Best colleges in Illinois

Enjoy a Fresh Wind of New Horizons

Learning in the Land of Lincoln

Moving to Illinois means learning a whole new accent. But, the education options in the Prairie State make it worth it. Some pretty impactful politicians have called Illinois home, including Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, making it an inspiring place for any political science or history major. And the Chicago skyline is packed with job opportunities for business majors at one of the countless banking and finance companies. Nine four-year institutions and over 100 smaller colleges and universities reside in Illinois.* After graduation, explore plenty of out-of-the-box employment options including Fannie Mae, CareerBuilder, and Black Dog Books.

During your downtime, take in some history at the Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, or cruise on down the scenic byway of Route 66.* Just need a few hours to relax? Check out Harry’s Sports Grill in Countryside with its live music, trivia nights and recreational games like darts and billiards. For something a bit fancier, enjoy a glass of wine at D.O.C. Wine Bar, just outside of Chicago. Visit Shedd Aquarium, one of the best in the nation, for some underwater learning, or get some good eats in Chinatown. Or proudly wear your black and red when you cheer on the Blackhawks or the Bulls. Come explore Illinois with its perfect combination of open prairie and bustling city life. You’ll be blown away.

*Wikipedia, “Colleges and universities in Illinois” *www.enjoyillinois.com/thingstodo

Best Four Year Universities in Illinois

University of Chicago
Chicago, IL
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University of Chicago offers 218 degree programs. It's a large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 5,660 students graduated with students earning 3,155 Master's degrees, 1,520 Bachelor's degrees, 697 Doctoral degrees, and 288 Certificates.

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Northwestern University, or Northwestern, is a private school founded in 1851. Today the university has an undergraduate enrollment of just over 20,000 students. Built in suburban Chicago in the lakeside town of Evanston, Northwestern’s campus is on the smaller side with just under 250 acres along with a 25-acre campus in downtown Chicago. Students at Northwestern take classes on a semester-based academic calendar, and tuition for in-state students is roughly $55,000, just below the cost of attendance at a local rival, the University of Chicago. Northwestern tends to offer small undergraduate classes under 20 students and boasts a graduation rate that exceeds 90%. 

Northwestern provides a variety of academic programs depending on student interest and is known nationally for its Theatre program and Kellogg School of Management. Northwestern also has high-ranking departments including the Pritzker School of Law, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. 

Graduates from Northwestern University have gone on to found many worldwide brands and organizations including Guggenheim Partners, Aon Corporation, and Groupon. During their time at school, students have the opportunity to explore downtown Chicago and eat at local Italian restaurant Uno’s for Chicago deep-dish pizza or see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field. Notable alumni include comedians Seth Meyers and Stephan Colbert, writer George R.R. Martin, and ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon.

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers 405 degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a small city. In 2019, 13,097 students graduated with students earning 8,057 Bachelor's degrees, 3,962 Master's degrees, 1,070 Doctoral degrees, and 8 Certificates.

Illinois Institute of Technology offers 159 degree programs. It's a medium sized, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 2,354 students graduated with students earning 1,429 Master's degrees, 592 Bachelor's degrees, and 333 Doctoral degrees.

Lake Forest College
Lake Forest, IL

Lake Forest College offers 40 degree programs. It's a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large suburb. In 2019, 366 students graduated with students earning 356 Bachelor's degrees, and 10 Master's degrees.

Illinois Wesleyan University offers 47 degree programs. It's a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a small city. In 2019, 389 students graduated with students earning 389 Bachelor's degrees.

Knox College
Galesburg, IL

Knox College offers 43 degree programs. It's a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a faraway town. In 2019, 317 students graduated with students earning 317 Bachelor's degrees.

Wheaton College
Wheaton, IL

Wheaton College offers 58 degree programs. It's a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large suburb. In 2019, 786 students graduated with students earning 621 Bachelor's degrees, 146 Master's degrees, and 19 Doctoral degrees.

Augustana College
Rock Island, IL

Augustana College offers 71 degree programs. It's a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a small city. In 2019, 583 students graduated with students earning 583 Bachelor's degrees.

Bradley University
Peoria, IL

Bradley University offers 170 degree programs. It's a medium sized, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a midsize city. In 2019, 1,235 students graduated with students earning 961 Bachelor's degrees, 197 Master's degrees, 45 Certificates, and 32 Doctoral degrees.

Best Community Colleges in Illinois

Fox College
Bedford Park, IL

Fox College offers 8 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, two-year college in a large suburb. In 2019, 264 students graduated with students earning 256 Associate's degrees, and 8 Certificates.

Morrison Institute of Technology offers 2 degree programs. It's a very small, private not-for-profit, two-year college in a faraway town. In 2019, 58 students graduated with students earning 58 Associate's degrees.

Lincoln College of Technology-Melrose Park offers 6 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, two-year college in a large suburb. In 2019, 358 students graduated with students earning 200 Certificates, and 158 Associate's degrees.

Olney Central College offers 53 degree programs. It's a small, public, two-year college in a remote town. In 2019, 455 students graduated with students earning 261 Associate's degrees, and 194 Certificates.

Taylor Business Institute offers 4 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, two-year college in a large city. In 2019, 39 students graduated with students earning 39 Associate's degrees.

Midwestern Career College offers 12 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, two-year college in a large city. In 2019, 218 students graduated with students earning 157 Certificates, and 61 Associate's degrees.

Coyne College
Chicago, IL

Coyne College offers 7 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, two-year college in a large city. In 2019, 296 students graduated with students earning 270 Certificates, and 26 Associate's degrees.

Lincoln Trail College
Robinson, IL

Lincoln Trail College offers 45 degree programs. It's a very small, public, two-year college in a outlying rural area. In 2019, 224 students graduated with students earning 134 Associate's degrees, and 90 Certificates.

Rend Lake College offers 91 degree programs. It's a small, public, two-year college in a faraway rural area. In 2019, 890 students graduated with students earning 508 Certificates, and 382 Associate's degrees.

Lake Land College
Mattoon, IL

Lake Land College offers 113 degree programs. It's a small, public, two-year college in a faraway town. In 2019, 3,286 students graduated with students earning 2,396 Certificates, and 890 Associate's degrees.

List of all colleges in Illinois

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
University of Chicago Logo University of Chicago Chicago, IL
5/5
12 : 1 17,452
Northwestern University Logo Northwestern University Evanston, IL
5/5
15 : 1 22,448
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Logo University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
4/5
22 : 1 51,605
Illinois Institute of Technology Logo Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL
5/5
16 : 1 6,515
Lake Forest College Logo Lake Forest College Lake Forest, IL
5/5
15 : 1 1,562
Illinois Wesleyan University Logo Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington, IL
5/5
13 : 1 1,629
Knox College Logo Knox College Galesburg, IL
5/5
12 : 1 1,258
Wheaton College Logo Wheaton College Wheaton, IL
5/5
14 : 1 3,004
Augustana College Logo Augustana College Rock Island, IL
5/5
13 : 1 2,546
Bradley University Logo Bradley University Peoria, IL
5/5
17 : 1 5,929
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Logo School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL
5/5
21 : 1 3,682
Loyola University Chicago Logo Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
5/5
20 : 1 17,159
North Central College Logo North Central College Naperville, IL
5/5
18 : 1 2,888
Monmouth College Logo Monmouth College Monmouth, IL
5/5
11 : 1 907
DePaul University Logo DePaul University Chicago, IL
5/5
25 : 1 22,064
Principia College Logo Principia College Elsah, IL
5/5
6 : 1 407
Lewis University Logo Lewis University Romeoville, IL
5/5
28 : 1 6,359
Dominican University Logo Dominican University River Forest, IL
5/5
20 : 1 3,029
Elmhurst College Logo Elmhurst College Elmhurst, IL
5/5
22 : 1 3,453
North Park University Logo North Park University Chicago, IL
5/5
23 : 1 2,892

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