Welcome to the Land of Lincoln. Honest Abe, who lived here when he was elected president, isn’t the only former Commander-in-Chief with connections to the state: Barack Obama lived here, as did Ronald Reagan and Ulysses S. Grant.

Best Colleges in Illinois

And the name “Illinois” even comes from the Algonquin for “tribe of superior men.” Coincidence? Well, come check out the variety of colleges in the state, and you can decide. Because right now, Illinois is educating thousands of superior men and women in its small liberal arts schools, religiously-affiliated colleges, and large research universities.

It shouldn’t be any wonder why. The state is considered to be a microcosm of the whole United States, with everything from rural countryside, to small towns and cities, to the metropolis of Chicago, nestled up against Lake Michigan, a lake big enough to make you think it’s an ocean. So if you’re looking for something particular in your college search, you’re likely to find it in Illinois.

Related: Top Online Schools in Illinois

That’s especially true if you are considering going to school in Chicago. The Windy City boasts iconic sports teams, world-class museums, landmark buildings, a dizzying diversity of cultures and people, and even two separate zoos. Perhaps this will begin to help you understand why Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is one of the busiest in the world.

What Are the Best Colleges in Illinois?

So if you’re thinking about coming here for college, or if you’re native to the state and you want to stay, how are you supposed to decide which school to go to? Well, we’ve put together a ranking of the best colleges and universities in the state, a ranking based on both academic quality (acceptance rates, endowment size, and other statistics) as well as on return on investment (how much you’ll end up paying for college versus what you can expect to earn once you’ve graduated). That way, you can choose based on what interests you, as well as what you’ll be able to afford.

With that, we present the Best Colleges in Illinois!

1

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

College Choice Score: 100

Tuition: $17,946

Website

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, known as UIUC, is a public, land-grant, sea-grant, space-grant research university that serves as the flagship institution for the University of Illinois System. It is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference and is a member of the Association of American Universities. This university, which is located in Urbana and Champaign, Illinois, and holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.

This school confers more than 150 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. UIUC is comprised of 17 colleges that deliver these degrees in both traditional and online pathways. It is best known for being one of the top five engineering schools in the world.

UIUC hosts more than 44,000 students and so offers over 1,000 registered student organizations to cater to all of its students, many of whom represent over 100 different countries and all 50 states. Students can also participate in Greek life, student government, and the school’s student-run media.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Doctorate of Aerospace Engineering

2

Northwestern University

College Choice Score: 96.58

Tuition: $36,683

Website

Northwestern University is a private research institution that is best known for housing a comprehensive doctoral program and being a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. It was founded in 1851 and is located in Evanston, Illinois; it also maintains campuses in California and Qatar. This school is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

This university confers nearly 300 degrees at all levels of education, including postgraduate and specialist degrees. In fact, the school is primarily known as a graduate university, one that maintains over $500 million in sponsored research annually from companies and organizations worldwide. For this reason, it is also one of the most selective schools in the country.

There are over a dozen traditions that take place on Northwestern’s campus every year, including two drama shows, the Dance Marathon, Dillo Day, Primal Scream, and more. Students can also participate in community service every year for possible college credit or even register their own student organization through the student government. There are also positions available for ambitious students through student-run media, such as the school’s newspaper and radio station.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Juris Doctor
  • Doctor of Medicine

3

University of Chicago

College Choice Score: 94.31

Tuition: $40,597

Website

The University of Chicago is a private, non-denominational institution. It is the most ranked school on this list, continuously earning top-ten rankings nationally and internationally for a variety of its programs. This school, which is located in Chicago, Illinois, holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.

This school currently confers over 200 programs at the undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and specialist levels. Degrees are divided in between the undergraduate college, five graduate schools, six professional schools, and the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. Students may also take courses online or in the evening in addition to taking traditional courses at the school.

There are more than 400 clubs, organizations, and associations that are represented on campus, including 22 fraternities and sororities as well as the student government. Students will also have the chance to take part in traditions, such as the Doc Films Festival, the Summer Breeze Concert, and the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt. There are also health and counseling services on campus for resident students.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

4

Wheaton College

College Choice Score: 86.85

Tuition: $30,754

Website

Wheaton College is a private, nonprofit, Christian, Evangelical Protestant institution that is located in Wheaton, Illinois. It is best known for being a stop on the Underground Railroad. This school is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC; it is affiliated with the Consortium of Liberal Arts College.

This school confers 40 degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels in liberal arts and business areas of studies. It is currently ranked in the top ten “Best Undergraduate Teaching” ranking by U.S. News and World Report. The school is also ranked by the Princeton Review and Forbes for its outstanding academic programs.

Wheaton has a large array of facilities for students to use, including a gym, a health center, a library, and intramural sports fields. There is also student-run media, a student government, and over 50 student organizations that students can join while at Wheaton.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Dual Degree Engineering Program (3-2)
  • Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology

5

Illinois Wesleyan University

College Choice Score: 83.52

Tuition: $34,450

Website

Illinois Wesleyan University is a private, independent liberal arts colleges that can be found in Bloomington, Illinois. It is a small university, with a student body totaling less than 2,000 students per year, and has been named one of the best values in the country by U.S. News and World Report. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.

This university has a focus on liberal arts, but it offers more than 90 degree programs at the undergraduate level, including nursing, business, and educational programs. Courses are also available online. Additionally, students may benefit from May Term, a program that allows full course load students to take part in a special term that leads to specialized credit in their field of study.

Illinois Wesleyan University is known for hosting lectures, speakers, comedians, and other social events for students all year around. It also hosts its own radio and tv stations, plus a newspaper that is completely student-run. There are also intramural sports, political and activist organizations, and more for students to enjoy while at school.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with concentrations
  • Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies

6

Bradley University

College Choice Score: 81.67

Tuition: $30,307

Website

Bradley University is a private, independent institution that offers students a mid-sized campus feel with a world-class faculty. This school is located in Peoria, Illinois, and currently hosts a 5,400-strong student body. This school is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

Bradley is one of the best universities in Illinois, owing to the fact that it currently confers over 130 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels across five colleges. Students will also benefit from the small class sizes where the student-ratio rarely exceeds 12:1 as well as the fact that none of the courses at Bradley are taught by teaching assistants; only full-fledged professors teach here.

Students will no doubt enjoy the fact that there are over 240 registered student organizations on campus, over 30 Greek fraternities and sororities, student-run media, and more. Students can also try out for the national speech team champions, the Forensics or take the time to learn about diversity at Common Ground, a group that was built to support the school’s LGBTQ students.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration

7

University of Illinois at Chicago

College Choice Score: 81.29

Tuition: $17,298

Website

The University of Illinois at Chicago is a public research university that is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It is the second-oldest institution of the University of Illinois System. It is also the largest university in Chicago and currently hosts over 29,000 students. This school is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

UIC, as the school is known to faculty and students, is home to the largest medical school in the nation; it is currently ranked as one of the top 50 institutions for research in the US. The school offers over 125 degrees at all levels of education across 15 colleges and schools. There is also the option to study for a dual degree as well as online pathways to a selection of undergraduate and graduate degrees.

UIC is uniquely located for students; apart from the over 100 student organizations that take place on campus, not to mention Greek life or media opportunities, students have the option to explore Chicago and all of its entertainment and business aspects. Because the school is located in the heart of the city, most students find it to be one of the best schools in Illinois for internship and volunteer opportunities.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Master of Bioengineering
  • Doctor of Medicine, Professional Program

8

Eureka College

College Choice Score: 81.21

Tuition: $16,449

Website

Eureka College is a private, Christian, liberal arts institution that is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ Christian Church. It is one of the smallest schools in Illinois, with a student body of fewer than 800 students each year. This school, which is located in Eureka, Illinois, is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

Eureka offers a Christian education, one that is supported by the mandate of teaching all students about service and leadership. The courses here are taught in the classic liberals arts tradition, one that includes a Christian worldview. There are over 30 major areas of study and 20 minor areas, including philosophy, religion, English, and education.

The school is home to just more than an education, however. Students can take part in any of the over 60 student organizations and Greek life societies found on campus, help run student media, or even take up an elected seat in student government. The school is also home to the Ronald Reagan museum and a vast art collection, all of which is free to students.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Pre-Medicine Professional Program

9

Northern Illinois University

College Choice Score: 80.99

Tuition: $20,989

Website

Northern Illinois University has a great reputation among students for a high rate of satisfaction. This is a public research university that is located in DeKalb, Illinois, and was founded in 1895. The school, known as NIU, is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC with most programs being independently accredited by national associations.

This university confers more than 150 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. The programs are some of the best in the country and have led many graduates on to high-level posts all over the country. This school also has a growing online portal of degrees for students who need a little more flexibility when it comes to their education.

NIU is known for trying to welcome its freshmen and sophomores with specialized programs. This is known as the First and Second Year Experience, known as FSYE, which provides college credit for students who are transitioning from high school to college. There are also various resource centers that help students of difference backgrounds, including the Counseling and Student Development Center, the Health Enhancement Center, and the Academic Advising Center.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Teaching, Special Education
  • Master of Science in Engineering Management
  • Doctorate of Philosophy in Literacy and Elementary Education

10

Illinois State University

College Choice Score: 79.96

Tuition: $18,721

Website

Illinois State University is known for being the oldest public university in Illinois. It was established in 1857 and is located in Normal, Illinois. This is a public university that is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

This school was founded as a teacher’s college, so it will come as no surprise that it had a reputation for producing some of the finest teachers in the country. Additionally, the school offers over 40 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels across six colleges, including the Mennonite College of Nursing, the College of Applied Science and Technology, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

This is one of the best universities in Illinois in the public sector and is recognized for being a compact school with a variety of campus life activities that are open to all students. The Quad, which is the center of the campus, is a highlight of this campus and hosts many traditional events every year, particularly in the spring.

Students can also partake in over 350 student organizations, which run the range of interests, including politics, activism, religion, and sports. The school also runs two newspapers and a radio station and has a vibrant Greek life.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education
  • Master of Arts of Teaching, Educational Administration and Foundations – P-12 Educational Administration
  • Master of Science in Teaching and Learning

11

Elmhurst College

College Choice Score: 79.79

Tuition: $27,857

Website

Elmhurst College is a private, comprehensive, liberal arts institution that is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. It is located in Elmhurst, Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.

Elmhurst confers over 25 undergraduate programs, 15 master’s programs, and a selection of pre-professional programs; degree completion programs are also available for adult and professional learners. Students will all be required to take part in the Elmhurst College Integrated Curriculum, the core focus of all studies at the school.

This school is home to over 100 student organizations, a radio station, an art and music journal, and a newspaper. Students can also take part in Greek life or one of the honor societies, play on an intramural sports team or relax on the school’s scenic grounds. There are also annual traditions and events that most of the campus takes part in, including the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival and the Summer Extravaganza.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology

12

University of Illinois at Springfield

College Choice Score: 79.50

Tuition: $17,340

Website

The University of Illinois at Springfield is a public, land-grant, liberal arts institution that is the newest member of the University of Illinois System. It is located in Springfield, Illinois and is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.

This university offers 48 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs. The school is also one of the oldest institutions to offer online degrees, with the school having an established portal since 1999. One of the school’s more popular degrees, the undergraduate computer science program, has been nationally recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security; students in this program are even able to apply for grants from the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program.

Student life at the UIS is filled with traditions, such as Welcome Back Week and the Involvement Expo, interest groups and organizations, and student-run media. Students who live on campus are also treated to a state-of-the-art gym, new dining halls, and world-class health facilities.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Accounting

13

Southern Illinois University—Edwardsville

College Choice Score: 79.36

Tuition: $16,782

Website

Southern Illinois University—Edwardsville (SIUE) is a growing residential college in Edwardsville, Illinois. It is a public university and one of the two major members of the Southern Illinois University system. It is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. SIUE is a member of the NCAA Division I – Ohio Valley Conference and its faculty and staff are awarded millions of dollars every year in research, teaching, and service grants and contracts.

SIUE is considered a Master’s college because of the wide variety of Master’s degrees it offers—in everything from Studio Art to Healthcare Informatics. But don’t mistake the name for thinking that that’s the only kind of degree SIUE offers! It’s also home to a broad range of undergraduate degrees, as well as doctoral programs. SIUE welcomes hundreds of international students who come to Edwardsville from approximately 50 different countries all over the world.

Many students participate in SIUE’s Division I athletics, but the university offers a wide variety of other activities as well. Its recreation center, which has a rock climbing wall and bouldering cave, regularly puts on classes and events that include Zumba, cricket tournaments, and yoga. SIUE also puts on a number of events to help connect current students to post-college job opportunities.

Top Degree Programs at this School Include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology
  • Doctor of Dental Medicine

14

Millikin University

College Choice Score: 79.00

Tuition: $26,163

Website

Millikin University is a private, comprehensive, Presbyterian institution that serves both undergraduate and graduate candidates. It is located in Decatur, Illinois and currently serves a 2,400-strong student body. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.

Millikin was founded as an institution that catered to traditional undergraduate programs. However, in recent years, the school has created a burgeoning graduate suite of programs, allowing students to continue their education at the school after they’ve completed their undergraduate work. Students here can also partake in innovative learning techniques that are being pioneered by the world-class faculty and staff at the school.

Campus life at this university is punctuated by a close and friendly atmosphere, owing to the fact that the student-teacher ratio is less than 11:1. Students also take part in annual events and traditions, including orientation, and can become part of the over 25 student groups that are represented on campus.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration, General
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing

15

Loyola University Chicago

College Choice Score: 78.94

Tuition: $39,656

Website

Loyola University Chicago, known as LUC to students, is a private, nonprofit, Catholic, research institution that is located in the heart of Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the largest Jesuit universities in the country and is still affiliated with the Jesuit order. This school is a major economic contributor to the city and is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

This university confers over 220 programs at all levels of education, including professional programs. LUC has six campuses in and around the greater Chicago area and hosts campuses both in Rome and in Asia. The school is also building an online portal for students who cannot take the time to attend on-campus programs.

One of the best reasons to attend LUC is the fact that resident and student life is always full of surprises. From lakeside residential areas for students to the Greek life to taking part in student-run media, there is never a shortage of activities and events to partake in when attending this university.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting
  • Master of Arts in Computer Science, Information Technology Concentration
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Theology

16

Southern Illinois University—Carbondale

College Choice Score: 78.63

Tuition: $17,868

Website

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is the flagship institution that makes up the University of Southern Illinois System. It was established in 1869 and is classified as an RUH/H Research University by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. It is located in Carbondale, Illinois, and is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

SIU, as the school is known, offers more than 300 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and professional levels, including degrees in law and medicine. Dual degrees and specialist programs are also available. This university has a burgeoning online portal as well, paving the way for students to attend the school without ever stepping foot on campus.

This university has a robust student life available on campus. There are over 400 registered student organizations; some of these includes the Undergraduate Student Government, the Graduate and Professional Student Council, intramural sports teams, and a student-run newspaper known as The Daily Egyptian. Students can also take part in various traditions, such as the Cardboard Boat Regatta, and will feel right at home in the residence areas that the school provides for the student body.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • Master of Business Administration, Marketing Concentration
  • Doctor of Medicine and Juris Doctorate Dual Degree Program

17

Lewis University

College Choice Score: 77.98

Tuition: $29,329

Website

Lewis University is a private, Roman Catholic, Lasallian institution that is headquartered in Romeoville, Illinois. It was founded in 1932 and currently hosts around 6,800 students. This school is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

This university offers over 100 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels; there are also accelerated programs for professionals and adult learners. These programs are divided into between five colleges and schools, including the College of Education and the School for Professional and Continuing Education. Online programs are also available at Lewis.

Like many other Catholic schools, this university not only teaches in the Lasallian tradition, it also lives that way. There is a chapel on campus where students can attend Mass every week, followed by fellowship; alternatively, there are various religious groups that cater to every religion as well. Student-run media and student government are among the most popular organizations, and there are also traditional events that the campus participates in together.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Security and Risk Management
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Healthcare Systems Leadership

18

University of St. Francis

College Choice Score: 77.95

Tuition: $27,618

Website

The University of St. Francis is a private, Catholic, Franciscan comprehensive institution that is located in Joliet, Illinois, with campuses across the country. It is affiliated with the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate and continues to teach in the Catholic tradition. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.

This school confers more than 60 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and specialist levels. Most of the programs focus on psychology, education, and business. Students may also take some courses online or even take a hybrid path towards finishing their degree.

USF strives on delivering a Catholic education as well as a religious campus life. While not all students are Catholic, the school still provides practicing Catholics the chance to attend chapel and fellowship every week on campus at the St. Joseph Chapel, which is located in the Motherhouse. Other facilities include a library, a recreation hall, and St. Albert hall, which is a natural science learning lab and museum.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Family Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

19

McKendree University

College Choice Score: 77.88

Tuition: $24,930

Website

McKendree University is a private, liberal arts university that is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It is located in Lebanon, Illinois, which is part of the region known as Greater St. Louis. The school holds is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

This university confers over 50 degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels in a variety of fields; there is also a doctoral program in education for educators who have already received licensure. All of these degrees can be found in one of the school’s four colleges and schools and have the distinction of being taught at a school where more than 90 percent of instructors have received a terminal degree in their field.

This school inhabits 235 acres of wooded land, making it a scenic campus for students. There are a variety of outdoor activities available for students, including trails, campings sites not far from school, and intramural sports. There are also registered student organizations, student-run media, and other special interest groups and clubs for students to join while not studying for their degrees.

Three Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Criminal Justice Track
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Doctor of Education

20

Greenville College

College Choice Score: 77.53

Tuition: $22,808

Website

Greenville College is a private, liberal arts, four-year institution that was established and is still affiliated with the Free Methodist Church. It is located in Greenville, Illinois. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.

This school confers undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 35 areas of study; many of this programs involve nursing, education, digital media, and business. The school is also dedicated to online programs, with over 12 degrees and certifications available wholly or mostly online.

Students who attend Greenville College will be expected to sign and adhere to the Lifestyle Statement, an agreement between the student and the campus to live and learn by the Word of Christ. This includes refraining from drugs, alcohol, gambling, cheating, profanity, and occult practices. According to their website, “All members of the community are expected to apply Christian standards of discretion and discernment to all aspects of their life.”

Three Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education

21

Monmouth College

College Choice Score: 77.50

Tuition: $22,253

Website

Monmouth College is a private, four-year, liberal arts college that was established in 1853 and is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. It is a highly selective school that enrolls just 1,300 students annually. This school, which is located in Monmouth, Illinois, holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.

This school offers undergraduate degrees in 35 areas of study; pre-professional studies in 16 areas of study are also available. Like with many schools that teach in the Presbyterian tradition, there is a Core Curriculum that underscores every degree available at Monmouth. This core is made up of four mandatory courses for every student and is taken in the freshmen and sophomore year.

Monmouth encompasses 112 acres and offers students on-campus museums, apartment buildings, dorms, an athletic complex, field houses and more. Students will find that they can participate in more than 50 student organizations, including political and religious groups, all while taking in the observatory and other unique attributes that make Monmouth one of the best colleges in Illinois.

Three Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

22

Trinity Christian College

College Choice Score: 76.48

Tuition: $21,738

Website

Trinity Christian College is a private, four-year liberal arts college that is affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church. It is located in the Palos Heights neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. This school teaches in the Reformed tradition and holds regional accreditation from the NCACS THLC.

Trinity Christian College is best known for its traditional curriculum, a program that bases its Core Curriculum on English, history, philosophy, and theology. This is the undercurrent that drives all of its programs and keeps the school firmly in the Reformed tradition. Students will find that this curriculum aids the 50 degrees offered, which are conferred at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Study abroad is also strongly encouraged, including trips to Ecuador and Kenya.

There are over 40 recognized student organizations available at this school, including multicultural groups, service organizations, and student associations. Students are also welcome to play intramural sports, engage in fellowship, and attend chapel whenever they like, as the campus provides its own religious services for its student body.

Three Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Middle Grades Education
  • Master of Arts in Special Education
  • Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

23

Blackburn College

College Choice Score: 76.45

Tuition: $17,644

Website

Blackburn College is a private, Presbyterian, four-year liberal arts college that is housed in Carlinville, Illinois. It is a federally recognized work college and has been since it was established in 1837. The school, which is still affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

Blackburn is a work college, a title given to schools who required all residents on campus to work during their time on campus. This has been noted as one of the best ways for students to gain leadership experience while continuing their education; the school also provides a tuition discount based on the hours of work they put into the work-study program at the school. This also makes it the most affordable private college in the state.

This school offers the Bachelor of Arts in over 40 areas of study; there is no Bachelor of Science conferred at this school. Students may also participate in pre-professional programs, such as law, Nursing, and Theology. This is an undergraduate school, so students looking for a comprehensive university are advised to look further into the school’s offerings.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Development
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

24

Illinois Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 76.34

Tuition: $34,553

Website

The Illinois Institute of Technology, known as Illinois Tech, is a private, space-grant, doctorate-granting research university that is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It was established in 1890 and continues to supply the state with some of the best STEM professionals in the field. This school is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

There are five colleges and two schools at Illinois Tech, including the Chicago-Kent College of Law, the Institute of Design, and the School of Applied Technology. This school offers over 45 different degrees at all levels of education, but is known as one of the best colleges in Illinois for students who are looking for terminal degrees in STEM fields. It is also possible to get dual degrees, including a dual MD/JD, from this school.

There are five Illinois Tech campuses in the Chicago area, all of which host different student life activities; however, each campus hosts its own student government as well as some intramural sports. Students will often choose the campus that hosts their school, but it is possible to take classes at other campuses while earning one’s degree.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Master of Science in Biological Engineering
  • Juris Doctor in Criminal Litigation

25

Eastern Illinois University

College Choice Score: 76.29

Tuition: $15,808

Website

Eastern Illinois University is a public state university that is headquartered in Charleston, Illinois. It was established in 1895 and currently serves more than 8,000 students annually. This school is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

EIU confers over 60 degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels across four colleges, the Graduate School, and the School of Continuing Education. Students are also welcome to learn about online degree programs and continuing education certificates by contacting an admissions advisor.

The school has over 150 registered student organizations on campus, as well as a student government and a daily newspaper, The Daily Eastern News. Students can also take a walk through the school’s museum for an art education or spend time in Booth Library, which is the epicenter of most campus activities. There are also friendly rivalries among residence halls, which culminate in annual traditions which allow students to blow off steam right before finals.

Top Three Most Popular Programs:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

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