Many people believe that Wisconsin is mostly farmland because it is part of America’s Dairyland. While food production is important to the state’s economy, Wisconsin has much more to offer.
Wisconsin has beautiful landscapes, a fascinating history, and plenty of opportunities for entertainment and outdoor recreation. As a result, it has a lot to offer students looking for a great state to visit while attending college.
When it comes to weather, Wisconsin has hot, humid summers and cold winters. Summer temperatures in the south can get quite hot, which may surprise some students. During the peak of summer, temperatures can reach 90°F in both the north and south.
Cold and snow are common in the winter, with temperatures occasionally reaching -30 or -40°F during the coldest periods. While the state averages about 40 inches of snow per year, the western uplands and northern highlands can receive up to 160 inches. As a result, students should brace themselves for cold winters, which they will almost certainly encounter during their academic careers.
WISCONSIN COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Wisconsin has 93 educational institutions, including 54 four-year universities and 39 two-year colleges. In many cases, that is far more schools than students can reasonably investigate, making their college search feel overwhelming.
Instead of looking for the “best college in Wisconsin,” it’s much easier to determine which Wisconsin universities and colleges are potential fits. Here are some strategies that students can use.
WISCONSIN COLLEGE TOWNS
In some cases, beginning a college search by exploring college towns in Wisconsin is a good place to start. It enables students to find a community that can meet their broader needs, ensuring that they have a good time both on and off campus.
Furthermore, some students may believe that a college in Madison, Wisconsin is the best fit because of the University of Wisconsin’s flagship campus. Many other towns, however, can provide an exceptional experience and may be better suited for some students.
Here is a list of some of Wisconsin’s best college towns:
- Eau Claire
- La Crosse
- Stevens Point
This is not to say that students should look into colleges in other cities. Instead, these areas are known for their excellent amenities and welcoming communities. It’s fine if your student has their heart set on another option. Finally, it should always be based on what best meets their needs.
WISCONSIN’S MAJOR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
While visiting college towns is an excellent option, some students may prefer to visit individual institutions. Every Wisconsin university and college brings something unique to the table. Some may excel in terms of culture, while others may excel in terms of academics. Certain schools may have outstanding sports teams, while others may be distinguished by unique extracurricular activities.
Finally, students must consider their own needs and preferences in order to make the best college decision for them. To make the process easier, it may be best to begin with the state’s most prestigious schools.
Here is a list of some of Wisconsin’s best universities and colleges:
- Beloit College
- Lawrence University
- Marquette University
- Milwaukee School of Engineering
- University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire
- University of Wisconsin, La Crosse
- University of Wisconsin, Madison
- University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
- University of Wisconsin, Platteville
- University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
The list of Wisconsin universities above is not exhaustive, so students should feel free to look into other options if they are a better fit. Finally, students must identify their best overall match. In this way, their college experience contributes to their long-term success.
WISCONSIN FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
While some students may be able to pay their college costs out of pocket, the majority will require financial assistance to attend college in Wisconsin. While it is common for students to believe that student loans are their primary source of financial support, it is possible to avoid debt by instead applying for Wisconsin college scholarships and grants.
Grants and college scholarships in Wisconsin are debt-free ways to pay for college.
The requirements for the awards vary, but one thing they all have in common is that they require residency.
Going to college in Wisconsin does not automatically qualify a student as a resident. They must instead meet other requirements. Typically, the rules align with in-state tuition requirements, so students must live in the state for a minimum of 12 consecutive months prior to the start of a semester for reasons other than school.
However, this does not preclude out-of-state students from receiving awards.
Institutional scholarships, such as many University of Wisconsin Madison scholarships, frequently do not require residency, making them a great option for everyone; therefore, students interested in University of Wisconsin merit scholarships should not assume they are ineligible based on their residency, as enrolling at the school and meeting the other criteria may be sufficient.
GRANTS FOR COLLEGE IN WISCONSIN
In Wisconsin, college grants function similarly to Pell Grants. The main distinction is that they are overseen by the state of Wisconsin or other local organizations rather than the federal government.
In general, grants do not have to be repaid as long as the student meets the performance and work-related requirements. As a result, they’re an excellent way to avoid student loans, potentially allowing you to graduate debt-free.
Students in Wisconsin may be interested in the following college grants:
- Hearing/Visually Impaired Student Grant
- Indian Student Assistance Grant
- Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant
- Primary Care and Psychiatry Shortage Grant
- Talent Incentive Program Grant
- Wisconsin Grant – Private Non-Profit
- Wisconsin Grant – UW, Tech & Tribal
- Wisconsin Veteran’s Grant for Private Non-Profit Schools
SCHOLARSHIPS IN WISCONSIN
While grants can help make attending a top Wisconsin college more affordable, they aren’t the only options for students looking to avoid college debt. Scholarships for Wisconsin college students are another great option, and there are a lot of them available.
Along with Wisconsin high school senior scholarships, students may find Wisconsin valedictorian scholarships, Wisconsin merit scholarships, and other types of Wisconsin scholarships. Aside from many of them requiring residency, they may have additional requirements, so students should explore the guidelines to see which ones are potential fits.
Students should look into the following Wisconsin scholarships:
- Action for Inclusivity Scholarship Program
- AWSC Graduating High School Senior Scholarship
- Daughters and Sons Scholarship Program
- Hagan Scholarship
- Health Services Scholarship Program
- Howard E. and Wilma J. Adkins Memorial Scholarship
- InspirASIAN Scholarship Program
- Lois Crowe Scholarship
- Roma Lodge Merit Scholarship
- Stavri G. Joseph 4-Year High School Scholarship
- Student Excellence Scholarship
- Technical Excellence Scholarship
- US Opportunity Scholarship
- UMSA Foundation Scholarship Program
- Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship
- Wisconsin Professional Police Association Scholarship Program
- WPS Technical College Scholarships
- WPS UW-Green Bay Phuture Phoenix Scholarship
- WRA Education Foundation Scholarship
As previously stated, students may be eligible for institutional scholarships at their preferred school. For example, students attending the University of Wisconsin should also check out the University of Wisconsin scholarships. Most colleges have their own scholarships, so students should not limit themselves to the ones listed above.
LIVING AND GETTING AROUND
In many cases, once enrolled in a Wisconsin college, students will spend the majority of their time on campus. They may, however, choose to live off-campus or travel to other areas during breaks or on weekends. As a result, understanding how to live and travel in Wisconsin is critical. Here’s a quick rundown.
WISCONSIN HOUSING SYSTEM
As part of the college experience, many students must choose between dorms and apartments. Knowing which option to choose isn’t always easy, but it’s made easier if you know the cost of housing in Wisconsin.
Overall, Wisconsin real estate is less expensive than in other states. The average home value is $265,055, which is significantly lower than the national average of $355,852. However, buying is unlikely to be an option for most students due to the high cost.
Apartments are generally affordable when it comes to renting. A one-bedroom unit costs $777 per month on average, while a two-bedroom unit costs $965 per month.
While students may not be able to afford this on their own, getting a two-bedroom apartment and finding a roommate may help. Otherwise, a dorm room may be the best option.
OPTIONS FOR TRANSPORTATION
When it comes to getting out and about, students at Wisconsin universities have plenty of options. Rideshares, taxis, and even buses are available in most Wisconsin cities. There are also trains and airports for students to use when traveling to another city or state.
The following are the major Wisconsin airports:
- Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport
- Dane County Regional Airport
- Here’s an overview of the Wisconsin Amtrak stations:
- Columbus, WI (CBS)
- La Crosse, WI (LSE)
- Milwaukee, WI – General Mitchell Intl. Airport (MKA)
- Milwaukee, WI – Intermodal Station (MKE)
- Portage, WI (POG)
- Sturtevant, WI (SVT)
- Tomah, WI (TOH)
- Wisconsin Dells, WI (WDL)
THINGS TO DO IN WISCONSIN
While most of the students heading to college in Wisconsin will spend the majority of their time on campus, taking a break and doing something enjoyable should also be on the agenda. Fortunately, Wisconsin has options for everyone.
The Harley-Davidson Museum is a fun option for students who are interested in the history of the automotive industry. It’s an opportunity to see how the iconic motorcycle line has evolved over time, as well as some classic models up close.
If your student is interested in wildlife, a visit to the Wisconsin Deer Park is a must, as is a visit to the Henry Vilas Zoo. Witches Gulch, a breathtaking destination with sandstone formations, whirlpools, and more, may also appeal to outdoor enthusiasts.
A tour of Lambeau Field may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sports fans, while adventurous students may enjoy a visit to Noah’s Ark Water Park. The Milwaukee Art Museum is an excellent choice for art enthusiasts and is also ideal for a rainy or cold day outing.
MONEY MAKING ASPECTS IN WISCONSIN
While some students may be able to cover all of their costs through scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid, this is not always the case. As a result, many people may be forced to work. Here’s a look at some of the most important aspects of making money in Wisconsin.
For many students, minimum wage jobs are primarily what they’ll land. Part-time, flexible options are typically entry-level, so many only pay the minimum wage. Students can estimate their earnings potential by learning the Wisconsin minimum wage.
Wisconsin’s minimum wage currently matches the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Tipped employees, on the other hand, may earn only $2.33 per hour, implying that their tips during a shift bring them up to $7.25 per hour on average. If this does not occur, the employer is required to make up the difference.
RATES OF EMPLOYMENT
Understanding the local unemployment rate allows students to gauge their access to part-time jobs, which many students require to cover college expenses. When unemployment is high, chances are scarce and competition is fierce. With low unemployment, job opportunities are more plentiful, and competition is usually lower.
Wisconsin had an unemployment rate of 3% in July 2022, which was slightly lower than the national average of 3.5 percent. As a result, students should not have a difficult time finding employment.
WISCONSIN KEY INDUSTRIES
Wisconsin has a surprisingly diverse economy, with a wide array of thriving industries. Students may have an easier time securing internships or jobs while studying if they are aware of which sectors are strong. Furthermore, it may assist them in launching an exciting career after graduation.
Wisconsin excels in manufacturing, both broadly and in relation to the aerospace industry. Water technology is also big business in Wisconsin, which has over 15,000 freshwater lakes and strives to be a leader in that field. The forest products industry is no exception.
Other thriving industries include bio-health and energy. Finally, food and beverage science and production is a significant component of the economy, encompassing all aspects from farm to fork.