CALS Quickstart

What is CALS QuickStart?
Click here to watch a short video about the program.

The CALS QuickStart summer program empowers incoming first-year students to jumpstart their college experience and explore everything that UW-Madison and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have to offer, connecting with peers, faculty, staff, and alumni along the way.


Who can participate in CALS QuickStart?
Any incoming first year student who has accepted an offer of admission to UW–Madison for fall 2021 and plans to pursue a CALS major may apply for the CALS QuickStart program. International students are invited to apply for the International Student Summer Institute.


Required CALS QuickStart: Foundations Course
Over the summer, all QuickStart students take the required CALS QuickStart: Foundations Course (1 credit, online, June 14-August 6), which fulfills the CALS first-year seminar requirement. This 8-week core online course prepares students for a successful transition to UW–Madison with weekly assignments completed on their own schedule. Students will learn about themselves and UW-Madison’s campus and vast resources through interactive virtual workshops with peers, faculty, staff, and alumni. Students will complete the course equipped with a personalized roadmap centered around their academic and career goals that will help shape their unique Wisconsin Experience.


Optional Experiences: Additional 3-Credit Online Course and Early Move-In
As part of the QuickStart application, students may apply to take an additional 3-credit online summer course. These popular, high-demand courses have been selected as appropriate for incoming students and fulfill General Education Requirements, such as Communications and Biological or Social Science Breadth. Space is limited and this option may not be right for all students due to the more demanding time commitment. View a full list of course options here.

At the end of the summer, QuickStart students will have the option to move to campus early and dive into life at UW–Madison through lab tours, industry visits, workshops, and student panels. These activities, only available to QuickStart students, are extracurricular and will not have associated tuition charges.


Want to learn more?
Read what past QuickStart students have to say about their experience, learn about costs and financial aid, or visit our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have additional questions, reach out to the QuickStart team at and we will be happy to help.


Ready to apply?

The application closes on May 1, 2021, and the need-based scholarship deadline has been extended to May 1, 2021.

Reach out to the Quickstart team with questions at We can’t wait to hear from you!