Every year, incoming freshmen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are faced with a huge question: where should I live?
In a new city, at a new school, surrounded by over 40,000 new faces, an overwhelming majority of Badgers decide to live in the dorms rather than off-campus.
This fall, 89% of all first-year students chose to live in one of the 21 residence halls UW offers. Many Badgers continue to make this decision because of residence halls' proximity to classes, inviting atmosphere and provided amenities.
Claudia Otero, a UW-Madison freshman who lives in Dejope Residence Hall, chose to live in the dorms because she wanted to get the traditional college experience. To her, this traditional experience involves living in a residence hall during her freshman year.
“Cost and social scene were probably the biggest factors for me,” said Otero. “It was important to have an affordable place to live, while it was also important to have a large social scene close to me.”
Ultimately, Otero is happy with the choice she made.
“There is always something going on in Dejope if I want to get out and do something,” Otero said. “There are a bunch of people I can socialize and hang out with.”
Ella Cunz, a UW-Madison sophomore echoed these sentiments.
“I have absolutely no regrets about living in the dorms, for it allowed me to meet my forever friends,” Cunz said. “Live, love, Witte.”
Some Badgers feel differently, describing concerns about unequal pricing.
“After going into Witte once, Sellery just feels like an extremely downgraded version of that,” Sellery Residence Hall resident Riya Shah said to the Daily Cardinal in late September of 2021.
Sellery residence hall has been undergoing construction since May 2020. Because of this inconvenience, Sellery residents are offered a $300 discount.
Alicia Gee, a UW-Madison sophomore who moved out of Sellery last year, spoke to the Daily Cardinal in October of 2021. She expressed frustrations with the hall and its ongoing construction.
“The 300 discount for construction was not worth having our room shake constantly and be scared of the elevator breaking down and water being shut off for days at a time,” Gee said.
Gee and her roommate moved to Liz Waters Residence Halls.
Brendon Dybdahl, Director of Marketing & Communications for University Housing, believes most Badgers pick dorms primarily because they provide an easy environment to make friends and get support.
“The residence halls provide thousands of programs and events, on-site course sections, tutoring and advising, live-in support staff, computer resources, study spaces, cleaning and maintenance and convenient services,” said Dybdahl.
It costs a student between $10,000 and $14,100 for a year’s room and board, depending on which residence hall and dining plan are selected. Rates also vary depending on hall amenities, room furnishings, maintenance and repairs fee, dining fees and fees stemming from the cleaning of bathrooms and common spaces.
“UW-Madison has some of the lowest on-campus housing rates in the Big Ten,” Dybdahl said.