The University of Wisconsin-Madison

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

The main administrative building on the campus of the University of Wisconsin Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the country’s top public universities and research institutions. The university was established at the same time Wisconsin became a state in 1848, and it became the state’s land grant university.

UW-Madison remains Wisconsin’s flagship teaching and research university, with a statewide, national, and international mission, offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in a wide range of fields, as well as extensive scholarly research, continuing adult education, and public service.

It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 35,474 students (fall 2021), a city setting, and a campus size of 936 acres. The academic calendar is semester-based. The University of Wisconsin—Madison is ranked #38 among national universities in the Best Colleges 2022-2023 edition. It charges $10,796 in-state tuition and fees and $39,427 out-of-state tuition and fees.

Where is the University of Wisconsin-Madison located?

So where is UW-Madison located? The institution is located in Madison, Wisconsin, on the southern shore of Lake Mendota. Wisconsin competes in more than 20 NCAA Division I sports and is a member of the Big Ten Conference.

a male student sitting and smiling

Madison, Wisconsin’s capital, is located just west of Milwaukee. It is located on an isthmus connecting Lakes Mendota and Monona. Madison, with a population of 254,977, is a mid-sized city with a small-town feel.

The city has many bike paths, lakeshores, and green parks. The park surrounding the State Capitol hosts a seasonal farmers market and other events, such as concerts. State Street, a pedestrian mall with shops, restaurants, and art galleries, is another popular attraction.

On campus, students can participate in nearly 900 organizations. On campus, there is also an active Greek life and social scene, which contributes to Wisconsin’s reputation as one of the best party schools in the country.

Although freshmen are not required to live on campus, many do. Students may choose to live in one of several residential communities, where they will learn and live alongside other students and faculty.

The highly ranked graduate schools at the University of Wisconsin—Madison include the School of Education, the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, the College of Engineering, the School of Business, the School of Medicine and Public Health, and the Law School.

The school’s public service legacy was founded on the “Wisconsin Idea,” which holds that education should influence and improve people’s lives outside of the classroom. Among Wisconsin’s notable alumni are renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly and author Joyce Carol Oates. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, aviator Charles Lindbergh, naturalist John Muir, and architect Frank Lloyd Wright are among those who attended.

What is University of Wisconsin-Madison known for?

Now let’s talk about what the University of Wisconsin-Madison is known for. There are various ways in which the university distinguishes itself.


Within the larger undergraduate university, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has eight undergraduate schools and colleges. Each school and college has its own set of resources, faculty, and educational programs. There are 125 undergraduate majors available in those schools.

In terms of GPA, prerequisites, and audition or portfolio requirements, each program and school has their own. Economics, computer and information sciences, biology, psychology, and finance are all popular majors.

If there is one thing UW Madison excels at, it is research. The university ranks eighth in the country in terms of research volume, with the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education overseeing 17 research and service centers.

Over $1.3 billion has been invested in research by the University. The Center for Genomic Science Innovation, for example, applies genomic strategies to real-world problems in medicine, agriculture, and other fields. Donna Werling, a new faculty member, is researching the genome sequences of autism patients.

a female student checking her smart phone

UW Madison has a strong study abroad program in addition to the opportunities available on campus. Through the UW Global & Summer Launch, students can even study abroad the summer before starting as a freshman or their first year. Overall, UW Madison’s study abroad programs are available through a variety of fully-funded programs and fellowships through the UW Global Gateway Initiative.


UW Madison students are passionate about sports. With 23 sports and nearly 900 student-athletes, you can watch the Wisconsin football or basketball teams with your friends. The Women’s Hockey team won the NCAA Tournament in 2019. In addition, UW Athletics is home to the 2020 Big Ten Champion Badger Men’s Basketball team.

Even if you are not a competitive athlete, there are numerous clubs to join at University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can also participate in a variety of recreational sports such as softball, ultimate frisbee, rock climbing, or kayaking.


A statue of Abraham Lincoln in a chair stands atop Bascom Hill, where the campus quad is located. On the first day of finals each semester, students like to rub the statue’s foot for good Abe luck.

Later in your college career, the tradition will continue, but in a different form. When you graduate, tell Abe about your plans, and he will wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. Make sure to take in the breathtaking views of the campus and city from this vantage point.


UW Madison has 21 residence halls, each with its own learning community and affinity community. Learning communities are an excellent way to stay in touch with people who share your interests. UW Madison has 11 learning communities: BioHouse, Bradley, Business Connect, Chadbourne Residential College, GreenHouse, International, Multicultural, Open House, StartUp, The Studio, and Women in Science and Engineering.

The housing is very cheap. Over 90% of freshmen chose to live in dorms, demonstrating how important dorms are to the UW-Madison experience. Although it is not required by the university, some sophomores choose to return to dorm life.

Each residence hall is made up of “houses,” which are groups of students assigned to a “house fellow” in the residence hall. The University of Wisconsin-Madison sees this as an excellent way to improve students’ community-oriented attitudes while they are living on campus.

Financial Assistance

UW-Madison provides both need-based and merit-based financial aid. To be considered for financial aid, students must complete the FAFSA. Becky’s Tuition Promise provides students with a family income of $60,000 or less with a period of free tuition.

The Badger Promise is only available to Wisconsin residents who are first-generation college students; these students receive a period of free tuition and segregated fees when they transfer from a two-year program.


The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a Geology Museum with corals, glowing minerals, and fossil collections. There are guided tours available, and the staff enjoys sharing their enthusiasm for the artifacts with small groups and individuals. The Chazen Museum of Art, which houses over 23,000 pieces of art, is also located on campus. It was established in 1885 and still houses some of the original artworks.

How to get into University of Wisconsin-Madison

It is important to discuss how to get into UW-Madison. If you intend to join the 54,000 applicants for the next admissions cycle, you should be aware of the following:

  • You can use either the Common Application or the UW System Application to apply.
  • Interviews are not used as part of the evaluation process at UW-Madison.
  • Although the university does not officially give preference to children of alumni, recent data shows that legacy students have a 20% higher acceptance rate than non-legacies.
  • Because UW-Madison does not consider “demonstrated interest,” you will not be judged based on whether or not you visited campus, contacted an admissions officer, and so on.
  • Finally, make sure to devote enough time and effort to the supplemental essay required by UW-Madison.

two students looking at each other's laptop screen while sitting outside

Those with SAT/ACT scores in the mid-50% range for UW-Madison who are also at the top of their respective high school classes are excellent candidates for UW-Madison. If you live in Wisconsin, you will have a much easier time getting accepted than if you are an out-of-state or international applicant. If you are not from Wisconsin, you will need to demonstrate even stronger academic credentials.

What are your chances of acceptance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison?

It’s useful to know where you stand when applying to colleges. Your chances of acceptance can vary depending on your academic history, grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities.

If you aspire to increase your chances, consider consulting a professional admissions specialist. AdmissionSight has been in the industry for more than a decade and has a high success rate of 75%.

Our experts provide excellent counseling and guidance to pave the way toward your academic success. The initial consultation is totally free of charge. Book an appointment today to know what we can do for you.




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.