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UW–Madison has a holistic, competitive, and selective admission process. Counselors in the Office of Admissions and Recruitment review high school course work, written statements, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and a letter of recommendation, if one is submitted. With an understanding of the course offerings and grading scales at each school, counselors look closely at high school transcripts to assess the rigor of an applicant’s curriculum and his or her performance in those courses. Also valued are consistent involvement in activities in or out of school, leadership, commu­nity involvements, or any special gifts or talents that a student would bring to the university. Each year, nearly 29,000 students apply to become freshmen.