Resources for Students in Illinois

Illinois is one of the most exciting college destinations in the country. Find the resources you need to get the most out of student life in Illinois. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Best Colleges in Illinois + Full List of Schools

Best Colleges in Illinois + Full List of Schools

You'll find many top-tier colleges in Illinois, from large research universities to liberal arts schools. Here, we rank the best colleges in Illinois.

Updated October 13, 2023

What to Know About Attending College in Illinois

Even with its abundance of wide open spaces — Illinois is nearly 80% farmland — the state is one of the most exciting college destinations in the country. You can choose from rich cultural centers and diverse cities like Chicago, Springfield, Peoria, and Champaign-Urbana.

Illinois is home to over 150 degree-granting institutions, meaning there should be a good fit for just about any student. Students come for the top-ranked private and public colleges but stay for world-class museums, research centers, sports teams, and beautiful outdoor spaces — including five national parks.

Chicago alone has something for everyone: art and history, several major sports teams, a buzzing foodie scene, exceptional architecture, music, and diverse neighborhoods. Whether you participate in cutting-edge research or visit the Chicago Jazz Festival, Illinois makes getting an education more fun.

To help in your pursuit of higher education, we’ve put together a compilation of resources to guide you through the process of finding and attending college in Illinois.

Featured Online Programs

College Planning

Student Life

Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Colleges

What is the No. 1 university in Illinois?

Rankings vary by department and degree, but two of the top-ranked private universities in Illinois are the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Both schools are often ranked among the top 20 universities in the nation. One of the top public universities in Illinois is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

What is the largest college in Illinois?

The largest college in Illinois is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As of 2023, 55,000 undergraduates and graduate students were enrolled on campus. The student body also includes more than 19,000 students of color on campus — more than any other top-ranked Midwest university, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

How many four-year colleges are in Illinois?

There were 95 four-year colleges in Illinois and 152 degree-granting institutions as of the 2020-2021 school year, according to data provided by NCES. This includes 12 four-year public colleges.

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