Should I go to UW Madison or University of Florida?

Hi guys,
As it stands right now, my top two choices are UF and UW Madison. I plan to major in Political Science (possibly on premed track), but am back and forth on which one to choose (price is not a factor for me).
First of all, I’m equally comfortable walking to class in the midwest winter as I am in year round heat, so weather isn’t a factor either.
While I do enjoy the atmosphere (and especially campus) of Madison much more than that of Gainesville, and I do feel more emotionally connected to UW Madison, I’m worried my love of the university will get in the way of academics, as UF does seem to be higher in many national rankings, and has a much lower acceptance rate for 2021 (28% vs UW’s 53%).
I understand both are terrific schools, but would passing up the T30 prestige of UF be the wrong decision for my future career opportunities?
Also to confirm, it’s not that I dislike UF, as I really enjoyed visting the campus, and if I were to go there, I’d definitely be happy.


I don’t know about UF, but UW is supposed to have a fantastic Political Science program. So if that’s what you want to go into that is what you should be looking at, not how hard it is to get into the school as a whole.

Just be prepared for the cold cold, it is 100% not the same as the heat of Florida. But if you love UW, then it sounds like that’s where you want to be. You will definitely have your fun there and it’s a beautiful campus right on the lake!

Madison. As a midwest gal, I have to support the Badgers! Once you chose your college, nobody will know what other colleges you declined the offers to. Madison is a great school with wonderful options and you are emotionally connected. I can say that here in the midwest, I do know of many high stats kids who get deferred or declined from Madison so it is competitive. My kid will apply there but likely not be accepted. Being right next to the state capital in Madison gives opportunities.

The only thing that the difference in rankings shows are the flaws in the USNWR methodology.


I have no idea what ranking you’re looking at … first I don’t even know what it means to be better
at political science … pre-med is pre-med. And nationally … I believe UWM is a better name regardless.

USNWR UF is #30 and Madison is #42. And out of just public schools it’s UF at #6 and Madison at #13
Edit: Adding on that they’re both amazing schools and you can’t go wrong

Madison is the state capital so there are more state level internships available.

Madison is the better school in many ways.


I would attend UW Madison because if you really are pursuing political science you’ll find as I describe in this “game” reputation is more important then your life.

I think it’s a ridiculous question and your choice should be made on what’s the better fit for you - both financially and comfort wise. Do you feel a spark with one? Does one save you a ton of money?

Rankings are just “opinions” - and manipulated. Bottom line, if you are in DC, NYC, Denver, etc. no one will care if you went to UF or Wisconsin. Or Nebraska for that fact.

Wisconsin is great and yes Florida is “ranked” higher - but neither will give you a true advantage over the other. You will make your future.

UW Poli Sci is a top ranked department. My UW grad was a double major in Poli Sci and History and had extraordinary professors who became his mentors. Plus he had great internships as Madison is the state capitol. If you prefer UW, I would ignore any differences in UW News rankings or acceptance rates – those differences meaningless in terms of student experience.

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My husband graduated with a Political Science degree from Cornell in 1980 and he said even back then UW was a top ranked Political Science program and I know it still is. I mentioned the top ranked program in an earlier post also. Seems like it should be an easy decision especially since the OP said he loves UW. Not to mention the “national” ranks don’t really mean much when you’re looking at those two schools. It’s not like you’re comparing UF to a community college.


The difference between acceptance rates is likely due to the fact that FL has a population of 21.4mm and WI is 5.8mm. The undergraduate populations are about the same size.

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