enroll in themed interdisciplinary clusters of UW-Madison classes • small class sizes • dedicated instructors

Choose your FIG

Fall 2021 students:

  1. Look through the catalog of Fall 2021 FIGs and explore the ones that interest you.
  2. Once you have reserved an advising appointment with your professional SOAR advisor, you are eligible to use the “Choose your FIG” form to reserve a seat in the FIG you want to take. You cannot fill out the form before you have an assigned advising appointment.
  3. You may also fill out this form during or after your advising appointment.
      • If you are in a country that does not allow access to Google Forms, or if you have other difficulties accessing the form through a web browser, please contact Kari Fernholz at kari.fernholz@wisc.edu.
  4. Since FIGs are in high demand, you can request a spot in only one FIG (exception: read about “waitlist” FIGs below).
    • Did you change your mind after submitting the form? You can submit again, and it will replace your earlier request.
  5. You will receive an automatic email a few minutes after submitting the form, just for your records. The form asks for your new official “@wisc.edu” address, and this is where we will send important information to you.
  6. You will receive another email, close to your advising appointment day, confirming that you have been granted the permissions you will need from the FIGs program to enroll in your FIG. You will not be able to enroll without permission from the FIGs Program.
  7. When you meet with your advisor, discuss the FIG you are authorized to enroll into, to confirm it is a good choice for you.
  8. When your advisor clears you to register, follow the process described on the “Enroll in your FIG” page to complete your enrollment.
  9. If you decide to enroll in a FIG during or after your advising appointment, you can fill out the “choose your FIG” form at that point and you will receive instructions from the FIGs Program staff when you are authorized to enroll.

The FIG I want says “WAITLIST” on the form

If the “Choose your FIG” form shows that your choice is waitlisted, it means that all currently available seats have been reserved or filled.

You can add your name to our waitlist by submitting the form with that FIG as your choice. We encourage you to also find an open FIG and request a spot there, as well. That way you can get registered for a FIG.

Spots may open up in waitlisted FIGs if other students decide to enroll in different classes or if more capacity becomes available. We cannot predict when or if this will happen. If you are next on the waitlist when a spot is open, Kari Fernholz will contact you at your @wisc.edu email address.

The FIG I want isn’t listed on the form

When enough students fill the waitlist for a FIG, it will become CLOSED. Closed FIGs won’t appear on the form, so that students don’t mistakenly request a seat in one. You can confirm that the FIG is closed by checking its page on this website.

Are you a SOAR student with questions? Make an appointment to join a group information session or schedule a one-on-one appointment with one of our peer advisors. Click here for more information.

Who can enroll in a FIG?

FIGs are open to any interested new freshman.  Transfer students are not eligible to enroll in fall FIGs.

A few FIGs are designed only for students who are advised by specific programs or colleges such as Art or Engineering. When you browse the catalog of current FIGs, look for the yellow tags that identify these unique cases. Other than these few restricted FIGs, all others are open to any student for whom it is a good fit. Please talk with your advisor about your interests and which FIGs might be right for you.

Some FIG classes require certain minimum scores on your placement tests. For example, a FIG that that requires a specific math competency to enroll. These are issues your advisor can help address.

When do I enroll?

You enroll in your FIG after your SOAR advisor clears your advising hold and you become eligible to enroll in all of your fall classes.

How do FIG classes fit into my semester?

Each UW course is assigned a certain number of credits, depending on how many hours a week the class meets and other factors. Full-time students enroll in 12 to 18 credits each semester.

FIGs generally have three classes, so most students will also enroll in at least one additional class of their choosing.

The credits of all the classes in a FIG are added together, and you can find that total number listed for each current FIG. For example, if you enroll in a 9-credit FIG, you will need to select additional class(es) to meet the 12-credit minimum full-time student load.

The three classes in a FIG are separate courses with different instructors and they  all count toward graduation. The only thing unique about them is that they are linked together so that everyone in the FIG cohort is enrolled in the same sections of all three classes. Your advisor will help you select non-FIG class(es) that make sense for you and will work with your FIG schedule.

Do FIGs cost extra?

Nope, there is no cost beyond your usual tuition and fee expenses.

Can I take just one class in a three-class FIG?

No. First-Year Interest Groups are a whole package: when you enroll, you commit to taking the full set of specific classes in the FIG. Each FIG class section will meet at a specific time (unless they are taught asynchronously), which you can see on the FIG’s page and at enroll.wisc.edu. You must enroll in these specific classes/sections to be in the FIG.

If you want to take only the linked class in a FIG, then you (with your advisor’s help) may be able to enroll in that class outside of the FIG Program, if there are seats available in non-FIG sections. The main FIG seminar is only available to students in the FIG.

Can I drop a class in a FIG?

Just as you must enroll in all of the classes in the FIG, dropping a class within a FIG means dropping all classes in the FIG. This is because we reserve equal numbers of seats in all of the FIG classes and we want everyone in the FIG to have the whole experience. Part of what makes a FIG special is the ability to think about the relationship between all of the classes—which is only possible if everyone is enrolled in the whole package.

However, after the semester begins, if you have concerns about one of your FIG classes, please contact us so we can help (figs@ls.wisc.edu).