Senior Guest Auditors

Steps to becoming a Senior Guest auditor

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1. Review auditing guidelines and course limitations

Are you a Wisconsin resident 60 years of age or older with goals unrestrained by degree and credit requirements?
Becoming a Senior Guest auditor may be a good fit!

What is auditing?

Auditing is defined as sitting in on a lecture course and not actively participating. Auditors may not recite, perform, or take examinations. Auditors are not graded and do not receive credit for the courses they enroll in. Space availability and instructor permission are required to audit.

Spring 2021: Senior guest auditors are welcome to take online courses but in-person courses are not available to auditors.

Courses NOT typically available for auditing include:

  • physical education activity classes
  • conversational languages
  • studio and performing arts
  • writing, math, computer, and lab courses
  • independent study, directed study, and other courses ending from -90 to -99
  • seminar, research, and colloquial courses

Please call the Adult Career and Special Student Services office for questions or clarification.

2. Apply

Apply to be a Senior Guest auditor using the University Special student online application.

  • When asked to select your student type on the application, choose ‘Senior Guest Auditor/Senior Guest Auditor/UGSR’.

If you’re having trouble navigating the application, reference additional application instructions HERE to help guide you through the online process.

Additional notes:

  • Verification of Wisconsin Resident Status is required. Complete the residency portion of the application as thoroughly as possible as this will speed up processing time.
  • If you are unable to complete the online application, you may apply using our paper application however we highly encourage the use of our online application as it will greatly reduce processing time.
  • Your Guest auditor status will remain active as long as you are fully enrolled in courses each fall and spring semester.
  • Returning auditors who did not enroll in the most recent fall or spring term must submit a new application.

3. Wait to be admitted

Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email and our office will begin processing your application.

Processing your application will take between 2 and 7 business days. During this time, please keep an eye on your email. You will receive an email once you have been admitted. This email will contain your campus ID number which you can use to proceed to the next step.

While you are waiting to be officially admitted, you may proceed to Step 5, ‘Search for classes’, however be sure to complete Step 4 once you receive your admit email.

4. Activate your NetID

Your NetID is a university-assigned username which will allow you to access your MyUW student portal. You must activate your NetID and create a password for your account.

Use the following steps to help you.

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your 10-digit campus ID number (this was provided to you in your admission email and letter) and your Date of Birth.
  3. Click activate.
  4. You will be given your NetID (this will be some combination of your first and last name).
  5. Create a password unique to you and your account.
  6. Be sure to write down your NetID and password as you will need to use this frequently.

If you’re a returning Guest auditor and have forgotten your NetID and/or password, please contact the DoIT Help Desk (608-264-4357).

5. Search for classes

Spring 2021

Senior guest auditors are welcome to take online courses but in-person courses are not available to auditors.

Search for online classes utilizing the official, up-to-date Course Search & Enroll tool:

  • Admitted senior guest auditors can follow these Course Search Instructions to enter the tool via MyUW.
  • Anyone can browse the online Public Class Search tool regardless of admission status.
  • Use the search feature on the left-hand side of the page and select Spring 2021.  Then under ‘Mode of Instruction’ use the drop down menu to choose ‘Online Only’.

Additional class search options are available but please note, only the online Course Search & Enroll tool is current and complete:

6. Permission-to-enroll process - updated for spring 2021

Please do not contact the instructor to ask for permission to enroll. We will update these instructions for summer and fall 2021 soon.

Updated permission-to-enroll request (spring 2021):

  • The deadline to submit a request has passed. Please contact our office with questions. By January 14, 2021 please complete the permission-to-enroll request. This will be your official request. You will be notified via your email regarding your request status.
  • Submitting the online permission-to-enroll request does not guarantee you will receive permission to enroll in the course. Exceptions are not granted.
  • Please do not email or call the instructor or department/school staff to ask for permission to enroll.

Permission confirmation

  • Once you submit your permission request, watch your email for confirmation of your request. If you do not receive a confirmation, please let us know via email at
  • After the permission request has been submitted, it may take up to the first week of the term to be notified if permission has been given.
  • We are unable to give a definitive time frame as to when you will receive a notification if your request for permission to enroll has been approved or denied.
  • Please note, instructors and/or departments have full discretion to decide whether or not a course is conducive to auditing and they may deny your request. We ask that guest auditors please be respectful of permission decisions.

7. Enroll in classes

Once the department enters an electronic permission into the system and it is the first day or the term or later, you will be able to enroll.

You will enroll online using the Course Search & Enroll tool found in your MyUW portal. Click HERE for a guide to walk you through the enrollment process.

Enrollment troubleshooting and tips

Canvas access:

  • After you have enrolled in the course, it may take 2-4 hours for it to appear in the Canvas learning management system.
  • View this Canvas student training course for tips on using Canvas.

Additional Notes:

  • You must enroll by the end of the 2nd week of classes to avoid the late enrollment fee.
  • You MUST complete this step for your Guest auditor status to remain active.
  • Some courses have Digital Course Materials (eTexts) and Senior Guest auditors will be automatically opted-out of these materials. If you do NOT want to be opted-out and wish to purchase the eText, contact to have the opt-out reversed. The eText charge will  be billed and you are responsible for paying.

8. Pick up your Wiscard (optional)

The day after you enroll in at least one course, you can pick up your Wiscard at Union South.

Your Wiscard is your UW-Madison photo ID card and will be needed to access campus libraries and computer labs. You will also need a Wiscard if you plan to purchase an affiliate membership for access to the recreational facilities.

9. Enjoy your semester!

It is a wonderful opportunity to learn from world-renowned faculty.  Take advantage of all the knowledge they have to share, and have fun!

Summer and fall 2021

The application is now open for summer and fall 2021.

Check back for deadlines and enrollment information.