A Day in the Life at University of Wisconsin-Madison

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. John received his Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently a tutor in New York City specializing in algebra tutoring, chemistry tutoring, and geometry tutoring, among other subjects. See what he had to say about his experience at University of Wisconsin-Madison:

VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or rural is the campus? Did you feel safe on campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?

John: The campus is very easy to navigate, whether by bike, foot, or public transit. Because the campus resides in Wisconsin’s capital city, the bus system is superb. Madison (the city) is not very big, and it interacts wonderfully with the university to create a safe and healthy campus environment.

VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

John: Despite being a large university with several thousand students, the University of Wisconsin-Madison prides itself on the accessibility of its professors and staff. There are always opportunities to track down university staff – it’s just important to motivate yourself to take advantage of those opportunities.

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

John: Dorm life at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a blast, and each part of campus provides a unique experience. The school is constantly growing and renovating its dorms, so they offer all of the necessities for students to feel at home in Madison. There are always various dorm events for underclassmen to attend and to get the chance to socialize with one another.

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?

John: The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the top research institutions in the country, so the sciences are very well represented. The school also prides itself on excellent Business and Education programs. I studied Animal Biology and dabbled in Environmental Sciences. I’ve always had a keen interest in the environment and the life that it supports. Animal Biology allowed me to delve deep into these areas of study. I felt incredibly supported as I pursued my major. There were great opportunities to learn, both in and out of the classroom.

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

John: I had no difficulty meeting people as a freshman. That’s one of the great things about dorm life – it throws you into a fun environment with hundreds of your peers who are going through the same transition as yourself. It makes it really easy to connect with others. Greek life is present at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but it does not play a significant role in social life.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus? 

John: The University of Wisconsin-Madison has an incredible amount of student support services, along with the Career Center. I found them all to be very helpful. The important thing is to make sure you take advantage of these services. Many reputable companies recruit on campus. There are several career events on campus throughout the year where companies send representatives to the university to meet with students and to help give them an idea of their post-collegiate future.

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

John: There are more than enough study locations on campus. It really just depends on what a student is looking for. There are highly social environments for group study, there are quieter spots that support privacy, and there is everything in-between. You never have to feel confined to one space while studying.

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus?

John: The university and capital city are tied to one another in a very positive fashion. There is plenty of stimulation outside of academia whenever a student needs to experience college life beyond the classroom. Downtown Madison is a great spot for meals out, live music, dancing, and shopping. Madison is also a very physically active city, with many chances to satisfy one’s itch to experience the outdoors. The campus and downtown are essentially adjacent to one another, so it’s very easy to find any number of students downtown at all times.

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

John: The student body is very large. I enjoyed being a small fish in a big pond. There are so many opportunities when you’re at a large school, and there’s no end to the services provided by professors and staff in and out of the classroom.

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

John: I took Entomology, the study of insects, one semester. My professor was incredibly passionate about the subject, and he instilled in his students that same passion. I remember on two different occasions going on class field trips to some of the nearby natural land preserves to search for insects and get an idea of field research. I really had a great time on those adventures.

Check out John’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.