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.

Summer 2021: Senior guest auditors are welcome to take online courses but in-person courses are not available to auditors.
Fall 2021: This fall, in-person classes are once again available for you 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

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

2. Apply

Applications are no longer being accepted for fall 2021. The spring 2022 application will be available September 20.

  • 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 (the application is now closed for fall 2021) 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

Fall 2021

Senior guest auditors are once again welcome to take in-person classes for fall 2021!

Search for courses 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 Fall 2021.

Senior Guest Auditor Courses for Consideration Fall 2021
Fall 2021 Schedule of Classes (PDF) Note: not as up-to-date as the online class search tool!
History department Senior Guest auditor information

6. Permission-to-enroll process

Fall 2021


  • Confirm eligibility to enroll/admission: If you were enrolled in a course in spring 2021 OR summer 2021, you should be eligible to enroll for fall 2021. If not, please apply. Not sure? Please contact our office.
  • Search for courses to audit
    • History course availability The history department welcomes Senior Guest auditors and maintains an informational guide of history courses for consideration

Request permission to audit 

  • Complete the online request preferably before enrollment begins on September 8, but no later than September 12. This request goes directly to the instructor.
  • We ask that you please:
    • do not use a paper request form
    • do not email the instructor separately
    • only request permission to audit courses you plan to attend
    • submit a request before attending the class and at least a week in advance for an online class

Wait for course audit approval

  • Check your email: Permission approvals will be sent to your email.
  • Once you receive permission: attend the first day of class and enroll (unless otherwise instructed). Note, instructors may wait until the first day of class before approving permission requests.


  • Enroll starting Wednesday, September 8: Have your NetID (e.g. bbadger) and password ready and then enroll in only courses for which you have permission to audit. For NetID assistance, contact the IT Help desk at 608-264-HELP (4357) or

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!

10. Additional senior learning opportunities


PLATO ( is a nonprofit organization serving more than 1,200 lifelong learners living in and around Dane County. All our members share a passion for learning and a desire to stay engaged with the world and with others who share their interests. PLATO is an ideal way to learn, contribute to others’ learning, enjoy new experiences, and meet new friends. No formal education or university affiliation is necessary to join.

The UW Retirement Association ( is a membership organization for retired faculty and staff. The association promotes the interests, health, and welfare of its members through a diverse program of activities and information, including presentations on topics of interest to retired members. The annual membership fee is $20.

The Wisconsin Alumni Association ( offers UW alumni and friends a campus connection through educational programs, including the annual Grandparents University®.

Websites of interest

National Resources Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes

UW–Madison Institute on Aging


Peace Corps

Fall 2021: This fall, in-person classes are once again available for you to audit!

Online permission-to-enroll form