Our region is filled with quality institutions for higher learning. Discover some of our area’s best in this annual supplement.
Choosing a college may be one of the most important life decisions you will ever make. What kind of campus environment are you looking for? Do you want to live at home and commute, or live on campus in a dormitory? How far away from home do you want to be?
What majors and coursework strengths do you want to find in a college? What kind of people do you want learning alongside you? What can the college offer in terms of career counseling and placement? Do you want to be in a large university setting, a small, intimate private college setting, or something in-between? What extra-curricular activities are important to you?
Our college guide will help you to learn about some of the fine choices for higher education available to students right here in the Old Northwest Territory. We hope it assists you in making this all-important choice.
Loras College (Private/Four-Year)
1450 Alta Vista St. • Dubuque, Iowa • www.loras.edu
Perched on bluffs above the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa, Loras College is dedicated to providing students with a rich and engaging liberal arts education. Leveraging its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, and the second-oldest Catholic college in the country, Loras delivers challenging, life-changing experiences in a nurturing, residential Catholic setting.
Loras was a U.S. News & World Report top tier school in 2012, ranking 13th among Regional Colleges in the Midwest, and has been selected to receive a “Leveraging Excellence Award” from the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education. Loras was designated as a College of Distinction for 2011-2012, based on ratings in four areas of educational excellence.
With nearly 40 undergraduate majors and 12 pre-professional programs, Loras College offers a well-rounded, career-focused education that provides students with the knowledge and skills demanded by today’s top employers. More than 95 percent of its graduates find jobs in their chosen fields or enroll in graduate programs within six months of receiving their degrees.
Loras College has been included in the past two editions of Barron’s Best Buys in Education. In addition, nearly all students receive some type of financial aid, and Loras offers a variety of financial assistance programs – such as academic, honors and music scholarships – in addition to work-study.
Small class sizes ensure an optimum learning environment. Among Loras’s well-trained and professional faculty, 98 percent hold terminal degrees in their fields of study.
More than 90 percent of the students at Loras take part in study abroad programs, internships, field work, research and community-based service learning, including an extra three-week January Term. Spain, Ireland, South Africa and Botswana are examples of current study abroad program locations. Recently, Loras students have interned with national politicians in Washington, D.C.; CBS Sports Network in New York; the Chicago Cubs; IBM; Disney; and Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Loras students can take part in myriad activities that build leadership and character. As part of the NCAA Division III and the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Loras Duhawks compete in 22 varsity sports for men and women. In addition, the thriving campus has more than 75 social, academic and faith-based clubs and organizations, 80 intramural sports, and numerous other activities. In 2011, approximately 1,200 students participated in 48,000 hours of service learning and civic engagement service. In 2012, for the fifth straight year, Loras College was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Since 1839, Loras College has been providing students with the tools necessary for success, in an academic, cultural and spiritual environment that develops active learners and responsible citizens of the world.
Rockford College (Private/Four-Year)
5050 E. State St. • Rockford, Ill. • www.rockford.edu
Rockford College, nestled on 150 park-like acres in the heart of Rockford, marks its 165th year in 2012. It’s the only private liberal arts college in the Rock River Valley, and the only college in the Rockford area to offer a campus-based accredited MBA degree and a Master of Arts in Teaching.
The philosophy at Rockford College is that a liberal arts education prepares students not only for a career but also for a journey of lifelong learning. Its distinctive degrees and programs are grounded in liberal arts learning and complemented by professional and practical experience. An education from Rockford College involves challenging and interdisciplinary coursework both inside and outside the classroom. Its students develop critical-thinking skills, intellectual curiosity and self-guidance, in order to live within and adapt to a changing, global society.
Faculty members, renowned in their fields, hold the highest degrees in their disciplines and strive to stay at the top of their fields. Rockford College offers over 80 majors, minors and concentrations, and students can pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees, along with various certification and endorsement tracks through the Master of Arts in Teaching program.
Student/faculty research is an important component of the learning environment, and one-on-one learning opportunities abound.
The Princeton Review named Rockford College a “College with a Conscience” in 2005 and for nine years running, a “Best in the Midwest” college. For the fourth consecutive year, Rockford College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, and it is one of just 11 colleges in Illinois – and 280 in the country – with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.
Rockford College offers many other opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience. As part of NCAA Division III, the Rockford Regents compete in 17 men’s and women’s varsity sports. More than 25 social and academic clubs and organizations are offered, along with intramural sports. Each year, the Forum Series presents a variety of thought-provoking speakers, events and performances. Service-learning options include the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement and Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break, where students and faculty spend their spring break taking part in Habitat for Humanity projects. All such moments open students’ minds to understanding different and complex perspectives, ultimately broadening their horizons.
The learning expectations of students – knowledge for understanding the world, values for envisioning the world, and skills for shaping the world – shape delivery of Rockford College’s academic programs. Thus, the Rockford College experience leads to a life of active learning, personal development, professional growth and informed citizenship.
Rockford College alumni have changed, and continue to change, the world. Among its graduates are chiefs of police, captains of industry, Illinois Teachers of the Year, doctors who have tested the first artificial heart valve in humans, scientists who have invented fiber optics and LEDs, the current president of a national television network, the creator of kids’ meals toys, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jane Addams.
The legacy of Rockford College can be found in nearly two centuries of graduates and over 14,500 current alumni taking lessons learned here out into the world.
Western Illinois University (Public/Four-Year)
For more than 110 years, Western Illinois University (WIU) has been committed to academic excellence.
With a population of around 20,000, the City of Macomb has a small-town atmosphere free of distractions, allowing students to take full advantage of WIU’s supportive learning environment. Set on more than 1,000 acres, WIU’s campus supports an enrollment of approximately 12,500. More than 43 percent of the student body lives on campus.
Students can choose from 130 programs to earn undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees, along with several professional and post-baccalaureate certifications. Some of WIU’s most popular programs are its most distinctive: the only sports broadcasting production program in the state; one of only three meteorology programs in the state, and the only one with its own radar system; one of only nine forensic chemistry programs of its kind in the nation; and the fourth largest law enforcement and justice administration program of its kind in the U.S.
The average class size is 22, allowing students to take full advantage of WIU’s knowledgeable and committed faculty, 68 percent of whom hold terminal degrees in their fields. A full 94 percent of classes are taught by full-time faculty, and full-time professors have an average tenure of 16 years.
As part of the Summit League and the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the NCAA Division I school competes in 18 sports, nine for men and nine for women. In addition, there are nearly 250 student organizations, including national fraternities and sororities, athletics, intramural and club sports, academic honoraries, service clubs, specific interest clubs and more.
WIU students have the opportunity to study abroad, through group study options or exchange programs between WIU and other international institutions.
In keeping with its core values of personal growth and social responsibility, WIU provides students with service learning opportunities, such as volunteering at local nursing homes or participating in Habitat for Humanity programs. For the fourth consecutive year, WIU has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, and in 2011, was selected for The Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification.
WIU has also been recognized as a “Best Midwestern College” by The Princeton Review; ranked among only 37 public universities as a top tier “Best Regional University” by U.S. News & World Report; and designated a “Military Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs magazine. WIU also offers a cost guarantee, meaning that the rate paid when a student enters is fixed for each year of continuous enrollment, including fees and room and board. A number of scholarships, including the newest Commitment Scholarships, which are automatically awarded to incoming freshmen based on ACT/SAT scores, are available as well. In-state tuition is provided to students from Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri.
WIU: Offering cutting-edge, quality education, provided by faculty at the top of their fields, pursued in state-of-art facilities with up-to-the-minute technology; personal growth through participation in student organizations; leadership growth through service learning opportunities; and outstanding academic opportunities.
Judson University (Private/Four-Year)
1151 N. State St. • Elgin, Ill. & 1055 Featherstone Road • Rockford, Ill. • www.JudsonU.edu
Judson University is a Christian University that offers an education in the liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs for undergraduate, graduate and adult programs.
Two campuses provide the Judson experience – the flagship campus along the Fox River in Elgin, and an extension campus in Rockford, that serves the school’s Center for Adult Professional Studies.
Founded in 1963, Judson is an outgrowth of Northern Theological Seminary, first established in 1913. The school is named after Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary abroad.
Students can find more than 60 different majors, minors and concentrations, plus 10 pre-professional programs at Judson, including architecture; art and design; education; business; worship arts; Christian ministry; music; exercise and sports sciences; psychology; sociology; media studies; and a diverse array of liberal arts programs. Judson offers accelerated (evening) bachelor’s degrees for adults in communication management, criminal justice management, human resource management, human services, and management and leadership. Judson’s three master’s programs include architecture, education in literacy and organizational leadership.
Classes are small, allowing for an individualized educational experience. Eighty-one percent of classes have fewer than 20 students, and less than one percent have 50 or more students. With a 9:1 student-to-professor ratio, Judson provides a personalized education taught by experienced faculty who care about their students’ professional and personal success.
The 90-acre Elgin campus includes four residence halls, a fine arts center, fitness center, student center and 700-seat chapel. Judson leads the way in innovative design, with the new Weber Academic Center, which is rated LEED Gold – one of the highest honors in green design. Students also have access to the culture-rich city of Chicago, just 40 miles away from campus.
It’s the perfect home for one of the only evangelical Christian schools to offer a fully accredited graduate program in architecture. This program is gaining recognition for its innovative approach, including a one-year preceptorship, and its context in an evangelical Christian institution.
Students at Judson have a variety of ways to explore the world off-campus. With nearly 30 student organizations, 18 different athletic teams, and a wealth of study-abroad programs worldwide, the opportunities for students to travel are endless.
The World Leaders Forum, established to begin an endowment fund for Judson’s new entrepreneurial program, has brought recognized world leaders to campus, including former U.S. President George W. Bush and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. This annual event emphasizes Judson’s global perspective on higher education.
McHenry County College (Public/Two-Year)
8900 U.S. Highway 14 • Crystal Lake, Ill. • mchenry.edu
Since 1967, McHenry County College (MCC) has been the area’s choice for a high-quality and fully accredited education. MCC was recognized for having the highest enrollment and growth rate in the state, and in fall 2010, was voted a “military friendly” institution by G.I. Jobs magazine.
The college has 104 full-time instructors and an average of 225 part-time instructors per semester. Nearly 80 percent of its award-winning faculty hold master’s degrees, and 15 percent hold doctorates.
The heart of MCC is indeed its students, whether they come to start a new educational path, finish a dream that was sidetracked or try something new. Faculty and staff are dedicated to assisting students with the completion of degrees or certificates, so that they are prepared to move successfully into a new career or transition smoothly to a four-year institution.
At MCC, excellence is the goal. According to recent statistics compiled by the Illinois Shared Enrollment and Graduation database, MCC students who move on to a four-year institution are often better prepared than those from other schools.
As part of the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference, affiliated with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), MCC men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics teams have earned 34 conference championships and produced over 20 NJCAA All-Americans and 10 professional players. In 2011, 2006 and 1996, MCC’s women’s tennis, women’s basketball and baseball teams were recognized as NJCAA National Academic Teams of the Year. In addition, MCC offers on-campus activities and more than 25 student clubs.
The honors group Phi Theta Kappa and the Leadership Education and Development (L.E.A.D.) program help MCC students to develop leadership skills. Through the College Consortium of International Students and the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs, MCC students may participate in study-abroad programs in more than 30 countries. Through service learning, MCC students also learn about civic responsibility while participating in community programs.
From the low student-to-teacher ratio in classes to flexible course offerings, MCC’s focus is always on helping each student to complete his or her degree. The college’s engaging environment stimulates more critical thinking and sharpens decision-making skills, better preparing students for a bright future.
Aurora University (Private/Four-Year)
Since 1893, Aurora University (AU) has been helping students to acquire the education, leadership and skills necessary to achieve their dreams and bring about positive changes in their communities.
AU offers 40 undergraduate majors, 40 minors, more than 25 master’s and pre-professional certifications, and two doctorates. More than 85 percent of AU’s knowledgeable and experienced faculty hold doctorates or terminal degrees in their fields, and small class sizes mean instructors are able to engage students one-on-one for optimum learning.
Strong academic programs are complemented with relevant hands-on experiences. Leadership programs and community service projects, led by the Wackerlin Center for Faith and Action, help students to put their knowledge to work helping others. The AU May Term offers students the chance to experience other cultures while earning academic credit through study-related travel.
On campus, students can take part in more than 50 musical, literary, religious, social and service organizations and activities, in areas ranging from professional development and student governance to intramural sports and hobbies. The AU Spartans compete in 19 varsity sports, 10 for men and nine for women, with impressive success: The Spartans have earned 103 NCAA Division III conference titles since joining in 1982.
AU’s active theatre and arts programs serve the campus and the community. Through the Celebrating Arts and Ideas series, community members, teachers and students alike enjoy various concerts, lectures, museum exhibits, film and theatre events.
The Aurora University Woodstock Center joins an AU community proud of its long tradition of designing and delivering educational programs that serve students and respond to the needs of McHenry County residents.
Located in downtown Woodstock, this facility offers degree completion programs in business administration and RN to BSN, as well as graduate programs in Addictions Certification, education, MBA in Leadership, MSN and MSN Bridge Option. Students in Woodstock work with faculty members who believe in the transformative power of learning, as they combine knowledge and theory with relevant application.
Asking questions and debating answers. Applying theory to real-life situations. Solving problems and effecting change. For 119 years, AU has been preparing students for lives of leadership, meaning and success.
University of Illinois at Chicago (Public/Four-Year)
1200 W. Harrison St. • Chicago, Ill. • www.uic.edu
As a major research university in the heart of the Windy City, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) provides a world-class education for its students. Its commitment to creating and disseminating new knowledge as a university is raising its national and international stature.
UIC is the largest university in the Chicago area, with more than 27,000 students and 15 colleges, including the nation’s largest medical school. The university serves students of many needs, offering some 82 bachelor’s degree programs, 93 master’s degree programs and 67 doctoral programs, in addition to various professional degrees and certificates.
Working at one of the leading research institutions in America, UIC faculty members make new discoveries daily and lead their fields in innovative ideas. Nearly 2,000 instructional faculty members provide hands-on learning opportunities, at a rate of about one professor for every 11 students. About 75 percent of tenured faculty members teach undergraduate courses, and 83 percent of full-time instructional faculty members have earned a doctorate or equivalent degree. They’re the sort of classroom leaders fighting inner-city violence with programs like CeaseFire, and discovering new ways of reducing HIV infections.
Faculty and students are changing communities through the Great Cities Institute, which, since 1993, has helped students and faculty members to research and engage tough urban issues.
Students, too, are leaders in their fields, and are getting noticed. Since 2000, they’ve racked up 50 Fulbright, 19 Goldwater and three Gates-Cambridge scholarships. Those same bright students are also incredibly diverse; UIC is one of the most diverse campuses in the nation. In fact, nearly a third of students speak English as a second language. The UIC College of Medicine, the largest medical school in the country, graduates more African-American physicians than any other public university.
Those nearly 17,000 undergraduate and 11,000 graduate and professional students keep busy with their studies, but have ample opportunity to build leadership skills while engaging with their community outside the classroom. Students can join more than 200 student organizations, sports clubs, volunteer groups, Greek chapters and other associations on campus.
Sports are important at UIC, and the UIC Flames compete in 18 NCAA Division I sports, including cross country, basketball, track & field, swimming, gymnastics and soccer. Those teams have won 73 conference championships since 1997, and myriad other top finishes. For those who want to stay active, but don’t want the NCAA experience, there is an abundance of intramural teams and sports clubs.
Students can engage with their world through more than 200 study-abroad options on six continents, an important option in an increasingly global society. It’s another chance for students to immerse themselves in international cultures.