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Questions from an Admitted Student

mollylove30mollylove30 Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
edited January 2013 in University of Wisconsin
I have been accepted to UW Madison and I have a couple of questions.
1. How big are the classes? Are they overwhelming? Is it easy to get help? Are professor flexible when it comes to helping students? I'm worried about falling behind and getting lost in the shuffle at a big school.
2. I got an email saying that the Housing contract was due March 1. I love UW Madison and want to get in the best residential hall, but I want to hear from the other colleges I applied to before I make a final decision. I dont hear from some schools until April 1. Can I still get housing after March 1?
Post edited by mollylove30 on

Replies to: Questions from an Admitted Student

  • justwaiting1justwaiting1 Registered User Posts: 299 Junior Member
    According to my son your beginning classes are very large (sometimes over 300). The professor does the lecture, but a TA does most other things. In large classes there are multiple choice questions, just a few wrong answers can lower your grade as most UW students are very smart. There are over 15K acceptances into UW, very few update these boards, look at the distribution of grades in a given class, there are lots of low grades.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,666 Senior Member
    Another parent here, my son is a freshman.

    Yes, intro classes in a subject matte are large lectures with discussion section --generally 20-25 students--taught by a TA-- a Ph.D student in the discipline. Discussion section meets once a week. Language classes are an exception, with not more than 20-25 students even in intro level.

    In the big intro classes, exams will vary depending on subject. My son is a humanities kid and he said his exams were mix of multiple choice, short answer and essays. His experience was that, if you do the work through the semester and study hard, you can do well. He acknowledges that he is working the hardest ever at UW.

    With all that said, there are ways to make class choices that "shrink" the experience. First year interest groups are clusters of classes sharing a theme across multiple disciplines. There is 1 seminar --20 kids and prof-- with 1-2 other classes. All students enrolled in that FIG are in the only students in the seminar and then are in the same discussion sections for the other classes. My son did a FIG and it was great -- 20 students with similar academic interests, he became very good friends with a number of them and they were very supportive of each other throughout the term. With the second semester beginning, he kind of misses that.

    As for profs, he loved them, felt they were approachable and caring. He went to some office hours with questions and always felt welcome.

    On housing, yes, the contract is due March 1 with a deposit. Most of the deposit will be returned to you if you notify them that you are not enrolling at UW. You can change your housing preferences up until May 1(don't quote me on that date) as assignments are not made until later. Unlike some other large publics my son applied to, UW does not assign housing based on who turned in their forms when. Also, students who want an LLC such as Chad/Brad, note that as their top choice on housing form. You actually get to pick your specific room in the LLC. Chad LLC is going to be mostly freshman and as the largest LLC it did not seem like it was over-subscribed-- I got the sense if you marked it as your first choice on housing form, you generally got it.

    Hope that helps as you think about your choices. Good luck.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,666 Senior Member
    I am on my phone so could not really edit. So there is no confusion-- lectures are big 150 plus. My son is in one very popular class now which is capped at 370 students, and there is a wait list. As some students have said, one way to make a big lecture smaller is to sit in the first few rows-- then you are not staring at a sea of bodies between you and the prof.
  • Madison85Madison85 Registered User Posts: 10,583 Senior Member
    There are various ways to get help for your classes at UW-Madison. You will need to take the initiative to seek help:

    If you live in a UW dorm, there is onsite free, drop-in tutoring for various subjects:

    Academics | University Housing at UW-Madison
    Tutoring | University Housing at UW-Madison


    Many courses also have a 'Learning Center' (Physics Learning Center, Business Learning Center, Chemistry Learning Center). You sign up at the beginning of the semester and will meet weekly (for example, if you take Econ 101 and sign up for Business Learning Center, you will meet twice weekly in a group of about 10-15 students with a Teaching Assistant for extra help with homework and exam review). These Learning Centers are not a course for credit, they are free, formalized extra help.

    Chemistry Learning Center

    UW-Madison Physics Alumni Directory, The Wisconsin Physicist, PhysWeb

    UW-Madison Physics Alumni Directory, The Wisconsin Physicist, PhysWeb

    Advising & Academic Support


    I don't think that the Math department has a learning center, but provides info on getting extra help, here:

    Tutoring Options - UW-Madison
  • Madison85Madison85 Registered User Posts: 10,583 Senior Member
    For Letters & Sciences students: if you want an option for smaller classes, complete the Honors application and then have access to smaller 'honors only' classes.
This discussion has been closed.