Finding Your Way Around Madison

Once you have moved in to a place in Madison, there are a few administrative things you might want to get done. The best way get around on campus is to get hold of a campus map. Walking will probably be your best bet. Although a bit tiring, it might be the best way to familiarize yourself with the campus. If you do not yet have a bus pass, note that busses 80, 81, and 82 are free.

For location of buildings and departments, refer to the campus maps. Campus Maps are also available at the Memorial Union, Union South, and at the Visitors and Information Programs centers as well as on the back of the Timetable which are available at Union South and Memorial Union. For department related help, Graduate Student Coordinator Angela Thorp is the best resource. You can also ask other students for help.

Transition Checklist

  1. Search for an Apartment: Hopefully, you will already have an apartment by now. If not, you might want to do this first. If you wish to room with someone, use the mailing list. If you know of a particular area where you would like to live, I suggest that you look for advertisements and contact phone numbers in that area to schedule a visit. Go here for thorough information.

    Once you have found an apartment you have to sign a lease and pay a security deposit. Read all the clauses carefully. Some of the apartments do not have heating, electricity and water charges (utilities) included in the rent. Many of them are not furnished, so check for all these things before you sign the lease. Also check for the availability of laundry facilities and the proximity to grocery stores. If you need to furnish your apartment, you can get decent furniture at a low cost at St. Vincent de Paul Stores.

  2. Electricity and other utilities: Before you move into your appartment, make sure to make arrangements throught an energy provider for electricity and/or gas if your landlord does not pay those utilities. Ask your landlord for more information. It is most likely Madison Gas and Electric. Whether you chose to have a telephone is your choice. It may be required if you choose DSL service for internet. Internet services should also be set up, and there are several choices depending on your requirements. Research your options - it may depend on factors such as cost, whether you want telephone and/or cable/satellite. The only cable provider with broadband is Charter Broadband. DSL/telephone can be provided by AT&T or TDS. There are other local options, so please search around.

  3. Register for Courses: The next two items on this checklist can only be done after you are registered. Newly admitted graduate students will receive an 'invitation to enroll' email from the Registrar's office approximately six weeks prior to the start of classes. If you are new to UW-Madison, you will not be able to access the My UW Portal or activate your NetID until you have received this enrollment invitation. If you did not receive an email by July 15, please contact Angela Thorp. To choose your courses, refer to the Graduate Guidebook. Do not worry too much about the courses you register for initially. You can add and drop courses for several weeks after the start of classes.

  4. UW Identity card: Once you have registered, you can get your UW ID Card. It will be issued at Union South. Go to the WisCard website for requirements. Your UW ID is required for almost all university services.

  5. Get Your Free Bus Pass: Once you have your UW ID card, get your free Madison Metro Bus Pass (UW-Madison students are eligible for a free bus pass). You will be able to pick up your bus pass at the Memorial Union or Union South during start of the semester, and at Memorial Union at any later point. Bring your valid UW student ID card. Watch for signs about when to pick these up - they are usually distributed about a week before the start of classes. Go to the ASM website for more information.

  6. Getting Around: You can use the Madison Metro bus service (timetables are available at Memorial Union or Union South or at the Madison Metro Website). Cabs can be used for longer distances (Badger Cab: 256-5566, Union Cab: 242-2000 or Madison Taxi: 255-8294)

  7. Bank Account: You may open a bank account at the UW Credit Union (1433 Monroe Street or 77 University Square Mall, on University Ave). It is probably the most convenient bank since it is within walking distance of the CS department, however you could shop around for other banks.

  8. Obtain a Wisconsin state ID card or a Wisconsin Driver's License: You can obtain a Wisconsin driver's licence at the Division of Motor Vehicles at any of these locations. If you would like to go to the DMV located at 4802 Sheboygan Avenue from campus, take the 2 or 8 bus. Bring your passport (if you are an international student) or current driver's license (required for state moves), as well as additional identification with your photograph or signature, such as a UW ID card, plus a small fee. Make sure to follow their instructions for proof of residency as they are sticklers about it.

    In order to get a driver's license, you must take a vision test. A written test and a road test is required if you don't already have a license issued in the US. There is a $10 charge for a road test. If you do not have a social security number, the Motor Vehicle Department will give you a letter to apply for the social security number. For more information, call 608-266-2325.

  9. Establish your free e-mail account, telling the university where you live: Once you get an email to establish your Net ID (see above), you can use the MyUW portal to not only register, but setup your UW email address and notify the university of your address. Note that you will be getting a unique CS email address during orientation.

  10. Register your bicycle: If you have a bicycle and would like (this is not necessary) to register it, pick up a form at the Campus Assistance and Visitors Center. Buy a helmet and a bicycle lock.

Additional information about Madison can be found here and there. Now go have some fun!