A couple of people have asked me about madison/University of Wisconsin/UW law since I am a UG there. I don't know a lot about the law school except what anyone can find out online, but if anyone wants to email me questions, I have a friend who is a 2L who I can ask. Most of what follows is just general information about Madison, the city and the university as a whole. Probably more than you ever wanted to know but I hope it helps those who asked get a feel for the place.
Can you tell me a little about University of Wisconsin and Madison if possible. I am interested in the law school and would love to get info. on the school. I heard its a pretty nice place.
Yea, it's a great town to live in; definitely not boring, as some other midwestern university towns are (Urbana, I'm looking at you). The madison area has about 200,000 people, which isn't huge but it's not tiny either. But the real reason that it's not boring is that the city and especially the downtown/campus area is chock full of undergrads, grad students and young professionals. My friends once did an actual count of the number of bars within a few blocks of the law school; I don't remember the actual number but it's around 25 (within 3 blocks). And there are plenty more further away...the bars range from complete yuppie paradise to Blatz drinkin' dives to undergrad meat markets. So if bars are your thing, madison's got you covered. And it should be noted that UW-Madison is only place I've ever been where the two campus area movie theaters and the student union both sell beer. Until recently, the union used to sell a 40oz cup of beer
There's a lot of other stuff going on as well; the university community is large >40,000 so there are a ton of student groups/organizations. Madison has one of the highest number of restaurants per capita in the US, and there are as many restaurants in the area near the law school as there are bars. The city is a very liberal place, and it's often compared to berkeley in this regard. Kerry drew 80,000 people to a rally here. College Dems outnumber college republicans by 15-1 if not more. Madison is the capital of wisconsin, so a lot of people who live here work for the state if they arent associated with the university. It's a pretty white-collar type of place. The city itself is located on an isthmus and you won't live more than a 10 minute walk from a lake. It's generally regarded as a pretty city.
There are a number of various rankings of "The best places to live in America" and madison is usually ranked very highly. It won the top place a couple of times. Students tend to stick around the city during breaks and when they graduate and it's quite common for UG students to take 5 years to graduate because they like living here...hmm what else might be interesting. There is a sizable number of people here from the northeast and atlantic states but number people from the west coast, rockies and the south is pretty small in my perception of things. There are enough people from the northeast and atlantic states that there is an "expatriate" community of sorts of them. UW also has one of the largest populations of foreign students in the country.
Wisconsin is a huge research school; last year it recieved more federal research dollars than any univesity besides Johns Hopkins. It's especially big in the social sciences like psych and sociology and various kinds of biology (genetics, stem cell research, primate research). There are like 28 or 30 kinds of biology majors here. Anyway I think that this emphasis has some kind of an effect on the law school; I understand that the intersection of social sciences and law is a subject of continuing interest here at the law school. Also, one is automatically admitted to the bar in Wisconsin with a jd from UW.
Two places you should visit besides the law school if you visit Madison: 1) Memorial Union, about 1 block away from the law school. If you come when the weather is nice, be sure to walk through the union to get to the lakeside terrace. The ice cream is very tasty (made from UW-madison's own cows) but contains gelatin. 2)State St, also about a block away. State St is a 6 block pedestrian mall that has a lot of shops, restaurants and bars that make up the core of the campus area social scene. There are over 30 bars on state st. (tastier gelatin-free ice cream can be found a few blocks down state st, at the Chocolate Shoppe, with the cow spotted-sign) There are other places to go, but these are the places that are a must to get a good feel for what the university and the city are like.
If anybody wants to know more, or wants me to find something out for them about the University of Wisconsin and or madison, PM me or send me an email.