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

Choose your FIG

Fall 2024 students: 

You can make an appointment using Starfish to chat with us about general FIG questions (before you meet with your SOAR advisor) and help enrolling in your FIG’s classes.
  • Look through the fall 2024 FIGs and explore the ones that interest you.
  • When you attend SOAR, talk with your advisor about what you are interested in taking.
  • After you meet with your advisor and confirm that the FIG you want is a good fit, please fill out the “Choose your FIG” form. Use this form to reserve a seat in the FIG you want to take.
  •  You may fill out this form only AFTER you meet with your SOAR advisor.
      • 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.
  • 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.
  • You will receive an automatic email a few minutes after submitting the form, just for your records. The form asks for your official “@wisc.edu” address, and this is where we will send important information to you.
  • You will receive another email 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.
  • If you have questions about how to register for your FIG, follow the process described on the “Enroll in your FIG” page to complete your enrollment.

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.

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.

Who can enroll in a FIG?

FIGs are only open to first-year students. We do not have FIGs for transfer students.

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 FIGs. Other than these few reserved FIGs, all others are open to any first-year 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 once you are eligible to enroll in all of your fall classes. This will occur during your SOAR experience.

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 an additional one or two classes 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 can 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 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 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 one of the linked classes 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).