Most First-Year Interest Groups are open to all new freshmen.
A few FIGs are designed just for students who plan to enter specific degree programs, schools, or colleges, such as Nursing or Engineering. There may also be a few FIGs for incoming transfer students. When you browse the catalog of current FIGs, look for the special yellow boxes that identify those FIGs.
Some FIGs may also require certain scores on your placement tests. For example, a FIG that has a foreign-language component may be open to students who have achieved a certain level of competency in that language.
At SOAR, before your assigned enrollment appointment, please talk with your advisor about your preferred FIG to confirm that it’s a good fit for your academic plan.
Then, you’ll complete a simple online form to let us know that you intend to enroll in that FIG. You’ll share your contact information and other details. Before your enrollment appointment time, the FIGs Program office staff will get in touch with you and provide you with the authorization needed to enroll in the entire FIG set of courses.
Using that authorization information, you’ll enroll in your FIG along with your other courses after your enrollment appointment time.
Most freshmen will also enroll for at least one other course of their choosing, along with the FIG courses.
Undergraduates are usually full-time students, which means enrolling for at least 12 credits each semester. Each course is assigned a certain number of credits, depending on how many hours a week the class meets, and other factors.
The credits of all the courses in a FIG are added together, and you can find that total number listed for each current FIG. If you enroll in a 9-credit FIG, you will likely also choose a course with at least 3 credits, to meet the 12-credit minimum credit load.
We publish a schedule grid for each of the FIGs, to help you see what class times are reserved for the FIG courses. When you choose additional courses, look for class times that don’t overlap with your FIG. (UW–Madison has a tool called Class Search, that lets you find courses based on day and time.)
Nope, there is no fee beyond your usual tuition expenses. All FIG courses are regular UW courses. The main course will always only be open to you and the other students who enrolled in that FIG, but otherwise it’s just like other standard courses.
Some optional activities, such as a study-abroad component, may have costs not covered by your UW tuition.
First-Year Interest Groups are a whole package: when you enroll, you commit to taking the full set of courses in that FIG. Each course will meet at specific class times, which you can see in the FIG catalog.
If you only want to take some, but not all, of courses in a FIG, then you (with your advisor’s help) would enroll in those courses separate from the FIG program. The main FIG course wouldn’t be open to you, but the linked courses may (if seats are still available).
Just as you must enroll in all of the classes in the FIG, dropping a course within a FIG means dropping all the courses in the FIG. This is because we reserve equal numbers of seats in all of the FIG courses and we want everyone in the FIG to have the whole experience. However, after the semester begins, if you have concerns about one of your FIG courses, please contact the FIGs office so we can help.
If the FIG you most wanted is already full, we can include you on a waitlist and let you know if a seat becomes available.