University Wisconsin vs. University of Michigan--cultural differences

<p>Hi, </p>

<p>I'm new to posting although I have been reading here off and on. My senior daughter is considering University of Wisconsin and University of Michigan among others. She has applied to both and her chances of getting in are good.</p>

<p>We already have a daughter at Madison and she enjoys it very much. Daughter number 2 also likes Madison, but isn't sure she wants to go there because her sister is there (for only 1 more year) and because she is afraid it is too much a party school. Daughter 1 is a partier, but she is also serious about her studies and is doing very well while having fun. D. 2 wants to major in science, and Madison is ranked very highly in that area (right up there with the ivies). </p>

<p>My concern with Michigan (aside from the high tuition for out of state, and we're not instate for wisc either) is that it might be too intense. Not so much the course work, but the overall atmosphere. Daughter 2 is a perfectionist, and can be very hard on herself. She has had some emotional issues in high school (recovered anorexic). Although I don't think she would get in to partying to the extant of her sister, she is very social and likes to have a good time. I've told her that not every one at Madison is like her sister, but of course, when she visits, that's what she sees (and she has been without us, so she sees it all). </p>

<p>We don't really know much about the atmosphere at Michigan. Daughter 2 did visit, but it was during fall break last weekend, so not many students were around. The ones she saw looked a bit too "preppy" to her....she's a very casual kid, not into the sorority thing. Also very liberal.</p>

<p>Any comments? Maybe I should post on the kids forum as well. Thanks.</p>

<p>I think she would be better off at UW. Sciences are better in general and less of a cutthroat pre-med atmosphere. Most UW science majors are looking to PhD's, not MD's.</p>

<p>Thanks for your reply, lovejoy. I suspect Wisconsin would be a better fit, and if it weren't for her sister being there, I think she would choose it. But it has to be her choice. She is tired of being in her sister's shadow. The school is so big, there is plenty of room for both of them, and it would only be for one year anyway. </p>

<p>Michigan appeals to her in some ways because she is tired of being considered a brainiac by her high school friends. However, I don't think she realizes that Wisconsin as well is filled with smart kids. My older daughter was at the top of her h.s. class and could have gotten into more selective schools, but feels that everyone she knows at Madison is very bright and she absolutely loves everything about it.</p>

<p>lovejoy, in reading some other posts i deduced you attend or did attend UW. I'm wondering if you have any personal experience with Michigan as well or just have friends there. (This relates to your comment about the cutthroat atmosphere in science at Michigan.) Thanks again!</p>

<p>Have two friends locally with kids at Michigan....each kid is bright but not top of the class material. Both kids enjoying hard at academics but not overly so. They appreciate the school spirit, football,etc. One is premed and finds it challenging but not uncomfortable.</p>

<p>I've never visited U of Wisconsin but I have visited Ann Arbor and U of Mich. I think there is a place for every kind of student at U of Mich. It has such a diverse student body that you will find your niche there, no matter that you crave intensity or want to have a well-balanced life.</p>

<p>I think Wisconsin and Michigan are more similar than different. Although it is somewhat more difficult to get into Michigan, the two schools attract the same kinds of students: bright kids who want a large school, very solid academics, a vibrant campus, great athletics and plenty of school spirit. Many students from our high school attend Michigan (out of state), and they generally fit the profile Oldman mentions. They're hard workers, have very good but not stellar scores and grades, and generally have taken some honors and AP classes, but not the most challenging curriculum offered. The stereotypic academically driven, hyper-intellectual, ultracompetitive student is not the norm there. This is the LSA profile, by the way.</p>

<p>Please don't take this as prying or nosy - this is the medical person coming out.</p>

<p>Whichever school your daughter leans toward, please be sure there are good support systems for students mental health - particularly proactive support. The easy answer would be to recommend a smaller, more nurturing school for your recovering anorexic, but it is obvious she's interested in larger universities - and a large university may have more comprehensive services for the students. She, however, has to take advantage of them, and may have to seek them out. Also, your control is much less after 18 - they can't drink legally, but they can control their health care decisions - you can only influence and try to monitor. Blessings and good luck to her, whatever decision she makes.</p>

<p>yes, I suggested a smaller school but that's the one thing she is certain about. I just read a very good book on the subject of college mental health, called "College of the Overwhelmed". It had many good suggestions for being proactive, and believe me, it is something I am very aware of and very worried about. Thanks to everyone for the advice!</p>

<p>I went to UW and had friends that went to UM and later went to UW for grad or as transfers. There appeared to be more incidents of students hiding or stealing required materials, sabotaging experiments and the like at UM than at UW.</p>

<p>wow, that's quite an indictment. anyone else heard stories like that regarding the science program at U of Michigan?</p>

<p>Actually it is pretty common at a lot of very competitive schools.</p>

<p>Jane, my daughter is a freshman at Michigan.
She loves everything about the school (She hasn't experienced the weather, yet.).
The academics are harder than she expected.
Tougher standards.
She thinks the student body is very intelligent.
The place is fun.
Her roomate is never going to be her best friend, but they get along. She has made many good friends.
I know a couple of other people that go there and they love it too.</p>

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<p>Pretty good collection of comments from students.</p>

<p>The two schools are very similar. Madison and Ann Arbor are both awesome towns. Both are good in the sciences, but Wisconsin has the edge. In terms of reputation, Michigan has the edge. Students at both universities are down to earth and friendly, but I would say that Wisconsin's are a little more approachable. </p>

<p>Your daughter cannot go wrong either way.</p>

<p>My wife and her sister went to UW. Having a sister at the same school really is a convenience in case of emergency and for travel, but you live totally separate existences otherwise. I also went to UW (grad school), and I've had a lot of contact with students and faculty at UM over the years.</p>

<p>Both UM and UW are among the elite of state research universities, with great strengths across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. I wouldn't choose one or the other on the basis of prospective majors or programs unless there were a very specific major that one were interested in for a good reason (e.g., an instrument teacher in music, etc.).</p>

<p>Personally, I prefer the more integral atmosphere of UW's campus and campus town to the spread out and somewhat disintegrated campus at UM. While both places are big, the entire UW campus to State St to Capital and the peripheral activities centers give a connected feel to the campus that you don't get at UM. This is not to mention that the UW Union and Union Terrace are real centers of activity, and the location on the shore of Lake Mendota really makes for a beautiful campus and great atmosphere.</p>

<p>I also think the tradition of outstanding undergraduate teaching is stronger at UW than at UM, but really both offer excellent opportunities.</p>