Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison: Which University is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

College students using a laptop in the court yard.

Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison: Which University is Right for You?

If you’re a high school senior or junior, you may be deciding which university to attend. Emory University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are two prominent schools that may be on your list. In this article, we’ll compare Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison in various categories to help you determine which one is right for you.

Introduction: Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison

Emory University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are both nationally recognized universities with a rich history of academic excellence. Emory is located in Atlanta, Georgia, while Wisconsin-Madison is located in Madison, Wisconsin. Both universities offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs and have a diverse student body.

Emory University was founded in 1836 and has since become one of the leading research universities in the United States. The university is known for its strong programs in the humanities, social sciences, and business, as well as its highly-ranked medical school. Emory is also home to the Carter Center, a non-profit organization founded by former President Jimmy Carter that works to promote peace and human rights around the world.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, founded in 1848, is the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It is known for its strong programs in the sciences, engineering, and agriculture, as well as its highly-ranked law and business schools.

The university is also home to the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, a research center that brings together scientists and researchers from different disciplines to work on cutting-edge projects.

Campus Life: Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison

The student experience at Emory and Wisconsin-Madison is unique, with each school offering a distinct campus life. Emory’s campus is located in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, which is a quieter area that’s more conducive to studying and relaxation. Wisconsin-Madison, on the other hand, has a bustling campus located in the heart of Madison, which is a vibrant college town.

At Emory, students can take advantage of a variety of extracurricular activities, including sports teams, performing arts groups, and over 200 student organizations. Similarly, Wisconsin-Madison boasts over 1,000 student organizations, including club sports, Greek life, and charitable organizations.

Two students walking in front of a building.

Both Emory and Wisconsin-Madison offer a wide range of academic programs and resources to support student success. Emory has a strong focus on research and offers opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge projects.

Wisconsin-Madison is known for its top-ranked programs in fields such as engineering, business, and agriculture, and has a robust network of career services to help students prepare for life after graduation.

Location: Comparing Atlanta and Madison as College Towns

The location of a university can heavily impact a student’s college experience. Emory University is situated in the lively city of Atlanta, which is home to numerous cultural attractions, including museums, performing arts venues, and a bustling nightlife scene. Madison, on the other hand, is a smaller, more serene college town.

Students at Wisconsin-Madison can take advantage of the pristine Lake Mendota, which is located right on campus and offers excellent recreational opportunities such as sailing, kayaking, and fishing.

Another advantage of attending a university in Atlanta is the city’s diverse population. Students have the opportunity to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures, which can broaden their perspectives and enhance their education. Additionally, Atlanta is a hub for business and technology, providing students with internship and job opportunities in various industries.

Madison, on the other hand, offers a tight-knit community feel. With a smaller population, students can easily get to know their peers and professors, creating a more personalized learning experience. The city also has a strong focus on sustainability and environmentalism, with many initiatives aimed at reducing waste and promoting eco-friendly practices.

Academic Programs: Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison

Both universities offer a diverse range of academic programs, but each has its own strengths and specialized fields of study. Emory offers over 70 undergraduate majors, including business, nursing, and the arts and sciences. Wisconsin-Madison, which is known for its engineering program, boasts over 130 undergraduate majors and is particularly strong in fields such as environmental studies, psychology, and political science.

Despite their differences, both Emory University and Wisconsin-Madison share a commitment to providing students with a well-rounded education. Both universities offer opportunities for students to engage in research, internships, and study abroad programs.

Emory has a strong emphasis on community service and social justice, with many programs and initiatives dedicated to promoting these values. Wisconsin-Madison, on the other hand, is known for its vibrant student life and extracurricular activities, with over 900 student organizations on campus.

Admission Requirements: Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison

The application process for Emory University and Wisconsin-Madison is competitive, with acceptance rates hovering around 20%. To be admitted to Emory, students are required to submit a common application, along with one personal statement and one counselor recommendation. Wisconsin-Madison, on the other hand, requires applicants to submit one personal statement and two letters of recommendation.

College Admission Office sign

In addition to the required application materials, both Emory University and Wisconsin-Madison also consider extracurricular activities, community service, and leadership experience when making admissions decisions.

Emory University values students who have demonstrated a commitment to service and leadership, while Wisconsin-Madison looks for applicants who have shown a strong academic record and a passion for their chosen field of study.

Cost of Attendance: Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison

The cost of attendance is an important consideration for any student applying to college. Emory University’s tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 academic year came to $57,318, while Wisconsin-Madison’s tuition and fees for in-state students totaled $10,742, and $38,630 for out-of-state students. Room and board costs are also significantly higher at Emory.

However, it is important to note that Emory University offers a variety of financial aid options, including need-based grants, merit scholarships, and work-study programs. Over 70% of Emory students receive some form of financial aid.

Wisconsin-Madison also offers financial aid options, but they may not be as extensive as Emory’s. Students need to research and compare financial aid options when considering the cost of attendance at different universities.

Financial Aid Options: Scholarships, Grants, and Loans Available at Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison

Both Emory University and Wisconsin-Madison offer a variety of financial aid options for students who need assistance paying for college. Emory offers a range of merit-based and need-based scholarships and grants, including the Emory Scholars Program, which offers full-tuition scholarships to a select number of students every year. Similarly, Wisconsin-Madison offers a range of grants, scholarships, and student loans to help students fund their education.

In addition to scholarships, grants, and loans, Emory University also offers work-study programs to eligible students. These programs provide part-time employment opportunities on campus, allowing students to earn money to help pay for their education while gaining valuable work experience. Wisconsin-Madison also offers a variety of work-study programs, as well as opportunities for students to participate in paid research projects and internships.

Both universities also have financial aid offices that can provide guidance and support to students throughout the financial aid process. These offices can help students understand their options, complete financial aid applications, and answer any questions they may have about paying for college.

Additionally, Emory and Wisconsin-Madison offer resources and workshops to help students learn about financial literacy and budgeting, ensuring that they are equipped with the skills they need to manage their finances during and after college.

Rankings: Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison

Both Emory University and Wisconsin-Madison consistently rank highly in national university rankings. According to U.S. News and World Report’s 2021 rankings, Emory ranks 21st among national universities, while Wisconsin-Madison ranks 42nd. Additionally, Emory is ranked 19th in the Forbes list of top colleges in the United States.

Female student typing in a table.


It’s worth noting that while rankings can be a helpful tool for comparing universities, they should not be the only factor considered when deciding where to attend college. Other important factors to consider include location, campus culture, available resources, and academic programs.

Alumni Network: The Importance of Alumni Connections at Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison

Networking and building connections with alumni can be helpful when it comes to finding internships and job opportunities after graduation. Emory’s alumni network is made up of over 130,000 graduates, and the school offers numerous opportunities for alumni to stay connected and network with one another. Wisconsin-Madison’s alumni network is similarly robust, with over 450,000 graduates worldwide and numerous alumni events held every year.

Aside from job opportunities, alumni connections can also provide valuable mentorship and guidance for current students. Emory University offers a mentorship program where students can connect with alumni in their field of interest and receive advice and support. Wisconsin-Madison also has a mentorship program, as well as a job shadowing program where students can shadow alumni in their workplace to gain hands-on experience.

Furthermore, alumni connections can also lead to philanthropic opportunities for the university. Emory University’s alumni have donated over $1 billion to the school, which has helped fund scholarships, research, and campus improvements. Wisconsin-Madison’s alumni have also been generous donors, with over $2 billion donated to the university over the years.

Student Support Services: Comparing Counseling, Health Services, Career Services, etc.

Both Emory and Wisconsin-Madison prioritize student wellness and offer a range of support services to students. Emory’s Student Health Services provide health care to all enrolled students, including medical and counseling services.

Wisconsin-Madison’s University Health Services offers similar services, including mental health services and health education programs. Both schools also have robust career services centers that offer assistance with job searching, resume building, and interview preparation.

Teacher talking to students while in a computer room.

Additionally, Emory offers a comprehensive counseling center that provides individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and outreach programs. The center also offers specialized services for students with eating disorders, substance abuse issues, and LGBTQ+ students. Wisconsin-Madison also has a counseling center that provides individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and workshops on various mental health topics. The center also offers specialized services for students with eating disorders, trauma, and international students.

Athletics: A Look at Sports Programs at Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison

For many students, the athletics programs offered by a university can be a significant deciding factor. Emory University has a highly competitive Division III athletics program that offers students the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports, including basketball, soccer, and swimming.

Wisconsin-Madison, on the other hand, has a Division I athletics program that includes Big Ten Conference teams in football, basketball, and hockey, among others. Both schools offer opportunities for students to participate in club sports and recreational activities, including intramural leagues and fitness classes.

It’s worth noting that Emory University’s athletics program has a strong focus on academic achievement and community service. Student-athletes are encouraged to maintain high academic standards and participate in community service projects throughout the year.

Wisconsin-Madison also places a strong emphasis on academic success, with a high graduation rate among student-athletes. Additionally, the university has a strong tradition of supporting its athletics programs through fan support and alumni donations.

Diversity on Campus: Emory University vs Wisconsin-Madison

Diversity and inclusion are important factors to consider when choosing a university. Emory and Wisconsin-Madison boast diverse student bodies, with students coming from a variety of different backgrounds and countries. Emory’s student body is comprised of 48% students of color, while Wisconsin-Madison’s student body is comprised of 15% students of color.

However, it’s important to note that diversity goes beyond just racial and ethnic backgrounds. Both universities also have a significant number of international students, with Emory having a 12% international student population and Wisconsin-Madison having a 10% international student population. Additionally, both universities have active student organizations and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion on campus.

Conclusion: Which School is Right for You?

Choosing a university is a big decision, and there are many factors to consider. Emory University and Wisconsin-Madison are two exceptional schools that offer unique campus experiences and academic programs.

Ultimately, the choice between these two schools comes down to individual preferences and priorities. We hope that this comparison has given you a better idea of what each school has to offer so that you can make an informed decision about where to attend college.

Group of people talking in front of a building.

When considering Emory University, it’s important to note that the school is located in Atlanta, Georgia, which offers a vibrant city atmosphere with plenty of opportunities for internships and networking. Additionally, Emory is known for its strong programs in the humanities and social sciences, making it a great choice for students interested in those fields.

On the other hand, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is located in Madison, Wisconsin, which offers a more laid-back college-town atmosphere. The school is known for its strong programs in the natural sciences and engineering, making it a great choice for students interested in those fields. Additionally, Wisconsin-Madison has a large and active Greek life community, which may be a factor for some students.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we offer.


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