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Badger Ready students and staff celebrate 5th anniversary

On May 19 in the Union South Sett Recreation center, students, their families and staff of the Badger Ready program gathered to celebrate five years of increasing access to the University of Wisconsin–Madison to returning adult students.

With games, a raffle, speakers and even an appearance by Bucky, the mood was jovial. Badger Ready students connected with peers and staff, advisors Ace Hilliard and Autumn Sanchez thanked students for trusting them and making Badger Ready an increasingly important program at the university.

In five years, 43 students have successfully completed the program to be admitted to UW–Madison as transfer students. To date, 17 students have graduated with bachelor’s degrees in areas from human development and family studies to applied mathematics, engineering and physics.

For those with some college but no degree, completing a bachelor’s degree can seem out of reach, especially if their initial experience with college did not go well. Badger Ready, which launched in 2018, was designed as a pathway to a UW–Madison undergraduate degree for those who might not otherwise qualify for transfer admission into UW–Madison.

After admission to Badger Ready, students take UW–Madison courses in University Special student (nondegree) status. The number of courses varies depending on the number and type of credits they have completed in the past but typically ranges from 3-5. If a student maintains a B average and completes other program requirements, they are admitted as a UW–Madison transfer student.

“Badger Ready has shown over the last five years that returning adults are resilient and have so much to offer,” said Martin Rouse, associate dean and director of UW–Madison Adult Career & Special Student Services. “We are honored to work with these students, learn from them and have them contribute to the Badger community.”

Enjoy these photos from the celebration. Happy Anniversary, Badger Ready!

group of students and family sitting behind a table, smiling
Badger Ready students Amie Swanson (far left) and Keerun Ismail (center) joined by family and friends, taking a break from bowling at the UW–Madison South Union. Both Amie and Keerun are transfer students studying human development and family studies.


three students sitting a table, coloring
Badger Ready students Signe Kilmer (left; art history, 2023) and Alex Smith (center; data science, 2021) and friend enjoying a coloring station.