Is UW-Madison a Good School? A Detailed Look

As one of the most prestigious public universities in the Midwest, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) stands out as an exceptional academic institution known for top-ranked degree programs, leading research endeavors, a vibrant campus culture, and Division I athletics excellence. I often consider it one of the best public colleges in the nation, offering talented students superb academics paired with Big Ten sports and a thriving college town—an unbeatable combination.

Pillar of Academic Excellence

When evaluating UW-Madison’s merits as a university, its steadfast commitment to academic rigor and student success cannot be overlooked. As Wisconsin‘s premier research institution, UW-Madison harbors exceptional academic opportunities in nearly every discipline taught by world-class faculty.

Highly Ranked Programs

UW-Madison boasts highly ranked graduate and undergraduate programs across the arts, sciences, engineering, business, law, medicine and more.

  • U.S. News consistently recognizes several UW-Madison programs among the best in the country, including:
    • Top 10 Medical School
  • Additional accolades include:

This breadth of top-tier offerings outpaces many peer public institutions and demonstrates UW-Madison‘s far-reaching academic excellence.

Pioneering Research

As a premier research university, UW-Madison advances influential discoveries and innovations daily through its $1.3 billion research enterprise. From disease-fighting therapeutics to sustainability solutions, Badger research impacts lives worldwide.

  • UW-Madison ranks 3rd amongst public universities for research expenditures, behind only UC Berkeley and University of Michigan.
  • Students access these cutting-edge inquiries via labs, fellowships and mentoring relationships with UW-Madison’s award-winning professors.

In particular, the university’s world-class Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center pioneers developments in tissue engineering, gene therapy delivery and stem cell modeling of disease. Opportunities to learn from leaders in such revolutionary fields ultimately empower students to push boundaries within their own careers.

Distinguished Faculty

UW-Madison’s scholarly distinction derives heavily from its distinguished professors, 75% of whom hold terminal degrees. These dedicated mentors attract over $1.1 billion in research awards through their breakthrough inquiries annually.

  • 640+ active patents
  • 37 Pulitzer Prize winners
  • Countless other prestigious awards and honors

By learning from this caliber of visionary trailblazers, Badgers gain invaluable preparation for impactful contributions within their chosen vocations.

Vibrant Student Living

Yet UW-Madison offers more than acclaimed academics; namely, it harbors a vibrant campus bursting with diverse cultures, activities and ways for students to feel at home.

Wisconsin residents make up 69% of Badgers, with the remainder hailing from 49 other states and 122 countries—bringing richness to campus perspective.

Inclusive Community

This blend of homegrown Midwesterners and globe-spanning cultures makes for an inclusive climate welcoming all students to discover their niches. Numerous campus centers and programs cater to various backgrounds as well, uniting Badgers in celebration of their peer’s unique identities.

  • 30+ multicultural student centers
  • Consortium for Multicultural Students in Engineering
  • Nationally ranked LGBTQ+ campus resources

Via such support systems and UW-Madison‘s inherently integrating ethos, Badgers bond over their eclectic perspectives while pursuing shared growth.

Housing Options

Undergraduates seeking university housing can select amongst various dormitories, suites and apartments styled to fit different preferences and budgets.

  • 19 traditional residences halls
  • 8 university apartment complexes
  • 2,300+ rooms across housing options

Additionally, over 30% of Badgers opt to continue their bonds through Greek life via UW-Madison‘s 60+ sororities and fraternities. This broad selection empowers each student to find their best home amongst the warm Wisconsin welcome.

800+ Student Orgs

However, with over 800 total student organizations, Badgers need not join Greek life to stay engaged on campus. Whether pursuing politics with the College Democrats, protecting the environment through EarthCrew or jamming to alt hits with WUMS radio, Badgers discover community while following their passions. Between UW-Madison’s inclusive climate, broad housing options and boundless extracurriculars, students adore campus for welcoming all to discover their niches.

Capital Location

Beyond exceptional academics and activities lies UW-Madison’s coveted location in Madison, Wisconsin—frequently dubbed one of America’s best college towns. Situated on an isthmus between picturesque Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, UW-Madison’s scenic campus delivers natural splendor alongside scholarly enrichment.

The university’s environment both embodies and fuels the innovative ethos of Madison itself. As Wisconsin’s forward-thinking capital, Madison offers endless amenities for the eco-conscious, arts-loving, tech-savvy students attracted to UW-Madison.

Top-Ranked City Life

  • 100+ live music venues
  • 125+ miles of bike trails
  • 30+ museums
  • Trendy cafes, shops and nightlife

Additionally, Madison hosts an ever-expanding startup scene centered around biotech, healthcare IT, engineering and sustainability. Internships with such visionary companies provide Badgers professional development opportunities during their studies.

Standout After College

After graduation, many students choose to remain in this Midwest boomtown now ranked #17 on Forbes’ Best Cities for Jobs list. Named America’s #1 city in well-being and quality of life by U.S. News, Madison delivers both professional success and personal fulfillment year-round. Ultimately, UW-Madison’s exceptional education paired with Madison’s outstanding opportunities make for an unbeatable launch pad into life after college.

Competitive Yet Attainable

Given UW-Madison’s first-rate offerings, competition for admission remains intense with a 56% acceptance rate. Yet for driven, high-achieving students, gaining entry is within reach.

UW-Madison considers applicants holistically, assessing grades, test scores, essays, recommendations and extracurriculars.

Admissions Ranges

  • Middle 50% ACT scores: 28-34
  • Middle 50% SAT scores: 1310-1490
  • Middle 50% GPA: 3.84-4.0 (unweighted)

Competitive applicants also showcase their unique talents, demonstrating initiative as student group leaders, athletes, artists or volunteers.

Generous Aid

Moreover, UW-Madison eases affordability by offering numerous merit scholarships alongside discounted in-state tuition.

  • By applying early, exceptional students may receive awards covering 25%-full tuition.
  • Undergraduate Wisconsin residents pay $10,730 annually—less than half the out-of-state rate.

My professional opinion is that UW-Madison delivers an exhilarating Big Ten college experience at a reasonable value compared to analog institutions.

Big Ten Thrills

Speaking of the iconic Big Ten, UW-Madison’s membership primes Badger student athletes for excellence with world-class training facilities and competition. Across 23 varsity sports, Badger teams consistently dominate Big Ten showdowns and titles.

In football, tailgaters unite in dedication to the beloved Badgers. Having clinched 15 conference crowns and a Rose Bowl win since 1993, UW has built one of college football’s most formidable dynasties.

Meanwhile in basketball, the Badgers’ tireless defense and marching band electrify the rowdy Kohl Center. Buoyed by this edge, UW frequently advances deep into March Madness, even reaching the 2015 NCAA finals. By actively cheering on their classmates across these heavyweight matchups, Badgers feel their burning school spirit while forming enduring bonds.

An Exceptional Option

Given its top-ranked academics, Division I athletics, Midwestern affordability and culture-rich setting in marvelous Madison, UW-Madison undoubtedly delivers an exceptional college experience as one of the nation’s best public universities.

Students seeking esteemed programs at a first-class research university surrounded by Big Ten sports mania need look no further. Here forward-driven scholars obtain boundless means for intellectual and personal growth atop UW-Madison’s pillars of excellence. Ultimately, by choosing Wisconsin, students choose a springboard toward impact in whichever field calls their name.

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