Senior Guest Auditors

Are you a Wisconsin resident 60 years of age or older? Are your goals unrestrained by degree and credit requirements?

If yes, becoming a Senior Guest auditor may be a good fit for you! Follow the Steps below to learn how to become a Senior Guest auditor.

group of older adults

Summer 2020

Enrollment for senior guest auditors typically starts in mid- to late-May. We recommend applying by early May if you plan to audit summer classes.


Steps to becoming a Senior Guest Auditor

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1. Review auditing guidelines and course limitations

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.

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
  • online 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. Click HERE to access our application page. 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.

DEADLINE: Please submit your online application at least 2 weeks before the start of the term in which you wish to enroll.

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. We can not accept paper applications received later than 2 weeks prior to the start of the term.
  • 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

The best way to search for classes is to utilize the official, up-to-date Course Search & Enroll tool:

  • Admitted senior guest auditors can follow these instructions to enter the tool via MyUW.
  • Anyone can browse the online Public Class Search tool regardless of admission status.
  • For those interested in history courses, the Department of History has a senior guest auditor specific webpage.  Please review their page for a list of history courses and course limitations.

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

As you are finding courses that you’re interested in, make a note of the date, time and location of the course(s) as your next step will be attending the class(es) on the first day.

6. Attend the first day of class WITH your permission-to-enroll form

  1. On the first day of the semester, attend the class(es) that your are interested in auditing.
  2. Bring the permission-to-enroll form with you; you will need one for each class you’d like to audit. (Print additional Permission-to-enroll forms).
  3. At the beginning or end of the class, chat with the professor and ask them for permission to audit their class. Have them sign your permission-to-enroll form.

7. Deliver your SIGNED permission-to-enroll form to the department

In order to officially enroll in your course(s), you need the appropriate department to enter an electronic permission code in the student record system. They will do this once they receive your signed permission-to-enroll form.

8. Enroll in classes

Once the department enters an electronic permission into the system and your assigned enrollment date and time have come, 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.

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.

9. Check your course's eText status

Electronic textbooks, called eTexts, are being piloted in some classes at UW-Madison. If you enroll in one of the courses using eTexts, you will be automatically billed for eTexts unless you opt out. Check this list to see if your course is using eTexts:

If your course is using eTexts and you wish to opt out, learn how here.

10. 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.

11. Enjoy your semester!

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

Video overview of the Senior Guest auditor process. Closed captioning is available.