Student Life

A Record-Breaking Class

The UW did not intend to admit the most freshmen in its history, but demand has increased.

Students and pedestrians walk in front of Bascom Hall on a sunny warm day

Bryce Richter

Last fall’s freshman class of 8,628 was the largest in UW–Madison’s history, up 1.9 percent over 2021’s class of 8,465. The university did not set out to break this record — it offered admission to almost 3,000 fewer freshman applicants than the prior year. However, of those admitted, a greater percentage chose to attend UW–Madison.

The incoming freshmen were selected from a record 60,260 applicants. Total campus enrollment is a record 49,886, up 4.1 percent from 2021.

“We are continuing to see an increase in demand for an education at UW–Madison, which is a testament to the outstanding education and student experience offered here,” says Provost Karl Scholz.

The freshman class is the most racially and ethnically diverse in the university’s history. There are 1,431 underrepresented students of color, up from 1,251 in 2021; and 2,695 in the broader category of all students of color, up from 2,133. Both numbers are record highs.

The number of graduate and professional students on campus last fall was 12,651, up from 12,458 the year before.

“I had a really good experience getting my master’s degree here,” says John Baron MS’20, PhDx’27, who is back on campus pursuing a doctorate in kinesiology. “UW–Madison has such a strong reputation as a high-powered research university. A degree of any sort from here carries a lot of respect and weight.”

Published in the Spring 2023 issue


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