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University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

United States


Founded in 1909, the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse (UWL) is a highly rated public university in western Wisconsin, offering a wide range of over 100 undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral courses of study. The university is ranked 6th in the Midwest for top public schools, according to a 2021 report by the U.S. News & World Report.

UWL is located in the La Crosse region, nestled around towering bluffs and meandering rivers, La Crosse is the region's cultural hub. The region contains the famous Great River Road, winding 250 miles along the Mississippi River, through historic river towns and natural scenery.

La Crosse is a recognized as one of the best places to live with its arts, restaurants and shopping. Historic downtown La Crosse is just steps, or a free bus ride, from campus. With a population of 52,000, there is plenty to see beyond the campus limits. Students can explore the surrounding bluffs and take part in activities like camping, hiking, kayaking, and biking. The unforgettable views will inspire the soul while strengthening the mind.

Newcomers to UWL join a student body of around 10,000 full-time students, many of whom live on-campus which creates a vibrant social learning environment. Community engagement is a key philosophy at UWL and the university works hard to provide a diverse and inclusive learning environment for students from all international and cultural backgrounds. There are more than 200 student clubs and societies, from sports teams and language societies to diversity groups and professional development organizations.

UWL is ranked 9th out of a total 1,204 universities nationwide for providing value to international students according to a 2020 report by College Factual, and many students go on to find employment in the area after graduation.

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What's new

What's new

UWL has been swift in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and has risen to the challenge of continuing to provide high-quality education, while prioritizing the safety and well-being of its staff and students.

Since the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year, UWL has adopted a hybrid learning model where courses are delivered using a combination of face-to-face classes and online instruction. This results in fewer people on campus at any given time, and smaller class sizes which not only improve safety, but allows each student more contact time with their professor.

The university has developed a highly efficient online learning portal where tutors can deliver course material and learning resources remotely, as well as providing students with feedback on coursework and assignments, and arrange personalized tutorials with individual students. UWL has also moved their peer mentoring program online to encourage continued engagement with the university student community, and maintaining a social and supportive learning environment.

UWL is transitioning to an entirely digital campus model for the remainder of the 2020 Fall semester, with all classes taking place online. The university expects to re-open for the Spring 2021 semester, using the hybrid learning model.

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Teaching quality

Teaching quality

The UWL teaching faculty has built a reputation for delivering high-quality instruction with a strong focus on academic enquiry and a research-driven curriculum. Students benefit from studying within a forward-thinking faculty who encourage intellectual curiosity and offer opportunities to extend university work beyond the classroom. As many as 96 percent of students participate in at least one high impact practice during their time at UWL such as undergraduate research or service learning project.

Students are taught by experienced and qualified faculty and staff, many of whom have taught and worked internationally, and are able to effectively communicate their expertise to students from all international backgrounds. The university fosters a diverse and inclusive culture of learning, where staff and students support each other in the pursuit of their academic goals. The university teaching ethos is centered around four key commitments, namely to ''Lead, Educate, Collaborate and Innovate''. The average freshman retention rate at UWL is 85 percent, a full ten percent higher than the national average.

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Student support

Student support

In addition to academic instruction, UWL is committed to providing the services necessary to ensure the personal support and development its students. These free and confidential services are designed to improve the university experience, in addition to the Student Union and campus societies, and are available year-round. Services include:

  • Health and Wellness - UWL acknowledges the diversity of its student's social, psychological and personal needs. The university offers adjustment guidance and encourages personal confidence.
  • Student Academic Services - Academic support and general advice is available to ease the transition to living and studying away from home.
  • Language Support - Additional English as a Second language (ESL) instruction is available year-round.
  • Medical Center – An on-campus clinic is available during term times, and regular health and safety consultations online. Health education is available on-campus. There is also emergency care and treatment for minor illnesses.

UWL also has an International Education and Engagement department, which is dedicated to enhancing cultural awareness and diversity throughout the university, as well as running an annual program of events for its international student community. Services include:

  • Advising and support services for enrolled international students
  • Student exchange and study abroad programs for UWL students
  • Opportunities to connect with current students and La Crosse community members through:
    • Global Buddy Program, Cultural Coffee Hour, and International Student Organizations
    • La Crosse Friends of International Student (LFIS)
    • Unibuddy International Ambassador program: prospective students can chat with current students about student life, academics and their experiences at UWL.
  • Visiting Scholar Services.

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

UWL works hard to ensure that the application process remains as accessible as possible to students from all backgrounds. The admissions team encourages anyone who aspires to study at the university to submit an application online via the UW System application.

UWL is a competitive and thriving academic institution and admits students that are driven, active and engaged academically. As part of a holistic admissions profile, students should exemplify strong academic performance. Submitting test scores is optional at UWL, as SAT is not required for undergraduate admissions and GRE/GMAT is not required for graduate admissions. Applications are completed online, and prospective students should familiarize themselves with any key deadlines or additional requirements associated with the college or program they are applying to.

Prospective students are required to submit academic transcripts to the university's Admissions Office. Students can visit the International Admissions website for full details on admissions criteria. Additional documents that may be required vary by program and if any documents are not in English, then an English translation must be submitted alongside documents in their original language.

International students applying to a course at UWL may need to submit evidence of English language proficiency in the form of test scores from TOEFL, IELTS or equivalent.

Some students may be exempt from this requirement and can contact the admissions office to verify this potential exemption.

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Graduate outcomes

Graduate outcomes

A degree from UWL is a globally respected qualification which prepares students for success in their further studies and future careers. The ''Eagle Advantage'' provides a framework for students to polish the skills they already have, develop the career-readiness skills they don't, and apply them in a variety of settings for future career success.

Students have free access to the university's Academic Advising Center and Career Service, which provides a wide range of resources in professional development and career support. Services include interview training, peer mentorship opportunities, CV/resume writing support, and a schedule of networking events and careers workshops timetabled throughout the academic year. Graduates also benefit from connections with UWL's network of over 85,000 alumni and professional associates, who can give valuable insights into employment options after graduation.

The La Crosse region is a hub of professional industries, with many technology, medical, manufacturing and transportation companies based in the surrounding area. Many students go on to find employment in the region, and the university's research-driven approach offers many opportunities for work placements and internships while studying.

96 percent of students are employed within six months of completing their studies or go on to the graduate or professional school of their choice to continue their education. A degree from UWL truly is an asset in the search for future career success both within the U.S. and internationally.

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Scholarships & funding

Scholarships & funding

UWL maintains that access to higher education should be available to students from all economic backgrounds. The university also understands that the cost of living independently and financing a course of study while moving away from home can be a significant consideration when applying for a place at university. The university offers a range of financial and scholarship options, many awarded on merit-based criteria.

Once an international student is admitted to UWL with the equivalent of a 3.0 GPA or higher, they are eligible to apply for the Vice Chancellor's Scholarship for Incoming International Students award. The range of the scholarship is USD 2,000 to USD 5,000 per year and it is renewable each year. Students that have been admitted before February 1st, can also apply for Foundation Scholarships, that range in amount and criteria. The deadline for Foundation scholarships is February the 1st of every year. There are over 400 different types of scholarship opportunities available each year within the Foundation.

When students arrive, they can apply for current student scholarships. Many international students receive the I-Engage scholarship. This scholarship is worth up to USD 2,000 per semester (USD 4,000 per year) and is awarded based on an expectation that students participate in cultural events on campus and in the community. Students can also work up to 20 hours per week on campus making USD 7.25 (minimum) per hour or more.

UWL also provides scholarship options to transfer students and continuing students, as well as postgraduate applicants. The university's dedicated Scholarship Resource Center is available all year round to advise and assist students in applying for alternative funding, as well as running workshops related to the scholarship process.

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International students

Average cost of living in United States

View full cost of living
At University of Wisconsin La Crosse
At University of Wisconsin La Crosse
At University of Wisconsin La Crosse
At University of Wisconsin La Crosse
At University of Wisconsin La Crosse
At University of Wisconsin La Crosse
At University of Wisconsin La Crosse

Total average cost: $1762

  • $811
  • $677
  • $98
    Daily life
  • $176
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