Many people think of the Midwest as “flyover country,” but there is much more to it than just farm fields. There are many, many prestigious colleges and universities in the area.
It’s often said that students are drawn to (or stay in) the Midwest because of its smaller cities, less hustle and bustle, and friendly atmosphere.
Colleges in the Midwest come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t be fooled. In this part of the country, you can find everything from small liberal arts colleges surrounded by cornfields to huge research universities just blocks from downtown Chicago.
In these rankings, schools from all over the middle of the country were evaluated based on measures of selectivity, student success, diversity, and more.
The following are the top 10 US colleges in the Midwest:
10. Oberlin College
There are 2,894 undergraduates enrolled
A first for the nation, Oberlin College regularly admits women and black students. Its 2,900 undergraduate students can choose from 50 majors/programs, including the country’s oldest Neuroscience program.
9. Kenyon College
A total of 1,705 undergraduates are enrolled
Over 1,700 undergraduates attend Kenyon College, a private liberal arts college. A wide variety of majors and concentrations are available, and students must take classes from four academic divisions (Natural Sciences, Fine Art, Humanities, Social Sciences). In addition to having an interesting architectural style, the campus is also the oldest private college in the state.
8. Macalester College
Saint Paul, MN
A total of 2,039 undergraduates are enrolled
Saint Paul’s Macalester College is an undergraduate-only institution. A course catalog with more than 800 offerings is available at the school with more than 2,000 undergrads enrolled in 37 majors and 63 areas of study.
7. Grinnell College
A total of 1,721 undergraduates are enrolled
Grinnell College is located near the center of Iowa and enrolls more than 1,700 undergrad students each year. On a per-student basis, the private liberal arts college has an endowment of nearly $2 billion. A mix of historic and modern facilities distinguishes the campus.
6. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI
There are 28,283 undergraduates enrolled
The University of Minnesota is a large, public research university with more than 28,000 undergraduate students. Sports fans and rivals alike recognize the school for its historic sports programs, but academic performance is also consistently near the top. From psychology to economics, students study a variety of subjects.
5. Carleton College
There are 2,045 undergraduate students enrolled
The scenic campus of this private liberal arts college draws about 2,000 undergraduates each year. It is regarded as one of the best schools in the region and perhaps the best in the state. Courses in international studies, intercultural domestic studies, arts practice, formal or statistical reasoning, physical education, and other subjects are required for undergraduates at Carleton College.
4. Washington University in St Louis
St. Louis, MO
A total of 7,336 undergraduates are enrolled
Despite being one of the nation’s premier research universities, Wash U has a relatively modest undergraduate enrollment of just over 7,000 students. Research is heavily involved among undergrads, with more than 60% participating in some kind of research. Psychology, Finance, and Biology are the three most popular majors.
3. University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN
Eight thousand four hundred seventy-seven undergraduates
ND is a popular college for students from all over the country due to its rich tradition in academics, athletics, and faith. A total of 8,500 undergraduate students live on campus, as this private research university has 29 residence halls. A variety of majors are available, including Finance, Accounting, and Political Science.
2. Northwestern University
Nine thousand two hundred and eighty-three undergraduates
Northwestern University is located in Evanston, just 12 miles north of Chicago. The university’s 9,000+ undergraduate students can choose from more than 120 majors, including the world-renowned Journalism and Engineering programs.
1. University of Chicago
Five thousand seven hundred and three undergraduates
A medium-sized, private research university, this institution is among the most prestigious in the world. With its numerous scientific breakthroughs and award-winning faculty, UC has much to offer prospective students.
About our methodology
In addition to graduation rates, campus diversity, endowment per student, and other data, colleges are ranked by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the most recent enrollment year. Rankings may have excluded some colleges based on specialization and classification. Take a look at our full methodology here