CALS Quickstart Program

CALS QuickStart is a program that allows incoming first-year students to get a summer start on their UW-Madison coursework and join a dynamic community of scholars. Through early academic and career planning and on-going opportunities for engagement you can maximize your Wisconsin Experience and reduce your time to degree by as much as a year.

As a participant, you will complete two summer bridge courses ahead of your first semester (online and in-person). These courses will connect you with people, opportunities, and resources that will shape your time at UW-Madison and beyond. By the end of summer, you’ll develop academic and professional goals for your undergraduate career and a personalized roadmap to reach them, as well as an opportunity to continue as a CALS QuickStart Scholar.

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Why QuickStart your college career?

Be in the know through early exposure to campus resources and opportunities

Save time and tuition with personalized academic and career plans

Develop strategies for a successful transition to UW-Madison

Engage in opportunities to engage with faculty, staff and alumni

Discover a built-in community of peers and friends

…plus, earn two UW-Madison credits (including your required First-Year Seminar) all before your first semester!

CALS QuickStart: Foundations
1 credit, online
Dates: June 18-August 12 (8 weeks)
Location: Online (Participate in this course from home)
Time: Complete weekly activities/assignments at a time works for you (no set meeting time)
Cost: 1 credit of tuition (see chart below)

Prepare for a successful transition to UW-Madison, while also completing your CALS First-Year Seminar requirement:

  • Gain early exposure to campus resources and student opportunities
  • Match your academic and professional interests with our 27 academic programs to determine which best suits you.
  • Identify beyond the classroom experiences, such as internships and independent research projects, early in your time on campus.
  • Learn about core UW-Madison principles like the Wisconsin Idea and Wisconsin Experience
  • Begin to develop a roadmap for your academic, personal, and career development

CALS QuickStart: Connect
1 credit, on-campus
(Pre-requisite: CALS QuickStart: Foundations)
Dates: August 22-August 26 (Residence hall move-in and kick-off dinner August 21)
Location: On-campus; early residence hall move-in available
Time: Morning and afternoon programming with evening activities
Cost: 1 credit of tuition + early move-in fee (see chart below)

Apply what you learned in CALS QuickStart: Foundations to develop your academic and career roadmap and connect with the people, resources, and opportunities that will define your UW Experience.

  • Learn the layout of the campus by living on-campus prior to the start of classes
  • Build positive relationships with an array of CALS faculty, alumni, and students
  • Gain hands-on learning through lab tours, industry visits, dinners, and panels
  • Start your first year with a personalized academic, career, and personal development plan
  • Get comfortable with services, including the free campus bus, recreation facilities, tutoring programs, student organizations, wellness resources and more.
  • Evening social activities to connect with other incoming students
  • Get a head start on forming study groups with fellow students – proven to be one of the best ways to improve your classroom learning.

CALS QuickStart Scholars:
On-going, co-curricular program
CALS QuickStart is more than coursework; it is a community of student scholars. At the end of your two summer bridge courses, you’ll be invited to join the CALS QuickStart Scholar community. As part of this group, you’ll have on-going opportunities to network with CALS faculty, alumni, and industry leaders. You’ll also have regular check-ins with your advisors and events to reconnect with fellow CALS QuickStartScholars.

Summer session is a key aspect of CALS QuickStart. As you develop your personal roadmap, we’ll work with you to determine how you can leverage future summer terms to reach your goals. For many QuickStart Scholars, enrolling in one additional summer term (typically 6-9 credits), can shorten time to degree by a semester or more – saving you tuition expenses and launching your career plans sooner.

Tuition and Scholarship Opportunities

Aside from tuition and housing, there is no additional program fee for CALS QuickStart. A number of meals are included during Connect2Campus, as there will often be programming over lunch and dinner hours. UW Dining Halls will be open and available to students, for breakfasts and days with lunchtime or evening breaks.

A limited number of scholarships to offset the two credits of summer CALS QuickStart coursework are available, due to generous financial support from the Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association (WALSAA). To be considered for a scholarship, you must submit your CALS QuickStart application by April 15, 2018 and filed a FAFSA with UW-Madison.

CALS QuickStart Program Costs Resident Minnesota Nonresident International
Tuition Estimate(2 credits)* $891.04 $1,163.76 $2,745.18 $2,828.52
Connect2Campus Housing** $125 $125 $125 $125
Total: 1016.04 1288.76 2870.18 2953.52

*Tuition estimate is based on Summer 2017 rates; 2018 summer tuition rates will be posted in March 2018
**Early move-in is available for students living in UW Housing for 2018-2019 at a rate of $25/night, until contacts start on August 26

When do CALS QuickStart participants attend SOAR?

All incoming UW-Madison will attend SOAR (the Student Orientation, Advising & Registration) Program during the summer ahead of their first semester.

In general, CALS QuickStart students can register for SOAR at any point that is convenient. However, late August SOAR sessions will conflict with the CALS QuickStart: Connect course (August 21-26). Please avoid these sessions. If you need to attend at this time, and would like to participate in QuickStart, please contact us at to determine if alternate arrangements are feasible.

Questions? Want to learn more? Contact Us!

Tanya Cutsforth, QuickStart Program Manager, is available to answer any questions you may have. She can be reached by email at Phone or in-person appointments are also available; email to schedule.

CALS QuickStart representatives will also be at the CALS Admitted Student Day on Friday, April 13th. Register for this event at (select Admitted Student Events).