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UW Madison vs U of MN Twin Cities

ksspangksspang Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited February 2009 in College Search & Selection
I've been accepted to both schools, and I find it very hard to choose between the two.
I live an hour and a half away from madison and like 6 hours from TC. I think that TC has a much better campus, but the big city is kind of overwhelming. I think UW's campus isn't as nice, but is smaller and less intimidating. I'm studying Computer Science, for computer animation, so if anyone has any helpful info on either school, especially on their computer science programs, or possibly any other university with a good computer science program, I would appreciate any help, thank you.
Post edited by ksspang on

Replies to: UW Madison vs U of MN Twin Cities

  • BushD403BushD403 Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    I would pick UM-TC. They both have very good programs and I'm assuming your a resident of either Minnesota or Wisconsin so that you can go to both for cheap b/c of the agreement thing. They both have very good engineering and comp sci programs but since you seem to like UM's campus better, i would go there if I were u. Academically I would say theyre about the same with UW-M having slightly (not much, but slightly) better academic reputation.
  • ksspangksspang Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    i also have a lot of friends at madison, which is always good for adjusting, I live in WI btw, and the only 1up that TC has is a better campus. I like the campus better at TC but the atmosphere better at UW
  • barronsbarrons Registered User Posts: 24,858 Senior Member
    UW has significantly more national idenity and prestige, 24/7 campus atmosphere, and a much better campus for actually spending time on with the lakefront, sailing, and lively atmosphere. No comparison. CS is also better at UW.
  • CoolbrezzeCoolbrezze Registered User Posts: 5,403 Senior Member
    Tough choice, probably madison.
  • rjkofnovirjkofnovi Registered User Posts: 10,362 Senior Member
  • jotajota218jotajota218 Registered User Posts: 353 Member
    I'm was in a similar situation. I live 4 hours from the U of M and a half hour from Madison. I got accepted into both.

    I don't understand how people can think the UW is so far superior to Minnesota in everything. I live close to Madison and I don't think that at all. If you ask me the UW is overrated by far and UMN is underrated. They are both large research based Big Ten schools. Both have large student bodies. Sure the UW has a slight edge on the strength of student that attends, but when you have CSOM and IT at the "U" I feel it's a wash. At the UW you will have a TON of TA's, not to say UMN won't, but it is much more prevalent at the UW.

    I must say it is gorgeous on the UW Campus at night right on the lake and the lights from the capital and State Street. However, the rest of the campus is spread out and outside from the beauty of the Lakeshore area, it's a fairly ugly. I really enjoyed how UMN feel centered around the East Bank. For an urban school I felt a better sense of campus there. After talking to students from each school, the feel I get from each campus made it easier for me to choose. At Madison there will be parties nearly 7 days of week. Drinking is much more prevalent (outside of State Street there isn't exactly terribly much more to do in Madison). At the "U" there is still partying, but not nearly as much. The "U" gave me the feel of a much more laid back environment. As far as the comments stated above about Madison having a 24/7 campus atmosphere, when you have such an amazing city environment around you in Minnesota, why would you want to stick around the Union (i.e. Madison).

    I'm sorry if my comments all seemed one sided. Both are great schools and you can't go wrong with choosing either. It all depends on the environment you want. If you want the excitement of the cities and a more "chill" atmosphere by all means choose Minnesota. If you want the more drinking/party/stay on campus sort of style, go to Madison. You will get a great education either way, just choose what kind of campus life you want. I chose Minnesota (actually sent in my letter turning down Madison yesterday) because of the chill atmosphere, cities, job placement in the area(Twin Cities, more than likely with Madison you'll end up in Milwaukee or Chicago), and the less liberal feel.

    Good luck with your choice, and remember you really can't go wrong either way!
  • Take3Take3 Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    ". . . more than likely with Madison you'll end up in Milwaukee or Chicago"

    This issue is discussed at length on a thread I started: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-wisconsin-madison/639585-where-do-wisconsin-alumni-wind-up-after-graduation.html
  • ksspangksspang Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    thanks a lot to everyone, i think i'll go to Madison unless i can get a really good deal at minnesota with scholarships and aid, but you're input is appreciated
  • diontechristmasdiontechristmas Registered User Posts: 2,891 Senior Member
    They're both fantastic schools, but I'd go with UW
  • CoffeeAddict9716CoffeeAddict9716 Registered User Posts: 876 Member
    From your first post, it sounds like you'd be happier at Minnesota. If that is the type of environment you want over Madison's, then by all means go with your gut and go the MN. Don't choose Madison because it's ranked a bit higher...both are well respected schools and MN has the edge in the Twin Cities for jobs obviously. Also, you said that the city was a bit overwhelming to you, but Minnesota's campus is in a much more quiet area, but students venture across the river to Minneapolis. I don't think the larger city would really be a problem since the campus is not in some bustling area...

    Out of curiosity, what is it about UW's atmosphere that you find more appealing than UM's? The active, liberal political scene, the party scene...? That might help us give you more advice.
  • ksspangksspang Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    well, i spent a little more time in madison, but i do know that MN students commute more than UW's, and i think it just felt smaller, more comfortable, i'm from a small town, it just felt more........cozy, i guess, if that makes any sense at all
  • GoBlue81GoBlue81 Registered User Posts: 3,932 Senior Member
    Sure the UW has a slight edge on the strength of student that attends, but when you have CSOM and IT at the "U" I feel it's a wash.
    Wisconsin also has significant edge in faculty and departmental strengths. Wisconsin has always been considered a much stronger research university than Minnesota. For undergrad, Wisconsin is ranked #35 in USNWR compared to #61 for Minnesota.

    And how does CSOM-IT make it a wash? The OP is interested in Computer Science and animation. It has nothing to do with MIS. And for Computer Science, Wisconsin is quite a bit stronger. Wisconsin is ranked #11 in USNWR and #10 in NRC, compared to #31 and #46 for Minnesota.
    At the UW you will have a TON of TA's, not to say UMN won't, but it is much more prevalent at the UW.
    Perhaps you can show us some data backing up your claim that TA's are more prevalent at Wisconsin?

    TA's are used mainly for discussion and lab sections, seldom for lectures. In my four years at Wisconsin, I had only ONE TA in my freshman English class with full responsibility of the course.
  • jotajota218jotajota218 Registered User Posts: 353 Member
    IT is one of the more selective colleges at the "U". That is where you get your B.S. in Computer Science. Being in one of the better colleges there doesn't help compared to being in the Liberal Arts area (CLA) of the school?

    As for TA's I'm going off of the experiences of friends and family who have attended Wisconsin. I don't know when you went to Wisconsin, but having only one class where you couldn't approach a professor and stuck with a TA is hard to believe.

    But, obviously since you went to Wisconsin it's a far superior school. I'm just trying to give Minnesota a little back-up since most CCers hardly pay attention to it when it is actually is a great school. Rankings aren't everything.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Registered User Posts: 24,573 Senior Member
    jotajota, I did not attend Wisconsin, but I too have known many alums and there experience (both academic and social) at Madison was hard to beat. Like at most major research universities, Wisconsin professors tend to focus a great deal on their research. This said, it is a sad cliche/myth (on CC that is) that classes are taught by TAs and that professors are unaproachable. Even at major research universities like Cornell and Wisconsin, over 95% of classes are taught by professors. Some of those classes (mostly introductory level classes) may have a discussion group that is lead by a TA, but the actual class is taught by a professor. 100% of those professor-taught classes have office hours where students may go and talk to the professor on a one-on-one basis.

    At any rate, Minnesota is an excellent and sadly underrated university. I don't think it is quite as strong as Wisconsin though. Wisconsin is one of the top 10 public institutions in the nation. Minnesota, although one of the top 25 public institutions in the land does not quite make the top 10...in my not-so-humble opinion!
  • rjkofnovirjkofnovi Registered User Posts: 10,362 Senior Member
    Not that this should matter, but it seems to me that Minnesota has for quite some time been considered a lesser Big Ten school from posters on CC. It seems they rank Northwestern, Michigan, Wisconsin, UIUC, Penn State or Ohio State ahead of it. Minnesota seems to be relegated to the bottom half of the conference with the rest of the schools. I only mention this because some of the posters in this thread seem to feel that Minnesota and Wisconsin are about equal. Clearly many do not agree.
This discussion has been closed.