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UW-Madison v Ohio State

stuckinohio11stuckinohio11 Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
edited July 2013 in University of Wisconsin
Ok, so to give a little background I'm an upcoming senior in Ohio really starting to narrow down my college search (or at least trying to). This isn't a chance me post but i'll give you some stats: End of junior year, cumulative 3.54 UW GPA (have taken all honors and the one AP class my school offers), 2050 SAT (1360 CR+M) (will take one more time) and I'm going to be a four year varsity tennis player, am in several clubs, NHS, and have plenty of community service. Basically I think I'm a decent match for the two colleges I'm going to discuss: Wisconsin and Ohio State.

So anyway, I've recently taken in an interest in Wisconsin. I have not visited yet, but I plan to hopefully by the end of this summer, if not by the beginning of the school year. Based off what I've read from blogs, their website, reviews, etc. I'm really drawn in by their engineering and business programs which seem to be top-notch. I also like the liberal area and students (but not so overbearing like schools such as Boulder or Oregon), big sports, apparently beautiful campus surrounded by two lakes, and Madison seems awesome. But the real question is, how does it compare to Ohio State? Are they similar? Would it be worth the extra money coming from out of state? I have visited Ohio State and while I'd be okay with going there, I wasn't in love. The campus is too spread out for me (I'm okay with big campuses I just didn't like how there didn't seem to be one "central" point unless you count the overhyped Oval), Columbus is fun but growing up in Ohio, I've been there quite frequently. Also, while I want a big school I think Ohio State could be TOO big. And lastly, as you can tell by my username I really just want to leave Ohio.

As far as finances, my parents are divorced and I am dependent on my mother, however I still maintain a relationship with my dad. With my mother's income our EFC would be 0 so I would receive some financial aid (I'm aware that public schools don't give much to out of state students, but nonetheless I'd still receive some). My dad who makes 100k a year is expected to help with the remaining costs and I will be expected to take out some loans as well.

But still, would it be worth it? If I visit and love it, would a UW degree be prestigious? Any opinions would be so helpful, both from UW and Ohio State grads.
Post edited by stuckinohio11 on

Replies to: UW-Madison v Ohio State

  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,937 Senior Member
    My son just finished his freshman year at UW, as an out of state student and loves it -- so I understand your interest. It is a physically beautiful campus, with lake, Bascom Hill, and still an urban feel as you move away from center of campus etc.

    A general rule of thumb is that public universities give very little financial aid to out of state students, as that support is primarily for instate students. There may be some merit money students compete for, but that is rare. No offense, but a 3.5 unweighted at UW is not merit money stat at UW. A 3.5 is right on the border for out of state students to be admitted or rejected -- need a strong test score to push into admit column (like 30+ ACT and ideally, a 32+ -- my kid didn't do SAT so I am not sure how the scores compare). We have watched two years of admissions cycles carefully, here in and in real life, because UW is starting to get "hot" at his high school and more kids are applying.

    You might want to take a look at Indiana -- of course, excellent business program, plus they use the higher of weighted/unweighted gpa in admissions and superstore. Strong enough stats (gpa plus testing) gets automatic merit money, even for out of state students, and you can get, again with strong enough stats, direct admission to business school. Of course, IU does not get you engineering and business -- the engineering program is at Purdue, not Bloomington, so if you really want to explore both those options, that would not be possible at IU.
    Many consider Bloomington a gorgeous campus (never did too much for me, but that is my problem).

    Good luck.
  • stuckinohio11stuckinohio11 Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Midwestmom,

    A 2050 on the SAT is equivalent to right around a 31 on the ACT. But thank you for your input. I was afraid I wouldn't get any merit from Wisconsin..but, based on what you said about the school I still think it would be wonderful for me to visit.

    As for Indiana, I've actually visited there before! I really loved the campus...town, not so much. It was a little to small for my liking. I'm not sure if I would qualify for scholarships because I'm not sure on how they weight GPA. I am still considering it, however the lack of an engineering school is a con because I'm torn between business (specifically finance/accounting) and engineering.

    Lastly, finances are slightly flexible because of my dad's income but ultimately they do not want to have to spend more than 25,000 a year from out of pocket costs. Wisconsin really does seem beautiful though and I feel like I would fit in.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,937 Senior Member
    With the equivalent of a 31, best guess is you will likely get in to UW but you may be postponed and then admitted late in the cycle. My sense is, over the last 2 years, there was a lot of that for out of state kids.

    IU does use weighted gpa, according to what your own school calls it. I understand they don't recalculate, they just take what your school calls it. Personally, I shared your reaction to B'ton-- great, as far as it goes, but the college town is only a bunch of blocks, and the lack of engineering is a big negative for your goals.

    As a parent, I would say, visit UW, imagine it, investigate -- but don't fall so much in love you can't see yourself anywhere else if finances don't work. I will say-- without any idea how Ohio State is on this -- room and board at UW is surprisingly reasonable. For ordinary double room, we paid about $7k plus about $1500-2000 in food and "campus cash"-- laundry money, supplies from bookstore etc. At some privates, room and board is $12k - - and that $3k difference can matter!

    Good luck to you.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,937 Senior Member
    One more thing, then I will stop! Do visit UW -- it is a special, amazing place. My son did not visit until late fall of his senior year, after visiting maybe 8 schools, some big, some small. Honestly, 15 min into the big admissions info session, he said this was his school. It all just clicked. There is plenty for everyone, and people respond to different aspects of the school.

    Now I am preaching, but one of my favorite aspects of UW is the Honors program -- rather than some walled-off program that only high stat kids are invited to join, at UW, all admitted students are invited to apply, the idea being all students are capable of the work, but only some are interested enough in exploring areas more deeply to write some more essays to get in, and then take Honors courses once they are on campus. Again, no Honors dorms, and unless you are in an Honors discussion section with someone, there is no way to really know who is in Honors and who isn't.

    Again, good luck.
  • stuckinohio11stuckinohio11 Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    My school does not weight GPA at all, even when determining class rank. We have about 10-15 people still in the running for becoming valedictorian because we don't even have any requirements to take honors/APs to be in the running. Someone could take all basic classes and be valedictorian unfortunately. On top of it all, I transferred from a more competitive/rigorous high school at the end of sophomore year so in comparison to kids at my new school, my GPA seems poor. Realistically I don't believe this will hurt my admission to UW (or indiana) maybe postpone my decision like you said, but I still think I'd have a fair chance with my EC's and test scores. However, it unfortunately does matter with scholarships, especially with Indiana. Indiana is even more expensive (in both tuition and room & board) which is pushing me away from applying even more. Adding to the fact of no engineering program and the bubble like atmosphere.

    But wow! That actually is a relatively cheap room and board rate at Wisconsin. At Ohio state its $10,000, and in state tuition is $10,000 as well. This doesn't include the meal plan, books, or anything like that. Ohio State is rumored to be super stingy when it comes to giving out money, even to in state students so maybe the difference in cost wouldn't be as drastic as I'm thinking it'll be.

    The honors program sounds pretty interesting, something that my dad would definitely find appealing. I was keeping that in the back of my mind though, to not fall too in love with the school in case it didn't work out. I'm hoping if I do visit, which I really still want to, that my dad will be wowed. He's the kind of guy where if he really is impressed by a school's academics, he wouldn't mind helping me out a bit more. Being an engineer at General Motors himself, he is definitely already enthusiastic about me being interested in engineering. I'm hoping he would be impressed by UW's department in it. Plus, he hates Ohio State (not some football hatred either, he literally hates the school for whatever reason so maybe this will sway him a bit lol) Anyway, I'm going to hope for the best like you said and keep my options open. But definitely visiting!
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,937 Senior Member
    Ok, one thing, then I will be quiet-- UW requires the original transcript from all high schools attended. My son transferred as well, so we had to do that. If your first school was really tough, having to submit that transcript may help show the rigor of your course work.

    Hope your dad falls in love with UW!
  • jnm123jnm123 Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    Agreed, you definitely should visit. Unfortunately, as stated above you are probably on the cusp stats-wise for admission. Should you apply, do it after visiting so you can weave some personal experiences into your essay.

    Also, only spending $25,000/year is not going to do it OOS. My guess is you're about $10K shy. As a freshman, unless you're an underrepresented minority (URM), you most likely will not receive a dime in merit aid--sorry, that's the facts. There are small departmental scholarships available a year or two down the line once you prove your worth. So, to make up that gap, Stafford loans will get you half the way there, which looks like you'll have to scrounge up another five grand.

    Good luck!
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,846 Senior Member
    Agree that your gpa is only so-so for UW. Never count on free money (grants/scholarships)- it would not be worth the extra debt to attend UW when you have a good flagship. Go ahead and visit Madison but don't obsess over UW. Son's large WI school district doesn't weight grades either, nor do they give +/- 's so he dealt with that reality. Crazy gpa's here in FL- some kids have a 7.+ on a 4.0 scale. No merit money from UW for any freshmen just because of stats, instate or out.
  • stuckinohio11stuckinohio11 Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    jnm123,

    Thanks for your facts. I'm aware I'm borderline on admission due to my not so great GPA but hopefully test scores, ECs, and the essay would boost my chances a little bit. It drives me crazy how little public schools give out but I guess I just have to deal with it, and I'm already looking for any small scholarships I can find.

    I did speak with my dad today who said he would be willing to take me up sometime around the end of the summer, so nonetheless I'm still excited for a visit.
  • stuckinohio11stuckinohio11 Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Wis75

    It sucks doesn't it! I really wish my school weighted our grades, it truly would make our GPAs mean a little more. Not saying every honors class I've taken was extremely difficult, but I know for a fact at least in some of honors classes, the work I did to get a B would be equivalent to an A in the college prep curriculum. Anyway, I'm still planning to visit Wisconsin over the summer and hopefully be able to compare it to Ohio State. I'm very aware that Ohio State is a great school, along with several other publics in the state, I'm just pretty antsy to leave Ohio if finances allow.

    Lastly I visited University of Georgia (I know, quite the opposite) over spring break and loved it. They also have a scholarship for out of state students that covers half the difference between in state and out of state tuition, and I actually qualify for it. (on website the only requirements say 2000+ SAT and non-resident of Georgia, no GPA minimum but I'm unaware of anything else needed if not stated on website) So I am still keeping UGA in the back of my mind. I really wanted to visit another state school outside of the conservative south (which I'm worried I may not fit in) though, so that's why I researched Wisconsin. They also have an established and prestigious engineering program compared to UGA's which they just started. UGA's business school is pretty good though.
  • barronsbarrons Registered User Posts: 24,951 Senior Member
    While uW itself does not use weighted GPAs in apps--the recalc without weighting they WILL give weight to having AP and other higher level classes on your record so it was no waste to take them--they will help you at UW. Good luck.
  • newfaithnewfaith Registered User Posts: 214 Junior Member
    We just visited and DD fell in love! I hated to be the voice of doom but had to caution her that its a reach but maybe they will be looking for someone with her background in 2014. We saw kids for fall of 2013 doing their SOARS tour and DD loved the diversity she saw. If she somehow gets in this will be where she goes.
  • tsdadtsdad Registered User Posts: 4,035 Senior Member
    You really need to consider whether it is worthwhile for you to spend the extra money to go to Madison OOS, while you can get an excellent education at Ohio State. While UW is higher rated overall, if money is an issue do not think twice about it and go to Ohio State.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,846 Senior Member
    UW does not weight grades so you don't have to recalculate yours to know where it is relative to others. They do look at how rigorous your courses are- honors, AP et al relative to what is offered at your school (a student whose school does not offer many APs will not be penalized for not taking many whereas a student who doesn't make use of many when offered won't look as good). Again- do not go into debt just to go OOS for college when your flagship is good.
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