What Others Say About Us

Illinois Wesleyan stands out among the thousands of colleges and universities in the nation, compared on a wide range of factors by a growing number of publishers. (While we have good reason to brag, we believe the very best way to judge your best-fit college is to visit campus.)

Best Value

Kiplinger's Personal Finance

In its Best College Values for 2018, Kiplinger’s ranks Illinois Wesleyan in the top 50 among the nation's private liberal arts colleges, and in the top 100 among all colleges and universities in the nation. This marks the 11th consecutive year that Illinois Wesleyan has been included among the national leaders in this ranking of academic quality and affordability.

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 U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, The 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 ranked 135 among 968 institutions nationally in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education  2019 rankings – placing the University among the Journal's top tier in the increasingly competitive field of higher education. IWU earned 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.



Illinois Wesleyan is No.21 on WalletHub's ranking of the Best Colleges in the U.S. Their analysts compared primarily undergraduate colleges across 26 key measures to determine where prospective students can expect to receive top-notch education at the lowest price points. Metrics ranged from student-faculty ratio to graduation rate to post-attendance median salary.


SmartAsset looked at retention, scholarships and salary to determine which schools return the best value to students, and ranked Illinois Wesleyan among the top 10 Best Value Colleges in Illinois. 

College Choice

College Choice

Illinois Wesleyan University is named No. 5 among the 25 Best Colleges in Illinois, in a ranking based on both academic quality and return on investment (how much you’ll end up paying for college versus what you can expect to earn once you’ve graduated).


MONEY's Best Colleges For Your Money

Illinois Wesleyan is among MONEY Magazine's Best Colleges for Your Money 2017, based on 27 measures of educational quality, affordability, and alumni success.



Illinois Wesleyan is listed on Forbes' Grateful Grads 2018 - 200 Colleges With The Happiest, Most Successful Alumni, an index based on alumni giving back to support their alma mater.


Best Overall


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 ranked No. 72 among national liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News & World Report 2019 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.


The Princeton Review

Illinois Wesleyan has been included in The Princeton Review's annual listing of Best Colleges every year since the list's inception in 1989. The 2019 edition recognizes Illinois Wesleyan among the top 20 schools for Best Career Services and Best College Library.

Students surveyed describe Illinois Wesleyan as “a small school that oozes big opportunities,” where they feel confident about getting a job straight out of college.

Business Insider

Business Insider

Business Insider named Illinois Wesleyan University the No. 10 college in the Midwest, after noting that many of its top 100 schools fell in this region and deserved additional notice. Their rankings highlight schools that provide a quality education and graduate students on time, set graduates up to earn well-paying jobs early in their career, and create a memorable and enjoyable campus experience.

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."


Best "Secret"

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."

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."


Most Accessible/Affordable

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.

Scholar Match

Scholar Match

ScholarMatch named Illinois Wesleyan to its College Honor Roll of schools offering excellent opportunities for low-income and first-generation students.

Public data from the federal government and other public college data collection sites were used to evaluate 1,400 schools in areas of financial aid, academic strength, student support services, and post-graduate success – with specific consideration given to low-income students’ needs.


Best By Region

College Raptor

With rankings based on a combination of factors, including graduation rates, campus diversity, endowment per student, and other data as reported via the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), College Raptor named Illinois Wesleyan among the Top 25 Best Colleges in the Midwest.




Illinois Wesleyan is No. 1 on the Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Illinois and among the Best Small Colleges in America, based on analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education, along with reviews from students and alumni.

Best Colleges


Illinois Wesleyan University is No. 8 among the Best Colleges in Illinois, using recent government data to analyze the most important school performance markers, including acceptance, retention, graduation and enrollment rates. These metrics indicate a university’s overall quality and help determine which schools best prepare students for their professional careers.

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