No school from March 27-31
Reminder, no school from March 27-31 for Spring Break. School resumes Monday, April 3.
2022-23 Calendar for reference
Madison has a vision for all students – that they will not only graduate, but graduate with the skills and abilities to be successful in college, career and community.
We want our students to master academic content, build creativity, confidence and cultural competence, gain a strong sense of self and interpersonal skills and have a growth mindset to help them continually build the skills and abilities to be successful. This vision for Madison’s graduates was developed with input from more than 2500 staff, students and community members.
This page is designed to help families and students navigate the world of post-secondary education (college). You will find information on how to prepare for college while still in high school, how to find the right fit and apply to the school and finally information on how to pay for education after high school.
Finally, know that you have supports and resources right at your school! Your school counselor is an expert in all things post-secondary education. Schedule a meeting with them soon to start discussing your journey!
It is never too early to start thinking about college. This site will help you discover opportunities such as dual credit courses (earn college credit while still in high school) in high school to help you get started on the path to postsecondary education. You will see information on high school graduation requirements as well as information on the testing required for college.
There are thousands of options when it comes to finding the right college for you - it can be overwhelming. Technical colleges, public, private, training programs. Start here to help you narrow down your list and find your best fit.
Applying to college can feel like a full-time job, especially if you’re applying to colleges with different admissions requirements. There is a lot involved, so make sure you take care of all the details the college application requires.
The cost of college can be confusing and frightening - it doesn't have to be. This page is a starting place to help you understand the many ways that you can afford college. From grants, loans and scholarships to FAFSA this is a starting place for you to discover how to make it happen for you!
It's never too early to start getting ready for your college journey, whether it’s a 2- or 4-year college, it can be hard to know where to start.
Below are resources you can use to get ready for college while still in high school.
The first step to ensuring you are ready for college is graduating from high school! It is essential that you understand exactly what you need to do in order to graduate from high school on time. Check your transcript regularly and speak with your school counselor annually to ensure that you are on the right track!
How many credits do I need to earn a diploma from MMSD?
Typically, students need 22 credits to earn an MMSD diploma: The exact number of credits needed depends on the type of schedule at your high school and whether you only attend high school in MMSD or transfer into MMSD, sometime during your high school experience, from another school district.
Below you will find the number of credits you need for graduation.
9th-12th grade at East, West, Memorial or Shabazz (all have a 7-period day schedule).
LaFollette Students (due to recent changes in the LHS schedule)
Class of 2021 - 24 credits
Class of 2022 - 23 credits
Class of 2023 - 22 credits
11th - 12th grade having spent 2-3 years at La Follette and the remainder at East, West or Memorial
24-26 credits (see your counselor)
9th - 12th grade at Capital
Graduation by portfolio
12th grade at an MMSD high school but spent some time in 9th-12th grade at a school outside of MMSD
Credits needed vary (see your school counselor)
What Specific Courses Do I Need to Earn my MMSD diploma?
Because of recent revisions to our graduation requirements (Summer 2016), the specific courses that you need to earn a diploma from MMSD varies depending on your grade level. Some variation may also exist for students receiving Special Education services based on their Individualized Education Plan. Please see the information below for more details.
Class of 2021 and beyond
How do I know if I am on track to graduate on time?
It is essential that you monitor your credits to ensure that you are on track to graduate on time. You can do this by viewing your unofficial transcript in Infinite Campus (under Reports). It is recommended that you audit your transcript after each semester to ensure that it is accurate. This Reviewing Your High School Transcript tip sheet will help you know what to look for. Your school counselor is an excellent resource for additional support.
Your school counselor, your parents and your teachers are your best resource when it comes to selecting the right courses for you. Each student is traveling a different path so talk to those who know to help you make the best decisions. Below are a few things to keep in mind.
Wisconsin Student Assessment System - These assessments are given to all MMSD students during school hours.
WI Forward Exam - All MMSD 6th, 7th, 8th grade students take the WI Forward Exam. The Exam is designed to gauge how well students are doing in relation to the Wisconsin Academic Standards. These standards outline what students should know and be able to do in order to be college and career ready.
ACT Aspire - All MMSD 9th and 10th grade students take the ACT Aspire assessment. The Aspire test is precursor to the ACT and can be used to predict how a student will perform on the ACT.
ACT - All MMSD 11th grade students take the ACT in second semester. Students can select up to four schools to send their ACT score to for free when filling in the pretest information. The ACT is accepted by all US colleges and universities, is the nation’s most taken college entrance exam, is based on correct answers only. Students may also test ACT on their own. Colleges consider a student’s highest score for admission. Income-eligible ACT takers receive college application fee waivers. See your school counselor for more information.
Optional/Other Assessments: All MMSD students may take these exams,
PSAT - 10th grade and some 11th grade students. The PSAT is the official route of entry to the National Merit Scholarship Program. See your school counselor for information on how to take the PSAT.
SAT - 11th and 12th grade students. The SAT is an admission test accepted by all U.S. colleges. Students may take the SAT multiple times. Colleges consider a student’s highest score for admission. Income-eligible SAT takers receive college application fee waivers. See your school counselor for more information. Read Should You Take the ACT or SAT to learn more.
Accuplacer - 12th grade students. Accuplacer is utilized at Technical and Community Colleges. Accuplacer testing is available at Madison College.
Test Prep: All MMSD students have access to Method Test Prep through their Xello account.
This test prep site offers a 20 week course, 2 full length ACT tests, lessons and quizzes in each subject area, and a vocabulary builder for FREE through Xello.
High school is a much more enjoyable experience when you get involved in volunteering, clubs and athletics. College admissions counselors are interested in learning about how you spend your time outside of academics. Find something you are passionate about and get involved. Your high school has a listing of all extracurricular activities on their website. Don't see something that interests you? Start a new club! The article below highlights a few important things to keep in mind as you explore your interests.
Academic and Career Planning (ACP)
Madison has a goal for all our students to graduate with the skills and abilities to be successful in college, career and community. This goal was developed with feedback from more than 2500 students, teachers and community members. You can see these skills above in what we call the MMSD Graduate Vision. Teachers support student development of Graduate Vision skills as part of the Academic and Career Planning process.
Through Academic & Career Planning students are beginning to answer these questions:
Start College Now/Early College Credit Program and Part-Time Open Enrollment (formerly knows as Youth Options and Course Options) - There are many great ways to earn college credit while you are still in high school. It is our goal that all MMSD students will graduate high school with some college credits. Check out Early College Credit Options to discover ways to take courses at a Wisconsin Technical College or a Wisconsin Public or Private College. Deadlines to apply are October 1 and March 1 of each year.
Early College Stem Academy(ECSA) - Through ECSA students take all courses during 11th and 12th grades at Madison College, earning college credits as they go. In some cases, a student may graduate with an Associate's Degree. Students may apply and interview for this program in 10th grade.
Transcripted Credit Courses - Most of our high schools offer courses for transcripted credit (TC) to Madison College (these credits may transfer to other colleges). See your school's course guidebook or speak to your school counselor for a full listing of these classes). These courses are open to any student, no application is required.
Advanced Placement (AP) Credit Information - Students who enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school have the potential to earn college credits after taking and earning certain scores on the AP exam. These college-level courses prepare high school students for the rigor of college coursework. These courses are open to any student, no application is required.
Pre College Programs are designed for students who are curious about college. These programs often offer individualized support to high school students as they navigate the college preparation process. Each program has unique application processes and deadlines.
AVID/TOPS - Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a college readiness system that includes 3 components: 1) an AVID Elective Course for students in the academic middle in grades 7-12 supporting students in the academic middle to attend post-secondary education; 2) AVID Schoolwide, which ensures every student has access to key strategies to help them become college, career, and community ready; 3) the highest quality training and resources to support all school staff. See your school's AVID website or speak to your school counselor for application information.
Personalized Pathways - In a Personalized Pathway, a student will progress through their core high school content courses, from ninth grade until graduation, in a smaller learning community, allowing them to develop strong, positive relationships with a close-knit group of students and staff who check in regularly and provide support to help students reach their goals. Students apply in 8th grade. Students may also join at the semester throughout high school. See your school counselor for more information.
People Program - PEOPLE is a college prep scholarship program for students of color and low-income students, most of whom are the first in their families to potentially attend college. Their journey prepares them to apply, be successfully admitted and enroll at the University of Wisconsin System institutions with an emphasis on University of Wisconsin-Madison. Students may apply in 8th grade.
ITA (Information Technology Academy) - Through ITA, high school students build knowledge and skills with hands-on training, academic support, mentoring, leadership development, community service and internship opportunities. At the same time, the students’ communities benefit from greater access to technology and from the skills and experience gained by these future leaders. Students may apply in 8th grade.
TEEM Scholars (Tomorrow’s Educators for Equity in Madison) - Forward Madison T.E.E.M. Scholars is designed for 9th and 10th grade MMSD students with strong academic potential, an interest in attending UW-Madison and teaching in MMSD who are: African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native; Asian, Chicano/a, Puerto Rican, Latino/a, Biracial/Multiracial, low income, first generation college or other underrepresented students. Students may apply in Spring of their 9th grade year or in 10th grade. Applications are available at your high school
Collegiate Athletic Information
Scholar Ahead - This website connects you to finding internships, research opportunities, enrichment programs and more.
UW Madison Precollege and Youth Programs - Our precollege programs provide youth ages 5-18 with transformative learning experiences in academic and recreational areas of interest. In addition to getting a taste of the college experience, youth benefit from interacting with UW–Madison’s outstanding facilities, resources, and faculty.
Athletes, particularly those considering a Division I or Division II school have specific course requirements while in high school. This site can help you navigate those requirements. Students should connect with their school counselor if they intend to participate in college athletics to ensure they are enrolling in the correct courses and meeting all requirements.
To play Division I and II collegiate athletics, you need to qualify academically. You must meet minimum requirements for both divisions to qualify for NCAA athletics:
For more information talk to your coach and your school counselor. Also check out 2.3 or Take A Knee.
If you are the first in your family to attend college, the process may seem particularly overwhelming. There are many many supports available to you. Be sure to ask for help and look for organizations and offices at your institution of choice that specifically support first generation college students. The following sites will give you step by step support for getting to or through college.
How to Succeed as a First Generation College Student
You belong in college too and we can help! See your school counselor for individualized support to help you meet your education and career goals. Below are a few resources to support you.
Don’t know where to start? These resources will help you begin your college search:
Big Future - College Board provides their Big Future website to help students navigate the college application process. This is a resource that includes college searches, planning tools, scholarship opportunities, assessment resources, and many other tools to help you plan and put in action your college application process.
Xello - The new Career Cruising. Xello is your one stop shop for your Academic and Career Planning needs. Log in through your school's home page. (Log in Instructions)
You Visit - Virtual College tours are a great way to experience the campus without leaving your house.
How do you know if a college is right for you? The following resources can help you determine what you are looking for in a college.
Xello - Log in through your school's home page. (Log in Instructions)
Big Future - Open to anyone
A few things to consider when starting your college search to make sure your college works for you:
Location (urban, rural, suburban, east coast/west coast, proximity to home, etc.)
Graduation rate of students (what percentage of students who attend this school actually graduate? Find that information on College Scorecard or College Results)
Cost (specifically the financial aid package that the school will be offering you)
Diversity of student body
Selectivity (how selective the school is with admissions)
Housing (where are students allowed or required to live)
Additional Support Programs (tutoring, disability services, accessibility, etc.)
Student athletes should also consider
Athletic Fit (playing time, style of offense/defense)
Distance from family (can family come see you play?)
Athletic scholarship money (Full, Partial, None)
Time commitment for sport (practice, classwork, off-time, traveling to competitions, etc.)
Top 10 Schools MMSD Student have attended in the last 10 years
Students and families can find information regarding college options by referring directly to individual college websites. The following are helpful starting points to learn more.
UW HELP- The UW Higher Education Location Program (UW HELP) is the front door to the UW System and all 26 of its campuses. The program helps students of all ages and backgrounds find UW System campuses that meet their needs. It also provides guidance as they prepare for college and connects them to UW System schools for a lifetime.
Wisconsin Technical Schools- Students and families can access the WTCS website to learn more about attending and applying to a Wisconsin Technical School. School counselors are great resources for students to get additional information about a variety of college options.
Wisconsin Private Colleges and Universities- Students and families can access the Wisconsin Private Colleges website to learn more about attending and applying to a Wisconsin Private College. School counselors are excellent resources for students to get additional information about a variety of college options.
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) - The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities represents more than 470 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, and Spain. HACU is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) - Historically Black Colleges and Universities are schools of higher learning that were accredited and established before 1964, and whose principal mission was the education of African Americans. HBCUs offer culture, a rich history and rigorous academic programs. Students who are interested in learning additional information about HBCU’s should connect with their school counselor.
LGBTQ+ College Resources - LGBTQ+: Campus Pride Academic institutions continue to take steps to create environments and policies that meet the needs of students with a wide range of gender and sexual identities. These populations have historically been underserved by hegemonic culture, so many college administrations are spearheading efforts to raise awareness of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) identities. BEST COLLEGES FOR LGBTQ STUDENTS
Worried you might miss something? These checklists will help you keep organized. Find the one that works best for you.
The Fair Opportunity Project offers a free Checklist Program for juniors and seniors. This program provides checklists, feedback, guidance, and active reminders for what students need to do to complete college, financial aid and scholarship applications. The Fair Opportunity Project also offers "The Guide" a free college admissions and financial aid guide for all students.
Employers and colleges often ask for two or three recommendation letters from people who know you well. These letters should be written by someone who can describe your skills, accomplishments and personality. See your school counselor for a brag sheet to provide to people writing your letters. It is common courtesy to give your recommender at least two weeks (or more) to write a strong letter for you.
Most colleges require a personal statement or essay as a part of your application. There are a variety of helpful websites offering guidance on how to write a college essay.
The College Essay Guy offers many free resources to support you along the way (Disclaimer: MMSD does not endorse The College Guy paid services).
College Xpress offers helpful recommendations for students regarding How to Write a Great College Essay.
Common Application Essay Prompts - These are released several months before the fall application season to give students plenty of time to prepare.
How Do I Order a Copy of My Transcript?
Transcripts may be ordered at Parchment.com by Madison Metropolitan School District graduates, guardians of students, and by current students (who are over the age of 18). This electronic service allows you to order transcripts online at any time and track the status of the transcripts that you have requested to be sent. Consult with your counselor determine if you qualify for a fee waiver.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Transcript for Personal Use?
Current Students and their families may download and print a copy of a transcript from Infinite Campus for personal use.
Personal transcripts are not considered official and will not be accepted for admission purposes to colleges and universities, the Common Application, or the NCAA. Most athletic offices, employers, and some scholarship applications will accept a printed copy of the personal transcript.
Transcripts needed for scholarship purposes are free. In order to request an official transcript for scholarship purposes, please contact your counselor.
How do I send my ACT scores?
When registering for the ACT students are able to select up to four schools to send their score to for free. To send scores to a school after you've taken the ACT, follow these instructions. Fee waivers are available for those that qualify (see your school counselor for more information).
All colleges provide links to their applications online. Below are the most common links MMSD students use.
The Common Application is a college application that is used to help prospective college students apply to multiple institutions at once. Students can create a Common Application account to apply for the institutions of their choice. The Common Application is a not-for-profit, member organization committed to the pursuit of access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process.
Students interested in applying for a University of Wisconsin System college may apply online. Applications are typically available August 1 of each year. It may be helpful to visit the UW System Admission Path website for directions on how to apply. School counselors are available to help students navigate the college application process.
Students wishing to attend Madison College can apply online via the Madison College Application process. School counselors are an excellent resource if students or families have questions about attending Madison College and are interested in additional opportunities regarding learning about this option. Students who have been admitted to our Early College STEM Program or other early college courses will need to set up a Madison College Account.
Below are 2 options to creating a Madison College Student Account. The first option is a direct link and the second is a step by step video on YouTube.
The Common Black College Application (CBCA) is a similar process with some key features. Whereas most of the time you pay application fees to each college you submit an application to, the Common Black College App allows you to apply to all 53 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) who are members of the service for a one-time application fee of $35
Students and their families are expected to contribute to the cost of college to the extent that they’re able. Use this 2020-21 academic year Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Calculator to:
Don't let the sticker price scare you. There are many ways to pay for college.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison provides this Net Price Calculator as a tool for early financial planning for college. The calculator is an approximation of federal and state aid eligibility for undergraduate students that plan to attend UW-Madison. This is for your information only and it is not an application for financial aid. (This calculator is availble for all to access, you do not have to be planning to attend UW-Madison to use it)
All seniors, regardless of your family’s income, should complete this application, which will qualify you for grants, loans, scholarships and work-study. Many colleges require the FAFSA to be filled out in order to provide financial assistance or awards to students. The application opened on October 1 and should be completed as soon as possible. You’ll need to register for an FSA ID prior to completing the FAFSA.
What is Federal Financial Aid?
Financial aid from the federal government can help you pay for education expenses at an eligible college or career school. Grants, loans and work-study are types of federal student aid. You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for this aid. Types of Federal Aid video is a helpful video that explains the difference between types of federal aid available to students. Additional information about federal student aid can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.
Who Should Apply for Need-Based Financial Aid?
All students with a social security number (see your school counselor if you do not have a social security number and need support finding money for college) should apply for need-based financial aid. Many families mistakenly think they may not qualify for this type of aid based on their income and assets. However, if students choose not to apply for need-based financial aid, they may be closing the door on opportunities that could help pay for college, like scholarships from their college. There are other sources of financial assistance available regardless of need, but most require that the student file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) first.
What Do You Need With You To Fill Out the FAFSA?
I was selected for FAFSA Verification, what does this mean?
You might be notified that you’ve been selected for verification; or your college might contact you to inform you that you’ve been selected. Verification is the process your college uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA form is accurate. If you’re selected for verification, your college will request additional documentation that supports the information you reported.
Don’t assume you’re being accused of doing anything wrong. Some people are selected for verification at random; and some schools verify all students' FAFSA forms. All you need to do is provide the documentation your school asks for—and be sure to do so by the school’s deadline, or you won’t be able to get financial aid. Below is information that can help you through the process.
How Does A Student Apply For Need-Based Financial Aid?
How Can We Get Help With the FAFSA?
College Goal WI College Goal Wisconsin workshops are offered each Wednesday at 6pm throughout October and November. Here you will receive personalized support from financial aid experts.
Is There a Deadline to Fill Out the FAFSA By?
There is a not a formal deadline to filling out the FAFSA, you can do it anytime. However, most colleges have a "Preferred Filing Date". By completing the FAFSA by this date you are increasing your chances of receiving scholarships and aid from the colleges you are considering.
Scholarships are available for all kinds of students! This is FREE money that you do not have to pay back. MMSD lists all local scholarships on Xello (our Academic and Career Planning Website).
1. Log into your Xello Account (through your MMSD account)
2. Select College Planning
3. Search for Scholarships
Your college of choice will also have a website devoted to scholarships - in many cases you may have to fill out the FAFSA to be considered for these. Below are a few other places to start looking for free money for your education.
Disclaimer - Do not pay money to apply for a scholarship. See your school counselor if you have questions about applying for the right scholarship for you.
Each college within the UW System offers unique scholarships. The links below will will take you to the scholarship pages for each institution.
Each college within the Wisconsin Private College system offers unique scholarships. The links below will will take you to the scholarship pages for each institution.
Loans are money that you DO have to pay back with INTEREST! Be sure you completely understand the terms and conditions of what you are signing before accepting loans. Your college's financial aid office can help you understand more about taking out loans. Filling out the FAFSA will determine if you are eligible for any loans.
A grant is money given to you typically based on financial need, usually by the government, that you don’t have to pay back. Fill out the FAFSA to find out if you’re eligible for any grants.
While in college, you may consider getting a job on campus. Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides the opportunity to possibly get a part-time job easier for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. So, fill out the FAFSA to find out if you’re eligible for Work Study.
After completing the FAFSA the college/s applied to will send the student an award letter that details what type of aid and how much financial aid a student is eligible for at that institution. Students can accept all the aid offered or can accept only what they need in order to pay for school. Your Financial Aid Award Explained is a good resource to understand your award letter. Your school counselor can also help explain what is on your award letter. Use the Compare Your Aid Awards tool to get a side-by-side comparison of your aid awards. Read about how to compare your aid awards and analyze your results.
College planning is an exciting and somewhat stressful endeavor. A worldwide pandemic may increase anxiety and stress as you pursue your postsecondary plans. This site is meant to be a useful tool to support you as you continue to plan for and reach your post high school goals during this time. A website is never a replacement for meaningful conversations, reach out to your school counselors and other trusted adults to guide you through this process during this time.
NACAC COVID-19 (National Association of College Admissions Counselors) - This site will give you updated information on deadlines from most colleges and universities in the country.
Madison College COVID-19 Info for Seniors - Madison College is here to help you continue to meet your post high school goals.
UW HELP COVID-19 Resources - Check out the Campus Resources link to find current information from every UW System School (UW Madison, UW Whitewater etc)
NCAA Eligibility Center COVID-19 Response - Given the unprecedented events due to COVID-19, the NCAA Eligibility Center has partnered with the NCAA membership to identify adjustments to the initial-eligibility certification process. adjustments.
Stay as engaged in your coursework as possible during this time. Colleges understand we are all in stressful situations, however, do your best to stay involved in your learning.
Continue to explore colleges virtually to help you find your fit. Xello is a great tool to help you discover what you are looking for in a school and to determine if it is a good fit for you. (Log in through your school's website)
Reminder, no school from March 27-31 for Spring Break. School resumes Monday, April 3.
2022-23 Calendar for reference