BBA program?

There are a few separate paths to apply for the BBA program - choose your current status below to receive customized information on how to apply whether you are a high school student, current UW-Madison student, or a prospective transfer student.

Since you must be admitted to UW-Madison or a current UW-Madison student prior to applying to the BBA program, you access the BBA admission application utilizing your NetID log-in information.  For high school students selected to apply for Direct Admission, you will be sent a link to the Direct Admit admissions application when you are invited to apply for the program.  Current UW-Madison or transfer students apply through the Sophomore Admission Program and can access the application directly online: Apply.  The Sophomore Admission application opens the first day of spring semester and closes the last Friday in March each year.

Choose your pathway:

Can I make changes to my BBA admission application after it’s submitted?

No. The application is considered complete once it has been submitted online.

What factors are considered in the BBA admissions process?

We manage a holistic admissions process and thus look at a variety of factors in making admissions decisions. The three main factors that make up the BBA admissions application are:

  • Cumulative & pre-business GPA
  • Resume outlining applicable work experience, leadership, student involvement and/or awards
  • Essay(s) designed to communicate a student’s passion and vision for admission to the business school and provide the admission committee with extenuating circumstances the committee may not be aware of from the application

For more specific details on these main factors, review our Apply and Quick Facts pages.

Can I submit supplemental materials to complement my application?

No. The admissions committee will not honor supplemental materials such as letters of recommendation.

What if I apply and don’t get in?

It is important to know that you have two chances at admission through the Sophomore Admission process. Starting at SOAR the summer before your first year at UW-Madison, advisors from the Business School will discuss the importance of having and developing what we call a “parallel plan.” Understanding other majors on campus that may be a good fit is an important step to planning a parallel major.

If you are not admitted on your first application, it is wise to meet with your academic advisor to discuss your strategy for a second application and/or a possible alternative major. Your business advisor will work with you to make sure you are appropriately considering possible courses for a parallel plan while also preparing for admission to the Wisconsin BBA.

Is there a way for me to get help with my BBA application?

Yes. There are many different resources we encourage you to pursue to support your success in the BBA admissions process.

  1. Pre-Business Advising: Our pre-business advising team helps outline the admissions timeline and expectations, along with supporting first year students in navigating the transition to UW-Madison. Throughout the academic year, they host regular drop-in advising hours in 3150 Grainger Hall from 10 am - 4 pm, as well as a variety of workshops and events to support pre-business student success.  
  2. Admissions 101-102 Events: The BBA Recruitment & Admissions team hosts group sessions covering the application process (Admissions 101) and tips on writing a compelling resume for the application (Admissions 102).  These sessions are offered beginning in the fall semester and leading up to the end of March application deadline.  Dates, times, and locations can be found on the myBiz calendar.
  3. Résumé Resource Guide for BBA Admission Application: Available on our Apply page, review and follow the examples and suggestions provided in this guide when creating your résumé for the BBA admissions application.  The guide includes best practices and suggestions from the BBA Admissions committee, overall formatting guidelines, and several sample résumés.  Once you have created a strong draft of your résumé, you can get feedback from a pre-business advisor via the drop-in appointments.
  4. Writing Center: UW-Madison's Writing Center is a fantastic resource to help with drafting and reviewing your BBA admissions essay (or any other writing assignments you have!) They offer both drop-in and scheduled appointments for current UW-Madison students.


Can I apply for scholarships as a non-business student?

Wisconsin BBA Scholarships are designated strictly for admitted business students. UW-Madison does have a Common Scholarship Application found at Scholarships@UWMadison. Students may qualify for campus-wide scholarships through this program. However, in order to be eligible for and receive Wisconsin BBA Scholarship dollars, the student must be an enrolled, admitted business student.

Can the business school assist with my application to UW-Madison?

The Wisconsin BBA does not have a part in admissions decisions made for the greater campus. Other than the Wisconsin BBA Direct Admit program, the BBA Admissions office will not have a role in your high school application to college.

Can I double major outside of the School of Business?

Yes. However, if you are an admitted business student and wish to double major outside the BBA program, the double major must be with another major in the College of Letters and Science. The BBA program has 10 different areas of study, and you can double major with any two majors within the Business School as well.

Do you have residency limitations as part of your admissions process?

Residency information is available to the admissions committee, but does not play a significant role in making final admissions decisions.

When do I become eligible to apply to the Wisconsin BBA program?

There are three admission routes to the Wisconsin BBA program and the requirements vary based on your route. Learn more about the pre-requisites by selecting your intended admission path below:

How can I set up a visit to the Wisconsin BBA program?

We believe campus visits are a great idea and look forward to showing you all that the Wisconsin BBA program has to offer you!  We have two superb campus visit resources:

  • Visit Bucky: This system will allow you to register for a general campus visit at UW-Madison, as well as a presentation and tour of the Wisconsin BBA program. The BBA program hosts visitors on most Monday and Friday afternoons. Utilize Visit Bucky to set up your visit with us.
  • BBA Ambassadors: We have a team of current students who arrange visits for prospective students and their families if the larger Monday/Friday sessions do not work for your schedule.  The ambassadors provide a great perspective on what it's like to be a BBA student and the overall admissions process.

What's the advantage of entering the BBA as a Sophomore?

We take a very hands on approach to your admissions application. We firmly believe that if you take our advice, utilize our resources and put your plan into action, you will gain admission to one of the strongest BBA programs in the country; the Wisconsin BBA. 

Our Sophomore Admissions model allows us to admit the best students after seeing that you (the student) handled the transition from high school to college, well. Graduating top-tier students helps the program, but also helps future graduates and your opportunity for good job placement by consistently providing strong quality. Additionally, some students will change their major plan. The year in-between high school and BBA admission can also act as a buffer to make sure the BBA path is right for you.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for an incoming freshman?

Start off strong! Meaning, do not put yourself in an academic position where you will need to dig your way out for semesters and years to come. Building on a strong start is much easier than having to fight your way back up. Take your classes and GPA seriously, and look to get involved with one of the many BBA student organizations.