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Tips for Finding Housing if You’re Transferring to UW Madison

Tips for Finding Housing if You’re Transferring to UW Madison

When she transferred to the UW, Emma Forman found a new university for herself. What she couldn’t find was a home – a predicament that occurs when transfers look for student housing.

Forman (pictured above) was attending Denison, a small liberal arts school in Ohio, and decided she wanted to transfer to a school closer to her home in Chicago. She pondered the transfer during her freshman year, but didn’t want to make a decision until the summer. “I didn’t want to have to think about it until the end of year,” Forman said.

While delaying the decision allowed her to focus on her studies, it didn’t give her a head start on getting housing here in Madison. She was shocked when she started looking into getting an apartment and found there wasn’t much to choose from.

“In Denison, there is a housing lottery, and it causes huge arguments,” she said. “I thought it was crazy there.” But the competition for housing was even more intense in Madison, and Emma was beginning her search in June.

Looky here – it’s Lucky

Emma’s brother advised her to find a living situation that would allow her to meet people and establish new connections. She passed on some campus housing that she didn’t think fit that requirement. She also wanted an apartment with a kitchen.

Instead of searching through tons of online listings and perusing rental websites, Emma’s housing materialized by chance. Her mother was walking through campus while Emma was taking a placement test, and she wandered into Lucky Apartments. Together, they returned and toured Lucky.

Emma liked the location and the social appeal of the Lucky 101 first-year program. She decided this would be her place.

Emma quickly learned a hard lesson for most transfer students: When you’re late to the party, you don’t always get your first choice. She wound up having to share a one-bedroom apartment, but she took it.

The new, less-than-ideal arrangement was a learning experience for Emma, and it helped her adjust her mindset to life at a bigger school in a large city. “It’s hard, you have a lot of people who are transferring in from other schools,” she said. “You really have to get on it when you’re looking for housing. You can’t wait.”

Denison was a small school, and life in Madison was decidedly different. “Going to a school like Madison with 40,000 students, you’re not a top priority, and you have to understand that,” she said. “There are just so many people here.”

On the other hand, moving out of the small-school atmosphere made her realize her new surroundings were more attuned to the real world. “As nice as it was at Denison to have my hand held, that’s not life,” she said. “Here I am getting more life experience. You have to figure out how to get through it.”

If she could do all over again, would she do anything different? Emma doesn’t think she could have done anything differently, but she does offer some advice to transfer students who are either considering making the move or are committed to transferring to Madison:

Steve Brown Apartments Adds a Few Transfer Tips

We’d add a few suggestions to Emma’s, courtesy of our housing experts at Steve Brown Apartments:

What if You Find a Sublet

If you find a sublet that looks like a good fit, be sure to do the following:

Other Things Transfers Should Know

If you’re new to the area, here are a couple things you definitely need to know:

Use the housing resources that exist on your campus. Visitor & Information Programs is the central Campus Area Housing Office for the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

And here’s information for housing at Edgewood and Madison Colleges.

Feel free to also download our First-Time Renter’s Guide, which is full of information to help you find an apartment. And if you need advice or guidance on finding housing, keep in mind that our representatives are happy to answer any questions you have on the Madison apartment market.

First time renters guide

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Everything you need to know when searching for your first apartment.

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Published on Jan 29 2014

Last Updated on Aug 26 2022