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Graduating in 4 years

rocksandrootsrocksandroots Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
edited June 2013 in University of Wisconsin
Hello there,

I would like to ask how hard it is to graduate in 4 years at UW-Madison. I am going to be an international freshmen majoring in computer science. I don't have any AP/IB credits (IB courses are not offered in my hometown, and, from what I could gather, AP tests are exclusive to US students), so I will basically be starting from zero. However, I consider my knowledge of math- and CS-related subject to be very strong (had 800 on the math section of the SAT and whatnot) and I hope that it's going to be of some help to me.

Thank you!
Post edited by rocksandroots on

Replies to: Graduating in 4 years

  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,937 Senior Member
    Well, my son just completed his freshman year, so he is just at the beginning of this process. However, my sense is that, if a student understands the various requirements for their specific College, and requirements for contemplated major, it is quite feasible and there should not be any real obstacles to completing school in 4 years.

    Although not applicable to your situation, for ex., my son is a humanities kid and came in with no AP/IB credit in math and science (the bane of his existance). With careful planning, he can get all his general ed and breadth requirements met easily -- he has to take Quant Reasoning A and B plus 12 credits of sciences, including 3 bio and 3 physical science.

    I suspect you may be the opposite -- easy to meet requirements in your area of interest, but then you have the Communication A and B requirements and Humanities and Social Sciences requirements. Bottom line -- use the online recourses at the Course Guide to add classes to your "favorites" and plot out how you will meet requirements over the 4 years.

    Good luck to you, it is a wonderful place!
  • jnm123jnm123 Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    Without having any AP credits as a springboard, it will take careful planning to graduate in 4 years, but it certainly can be done. My D had (I think) 12 AP credits going in, and did two BS degrees (not majors) in 4 years and 2 summers.

    The biggest blockades to this goal are that classes in certain majors aren't offered both fall and spring semesters, the temptation of SO many interesting classes, and--especially in the sciences--the prospect of dropping & retaking classes occasionally to keep a high GPA. It's done all the time--you have until the end of the ninth week of classes to drop a class, and UW-Madison is VERY competitive, thus the need to maintain the grades.
  • barronsbarrons Registered User Posts: 24,951 Senior Member
    Outside engineering and education majors it is very common. But you will need full load each term including first semester so take at least 15 credits.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,835 Senior Member
    You can do it.

    If you want to, map out your planned courses in computer science and math for the CS degree this summer using the list of required courses and the prerequisites for them from the UW website. Look at the list of required and possible courses. Then look at the prerequisites for those courses (courses needed before a course). The computer science department likely has suggested courses and the sequence to take them in if needed.

    My son was interested in math and physics, took some comp sci and added that major to his math major eventually. Fortunately the math and comp sci courses will not have time consuming lab sessions like some other sciences and the freshman level courses usually have plenty of sections so you can get the courses you need. You then fit your breadth/graduation requirement electives around those core classes, choosing courses that interest you and fit your schedule each semester.

    All you really need to do for your first semester is to start your comp sci and calculus sequences, you can figure out future semesters later. As above plan on a full load of 15-16 credits each semester. It's a good idea to balance the courses in subjects you love with some of the needed social sciences and humanities each semester. Getting those out of the way sooner rather than leaving them until the last will give you more flexibility in planning how many advanced courses in your major that appeal to you.

    Once you are in Madison you will become savvy as to how to do things so don't worry about how they will work out at this point. You will have time for your major and to explore the well roundedness of an American education- this includes academics and time spent outside of the classwork.
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