There are nearly 3,800 four-year colleges and universities in the nation, and a plethora of magazines and guidebooks seek to compare and contrast those institutions on a wide range of factors. Below are some of the major magazines and guidebooks that mention Illinois Wesleyan.

While the following information might provide some helpful comparative data, we believe the very best way to judge a college or university is to visit their campus and meet the faculty who will be teaching you, and the students you will be taking classes and living with during your college years.

  • Kiplingers

    Kiplinger's Personal Finance

    Kiplinger’s  ranks Illinois Wesleyan the 55th best value among the nation's private liberal arts colleges in its "Best Value Rankings" for 2017, and in the top 9 percent among all colleges and universities. This marks the 10th consecutive year that Wesleyan has been included among the national leaders in this ranking of academic quality and affordability.

  • PayScale

    PayScale's 2015-16 College Salary Report, which drew salary data from 1.4 million college graduates, ranked mid-career earnings of Illinois Wesleyan graduates 43rd among 1,063 bachelor’s degree granting colleges and universities for which data was available. In addition, PayScale ranked Illinois Wesleyan business majors No. 3 in mid-career earning power.

  • The Economist

    In its first-ever college ranking,  The Economist  named Illinois Wesleyan graduates as top earners nationally and in Illinois, with $54,600 median earnings compared to the average college graduate’s $42,751.

    Based on an analysis of a broad range of data in the recently available U.S. Department of Education’s College ScorecardThe Economist ranked Illinois Wesleyan graduates as 1st of any Illinois institution and in the top 6 percent nationally among 1,275 four-year colleges and universities.

  • Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education

    Illinois Wesleyan is the top liberal arts college in Illinois, ranked 34th among all colleges in the Midwest and 159th among 1,061 U.S. Colleges in the inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings, with high scores for resources, based on the faculty-student ratio and finances per student; outcomes, based on graduation rates, graduate salaries and loan repayment rates; and engagement, based on student surveys. 

  • College Raptor

    Illinois Wesleyan is No. 5 in the nation among "Smart Choice" colleges, where students are most likely to get accepted, stay enrolled, and graduate in 4 years, as ranked by College Raptor.

  • Fiske

    Fiske Guide to Colleges

    The Fiske Guide to Colleges describes Illinois Wesleyan as a college with an emphasis on creativity and the spirit of inquiry. "The school provides a multitude of paths down which one can travel and it is up to the student to decide which path to take," one student reported. "IWU allows you to become who you want to be, but only if you let it."

  • US News

    U.S. News & World Report

    A top-tier institution, Illinois Wesleyan remains at No. 72 among national liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News & World Report 2017 rankings of “Best Colleges.” Illinois Wesleyan consistently ranks high in graduation and retention rates and small class sizes, which are key measures of quality and value.

    IWU also was named among "A+ Schools for B students," showing that we seek a broad and dynamic student body, and engaged students can thrive here.


  • The Princeton Review

    Illinois Wesleyan is on the Princeton Review's nationwide, unranked list of  Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck. The ratings weighted 40 data points that covered everything from academics, cost, and financial aid to graduation rates, student debt, and alumni salaries and job satisfaction.

    In addition, the University has been included in The Princeton Review's annual listing of America's Best Colleges every year since its inception in 1989. Based on student surveys, the list includes 300-plus public and private colleges and universities, which are not numerically ranked. Students surveyed have described Illinois Wesleyan as a community that “invites you to make the most of your education and is ready to bend over backwards to ensure you enjoy your experience” and “always trying to give students opportunities that are beyond what most schools can give.”

  • Washington Monthly

    Illinois Wesleyan is No. 64 among national liberal arts colleges on Washington Monthly’s 2016 college rankings.

    Criteria for these rankings include social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s) and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

  • The Washington Post

    Jay Mathews, educational columnist for The Washington Post, ranked Illinois Wesleyan 10th on a list of 100 "outstanding but underappreciated" colleges in the United States. His book, Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College That Is Best for You, was published in 2003 by Prima Publishing. In 2012, Matthews revisited these top 10 colleges in his column in The Washington Post.

    Mathews based his book on a survey of high school counselors and teachers, who identified Illinois Wesleyan as having "strong fine arts, liberal arts and sciences" and "an excellent success rate for students applying to medical school."

  • College Access

    College Access & Opportunity Guide

    Illinois Wesleyan is included in the College Access & Opportunity Guide, a group of roughly 260 colleges committed to serving and supporting first-generation, low-income, and minority students on their campus and in their community.

  • Americas Best

    America's Best Kept College Secrets

    Author Peter Arango wrote, "If this book accomplished nothing other than bringing Illinois Wesleyan to the attention of the college bound, I would be delighted. Not only is Illinois Wesleyan the model of the effective, responsive, well designed, thoroughly successful small liberal arts college/university, it is also an institution that hums with positive energy and which engenders deep feelings of attachment and loyalty among its students and graduates. I won't say that this is a university that time forgot (many of its buildings are state-of-the-art), but there is a sense of mutual respect and affection that sets this solid college apart from many of its peers."

  • Colleges of Distinction

    Colleges of Distinction

    Illinois Wesleyan is described as "a true renaissance university where students are encouraged to explore all of their interests," and "Students have a host of compelling opportunities to enrich their education with off-campus experiences that might involve spending a year at Pembroke College/Oxford University or perhaps a semester in Washington D.C. through American University."

  • Barrons


    Illinois Wesleyan is among just 245 institutions in the nation named in Barron's Best Buys in College Education.

  • Barrons

    MONEY's Best Value Colleges

    Illinois Wesleyan is among colleges determined by MONEY Magazine to deliver the most value—that is, a great education, at an affordable price, that prepares students for rewarding careers.

  • Open Doors

    Open Doors Report

    Illinois Wesleyan was ranked among the top 40 baccalaureate institutions for the total number of students studying abroad in the 2010 Open Doors Report (covering the 2008-09 academic year) from the Institute for International Education.