When I visited the La Follette School last year, it was a cold, rainy day in March. Despite the gloom during the visit, the location ended up being a big plus for choosing to come to Wisconsin. Two great lakes, a beautiful open Capitol, a pedestrian-friendly commercial State Street, and numerous fun neighborhoods with their own close-knit feel all put Madison as one of the best university towns I’ve ever visited (Iowa City, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, etc).
Here is my estimation of the big pros (and cons) of the La Follette School in Madison:
+ + + + Beautiful Lakes
+ + + Terrace / Memorial Union
+ + Capitol Building
+ Great Restaurants
( – cold winters )
+ Beautiful Trees, such as on Bascom Hill
( – ugly, old buildings around campus )
+ Some Historic Buildings around Campus, such as La Follette Office
( – tons of loud undergraduates )
+ New Construction Looks Nice
( – uncomfortable libraries) *but many choices
( – limited on-campus parking, expensive by Madison standards )
+ Many Great Bars
( – rundown townhouses destroyed by students )
+ Easy to Get to Beautiful Countryside
+ Easy to Get to Milwaukee
Clearly the benefits of the city of Madison outweigh the negatives, which are present in many comparable schools around the Midwest. Getting around town is a fun experience, especially on foot or while biking.
The La Follette School has a great relationship with the city. As a student, you have access to state and municipal government activities. From former (and notorious) Madison Mayor (and now professor) Paul Soglin to the many professors who advise the State, the education integrates well into this wonderful location.