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enoksrd

Madison, WI

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I am considering U Wisconsin. I would be interested to hear anything people have to say about the city, and in particular, I would be interested to know what the cost of living is like. I have been offered TA support, which will be about $11,200 or $12,500, depending on whether or not the TAA nogotiate a raise. According to the grad school web site, this is a few thousand less than the estimated cost of living. What is the cost of living for grad students living there now? If you aren't picky, is there reasonably priced housing near campus? Also, I have been told it is a great bike city, but how does that work in the winter when its 10F and there is snow everywhere?

Thanks!

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Guest CMU student

I am also interested in this city and its living costs. Anybody can help us out?

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Guest

I'm a current grad student at UWM, and I am somewhat familar with Madison as well.

Madison is fairly inexpensive to live in, depending on your standards. There are a lot of older student housing neighborhoods with apartments/flats/houses in poor condition, but low cost. I guess it mostly depends on your tolerance for roommates, poor conditions, and proximity to campus.

Speaking of, you almost need to have a bicycle in Madison, and the city is VERY bike friendly. The campus is very spread out, which isn't usually a great concern for grad students, unless you're doing multi-disciplinary work. They also have a bus system (which is used mostly by late night drunks). Biking in the winter can be tough, but it is definitely doable. Wisconsin is well prepared for snow removal and generally keeps the roads/paths clear.

If you have other questions about Madison or Milwaukee, feel free to ask!

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Could anyone comment on the social life and/or "feel" of Madison? What's around the city of Madison? I'm used to the urban grit of the Mid-Atlantic (New Brunswick to be exact) and I am flying to WI at the end of the month, but any input would still be appreciated.

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Anonymous said:
Could anyone comment on the social life and/or "feel" of Madison? What's around the city of Madison? I'm used to the urban grit of the Mid-Atlantic (New Brunswick to be exact) and I am flying to WI at the end of the month, but any input would still be appreciated.

Heh, I'm actually accepted at Rutgers and am wondering what that's all about.

As far as Madison, well, if you like drinking and partying, then this is the place. If you are a serious student, you might be disappointed. Not a lot of "academic" atmosphere. Madison is the quintessential party town.

From a poli sci perspective, there may be good opportunities to work with state government, since it is the capital and all. I don't know much about the field, so I'll limit my comments at that.

Though I haven't yet been to NB, I think you'll find Madison to be somewhat gritty, but still very small townish. That said, it has a lot of character. It is very liberal for a midwestern location, and some call it the Midwest's Berkeley. Having lived in Berkeley and grown up in WI, I wouldn't go quite that far, but it is more authentically liberal than, say, Austin.

Housing options abound for students and at reasonable prices. Most grad students live off-campus in older rental houses, which can drastically vary in quality. My friends always lived on the cheap, in near-slum conditions.

State St is where all the action is, and it is ~10 blocks of bars, shops, bars, restaurants, bars, and microbrews. It is closed off to traffic (except taxis, buses, and pigs), and a good thing too. The drunk students make even crossing State St on a cross street dangerous. Though State St of yore had a lot of independent shops with lots of character, much of that has been pushed out by national chains like Chipotle, Urban Outfitters, and Qdoba.

The local music scene is spotty, but some good indy acts pass through town from time to time. There are some nice small venues, though.

Let me know if you need any other info.

 

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Guest guest

Caveat:

What was said in prior posts about Madtown being a party city that nurtures undergrad drinking and party culture is true. I am from Wisco originally and accepted a fellowship for my masters here. Biggest mistake I have ever made!

Positives: It IS a great bike city. I bought a bike and the trails are beautiful. But you can only use them a few months out of the year.

Negatives: Its frickin cold here! You feel like a prisoner in whatever building your stuck in in the winter because of the numbingly cold windchill. This might not be PC but the people here are just plain wierd and the administration at the Uni is corrupt and falling the way of the state administration. I love my state but am not proud of what has been happening here over the last decade politically. Madison is not the Berkeley of the Midwest that it used to be. I am going to NYC next year and am sooo glad to be getting out of this city.

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Guest Guest

What do you mean, Guest? They're not so liberal as they used to be?

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Guest guest

some people in the uni are, but there stomped down nowadays by the corrupt conservative money-grubbing administration and the town is definately not liberal.

Madison2006=$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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Guest Sarah one more time

I just read the post about Madison not being a liberal city... uh... maybe not in the Adam Smith sense of the word, but hell yeah it's liberal. Just look at election results for the last, oh say, century. The US congressperson from the city is the first out lesbian to be elected to that position in the history of the country. Maybe it's not Berkeley, but it's certainly one of the most hippie-friendly places in Wisconsin and the idea that anyone could see that city and think anything but "Democrat" almost makes me laugh... it's funny, because my school, one of the most liberal places in the universe, tends to consider UWM students as less quirky than we are but certainly no less liberal. In fact, we joke about how out of touch with the rest of the country the city is...

(oh, and by the way, you won't be harassed if you're a republican, either. It's a capital city, they get all types).

The undergrads do get drunk and party...at the same time I remember some them would do extremely well in school while partying three times a week.

The only thing that sucks is that it gets effing cold for about two months in winter.

 

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Madison is a great city, it is beautiful during the warm months, but winter sucks!!! We just got 5in. of snow dumped on us...on March 16th.

As far as costs go, it's not, say, New York, but things are definitely getting pricier than they were a few years ago. You can get a studio for about $500, one BR from $600. There are a lot of newer apartment buildings (but they are generally populated by drunk undergrads) but there are many apartment buildings off of campus (a 10-minute bus ride away) that mainly house grad students. Lots of cute neighborhoods and local shops, restaurants, etc. You can get by without a car (but it's better if you have one) and the bus is free for students.

On the down side, there *are* a lot of drunk students out at night which is more annoying than anything else. It starts to feel like a small town after a year or so.

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Guest muse

I would have to disagree with jennesy about the car. Its really tough without one. Cant even touch public trans in cjicago/new york. Campus is huge and city is spread out. And, unfortunately, Id have to say there is only one street to hang out. Its pretty boring actually unless your a drunk undergrad.

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Guest Guest

I'm a current grad student at UW in poli sci, and I wanted to throw in a few thoughts. First, Madison can be tough without a car, particularly since there are not a lot of grocery stores around campus. But, it's do-able, and there's a relatively new car sharing company (Community Car) that a lot of people I know use and is reasonable on the wallet. There are many people in my department who don't have cars and survive just fine. (The campus isn't that spread out, especially the parts where most grad students spend their time.)

I'm paying a little over $300 a month for a large group house. If you're looking into coming here, keep in mind that the heating in the winter can be outrageous, so factor that into your expenses if it's not covered by the rent.

I definitely haven't been bothered by the undergrads' partying. Yes, they do it a lot, but it doesn't interfere with my academic or social lives. There's lots of social and academic options that attract primarily grad students. I came here from Washington, DC, and am really happy with the experience so far. I'd be happy to answer more questions if anyone's got them.

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Oh yeah, it's definitely better if you have a car. I didn't mean to imply that Madison is completely manageable without a car - it's not. If you don't have one you can get by, but you'll need to find a friend with a car if you want to do major grocery shopping, go to Target, etc. There aren't any real grocery stores downtown, but you can take the bus (which sucks, but is possible). The busses are infrequent on weekends and at night, and don't always go where you need to go. Community Car is great, it's a car-sharing service. There are also (pricey) cabs and the Women's Transit Authority in Madison which provides free rides for doctor's appts., late night, etc.

But if you have a car and are coming to Madison - bring it. It's not Chicago or New York.

I'm starting my 6th year here in Madison and haven't had a car, but really wish I did. I can (try) to answer any other questions you have about Madison!

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Guest poli nguy

biggest problem with Madison. The people here think they are in Berkeley, and resent the fact that they aren't. I don't like it.

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Guest Nash

hi. i'll be a phd student in econ at wisconsin. i came straight from ug, but i'm not used to 1) noise; 2) partying; 3) public drunkeness. is there any place on or near (Walking distance) from campus for grad students only? i'm looking for a 1 bedroom apartment costing about 600 per month (heat included) - and AC would also be nice.

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Try the Old University Ave/University Heights area. It's on the near west side of town (west side of campus) near the med school. Lots of grad students, profs, and older undergrads live there. Lots of student apt buildings there, populated with older students. The near east side is good too, quieter, but a bit farther away from campus.

The campus' CIVC website has a good apartment-hunting website, http://housing.civc.wisc.edu/search.asp

Good luck!

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Guest Nash

is the east side near the William H. Sewell Social Science Building? I don't think I'll bring a car, so being in walking distance is important. When is everyone going to move in?

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I'm currently looking for an apartment on the East Side of Madison with my fiance...

We have some requirements such as needing W/D or W/D hookups, need two parking spaces, looking for a nice one or possibly two bedroom place.

I've found the Trafalgar Apartments, its near the airport and very close to the East Side Park and Ride. Does anyone know anything positive or negative about this complex or how noise complaints are about living close to the airport?

Thanks! :D

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There is an article about animal abuse in UW laboratories (http://www.stopanimaltests.com/f-worstlabs_01.asp) that begins "It’s tempting to call the University of Wisconsin-Madison the nexus of evil in the world, but we’ll simply call it the worst animal-abusing university in the country."

some people in the uni are, but there stomped down nowadays by the corrupt conservative money-grubbing administration and the town is definately not liberal.

Madison2006=$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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Most people move in/out around Aug. 14-16, that's when the leases generally end and start up again. Most leases in Madison run for one year, starting around Aug. 14-16.

I doubt you'll be able to find a 3-bedroom close to campus for $700/mo. A one bedroom near campus is $550-600. Expect to pay at least $900-1000/mo for a 3-bedroom.

The Social Sciences building and Vilas hall are both in the "middle" of campus, but closer to the east side than west (where the med school/engineering buildings are). Both of these buildings are accessible by bus and bike from the near east side (the airport is a bit far from campus, you'll need to drive or bus in every day).

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Guest Nash

Hi everyone. If you are going to UW, beware of the professors that don't like to be shown up by more talented students. If you pretend you suck and dont mind crappy professors they might not screw you over.

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Guest guest

I have some brochures that my department gave me when I visited - things like "Housing in Madison" etc. I keep seeing suggestions for "Where to stay in Madison while you're looking for housing" lists, which kind of worry me - is it impossible to find a place to live WITHOUT visiting?! I'm coming from CA and flights there are kinda pricey...I know it's not the BEST method of finding housing (it would be nice to see where I'd be living....ehhh) but I don't really know if it's feasible.

Also, how late is too late to secure a lease? Are there still apts available as late as June-July? There must be some, right? :shock:

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I'm hopefully getting very lucky with my housing search. My fiance and I just applied for an apartment complex that seems really good, but a bit far (~6 miles from my department)...I'll deal with it! Hopefully we will get approved. The complex answered all of our questions via email and telephone and also sent us detailed pictures of the unit and the complex. They only have one unit open and they will be holding it for us until August (this was the only thing that raised red flags to us...), so if he finds a job a bit early, we may be able to move up the lease a few weeks or month early.

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Guest Anon

If people are looking to live relatively close to campus (within 2 miles or so), I think it would be very tough to get an apartment when you show up in the summer. Most of the leases for next fall are signed between February and April. When I first moved to Madison, I came in early July to find housing for August and the pickings were slim close to campus--I really only had one acceptable choice (i.e., wasn't 8 miles away, wasn't in an undergrad hole). At the very least, I'd recommend that people try to find someplace from afar now--don't wait!

 

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The Madison thread seems to have died since the 2006 season, any more information about the city in the last couple years?

I haven't seen any mention about ethnic/asian restaurants in Madison, does anyone know of any good ones in the city?

I know rent here in Austin has been increasing over the last couple years, has a similar effect been happening in Madison? What do rents look like now days for studio/one-bedroom?

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