Picking a school can sometimes feel like picking a number on a roulette wheel. If somehow you can make the exact right choice, everything will come out right for you, and you’ll live happily ever after. But what is the right choice? Happily, while there are only a few winning numbers on a roulette wheel, there are many institutions of higher learning that deliver a high quality education, one that can get you pointed in the right direction.
Not all universities are alike, however. Some excel at pushing students with rigorous academic programs, but offer next to nothing to help shape complete graduates. Extracurricular activities and social life are neglected on some campuses, just as some campuses can themselves seem neglected, more like low-security prisons than settings for digesting knowledge.
A well-rounded university mints well-rounded graduates. The schools featured on this list of the top five universities in the Midwest are each outstanding examples this principle in action. These universities make it their business not only to give students the opportunity to learn all they can in their chosen field, but also create an atmosphere where unformed students are shaped over the course of their experience into full-fledged adults, with everything that may entail.
1. University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The number one school on the list is the University of Chicago, an institution renowned not just as a great Midwestern university, but as one of the very top universities in the nation, if not the world. The University of Chicago has a history of offering students stellar faculty with a taste for the academic cutting edge. The University’s urban setting gives students ample opportunity for cultural exploration and community service, making graduates some of the most well rounded in the country.
2. Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Washington University in St. Louis holds the number two slot on this list with a powerful combination of challenging academics and a strong sense of community, both within the walls of the university and within its host city. Washington University undergrads choose from courses in five divisions, arts and sciences, architecture, art, business, and engineering. The graduate school adds law and medicine to the list. If what you are hoping to study is on this list, you may have found the school for you.
3. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Third on the list is Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, just a half hour outside of Chicago. Northwestern offers seventy majors to undergrads, with many students opting to design their own majors, mixing and matching more traditional disciplines. Rigorous, well located, and competitive, Northwestern is a strong choice whether you are looking exclusively in the Midwest or not.
4. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is a great example of the big, public research institution done right. Graduates from University of Michigan consistently report a top-notch experience across the board, from challenging coursework to a satisfying experience socially. But be warned, like all the schools on this top 5 list, University of Michigan fields a lot of applications. Admission is by no means guaranteed.
5. University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame have earned this Indiana institution a place in the hearts of many a sports fan, but it is only in combination with outstanding academics that Notre Dame takes the fifth place on this list. Loyal alumnae of this Catholic university have demonstrated the value of a Notre Dame education through varied and impressive achievement.