Ask An Undergrad: jhensel from the University of Wisconsin - Madison

January 20, 2016

Getting into college is hard. Aside from the stress that you might feel, the time and effort required to completely finish the process might be more than you’re used to. But once you get in, you get to head off on a new journey to find new friends, have new experiences, and find your passion to start your career. We took some time to interview jhensel, student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. We got to know her - everything from her favorite shows to binge on to her application regrets. 



School attended and class year?

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Class of 2018

Where did you grow up / what high school did you attend?

I grew up in New Berlin, WI. I attended New Berlin Eisenhower Middle/High School for my freshmen and sophomore years and New Berlin West Middle/High School for my junior and senior years. 

Do you have any siblings, and if so, how old / where do they attend? 

Yes, I have one sister. She is currently twenty-six and she attended UW-Eau Claire for her Bachelor’s degree, and Southern Illinois University for her Master’s degree.

If you could redo your college application process, what would you change? 

I would have done more research on the schools I was interested in before touring them. I chose the schools I wanted to apply for based on size, reputation, location, and whether or not they had good undergraduate psychology programs. When I toured them, I didn’t know what questions to ask because I didn’t know anything about student life, study abroad, campus safety, housing, scholarships, etc. Although I am extremely happy at UW-Madison, I feel I would have gotten much more out of the touring experience by being more prepared ahead of time. 

What does your typical weekday look like? 

My typical weekday begins with starting the day off with a workout and eating breakfast before heading to class. In between my classes, I like to study, go to my professors’ office hours, do work for the student organizations I am involved with, or if it is a light day of schoolwork, relax and watch a Netflix episode. Usually in the evenings I have one or two student organization meetings/events. After my classes and student org events are finished I study some more before going to bed. 

How many times do you hit snooze in the morning?

None. I am an early bird riser. 

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?

Two of my favorite things to do on the weekends are catching up with friends and doing longer workouts. When school gets busy such as around midterm season everyone’s schedules tend to get crazy so weekends are a great time to meet up with people and take a study break. For me, exercise is my stress relief and my favorite hobby so I like to do longer workouts on the weekends when I don’t have time restraints of class or student org events. 

Favorite quote?

“No matter what happens in life be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

What are your favorite movies and TV shows?

My favorite tv shows are definitely Grey’s Anatomy, Parenthood, Desperate Housewives, One Tree Hill, and How to Get Away with Murder. Some of my favorite movies are Forrest Gump, Friends with Benefits, The Proposal and 22 Jump Street. 

What are the most popular events to attend on campus?

Badger Football games are definitely the most popular! Other fun events are Freak Fest, and the Bascom Hill Snowball fight (which is Southeast half of campus vs Lakeshore half of campus).  

What’s one fun place off campus you wish you had known about sooner?

The Farmer’s Market on Capitol Square is a great place to get fresh produce, enjoy the outdoor weather and get your weekend off to a fun start! Although I knew about it my freshmen year I didn’t go until my sophomore year. I wish I had gone sooner! 

Is there anywhere near school you think is unsafe / students should avoid when alone?

No, I would say Madison is a safe city. Many of the streets are well-lit and populated late into the night. As long as you use common sense, and stick to streets that are well-lit you should be fine! 

What are your favorite dorm snacks?

My favorite dorm snacks were peanut butter protein balls and ritz crackers. 

How involved were your parents in your college application process? Did you conflict with them about where to go to school?

My parents wanted to know what was going on but also made it clear that they wanted this to be my decision, not theirs. They toured schools with me, listened as I talked about college choices, and gave their opinions when I asked for them. They encouraged me to look into any school I was interested in, and keep my options open. Their support really helped me narrow down a school I wanted, and look for things I was interested in in a variety of schools. We had one small conflict. I wanted to apply to NYU, but my mom didn’t want me to be in New York by myself since I was only 18. In the end, I’m glad I listened to her because I’m happy I’m close by my family and friends back home! 

What’s the best $100 you’ve recently spent on something? What and why?

The best $100 I have spent has been my monthly membership at Inner Fire Yoga, a yoga studio in Madison. These classes have kept me in shape, started/ended my days off right, and helped me meet a lot of new people. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself working in a job doing what I love which is helping people. I hope to have a nice apartment, a cat, and live in a city such as Madison, Milwaukee or Chicago.  

Tell us a piece of weird trivia about your school.

There are 1,000 lakeside seats at the Memorial Union Terrace and each is a mix of colors of greens, oranges and yellows. They’re a signature trademark of the campus and the terrace is a popular site to socialize and relax when the weather is warm. 

If you could require one book for all students to read, what would it be?

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. This book is so heartwarming and uplifting- a must read! 

Do you ever get homesick? If so, how do you overcome it?

Yes, I do get homesick here and there. I overcome it by making a phone call to my family, or looking at old pictures. I also try to come home once a month to see my family and my friends that are in my hometown. 

If you could submit anything (an object, an animal, anything!) to a college admissions officer that embodies who you are, what would it be?

I would submit a picture of me volunteering with others in my community. Service has always been a big part of my life, and I love giving back by helping others. 

Are there any really popular classes to take at your school? What makes everyone want to take them?

Yes! The dance classes always fill up quickly because they are fun one credit classes. Service Learning classes are also very popular because they give you real-world experience. In a Service Learning class, a major component of the course is applying what you learn by volunteering or interning at an outside location. 

What is a fun tradition at your school?

The statue of Abe Lincoln at the top of Bascom Hill is a good luck charm on campus. Students rub Abe’s foot for luck, and graduating seniors whisper their future plans in his ear.

If you had a $100 million donation from an alum to spend on something that would make your university better, how would you spend it?

I would spend it on improving the campus buildings’ design and giving more funding to student organizations. 

What do you consider the world’s best invention?

The post-it note. It’s easy, fast, and comes in handy!

Choose 3 people to have dinner with (dead or alive).

Ellen DeGeneres, Beyoncé, Leonardo DiCaprio

What smartphone app can you not live without?


What’s your greatest fear?

I doubt this will happen because I always write down my midterms well in advance and I’m an early riser, but I would hate to forget I have a midterm the next day and sleep through it!

When are you happiest?

I’m happiest when I’m with the people closest to me, when I’m treating myself to a great workout, and when I’m trying something new 


Looking for help with your applications? Find out about our mentors and how they can help you get into your dream school. Find students similar to you and see where they got in by heading to our database of accepted college students to read their stats, scores, and advice. Want to be featured on our Q&A? Email for more information. 

About The Author

AdmitSee Staff
AdmitSee Staff

​We remember our frustration with applying to college and the lack of information surrounding it. So we created AdmitSee to bring much-needed transparency to the application process! Read more about the team here.

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