Why I chose UWO over Madison

Owen Peterson, Columnist

When I was applying to colleges as a senior in high school, it seemed like everyone was intent on going to UW Madison. So after I got accepted to Madison, many of my friends were surprised to hear that I was choosing to attend UW Oshkosh in the fall instead.

Being somebody who has always taken their academics very seriously, my friends were critical of my decision, constantly lecturing me about how it was a poor choice to waste my time at a “party school” like UWO.

Their concern no doubt came from the fact that UWO has somewhat of a poor reputation compared to a lot of the other UW schools, as proven by “loving” nicknames such as “UW-Zero” and “Sloshkosh.”

Owen Peterson

When asked about UWO’s reputation, UW Madison freshman Nathan Truettner immediately responded with, “Are you talking about the alcohol?”

But what all my friends (and, unfortunately, a lot of people it seems) are doing is taking this reputation at face value and looking past all of the positives that UWO has to offer.

Competitive athletics, one of the state’s best nursing programs, one of the nation’s best Model United Nations teams and a beautiful campus are just a few of the things that make UWO better than just “that drinking school.”

But above all those aforementioned benefits, the thing about UWO that won me over was the Honors College.

The Honors College at UWO provided exactly what I was looking for in my college experience: small classes with familiar students that are more focused on discussion and participation than lecture.

At a school like Madison, my general education classes during my first two years or so would have been spent in 400-person lecture rooms where the professor would probably never know my name, but with the Honors College at UWO, the gen. ed. classes I am currently enrolled in only have 30 other students at most.

“I like that I know everybody in my classes and that my classes are small and I always feel like I can talk and get my participation grades,” Sami Christiansen, a freshman in the Honors College, said.

Another benefit of the UWO Honors College is the sense of community it provides. My classes this semester are with many of the same students, which makes it easy to build relationships, a big concern of mine, seeing that I didn’t know anybody coming in.

Outside of the Honors College, another big factor for me when applying for colleges was the size of the campus.

When I went to visit some of my friends who attend Madison a few weekends ago, it took me 20 minutes to walk from the bus stop to their dorm and an additional 20 minutes to go from that dorm to go out to eat that night. In that same amount of time, I probably could have made it back and forth between South Scott and the Arts and Communications building at least four times.

It’s not that I don’t like walking, but having everything so close alleviates a lot of stress about not making it to class on time as well as meaning that you have to spend less time walking in the snow come winter.

All these factors taken into account, UWO suited my vision of a college experience full of small classes on a small campus better than UW Madison ever could have.

While UW Madison may be touted as the best school in the state, I believe it is important to realize that at the end of the day, the best decision you can make about your future is the one that suits you the best, not the one that everyone is saying is the best.