Touring the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

uwm maryland avenue view
Image credit: Madeline Power-Luetscher

I had the parking pass, a map of the campus, and some visitor stuff that had arrived prior to my arrival.

Traffic en-route wasn’t horrible and parking was fairly simple – I arrived thirty minutes early.  It turns out Vogel Hall, which is also the Visitor’s Center was a few blocks from the Pavilion Parking garage.  After parking, I headed over to Vogel Hall to check-in.  Checking in earned me a t-shirt, information packet, a map of the campus, and a soda.

Thirty minutes later, one of the tour guides popped in to get to us know us and get an idea of what major(s) we were considering.  I was not only the only double-major there, but I was the only out-of-region student.  Interestingly enough, the conversation started to fixate on me and my goals.  I didn’t know this, but apparently the English/Political Science double-up, combined with where I was coming from was not very common.

Fifteen minutes later, we were escorted into a smaller room with data projection – presumably where they hold all the orientations.  Over time, working in a college, I became semi-familiar with Prezi, and enough to know that it made my head hurt.  The speaker gave us an introduction to the university, talking up the campus, its offerings, activities, and its culture. Similar to the tour guide, she asked us all for a brief introduction.  I didn’t end up offering one, but there was an interesting variety of majors and locations.

Twenty-five minutes later, we headed out for the tour. The tour guide took us around to the different buildings, the residence halls, the Student Union, and ultimately back to the Visitor’s Center where we began.  Some things I learned during that tour:

  • Even though the majority of UWM students do commute back and forth between home and campus, there’s still a sizable resident population between all of the residence halls.
  • For those with specific interest, they have Learning Living Communities (LLC).  I inferred it to be a living community composed of students with certain common interests.  I also understood it to be that you had to be part of that common interest in order to live in this LLC.  For example, one of their LLCs is for student veterans and soldiers as a way for that demographic to connect with others like them.
  • Throughout the tour, we saw that many buildings were connected to each other, which the tour guide noted multiple times that it can be a saving grace in the winter time to avoid snow and cold, and during the summer to avoid scathing heat.
  • Like many campuses, they have emergency phones scattered throughout campus.  This conversation the tour guide into a discussion about campus police services which include police escorts if you need one, the number of officers that patrol the campus, and that they have an armed police force.

Once we returned to the Pavilion, I informed the tour guide that I had an appointment in Merrill Hall at noon, and he escorted me over.  I met with an admissions representative who ultimately wanted a better background of my goals, why I chose UWM, what drives me to my goals, why I wanted a double-major.  Over the course of an hour, I gave him the backstory, my goals, and ultimately where I wanted to end up.  While I had a hard time judging his reactions, he inferred that I seemed to have a good idea of what I wanted to do, and that the next step is to simply apply on their website, pay the application fee, submit my previous college’s transcripts, and I should hear back from the university within a few weeks of that application. I also sought his advice on housing external to campus, and employment while attending.