2017 Best Colleges in Illinois

The Best Colleges ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and alumni. The ranking compares more than 1,000 top colleges and universities in the U.S.
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Viewing 1-25 of 59
  1. 1

    University of Chicago

    • Chicago, IL
    • 1,104 reviews
    College Sophomore:My experience at UChicago so far has been wonderful! There is such a variety of courses to choose from, and so many interesting majors are available. All of the courses are respectable and worth taking. The professors and TA's are all very experienced in their fields, and are very passionate about what they're teaching. The Core classes are usually taught in lecture halls, but also have classes periods that are broken up into smaller groups (during discussion). Other classes can have as few as five students, like my Yucatec Maya class, which allows students to have awesome conversations with their professors and TA's.
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  2. 2

    Northwestern University

    • Evanston, IL
    • 1,244 reviews
    Alum:I attended Northwestern because of the music program and the professor I would be working with. My professor was amazing, and so was the music program as a whole. I was able to pursue a double major with an outside field, and while it was difficult and busy, the administration helped me every quarter by allowing me to take extra classes to finish on time. The campus is beautiful, but there is always construction. It is not a huge party school, but there are parties and lots of other ways to have fun. I loved the proximity to Chicago and the public transit system. Overall, I liked the student body. There was a general hard work ethic, and though my majors weren't particularly competitive, I know there were some that were fairly cut-throat. The mental health services can be improved upon, but I felt that NU was a very accepting, diverse, and progressive school overall. Financial aid was great, and getting better!
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  3. 3
    Freshman:I love this university! It is one of the best universities in the world! This prestigious university will give you so many opportunities. You will meet so many people from so many backgrounds, learn so much in classes, and be inspired every day. Dorms and dining hall food is okay. Safety is okay. There are buses that take you everywhere so don't be afraid of people saying it is a huge campus and that you have to walk a lot! This school is perfect and you will not regret choosing it! ILL-INI !
    More about University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  4. 4

    Wheaton College - Illinois

    • Wheaton, IL
    • 553 reviews
    Junior:The people at Wheaton College have made my college experience an amazing one. The professors are wholly devoted, not only to teaching their students through challenging and pushing them, but also to developing relationships with them. My professors have been my mentors, sounding boards, advisors, and parents-away-from home. My peers are also the nicest people I have ever met. I have made better and deeper friends during the last three years here than I ever did at previous institutions. I am challenged by my friends, and through my relationship with them and as well as with my professors, I have experienced more growth than ever before. I am learning about myself and learning who I am, which is what college is all about.
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  5. 5

    Illinois Wesleyan University

    • Bloomington, IL
    • 553 reviews
    Freshman:I love IWU. The campus is stunning year-round, the food is consistently delicious, and my classes are incredible! My professors are very knowledgeable about the topics they teach, and they try to make class fun. Generally, they make themselves readily available to meet with students for any reason. The Ames Library is a great resource too, and the research librarians are more than happy to help you find anything you need for a class, a paper, or just general reading material. It's also easy to get involved on campus: there are RSOs for just about any interest, so it's easy to find people with common interests.
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  6. 6

    Illinois Institute of Technology

    • Chicago, IL
    • 569 reviews
    Alum:Illinois Institute of Technology offers a great selection of resources for students and the teachers all have an evident great passion for teaching! Illinois Institute of Technology also holds an phenomenal career fair that opens up many doors for students of all majors along with having many resources and events that get you well prepared to present yourself at the career fair. At Illinois Institute of Technology, there is also the ARC resource center that almost always has passionate tutors on hand to help you with just about any academic subject. The school hosts a great number of campus-wide events that help you bond with and meet new students as well as having very welcoming Greek Life. The only downside I can think of is that getting an on-campus job is exceedingly difficult.
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  7. 7

    Augustana College - Illinois

    • Rock Island, IL
    • 638 reviews
    Alum:The thing that drew me to Augustana College off the bat, was the campus. It has an absolutely beautiful campus with amazing scenery: all season!
    The only thing I can proudly say I loved about Augie, was the scenery, the amazing friends I made, and sadly, the parties. If it had not been for my friends, I would have left since my sophomore year. The academics were great, if you weren't a science major. Almost more than half of the friends that I made, who were of a diverse culture and were science majors, had left by sophomore year. The science major had it hard! Especially since many of the professors weren't much help. At one point, instead of helping my grades and advising me on how to improve, I was being told to find a different school. It's sad to say but I strongly believe that Augustana College was in fact racist.
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  8. 8

    DePaul University

    • Chicago, IL
    • 3,173 reviews
    College Senior:DePaul is pretty different. I love how every student does their own thing. For example, a lot of the students I meet have jobs/internships after class and are constantly busy. Students get around from campus to campus efficiently via the train. I've learned to be more independent since I started attending DePaul. I also love that there are a good number of choices for studying abroad. The volunteer access is awesome too! You can connect to so many different organizations.
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  9. 9

    Bradley University

    • Peoria, IL
    • 1,026 reviews
    Niche User:Bradley university creates a very welcoming environment where anyone can feel safe . it is like a home away from home! There are many academics to offer, also a wide variety of activities. Bradley looks for students who are proud and have the will to learn new things everyday. Bradley is a small size school which means it gives you a great chance to get to know your professors and make you more unique in your environment. Also Bradley has great choices to eat all around and also fun place to chill with your friends.
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  10. 10

    University of Illinois at Chicago

    • Chicago, IL
    • 2,729 reviews
    Freshman:University of Illinois has so far been above what I had expected. The school is full of different people from different cultures, therefore creating better conversations and topics to speak about. The size of the campus, and the classrooms are also very helpful! Some rooms are specialized for one-on-one interactions, whereas others are meant for larger ratios of students to classmates. Regardless, teachers are very helpful and knowledgable when it comes to their specified class. They are always working hard, making sure that students are doing well, and giving out as much help as they can to make sure students leave college successful, not unsuccessful.
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  11. 11

    Illinois College

    • Jacksonville, IL
    • 315 reviews
    College Senior:Although Illinois College is a small liberal-arts college, the environment is so welcoming that it makes you feel like you are a part of a family. Because of the size you get extra attention from your professors and they are always willing to help. Sure it may not be the biggest of schools but it provides you outstanding opportunities through its academics, clubs, and internships. I can safely say that because of my experiences at Illinois College, I know that I will be a strong candidate entering the workplace after I graduate.
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  12. 12

    Loyola University Chicago

    • Chicago, IL
    • 2,516 reviews
    Senior:I love the rich student diversity on campus. I am constantly in awe of the students that I am surrounded by in my classes everyday as they all come from different backgrounds and contribute to the diversity on campus. Loyola's campus is also gorgeous! Taking a stroll around campus during the fall or summer time immediately puts me in a better mood. One thing that disappoints me about LUC, however, is the financial aid office because they are not accessible or helpful to students.
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  13. 13

    Moody Bible Institute

    • Chicago, IL
    • 432 reviews
    College Sophomore:My school has a wonderful community, outstanding teachers, and its in an awesome location. Moody Bible Institute provides students with the education that they need to be fully equipped to go out and serve the world however God has called them. Some of my favorite moments at MBI are with friends. My school is unique because the teachers love their students the way Jesus Christ has called everyone to love one another and students at my school really care about our community on campus and off of campus. MBI students and staff reach out to those in our surrounding communities to share the love of God with them!
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  14. 14

    Knox College

    • Galesburg, IL
    • 434 reviews
    Sophomore:I love the diversity here. Knox is a place that will open your eyes to the world in one setting. It's impossible not to become an open minded person after just one term of attended Knox. The campus and beautiful and people are beyond friendly, not to mention the 100% dedicated professors!
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  15. 15

    Illinois State University

    • Normal, IL
    • 2,522 reviews
    Junior:My experience at Illinois state university is something I will never forget for many different reasons. Illinois state university is located in normal il but it's anything but normal. Illinois state university will forever have a place in my life. Illinois state university has something for every single person. Illinois state university is huge on diversity and offers something for everyone! It's important for everyone to feel like they have a place. The campus is amazing and it's very clean! It's a great environment to come to everyday. The local area around Illinois state university is great, lots of shopping and good places to eat and lots of local places to get part time jobs. Illinois state university has so much to offer!
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  16. 16

    Lake Forest College

    • Lake Forest, IL
    • 404 reviews
    College Sophomore:I currently transferred colleges, before I came to Lake Forest College I attended Ripon college. The two colleges are completely different and deciding to transfer was the best decision I could have ever made. The atmosphere here at Lake Forest is staggering. I do not say this about a lot of things, so saying this is a lot. I believe what makes this school so unique is the fact that although it is a small school it is very diverse. So far I have met students from places all over the world such as Botswana, Cairo, and even the Netherlands! Not only am I able to connect with the all different types of students but my professors as well. I have not met professors that were so willing to help you succeed until coming here! What makes Lake Forest college so special is the ambiance and the friendliness in everyone here. Whether it be athletes, professors, or international students, the Lake Forest community is one.
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  17. 17

    University of Illinois at Springfield

    • Springfield, IL
    • 407 reviews
    Senior:UIS is an amazing University. The experience you get at this university is what you make it. The school is working to advance in Greek Life, diversity and expanding to meet the needs of the students. No UIS is not perfect but it's perfect for me. This school is small, and quiet. The student life office offers plenty of events to keep students busy and they offer students leadership opportunities that will allow professional growth. The class sizes are small, so you have the opportunity to get the one on one help you need from your teachers. The advisors are friendly, and our Vice Chancellor will add you on Facebook (She likes posts too). IT'S GREAT TO BE A PRAIRIE STAR!
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  18. 18

    Dominican University

    • River Forest, IL
    • 599 reviews
    Alum:Dominican University is an incredible institution that allows for each student to have a uniquely intimate and personal academic experience. With a total of 3,900 students, the student-teacher ratio is superb and truly promotes students being able to build personable relationships with their professors. Located in the beautiful community of River Forest, Dominican's campus is picturesque and reminds you of an East cost Ivy. My only complaint is the cost; with tuition fees at $31, 720/yr (not including Room & Board), one can definitely expect to get their money's worth!
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  19. 19

    McKendree University

    • Lebanon, IL
    • 429 reviews
    College Junior:Most of the professors here really care about their students and teach their courses really well. You can tell they want their students to succeed, and it is easy to get to know them. They are open and honest, and they provide students with proper information to prepare them for their futures. They know a lot about their subjects and you can tell they are passionate about them. The class sizes are very small and I love this! They are also styled perfectly with lectures on powerpoints and such. There are a ton of classes offered also. They are very difficult, though, and are a great challenge.
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  20. 20
    Senior:A great small school! I was worried about going to a Catholic college because I am not Catholic, but everyone is welcoming and so nice. I loved the school, the teachers, and the people.
    More about University of St. Francis - Illinois
  21. 21

    Eastern Illinois University

    • Charleston, IL
    • 1,173 reviews
    Niche User:I love the campus! Its not too big and not too small. The people on campus are very friendly and welcoming. I plan to swim at Eastern Illinois University and the swim team is just what I have been looking for. The coach is great and the team is awesome. I really like all of the athletic facilities. And on top of all of that, Eastern Illinois University has the major I want. Charleston is a great city and I can't wait to attend there in the fall of 2017.
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  22. 22

    Monmouth College

    • Monmouth, IL
    • 505 reviews
    College Senior:Monmouth College has the most beautiful campus I have ever encountered. Being covered with trees in the heart of the Midwest, the college goes from blossom filled spring to gloriously sunny summer to fiery autumn to a hilly winter wonderland, sometimes all in one month. The classes and campus is small enough that the professors genuinely know their students; sometimes even professors you've never had are aware of you and your accomplishments. The band programs are run by the most dedicated and energetic man ever, Professor M. Wanken, and they wouldn't have gotten this far without him. Prof. Wanken is even taking the Winds Ensemble on a tour of Ireland next spring break. Dr. Bridget Draxler makes the Writing Center a home for both tutors and students seeking help alike. The offices of the English department, my department, are always open for advice, homework help, or just chatting about life in general. Monmouth has it's fair share of jerks and intolerance, but so does every school in every state. Some people are just not nice. Despite that, Monmouth College has been my home for the past 3 years and will continue to be so for a long time to come. It's great to be a Scot!
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  23. 23
    Freshman:My experience at Robert Morris University has been amazing. The school is at a strategic location in downtown Chicago which makes it very easy for me to go out and get whatever i need. The students are very friendly and caring. I have made a lot of friends here at Robert Morris University and i am sure I will make more. The teachers really care about their students and they would do anything to help them pass with an A and help them reach their highest potential. RMU has many programs and extra curricular activities that can keep its students busy and well-informed. I do not think there is anything that needs to be changed because RMU just has it all. I feel very safe around the campus and that feels great. The staff at RMU is always there to help you and answer your questions. So all in all, I have enjoyed my experienced at RMU.
    Thank you.
    More about Robert Morris University - Illinois
  24. 24

    Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

    • Edwardsville, IL
    • 1,405 reviews
    College Freshman:My overall experience at my college has been great so far. I have been wanting to come to SIUe since my 8th grade year. I had a friends dad that would take us to the campus all the time. It started at orientation, I had a blast with my friends, and the events were amazing. I also got to volunteer at a farm for the very first time, because of SIUe. I had fun doing that and felt very fulfilled. Like i said before, the intramural sports have been fun, and I can't wait to keep doing those year round. I am excited for homecoming week and family weekend in october!
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  25. 25

    Olivet Nazarene University

    • Bourbonnais, IL
    • 1,221 reviews
    Sophomore:Olivet Nazarene University offers something for each student. Between the strong academics and its incredible statement of faith, each student feels a sense of belonging and worth. I chose Olivet as a place for me to grow, not expecting for it to change my life completely. Thanks to the supportive faculty, I can confidently say that I am not the person I was before entering this school. The challenging academics push us as students to reach our highest potential; in addition to the strong education, I feel motivated daily in my walk of faith. It is refreshing to walk this life-altering journey alongside faculty and staff who want us to succeed and lead us in a Christ-centered education. Olivet really is one big happy family! With three more years as a student at Olivet Nazarene University, I am excited about the opportunities God is providing me with through attending this university.
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