My Experience at University of Wisconsin-Madison

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach — they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Cheyenne earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. She currently specializes in French tutoring, Spanish tutoring, math tutoring, and other subjects. Read on to see what she had to say about her time at University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Cheyenne: The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a college town. You know once you hit campus, because you can spot the hundreds of students walking on the sidewalks and crossing the streets during passing time. Campus is very much its own town and is separated from the rest of the city of Madison. It has a clean, urban feel, and is very much walker and biker friendly. Most students do not have a car and walk to class. During winter, students use the bus, as every student receives a free bus pass for the school year.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants at University of Wisconsin-Madison?

Cheyenne: The professors are very much available, as long as you are willing to go to office hours. It is up to the student to take the initiative to meet with the professor and get the help that they need. This is also a good way to build relationships with professors who can write recommendation letters or be used as references in the future. TA’s are very friendly and usually appreciate when students come to them for help. I would advise anyone to make an effort to ask their TA questions during office hours to understand the material. Sometimes, TAs and professors even offer good tips for test material. As for academic advisors, they are very willing and available to meet with students. Some departments even require students to meet with their assigned advisor before they can register for classes.

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

Cheyenne: The dorms are a great place for freshmen to start their college years. It introduces ‘living on your own’ in a subtle and comfortable environment. Chadbourne has a dining hall in the dorm and others like Sellery and Witte are next door to Gordon Commons, which is a really nice dining hall. There are the lakeshore dorms, including DeJope and Liz Waters, which have a much more quiet feel overlook the lake. Then there are urban dorms, including Chadbourne, Sellery, Witte, which are close to State Street where most of the nightlife lives.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported at University of Wisconsin-Madison?

Cheyenne: Business, Engineering, and the sciences are very much supported at UW-Madison. I studied Communications - Radio, TV, Film because I am interested in the entertainment industry. This major introduced me to film and radio production as well as film history. The department has various clubs that support Communication Arts majors to provide internship and networking opportunities.

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?

Cheyenne: Living in the dorms made meeting people very easy, since most people have roommates and most dorms offer activities for students. The student organization fair, held once each semester, is another great way to meet people who share your same interests. Greek life does play a significant role on campus. There is an entire street of Greek houses, so there is likely a house that fits your interests.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services at University of Wisconsin-Madison?

Cheyenne: The Career Center is awesome for learning how to draft resumes, prep for interviews, and even find job opportunities. Most departments have an advisor specific to each major and can offer more tailored help to students in the arts or in the business field. There are countless well-known companies that recruit on campus, especially for business majors.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Cheyenne: It depends on what kind of study environment you are looking for. Libraries like Memorial Library, Steenbok, and Wendt are good for serious studying if you need peace and quiet, since they have floors dedicated to silent study. College and Memorial Union and Union South are good locations for group studying. It can get pretty loud sometimes, especially in the unions if there is an event or conference going on. I’d recommend dorm lounges for those living in the dorms, because they are usually quiet and not very crowded.

Describe the surrounding town.

Cheyenne: Madison is a beautiful city. It sits on two lakes — Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. The capital is the tallest building in the city so you get to take in its beauty just about anywhere you are in Madison. On Saturday mornings, you can adventure to the capitol square and enjoy the farmers market. Their spicy cheese bread is unbelievable and is a must try. Most students stay on campus because that’s where most of the entertainment is; restaurants, shopping, and concerts are always going on around the capitol square. State Street has about every type of cuisine you could imagine, from Afghan to Thai to Peruvian, as well as specialty shops where you could spend the entire day.

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

Cheyenne: The students body is pretty big — close to 50,000 students. During freshman and sophomore years, many of the lectures seat up to 500 students. These include general education courses, which every student has to take. In these big lectures, however, you also are assigned to a discussion section which has about 20 students, so you won’t get lost in the sea of students. I liked that we had discussion sections because it helped reinforce the material and allowed me to ask my TA questions. Also, as you get to more major-specific courses, your class size shrinks.

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

Cheyenne: One of my favorite memories was when I went to office hours for my film production course. I was having a difficult time understanding some of the concepts. I was a bit intimidated to go in, but it ended up being really rewarding because he not only helped me understand, but also gave me tips about the exam! He ended up being one of my favorite professors who wrote me recommendation letters when I was applying for internships.

Check out Cheyenne’s tutoring profile.

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