It’s never an easy choice when seeking the perfect college — there are plenty of things to consider. Here are some of the top institutions available here in our region.
Northern Illinois University
(Public/Four-Year) 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy. • DeKalb • niu.edu
At Northern Illinois University (NIU), students are offered the best of both worlds. They have the resources and breadth of a large university with the culture, mindset and accessibility of a smaller college. NIU takes a student-centered approach that provides students with the resources, tools and guidance they need to build an educational experience that is rewarding, transformative and often as unique as the individual learner. Through internships, mentorships, research and artistry opportunities, study abroad, more than 200 student organizations and more, the faculty and staff work hard to provide students with life-changing opportunities.
Additionally, 240,000 alumni worldwide (more than half of whom live in the Chicagoland area), help drive the success of NIU students. Through job shadowing, internships, mentorships and careers, NIU alumni take an active role in facilitating real-world, engaging experiences that help ensure that students succeed.
The main campus in DeKalb – 65 miles west of Chicago and 45 miles southeast of Rockford – offers more than 100 options in undergraduate, graduate- and doctoral- level programs within seven colleges (Business, Education, Engineering and Engineering Technology, Health and Human Sciences, Law, Liberal Arts and Sciences and Visual and Performing Arts). NIU also offers programming at regional centers in Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Oregon and Rockford, where working professionals can access programs at convenient times and locations.
Students can take advantage of a new program known as NIU PLUS (short for Progressive Learning in Undergraduate Studies). NIU PLUS allows students to customize their learning experience in three areas: general education requirements, hands-on learning experiences outside the classroom, and the student’s on- or off-campus job.
Within NIU PLUS, Academics PLUS allows students to blaze their own trail by customizing general education courses according to personal interests, career aspirations or major areas of study. Secondly, Engage PLUS ensures that students are recognized for their experiential-learning activities that take place outside the classroom. Working with faculty or staff mentors, or career supervisors, students can create a structured experience unique to their goals and interests. Finally, Jobs PLUS is designed to help students build a bridge between their college job and post-graduation career. Jobs PLUS regularly hosts professional development events open to all NIU students.
An NIU education is nationally recognized in quality, nationally ranked in value and aimed at providing students with personal, career and life success. When you become a Huskie, you have the opportunity to build your own life while you’re here – and create the foundation for achieving career success when you graduate.
McHenry County College
(Private/Two-Year) 8900 U.S. Highway 14 • Crystal Lake • mchenry.edu
Since 1967, McHenry County College (MCC) has been the area’s choice for a high-quality and fully accredited education.
MCC was recently named among Aspen Institute’s top 150 community colleges in the nation, and CNN Money & College Measures reported that MCC is ranked fourth in the state for student success rates and affordability. MCC also was voted a “military friendly” institution by G.I. Jobs magazine.
More than 90 percent of MCC’s full-time faculty hold a master’s or doctorate degree, as do 68 percent of its adjunct instructors. But the heart of MCC is 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 to succeed, so that they are prepared to move into a new career or transition smoothly to a four-year institution.
This student-focused approach is paying off. According to recent statistics compiled by the Illinois Board of Higher Education for its Illinois Shared Enrollment and Graduation database, MCC students who transfer to a four-year institution do just as well as, or better than, students who started as freshmen.
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 more than 20 NJCAA All-Americans and 10 professional players. 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. Learn what’s new at MCC by following the college on social media at mchenry.edu/social.
Northern Illinois University, MBA Program
(Private/Four-Year) Main Campus: 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy. • DeKalb • cob.niu.edu
Hoffman Estates Campus: 5555 Trillium Blvd. • Hoffman Estates • cob.niu.edu
Naperville Campus: 1120 E. Diehl Road • Naperville • cob.niu.edu
Chicago Campus: 105 W. Madison St. • Chicago • cob.niu.edu
Founded in 1895 as a state teachers college, Northern Illinois University (NIU) today is a comprehensive teaching and research institution with nearly 22,000 students, located near a vibrant research and development corridor. Students can choose from 57 undergraduate majors, 71 minors and 80 graduate programs, including 20 doctoral degrees in seven colleges.
Regional educational sites in Hoffman Estates, Naperville and Rockford provide convenient access to NIU programs. Additionally, NIU Naperville and NIU Hoffman Estates allow working professionals to balance a job and graduate school through its part-time MBA programs.
The part-time Evening MBA is ideally suited for those in mid-career. Consistently recognized as one of the best MBA programs within the Chicago market by Crain’s Chicago Business, NIU’s Evening MBA allows students to attain new knowledge and skills and immediately apply them to their current positions. Students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to work effectively in a rapidly changing business environment and become leaders within their organizations. The broad offering of electives provide for both personal and professional development.
Designed for maximum flexibility, the evening format allows busy adults to obtain a ranked and accredited MBA that’s self-paced to their personal schedules. The program is offered for spring, summer and fall semesters. Classes are held one night a week, Monday through Thursday, and students can take one, two or three courses per semester.
The Fast-Trak MBA, offered on NIU’s main campus in DeKalb, is designed for students who want to continue their education directly out of their undergraduate program. The Fast-Trak is a full-time, daytime program and allows students to complete their MBA in just 12 months. Additionally, students may earn a second degree in Master of International Business through study abroad experiences in the fall and spring semesters. Students learn business leadership principles, preparing them for their careers.
NIU’s One-Year MBA, offered at NIU Hoffman Estates, is designed for the working professional with a minimum of three years’ experience and an undergraduate business degree. The 12-month program begins in January, with classes offered two nights a week. It provides enhanced learning through the broad professional class make-up, the cohort experience and a rigorous curriculum delivered on an accelerated timetable. Students take part in a nine-day international trip to gain a global perspective.
Because of the rigorous and intense nature of the program, NIU provides administrative support in the form of class registration and delivery of books and academic materials.
The College of Business introduced the Chicago MBA in Fall 2016, offered in the Chicago Loop. Similar to the One-Year MBA, the Chicago MBA is a 12-month program designed for working professionals with an undergraduate business degree. The accelerated cohort format will begin each August and includes an international experience.
For those in senior-level management, NIU’s Executive MBA program at NIU Hoffman Estates provides a curriculum that’s specifically designed to build on a base of managerial experience. Each EMBA class is treated as a microcosm of the business world. Key elements include a balanced mix of professional peers – all students have 10 to 15 years’ work experience – and a broad representation of industries. All individuals begin the program together, sharing the same educational experience and taking the same courses, in the same sequence, for the duration of the program.
MBA faculty are selected from the nationally recognized College of Business for their teaching ability, consulting experience and commitment to educating professionals. Many hold doctorates in their field of expertise. The faculty’s knowledge of business management principles and current business practices combine to create a stimulating and challenging classroom experience.
Upper Iowa University-Rockford
(Private/Four-Year) 1161 Tebala Blvd. • Rockford • uiu.edu
Upper Iowa University-Blackhawk Center
(Private/Four-Year) 6004 S. County Road G • Janesville • uiu.edu
Since 1857, Upper Iowa University has been preparing students to succeed – in the classroom and throughout the world. A rich history, coupled with a student-centered mission, has created a springboard for Upper Iowa University to become a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through multiple flexible delivery systems, including online and self-paced studies.
The Upper Iowa University Center in Rockford opened in 2008. The 13,000-square-foot building includes eight classrooms and a cutting-edge computer lab. Courses, held primarily in the evening, are offered during six 8-week terms, and are taught by instructors who bring practical work experience to the classroom.
In 1994, Upper Iowa University opened the Blackhawk Center at Blackhawk Technical College, Janesville. Courses are also offered here in the evenings during six 8-week terms. Full-time Upper Iowa University faculty members teach many classes, as well as adjunct faculty who draw on their practical experiences in the field.
The Upper Iowa University’s Center for Distance Education offers online courses for associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as post-graduate certificates. Its online undergraduate bachelor’s program has been ranked among the best in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report, which also ranked its online MBA program among the top 100 for 2015.
In addition to its MBA program being recognized as a Best Value by GetEducated.com, Upper Iowa University has been named a Top Military-Friendly School by Military Advanced Education.
Upper Iowa University works with students to keep their college education affordable. Students are encouraged to contact its financial aid department, where counselors will assist them in looking for any possible means of financial assistance.
Upper Iowa University offers 40 majors in all modalities; for a complete listing, visit uiu.edu. Some majors include:
Health Services Administration
Human Resources Management
Whether at its traditional campus in Fayette, Iowa, or one of its 25 educational centers in the U.S., students will find professional faculty and staff who care about their success and work hard to provide the education they desire.
(Private/Four-Year) 1450 Alta Vista St. • Dubuque, Iowa • explore.loras.edu
Perched on bluffs 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 west of the Mississippi River, Loras delivers challenging, life-changing experiences in a supportive, residential Catholic setting.
With nearly 40 undergraduate majors and 12 pre-professional programs, Loras College has the resources to help students to succeed. With small, interactive classes, students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with professors and their classmates. They also receive the benefit of technology in the classroom – such as the Media Studies Lab or the on-site DNA Lab – and academic resources such as the Writing Center, Math Assistance Program and Supplementary Instruction Program.
Most Loras students study abroad, participate in service opportunities or take advantage of work internships. Student service is a point of pride at the College, and has earned Loras a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll since 2008, receiving a “with distinction” notation since 2009. Loras College was the first in the nation to receive the President’s Award for Interfaith Community Service, the highest federal honor a higher education institution can receive for its commitment to community service and interfaith efforts.
Students rally behind Dewey the Duhawk, who stands proudly as the Loras College mascot. Dewey supports the 23 varsity sports offered to student-athletes, who compete in the NCAA Division III and Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Loras is proud of its top-notch athletic facilities, including the Rock Bowl Stadium and multi-level Athletic and Wellness Center. As a student-athlete at Loras, you can enjoy a well-rounded experience that balances challenging academics and competitive athletics – preparing you for victory on and off the field.
With more than 70 clubs and organizations, the Loras College campus is overflowing with co-curricular opportunities. From academic organizations to special interest groups and student government, students can immerse themselves in activities they love while making lifelong friends along the way.
Western Illinois University
(Public/Four-Year) 1 University Circle • Macomb, Ill. • wiu.edu, facebook.com/wiu.edu
Established in 1899, Western Illinois University (WIU) is committed to academic excellence.
With a population of around 20,000, the City of Macomb’s small-town atmosphere is 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 undergraduate enrollment of approximately 11,000. About 44 percent of the student body lives on campus.
Students can pursue 67 undergraduate degrees, 36 graduate degrees and two doctoral degrees, along with several professional and post-baccalaureate certifications. Some of its most popular programs are its most distinctive, with renowned opportunities in sports broadcasting, meteorology, forensic chemistry and law enforcement.
The average class size is 21, allowing students to take full advantage of WIU’s knowledgeable and committed faculty, 68 percent of whom hold terminal degrees in their fields. Full-time professors have an average tenure of 16 years.
WIU has been recognized as a “Best Midwestern College” by The Princeton Review; ranked among only 39 public universities as a top-tier “Best Regional University” by U.S. News & World Report; and designated a “Military Friendly School” by GI Jobs Magazine.
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 and intramural and club sports; academic honoraries; service clubs; specific interest clubs; and more.
Students at WIU have the opportunity to study abroad, through group study options or exchange programs between the university and other international institutions.
In keeping with WIU’s core values of personal growth and social responsibility, students are provided with service learning opportunities such as tutoring at local elementary schools or participating in Habitat for Humanity. During the 2014-15 school year, student groups logged more than 13,000 volunteer hours and raised more than $70,000 for nonprofit and charitable organizations.
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 are available as well.
In-state tuition is provided to students from Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri. WIU’s Student Employment, a division of financial aid, administers employment programs for approximately 2,300 students through Regular Employment and Federal Work-Study.
WIU: A 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; all offered in a quiet, small-town atmosphere.