111 SCHOOLS in ILLINOIS
The Land of Lincoln – also known as the Prairie State – Illinois has long been seen as one of the most American of states. It was one of the first frontiers, and the first object of the innate American compulsion to see what is further west, across the rivers, mountains, and plains. Once Illinois was named a US Territory in 1809, settlers began moving across the Appalachians, and Illinois became a crucial transportation route, especially once the Erie Canal helped turn Chicago into a destination. European immigrants from Germany, Sweden, and Eastern Europe made Illinois a center of agriculture, manufacturing, and mining, and African-American flight from the Jim Crow South made Chicago a cultural center as well, developing blues and jazz into America’s native art forms.
Much of Illinois life is centered around Chicago, one of the world’s most dynamic and culturally rich metropolises, while many suburbs within the Chicago orbit have developed into large, fully-formed cities of their own. Illinois is a national leader in manufacturing and energy, as well as a major economic player through the business and banking sectors of Chicago. As the 5th largest population in the nation, Illinois also has a major higher education system, composed of top-tier public research universities and a great many elite liberal arts colleges; the state is particularly known for its selective Christian institutions.
The University of Chicago ranks alongside the Ivy League and the major polytechnic universities (like MIT and Stanford) as a world-class private research institution, having developed breakthroughs and innovations in every discipline and field. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a definitive public research university, and a widespread system of regional public institutions like Eastern Illinois University provide opportunity to Illinois residents outside the major metropolitan areas. Small Christian liberal arts college – including Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, and more – prepare leaders with the same rigor and discipline that has shaped western civilization for centuries, while top-tier private institutions like Northwestern University and Wheaton College provide the most current career and professional studies. In all, the best colleges in Illinois represent the best of the US – diverse, bold, rooted in history and always pressing forward.