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Badger Ready offers second chance at completing an undergraduate degree

April 24, 2018 By Dean Robbins

Say you completed one or more semesters of college several years ago but had to withdraw for personal reasons. Resuming an academic career at your dream school—the University of Wisconsin–Madison—seems out of reach because your grades were less than stellar. Is there any way for someone like you to enter the state’s flagship university?

Now there is, thanks to Badger Ready. The new program offers an opportunity for adults 25 and older and veterans of any age who have previous college credit but no degree. Those selected for Badger Ready have a chance to prove themselves by completing at least 12 credits on the UW–Madison campus as special students (defined as those who aren’t seeking a degree at the university). If participants earn a 3.0 grade point average, they can be admitted as undergraduate transfer students and continue their progress to a four-year degree.

A joint project of Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) and the Office of Admissions and Recruitment, Badger Ready is geared toward adult students determined to overcome obstacles to earning a UW–Madison degree.

“Providing access to higher education is an effective way of addressing inequities in our community,” says Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, UW–Madison’s provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “Adults who have struggled in their lives should have a second chance to prove their academic abilities, especially if they’ve gone on to achieve success in the workplace or other areas. Earning a UW–Madison degree can boost not only their career prospects, but also the Wisconsin economy.”

ACSSS will consider applications for Badger Ready on a rolling basis for fall, spring, or summer term. To be eligible, applicants must have some college credit and be seeking their first college degree. They cannot previously have been degree-seeking students at UW–Madison. Wisconsin residency is not a requirement, although Badger Ready is primarily designed for local adults who can take face-to-face courses on campus. ACSSS will assess applicants’ high school and college records and their career and educational goals to determine if UW–Madison is a good fit for them.

Throughout the program, participants will receive advising and coaching from ACSSS and campus partners. Those who don’t meet the criteria for continuing at UW–Madison will work with ACSSS staff to determine the next steps for completing their degrees elsewhere.

Scholarships are available for Badger Ready students based on financial need, academic plans, and personal goals. After successfully completing the program, participants can apply for financial aid, scholarships for returning adult students, and other resources available to UW–Madison students, such as Bucky’s Tuition Promise.

Badger Ready will create new opportunities for adults eager to earn a UW–Madison degree in spite of previous academic challenges.

“With Badger Ready, a student’s prior grade point average will not close the door to a promising future,” says Jeffrey S. Russell, dean of UW–Madison Continuing Studies and vice provost for Lifelong Learning. “This program is focused on students’ abilities in the present.”

To learn more about Badger Ready or to apply, see, call 608-263-6960, or email