Resources for New/Prospective Students

Students take in the unseasonably warm weather by relaxing on Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on March 14, 2012.Students relax on Bascom Hill.  Bryce Richter / UW-Madison


Campus ID and Bus Pass

Every student at UW-Madison is required to have a campus ID card (also known as a WisCard). The WisCard office is located on the first floor of Union South and is open from 8:00 AM – 4:15 PM Monday through Friday. Please note that as the start of fall term gets closer, this office becomes busier and that students must be enrolled before they can be issued a WisCard. It is recommended that new students get a WisCard as soon as possible.

 UW-Madison students have free year-round access to the Madison Metro Bus System through the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) student government organization. To get your free bus pass go to the Student Activity Center at 333 East Campus Mall on the 3rd floor, pick-up usually starts the week before classes begin (see their website for dates, times and pick-up locations).

Enrolling in courses

Enrollment is done online through your Student Center in MyUW. Incoming graduate students will be able to enroll in early-mid July and should receive an invitation to enroll by late June.

Both the “Class Search” and “Course Guide” are available to students through the MyUW. The Class Search is the real-time, online listing of course sections offered each term and is used to enroll in courses. The Course Guide is an online, searchable catalog of courses providing a broad spectrum of information including the ability to browse courses offered each term.

Housing Information

Listed below are resources for finding housing in Madison. This is not an exhaustive list; rather it gives you places to begin looking for possible housing.

  • Craigslist - The link below will take you directly to housing in Madison.
  • ESSA Listserver – Students interested in the Environmental Sciences can subscribe to the Environmental Studies Student Association email listserver. Current and incoming students often post places to live and room requests on this list.
  • Local newspaper classified ads
    Isthmus -
    Capital Newspapers -
  •  Madison Community Co-ops - MCC is a cooperative community of 11 households, most within 1/2 mile of the UW campus, ranging in size from 8 to 34 members. Each house has a unique character and they try to create a safe, supportive family & community atmosphere.
  • University Apartments - On-campus housing for graduate students through the Division of University Housing
  • VIP Off-campus Housing Listing Service - This service is provided by the Visitor and Information Programs and includes listings for apartments, houses, efficiencies, rooms, and co-ops for students and the university community, along with other housing-related information. Many graduate students live in the Vilas neighborhood (region 4) and the Willy Street/Jenifer Street neighborhoods (region 6). These regions are readily accessible to campus by both bus and bike and tend to not have as high of an undergraduate population. Other regions close by those neighborhoods will also have good bus and bike access to campus.
  • Tenant Resources Center – provides free housing counseling to tenants.

Note to new students about utilities - When comparing the prices of different housing options, remember to take into consideration the cost of utilities. For example, if heat is not included in your rent, you may pay an extra $50+ during the winter months.

International Students

Madison and Wisconsin

General Information

Traveling to and from Madison

Underrepresented Students