Tips for maximizing your experience at Madison College

Megan Binkley, Staff Writer

For those of you starting your bachelor’s degree at Madison College there’s a wealth of available options. Here’s some tips that might help you get the most out of your experience. Hopefully they save you time, and help give you an idea of different directions you can go. 

Thoroughly explore the Madison College website. This website is your treasure chest.  If you dig deep enough, it has information on everything from scholarships, highly affordable study abroad opportunities (think— a summer spent in Costa Rica learning Spanish, or winter spent in Belgium studying journalism), and lists of different four-year schools that Madison College alumni have successfully transferred into. 

There’s even a page with lists of requisite transfer classes for places like UW Madison and the University of Minnesota. These are fantastic references to use when planning out your Madison College class schedules, so you can minimize the number of non-major classes you have to take at your final institution.

Be aware of existing transfer agreements with four-year institutions. For those of you who have never taken a college class before, you’re in luck. If you meet with a transfer advisor right away, sign a transfer agreement, fulfill the credit minimums and maintain at least a 3.2 GPA, you are guaranteed admission to the UW Madison. 

A variety of other transfer agreements exist with UW branch schools, and Madison College has good working relationships with a number of colleges out-of-state. However, most of these guaranteed transfer agreements are only available if you jump on them in your first semester, so plan accordingly.

Get involved in student organizations. My first year at Madison College, I made many excuses. I told myself I was working too many hours to join student groups, and that student organizations would be a distraction. 

During my second year, however, I joined several different student organizations, most notably The Clarion. I ended up becoming an editor, forging some of the most meaningful relationships of my life, and getting to travel across the country (twice) all because of the newspaper. I have no doubt that my time at The Clarion was instrumental in allowing me to achieve the goals I’d set out to accomplish during my tenure at Madison College.  

Maximize your options when applying to four-year colleges. During my first round of transfer applications, I only applied to one school and I was so convinced that I would end up there that I didn’t actually put the time and energy that I should have into building up and crafting my application. Two months later, I had a rejection letter and no idea what I was going to do during the coming year. 

Fortunately, I rebounded just fine, mostly because I started following all of the advice I’ve laid out above. But still, this sense of having the rug swept out from under your feet is discouraging, and you can avoid it by a) applying to multiple schools when it comes time to transfer, and b) staying flexible instead of becoming fixated on one possible future. The second time around, I applied to three different schools — the University of Minnesota, Arizona State University Online Degrees, and the UW Madison — and you could definitely lengthen this list in your own personal process.