Umich vs. UW-Madison

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Umich vs. UW-Madison
By Homebrew311 (Homebrew311) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 03:09 pm: Edit

Hello there...I just visited both schools recently and I can't seem make up my mind. Ann Arbor seems to have better academics but Madison seems like a better place to be. Since these schools are very similar any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Oh yes, and i am undecided. Thanks!

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 03:48 pm: Edit

Is one school in state for you? That could tip the scale. Is one closer to your home or easier to get to from home?

By Homebrew311 (Homebrew311) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 03:59 pm: Edit

Thanks for responding! I am from California so both are relatively the same distance away from home.

By Sanfranstudent (Sanfranstudent) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 06:43 pm: Edit

Wisconsin. I am from California as well and i ama ttending wisconsin next year. although academics at Michigan are better, academics at Wisconsin are still some of the nations finest. Madison is definetly a better ocerall college experience. GO BADGERS!!!

By Michchick (Michchick) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 07:39 pm: Edit

This is a tough call... I'm from right outside A squared so I am rather partial to UofM. The school spirit is awesome and Ann Arbor is a great college town.

By Eskimo (Eskimo) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 08:44 pm: Edit

Although Michigan may have slightly more prestige,I would say that the academics are =.

By Acennace (Acennace) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 09:58 pm: Edit

I'll say Michigan. It is one of the best places to live in US (look at USATODAY for the report). Michigan also has better academics reputation.

By Fonzie (Fonzie) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 11:41 pm: Edit

Academically, they are most likely extremley close. For example, the famed US News and Report ranking has Michigan as 25 and Wisconsin as 32. Very close.

Atmosphere? Both are in college towns with a large party scene but other things to do. Both have a frat scene, sports scenem, art scene, etc etc.

Cost? Oh. Michigan for an out of state is only.... eh... 30-40K more over 4 years? THAT is something to base you deposit on.

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 11:49 pm: Edit

If Michigan is 30-40K more over the 4 years than UW-Madison, then I would say go to Madison. (And I went to grad school at Michigan and loved it.) That extra money would go a long way to helping you pay for grad school.

By Eskimo (Eskimo) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 12:12 am: Edit

I visited Madison last week and absolutely loved it. The college enviroment was fantastic. Everyone looked happy. I'm very close to committing.

By Fonzie (Fonzie) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 04:29 am: Edit

Out of state estimates:

Wisconsin 28-30
Michigan 36-38

8*4 = 32K I guess. Depends how liberally you must spend $ on things like books, travel, etc.

I'm not sure if 32K a year more justifies the idea that a few people will be more impressed with my college

By Barrons (Barrons) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 11:56 am: Edit

I would say it might come down to what major you plan to pursue.

By Chitownsfnst3 (Chitownsfnst3) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 01:42 pm: Edit

I used to live in Wisconsin but now live in the Chicago area(and have many friends that are attending Madison from Wi) and have been accepted to both Madison and U-Mich. My choice was incredibly easy. I have visited vistied and stayed at both campuses numerous times throughout my life and here's the thing.

I'm not really that biased towards U-Mich even though i am attending there b/c i grew up a Badgers fan.

If money is an issue then go to UW-Madison. otherwise GO TO MICHIGAN! the academics at U-Mich are better, it is a more presigious university, there is a more diverse student body (what i mean is from around the country, as well as race - no doubt). Madison is an excellent college town, epec. w/state street but Ann Arbor, i believe, is a better college town, more to do around the area in general. if you're from california i really think you'd like U-Mich better. Socially, both schools have a great social life, they're both definitely among the best in the nation and as for school spirit - both universities have great sports teams/school pride if that's what your looking for. both schools also haev a large greek scene as well.

to sum this up, both schools are pretty similar but Michigan is simply better in every department: academics, college town, athletically, research, (#1 undergraduate reasearch school in the country), prestige, plus michigan is the best public school (and among the best in teh country) for sending graduates to top 25 grad schools, as well as having a "variety" of students (many students @ madison are from the midwest while at michigan they're from all over)

go to michigan. go blue.

By Axfeaver (Axfeaver) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 01:53 pm: Edit

It's very fuuny, I got into the two schools and they are both on top of my list(I am from out of state), although my decisions are different. But I am thinking of going to Michigan because its engineering and business(minor) programs are the best following MIT, and Cal-Berkeley(Combine business and engineering ranks together). Besides, it's great that a large city such as Detroit is within driving distance. Althought it sounds like Madison might have a bit better college city, I'm choosing Michigan because I think that I might regret choosing Wisconsin one day.

I personally heard that Ann Arbor is a great college town afterall, I think Michigan is your best choice. Both towns are probably among the best college towns in the country anyway.

I'm also choosing Michigan because it was my reach school, I didn't think that I will get in, so I am probably going to be a Wolverine for the next 4 years.

By Homebrew311 (Homebrew311) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 02:02 pm: Edit

Wow,thanks for all the input guys!!! its great to get all of your opinions!

By Squash (Squash) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 06:49 pm: Edit

Wisconsin. Why? Because I'm probably going there. I'm still deciding though.

By L0serchild99 (L0serchild99) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 07:17 pm: Edit

madison's ranked as one of the top 10 small cities i think. something like that.

By Skulkarni1 (Skulkarni1) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 07:33 pm: Edit


academically, UMICH has a much better academic reputation then UMadison.

ofcourse, it depends on what ur major is, and being a michigan resident who would LOVE nothing more then to go to UMiich....i may be slightly biased :)

By Fonzie (Fonzie) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 01:02 am: Edit

In response to Chitown-

Either a) parts of that post were just subjective opinion

b) the rankings are extremley comparable with Wisconsin (#2 reserach univ in the nation, #7 public in the nation, etc)

At the point where they are SOOOO equal, except for .1% upper upper class in the US, I'm not sure how many people can justify spending the amount of a NEW CAR on going to Michigan over Wisconsin.

By Eskimo (Eskimo) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 01:25 am: Edit

They are extremely close.
I probably wanted to go to UM more because I like "Hail to the Victors" more than "On Wisc"-

By Kazz (Kazz) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 01:58 am: Edit

"In response to Chitown-

Either a) parts of that post were just subjective opinion

b) the rankings are extremley comparable with Wisconsin (#2 reserach univ in the nation, #7 public in the nation, etc)

there's more to prestige and quality than USNews overall ranking.

despite what USNews says, in the real world there are TWO top first tier public universities in the nation. They are Michigan and Berkeley. #3 on are a tier below.

Overall, in various academic departments, resources, research, faculty, sports, town, Michigan > UW-Madison in just about everything.

By Eskimo (Eskimo) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 02:18 am: Edit

You might be correct-but in the grand scheme of things do you really think that graduating from Mich over Wisc will give you an appreciable advantage in the job market or in applying to grad school? I really don't think so.

By B18c1cx (B18c1cx) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 07:09 am: Edit


Maybe this will play a role in your decision.

The Wall Street Journal did a survey (I'm sure many of you know) trying to identify the top feeder schools to the top 5 law, business, and med schools in the country.

U Mich is at #30 in the nation with an astounding 5,720 students going to such grad schools.

UW - Madison isn't on the list.

The reputation mixed with amazing athletics should win you over. I would choose Umich in a heartbeat.

Take this with a grain of salt though...this was only a study over a year.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit

Wisconsin sends more students on to get PhD's than UM. UM is a little more pre-professional in orientation. UW has better science depts than UM--much better in many areas of biology, biochemistry, etc. UW outranks UM in total research and when you take out UM's heavy spending in medical research, UW far exceeds UM in other areas. UW has had far more Nobel winners and members of the National Academy of Sciences in the liberal arts than UM. The difference in perceived quality is mostly in UM's higher ranked professional schools like Law, Business and Med School. UW faculty are also far more interested in undergrad teaching than those at UM.
UW has a lakefront campus that is far nicer than UM's.

By Chitownsfnst3 (Chitownsfnst3) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 12:42 pm: Edit

Now "in response to fonzie"

* when there were opinionated parts in that post, such as the college town part, i clearly said it was my opinion in the post. everything else is factual.

* sure the rankings can be comparable w.michigan but there's more to it than rankings. rankings can only tell you so much. michigan is a lot more prestigious from a national perspective than wisconsin. michigan also has more departments in the top 10.

The reason why i am "justifying spending the amount of a new car to go to Michigan over Wisconsin" is money is not an issue for me, b/c i want to attend the 3rd best undergrad b-school, get a great eductaion from the more prestigious institution, and from a non-academic standpoint...i truly believe michigan is STILL better.

in top-notch companies in NYC and chicago (according to my father who works for one and other sources) if 2 identical students walk in and one's a michigan grad and the other's from another public school other than berkeley, like wi,- they'll take the michigan grad.

i said before, i am not biased, b/c of where i grew up & i have always been a hige wi badgers fan...but i mean i think it's pretty obvious that OVERALL for EVERYTHING - michigan is better (if money is not an issue for you).

By Fonzie (Fonzie) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 06:22 pm: Edit

In response to Mr Franklin Marshall rocks/ B18c guy-

it is funny you pick that survey. on this exact website, someone posted the Brody report, which is a mirror of same study by the wall street journal. Wisconsin was in the low 30s. I guess the studies either are both really flawed, or prove there is subjective criteria in them.

Also, UW sports and UM sports are comparable. I think that is a silly argument. Heck, Wisconsin was the big ten bball champs.

In response to Chitown-

I know you think UM is great. Which it is. But you still are posting just personal opinions. I'm glad you are happy with your choice, I just think it is more sensible to compare the idea of a new car and a UW-Madison degree vs. the idea of a UMich degree, even IF it is more "prestigous", to whomever.

I've found the majority of people "debating" this issue post more opinionated answers than facts. And don't get me wrong, not only are the entitled to them or that the opinions could be in the majority, but it's just that with the actual rankings and adding in the cost and other number based issues, I beg to differ with the above posters

By Kazz (Kazz) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 07:08 pm: Edit

"Also, UW sports and UM sports are comparable. I think that is a silly argument. Heck, Wisconsin was the big ten bball champs."

i stated my peace above on everything else...

but basketball is one sport... and michigan just got off probation.

Michigan has one of the top 3 athletic programs in the country. I think the top 3 are Stanford, Michigan, and UCLA. I don't think wisconsin is even close.

Wisconsin is a good school. No doubt. They have solid academics and a great sports program. However, Michigan is and always has been top-notch in pretty much everything. They have their reputation for a reason.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 07:35 pm: Edit

I think Michigan has a reputation because they have been superior at blowing their own horn for many years. However if you look at which school produces the most patents, the most scientific research, the most top scientists, then it is a different story. UM is actually attempting to copy UW's very successful research patenting operation which brings in millions to the school each year. The numbers are UW had 204 patents applied for-87 issued-and $32 million in patent revenue in 2002; UM had 124 patents applied for-56 issued and $5.3 million in revenue for 2002.
As mentioned UW also beat UM in total research funding the last 2 years.

By Chitownsfnst3 (Chitownsfnst3) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 09:38 pm: Edit

fonzie i'd like to ask you what i am saying that is not factual (other than the part where i said that was my opinion - and that is that ann arbor is the "better" college town/social life as well, those are my opinion)

i'd like to know.

i also stated that if money is NOT an issue then go to michigan. what's wrong w/that? people who go to michigan over madison are not wasting their money!

are you bitter about being waitlisted someplace?.....

By Chitownsfnst3 (Chitownsfnst3) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 09:41 pm: Edit

michigan athletics beat out wisconsin athletics. michigan has the #2 athletic teams in the NATION.

Wisconsin was not the big 10 bball champs this year! Michigan won the big 10 title for football this year though!

i think you may have some researching to do, fonzie.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 10:43 pm: Edit

UW was second in the regular season and won the post season tourney. Hockey is the only other major sport at both schools (except football) and they both do very well sending teams to the NCAA's this year. UW just crushed UM in crew.
This site has tons of facts about both schools--and many others. Good stuff.

By Chitownsfnst3 (Chitownsfnst3) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 10:50 pm: Edit

well i'm just commenting on what i read

although i am attending michigan i am a die-heart wi badgers fan so quite frankly, if anything, i'd "fudge" things to make wi look better athletically.

By Prisc (Prisc) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 12:31 pm: Edit

yea michigan.Gotta love that place. It's got it all. Great atmosphere, friendly people, huge squirrels, top notch academics and a great Social life. price is a lil expensive for out of state though..Has a better reputation too

By Rem (Rem) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 04:09 pm: Edit

Wisconsin grad. here, and I can say that I truly had a very enjoyable 4 years in Madison...

Pros: Highly ranked Academic departments from Agronomy to Sociology to Zoology, basically every field from A to Z; A very beautiful campus situated on an isthmus, that is a stretch of land between two lakes; Winning Big Ten sports; State Street; Nice and good-looking people (most of them are not from Wisconsin - go figure); Nationally recognized, so it will look good on your resume after you graduate.

Cons: Bitingly cold, esp. in January, when the temp. can fall to -40F with wind chill...

UMich is a good school too, but I am biased of course towards the UWisconsin.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 06:46 pm: Edit

Luckily the UW is closed for break during much of the coldest Dec.-Jan period. Good time to get off to a sunny warm place for six weeks or so.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 06:50 pm: Edit

If you are into bio-sciences:


MADISON - In an effort to gather a burgeoning number of stem cell researchers into a cohesive community and leverage new resources, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has established the new Wisconsin Stem Cell Research Program.

Developed under the auspices of the UW-Madison Graduate School, the new initiative is intended to foster campuswide communication and collaboration, and support efforts to develop new resources and opportunities for as many as 150 people - faculty, staff, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers - now using stem cells in their programs of research.

"The intent is to create an active, dynamic program that helps us develop an academic environment that is synergistic and opportunistic, helping keep Wisconsin at the forefront of the field," says R. Timothy Mulcahy, UW-Madison associate vice chancellor for research policy and Graduate School associate dean for the biological sciences.

Nationally, a number of universities have staked out claims in the stem cell field, so competition for research dollars, students and the best faculty is beginning to become more acute. But Wisconsin, Mulcahy notes, enjoys significant advantages, including a critical mass of stem cell biologists with as many as 30 different research groups and significant physical infrastructure at the Waisman Center, the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center and the Biotechnology Center, and at affiliated programs at the private WiCell Research Institute. Moreover, through WiCell, Wisconsin possesses five of the National Institutes of Health-approved cell lines, which can be used in labs supported by federal research dollars.

"We have a lead in this promising field," Mulcahy says. "We want to be sure that we're doing what we can to stay ahead of the game."

To do that, providing opportunities for faculty and staff to collaborate, and for students to gain full advantage of the stem cell research and educational opportunities that exist, are critical, says Barbara Lewis, manager of the new program. First orders of business, Lewis says, include setting up communications nodes such as a Web site (, a journal club and an annual retreat for researchers.

The first retreat, held April 1, included a dozen presentations by Wisconsin faculty and staff, as well as a poster session and social opportunities to foster greater discussion among researchers in disciplines as diverse as anatomy, reproductive physiology, biological engineering, surgery and neurology. The daylong event attracted 140 people.

Lewis likened the new initiative to something akin to what goes on in a lab dish populated with stem cells: "Embryonic stem cells don't like to be alone. They're much happier in a group. It's the same with people in a research environment."

Fund raising will be an important activity of the new program, Lewis notes. Already, a collaborative group of faculty is pulling together a training grant through the program that will help attract and support the best postdoctoral researchers in the field. Faculty will also be able to use the program's resources to help develop new courses relevant to stem cell science.

Lewis emphasized, too, that the program is not just a focus of embryonic stem cell research. Faculty working with fetal and adult cells are a big part of the program's emphasis, she says.

"To me, the important thing is people will get to know who's working on what," she says. "The program is a mechanism through which we can keep track of what everyone is doing and, of course, we want to keep the excitement and the momentum of stem cell research going."

By Spiffybrownboy (Spiffybrownboy) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 07:00 pm: Edit

Even though I favor Wisconsin to Michigan, Michigan IS a more well-rounded school. In the sciences (which is what I'm interested in), however, UW-Mad has better programs (although UMich's are quite wonderful too).

Sidenote: I was accepted to Wisconsin and deferred from Michigan, Wisconsin being higher on my list. I withdrew from Michigan after I got into my ED. So, you'd think I hate Michigan and love Wisconsin, but that's not the case. What I said up there is completely unbiased.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 07:43 pm: Edit

Actually one could argue that UW has a more diverse range of majors. It offers majors in food sciences, atmospheric sciences, textiles, etc. that are not available at UM.


By Barrons (Barrons) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 03:34 pm: Edit

From another poster.Re Yale vs other schools. UW>>>UM.

2. The total number of four major intentional recognized Academic Prize including: Nobel Prize; Crafoord Prize (by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences ); Wolf Prize (by THE WOLF FOUNDATION); National Medal of Science ( USA). Yale takes only No.12 in US considering the total prize number rank

The top 20 Research Universities: (Yale is only No.12)

Nobel Prize
Crafoord Prize (by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences)
National Medal of Science (USA)
Ranking according to the total award numbers:

Ranking Institution Nobel Crafoord Wolf Medal (Total#)

1 Harvard 30 5 6 28 (69)
2 Stanford 16 2 6 27 (51)
3 Caltech 15 3 6 22 (46)
3 Berkeley 14 0 9 23 (46)
5 MIT 15 1 3 19 (38)
6 Chicago 15 0 5 12 (32)
7 Columbia 14 0 5 10 (29)
8 Princeton 10 0 5 13 (28)
9 UIUC 4 1 5 11 (21)
10 Cornell 8 1 4 7 (20)
11 UW-Madison 3 0 4 9 (16)
12 Yale 5 0 1 8 (14)
13 UCLA 4 0 1 7 (12)
14 UPenn 4 1 2 4 (11)
15 Johns Hopkins 3 0 2 4 (9)
16 UT-Austin 1 0 2 3 (6)
17 UMich 0 0 0 4 (4)
17 CMU 1 0 1 2 (4)
19 Northwestern 1 0 0 0 (1)
20 Duke 0 0 0 0 (0)

By Blade409usa (Blade409usa) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 02:34 pm: Edit


I am biased, so feel free to ignore me but...

UW-Madison Memorial Library is one of the top then places in the country to meet your future spouse.

Anyone can wake up in the morning to milk cows and make and eat ice cream right on campus.

Fortune magazine recognized Madison as having the second most alumni as Fortune 500 CEOs.

One of the best undergrad business programs...US News ranked Madison's undergraduate real estate program as number 3.

Number 2 party school in the country!! (Princeton Review). Also, the most beer and most hard liqour.

And, um...oh yeah! I'm going there, so it's definately the best!

I have never visited, looked into, or even cared to acknowledge the existance of Michigan, so as I said, I am completely bias.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 02:49 pm: Edit


By Dstark (Dstark) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 02:57 pm: Edit

Doesn't speak well of Madison.

By Blade409usa (Blade409usa) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 03:05 pm: Edit

My most humble apologies. I wasn't aware that I was on an Ivy board.


Anyone one criticize, it takes a real person to correct him or herself.

No hard feelings.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 03:26 pm: Edit

Just joking. Have a great time at Madison. Great school. (I like Michigan too.)

By Prisc (Prisc) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 03:04 pm: Edit

I haven't even heard of UW before this yr(4th). Michigan, I've heard about it ever since highschool. (Canadian..)

By Barrons (Barrons) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 03:29 pm: Edit

You are uniformed. Do they have TIME magazine in Canada?? A UW prof was on the cover for isolating stem cells. Generally UW is just behind UM in most rankings. UW has more research funding and top profs than UM in the liberal arts and sciences. UM is better in engineering and business. They both are top universities.

By Prisc (Prisc) on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 04:36 pm: Edit

yea we got time
ask anyone up here...michigan's better--GO BLUE.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 04:57 pm: Edit

Michigan is better at some things and UW is better at others. Depends on what you are planning to major in and what you want in a school. For instance UW has a far nicer campus, relaxed friendly students, and prettier women.

By Prisc (Prisc) on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 07:48 pm: Edit

Michigan's got some finnnnneee men...they're nice too :) I don't know about UW but I heard good things about it

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