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University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Describe the students at your school.

The students at UW Madison are extremely diverse. There is an opportunity for every single person to voice their opinions or find similar people that share the same interests, religion, values, etc. There is an incredible amount of student organizations that target almost every interest, and if you don't see something that appeals to you, you can simply create your own. Since Madison is the state capitol, the campus is very politically aware and involved, and you can find a student from almost every different political view on campus. Students from all over the world attend the university, and while many Midwesterners are prevalent, there are so many people from all over the U.S. and rest of the globe that is is standard to ask where someone is from in a first conversation. Madison also has a large study abroad program, so many international students attend the university, and UW students have the opportunity to go to many other places as well. There is an extremely noticeable sense of school pride on campus, and it is so unique because students and staff from everywhere are equally proud of where they come from, and where they have come and now share with so many other people. All different backgrounds are present at Madison, but it seems as though the commonality of being a student here breaks down barriers and provides a fresh start for many students to meet new people, and learn from others. Instead of the clique- feel of high school where people of similar standing travel in groups, it is much more accepted for different people to interact together in college. In fact, its almost expected because most people are very welcoming and want to meet new people just like you do. And if not, there are so many people to choose from that you are guaranteed to make friends if you make an effort. One other thing that I secretly love about college is the diverse style of the students. So many different people have different styles of clothing and presentation that it is somewhat fascinating just to watch all the different students and how their dress portrays themselves or how you can steal some great style ideas from them. Otherwise you can never go wrong with some Badger clothing because everyone owns some sort of Wisconsin apparel, and you can be sure to spot many students each day sporting their school pride.

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The academics here are rigorous but you leave each class truly learning a great deal. My favorite class so far has been History 120, or Modern European History from 1815 On. It gave an in depth look at the events that shaped Europe and has given me great insight into the continent both in the past and also has influenced how I understand it today (European politics and events have become fascinating to me now). While I am an English major and love studying that field, I enjoy taking a diverse range of electives such as this history class and find them just as worth-while as the classes I'm taking for my major. Students here study ALL the time. It's not uncommon to find people in the library at 3 or 4 in the morning. Students' dedication here is admirable, and with it comes a sense of competitiveness. Everyone studying here is striving for their best, and it shows. People here excited to learn, and I often have my friends sending me links about things they're learning or telling me about projects/experiments/studies they're conducting. Not only is it great that they're excited about learning, but it keeps me motivated too. In large classes, the professor won't know your name unless you introduce yourself. But that is not to say that they do not care about each student--they do, but its impossible to get to know 300 new students every semester. Class participation is common, although there is the occasional silence when the class is asked a question. One thing I especially like that a good deal of my professors and TA's have been doing recently is connecting what we are learning or discussing to the real world. Applying what seems to be just "material" to real life provides a good context and shows that what we're studying really matters! The education at this university is geared in equal parts to getting a job and for learning for the sake of it--people here are realists and know that everyone is going to need a job in life, but they also understand that learning can (and should) be engaging and rewarding. It's a great balance and I believe every university should be this way. It makes for the best experience.

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UW is diverse in it’s own way. There is definitely a gay community at school, which is only to be expected at such a liberal university in the liberal city of Madison. My sorority is actually close friends with the gay fraternity on campus, which is a really fun experience. Racially, there is not a lot of diversity. One of my friends, every time she sees a large African American male, points and screams, “look it’s a football player!” which is blunt, but unfortunately, often true. In my women’s studies class last semester we learned that the average family income of undergrad students is around $35,000. I don’t really know what that means in life overall, but I know that this kids from the coast’s parents make a lot more than that on average, which I guess is understood by our out-of-state tuition that is nearly 4 times the price of what in-state students pay to come here. That being said, there are a surprising amount of out-of-state students here, which does give the university its somewhat diverse feel. I have met people from almost all of the 50 United States, plus several international students from places like Sweden, Australia, and even Iraq. Pretty much, if you are very conservative, you would feel out of place here. Most students, myself included, wear jeans and a sweatshirt to class, if not an entire sweat suit. Comfort is key here. However, there are of course girls that get up and put makeup on every morning. I don’t really get it, they are not the majority, but they do exist. There is a huge in-state vs. out-of-state divide, which I will get to later, but it is interesting because I tend to find that most in-state students are here to major in whatever they plan to do in life, and to graduate into a job at the end of their 4 years here. However, most out-of-state kids are here for 4 years of fun, majoring in something they enjoy, only to go to grad school after their time here.

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Some suggested topics: What are your experiences with racial, religious, LGBT, socio-economic, and/or other groups on campus? there's a good amount of diversity and acceptence. plus people can usually find a group to hang out with that shares the same preferences/lifestyles as them.. yet you still are friends with all types of people across the map. What do most students wear to class? sweats Do different types of students interact? YES. wide ranges. especially because we do a pretty good variety of group pairing for classes so you get to know the different courner's of madison's student body There are four tables of students in the dining hall. Describe them. they are all completely mixed freshman year. after that.. not a lot of people eat at the dining halls. ha. --you find your niche. Where are most Wisconsin students from? "suburbs of chicago" ...east coast... california.. minnesota. and of course wisconsin. those together make up probably 95% of the madison population. What financial backgrounds are most prevalent? those from the east coast and from chicago area don't get reciprocity and obviously have to pay the fairly pricey out of state tuition.. so they're generally a little more wealthy. it's a real steal if you're from MN or WI!! jump on that! Are students politically aware / active? yessssss. you can get by without knowing much about politics (me) but there is a huge presence. Are they predominantly left, right or center? madison is known for being pretty liberal.. but i think it's somewhat of a misconception. i think our generation is more liberal than our parent's generation overall.. but there is still a huge presence of conservative outlooks in the student body. i'd say that assuming everyone had to pick a distinct side--left or right--about 35-45% would be conservative. Do students talk about how much they'll earn one day? no.

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I live in Chadbourne Residential College, a dorm that is highly aware of the cultural and identity issues facing adolescents during the college years. LGBTQ has weekly meetings on all the floors, students can form sponsored groups based on mutual culture or interests, and there are even AA meetings every week. I cannot imagine a student feeling out of place once they have fully surveyed the many opportunities available. Many applicants just see a predominantly Caucasian party school, but it is a gross injustice to limit Madison in that way. I myself am involved in a rock band that plays on the terrace, the University Concert Band, board game clubs, activist groups, and feel a strong sense of community with students from many other scenes. It must be said that students and teachers at Madison are pretty much "to the left of the salad fork" in their political views. However, I consider myself a moderate Republican and often find that my views are heard and respected. The right-wing advocates primarily congregate in the business school and talk about how much their salaries will be and where they will summer. It's winter at the moment, so if I were to walk down the street I would most likely see a lot of NorthFace jackets, black leggings, and knockoff Ugg boots. As for the guys, there really is no mold that I have noticed. Anything from black-rimmed hipster glasses to UW jock apparel is common. Having said this, all forms of dress are accepted because really, nobody cares how you dress. They care how you act and what comes out of your mouth. Just last week I saw a music class parading down the street in colorful kimonos doing some sort of chant.

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There is really no way you can make a generalization about a student body of 40,000 people. Which I suppose is kind of the best way to describe it-- there's a little of everything. There are a ton of really awesome people, ambitious and decent human beings, but there are going to be people you strongly dislike, as will happen with any sample of 40,000 people. You really choose who you surround yourself with. Madison tends to be more leftist politically than the general population, but there is certainly no shortage of Republican voices on campus. I would say, as the general vibe of campus places goes, it is pretty relaxed. Maybe it's just that midwest politeness, but I always sensed very little animosity between groups. You would think that, for example, the hipster/bohemian liberal arts students would butt heads with the career-minded, wear-a-tie-to-class business majors, but I never really got the feeling that anybody took that sort of thing too much to heart. Don't get me wrong, different groups like that would definitely keep to themselves for the most part, but I just don't think people were prone to making suspicions about a person's character based on superficial, social-status-type things like that. I don't know how unique this is to Madison, I feel like it's more of a generational thing. I should also say, the general culture really breeds ambition. If you aren't in 3 student organizations with a part-time job, you feel like a bit of a slacker. Everybody sets huge expectations for themselves, which can be kind of overwhelming, but ultimately is a cool thing to be a part of.

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The cultural hybridity at this University is most likely unparalleled by most others. There are many groups from many different backgrounds and they all interact with each other.The most prevalent groups on campus are the LGBT, religious groups, and probably the "Coasties." In terms of class-day apparel, think comfortable clothing, which oftentimes has to be warm! Its okay to end up wearing sweatpants and an over-sized sweatshirt to class, because that's what most students do anyway! There are so many students that focus so much of their time on their school work and academics that they just happen to try a little less with their image during class time. Don't be surprised if you see students who look like they spent all morning getting prepared, though! It all depends on their individual schedules. If you don't start class until noon three days a week, you're more likely to have more time to spend on yourself than those who start class at 7:45 a.m. The students are definitely politically active in the campus community. There are many clubs and organizations dedicated to spreading the word about everything from the presidential elections to the additions being made to the Memorial Union. The fact is, the ideals on campus are too diverse to label, but I would say that there is a predominance of liberal students on campus, but it could also just be that the Democrats are more outspoken than the Republicans, but any way you spin it, there is room for every belief system, political system, and social system at Madison!

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When teens discuss their college searches in my presence, I always say, "You can make a big school a small school, you can't make a small school a big school". No matter what type of social experience you're looking for, you can find it in Madison. One thing that applies to all Badgers is that we are fiercely proud to be Badgers; just check out Camp Randall on game-day and you'll understand. I've found myself seamlessly moving out of the Coastie sphere, into the Sconnie sphere. Different types of people for sure, but we all get along all right. As far as dress, you get everything from the kid that wears sweats every day to the dude who looks like he stepped out of a GQ article about business casual. Our student organizations are countless and very well organized. It is a great way to find the right crew. Financially, the coasties and out of staters tend to be wealthier, while the Sconnies are largely middle class. However, regardless of where you came from, if you're at Wisconsin, you know you're on a massive island of Democratic Blue smack in the middle of a sea of Republican Red. When Obama visited Madison on the campaign trail, the line to get into to see his speech was literally a mile long. 10,000 were allowed in, more than twice that many people were shut out (I cut the line and got in). This being the situation, this school is devoid of racial and sexual prejudice. I've yet to see a situation arise out of these issues -- it is very much a non-issue.

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The students are collectively pretty involved, whether in student orgs, in supporting athletics and other ways to occupy the non-class, non-boozing time. There are somthing like 700 registered student orgs on campus to get involved with. The prevailing division on campus falls along regional lines. The "Coasties" vs the "Sconnies". (Basically east/west coast vs Midwesterners). While we all poke fun at the opposite group, it all is for the most part in jest. Having gone Greek myself, there is a milder division on campus among Greeks and Non-Greeks. Our campus is only about 10% Greek, but even so the majority of students are not explicitly anti-greek, they just don't know what greek life is about or (probably more accurate) they just don't care. The populations is largely white with small minority populations. The groups seem to interact fine without tension or major incident, but is unfortunate that the minority populations are so small. Madison's student body is incredibly political, after all several campus buildings built in the 70's were designed to be riot-proof due to the history of activism on this campus. The one quote I always like is "Madison is ## square miles, surrounded by reality". This is sometimes true, in the fact that campus and the liberal-downtown culture can isolate one from the rest of the world, but with the internet these days, anything goes. Next year should be interesting as the Presidential Election nears.

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My campus is a diverse community. Although the major group is white, students do respect each other. There is no emphasis or discrimination on either race, religion, LGBT, socio-economy or other groups. We also have multi-cultural community, LGBTQ community and other minor communities to serve different groups of people. I would say I feel out of place at this school (just kidding). I don't really think of anyone who feel out of place at this school, because this is really a great campus and most people are friendly. (There are jerks everywhere, just ignore them.) And we have various resources on campus to make you feel at home. Most students wear red during game season. If it's a business school student, you may find him wearing business suits and a red cap :P Most of students are from midwest states except those in communication arts and journlaism majors. Many students came from New York and California to learn communication and journalism. For international students, the majority came from China, Korea and India. We have "Occupy Madison," so you can guess how politically active we are (okay, just 20ish people, but we're confident we'll win). Do students talk about how much they'll earn one day? -They don't talk much, but they keep it in mind.

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