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CHICAGO – College-bound seniors have a big day quickly approaching.

The first college application Early Action and Early Decision Day traditionally happen on Nov. 1.

Early Action is non-binding and means an admitted student can still choose not to attend that university or college, but Early Decision is binding and students who apply under it agree to enroll if accepted.

With such a big decision looming for so many prospective college students, WalletHub released its 2023’s Best College & University’s Rankings report this week.

Experts say students need to consider costs and quality of the institution when weighing their college options.

According to WalletHub the average costs for tuition, room and board at a four-year college is between $23,000 and $52,000 a year.

Researchers note the figure also depends on variables like whether the school is in-state or out-of-state and whether the school is public or private.

WalletHub compared more than 900 colleges and universities on 30 key metrics such as admission rate, student-faculty ratio, graduation rate, safety, student-loan debt, and return of educational investment to get their rankings.

Two Illinois universities finished in the top 25 of the report, Northwestern is ranked 11th and University of Chicago is 23rd.

Overall Rankings

Overall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is ranked No. 1, followed by Yale, California Institute of Technology in third and Princeton in fourth and Harvard 5th.

Regional Rankings

Regional rankings have Northwestern University ranked number one in the Midwest, followed by the University of Chicago, in third is the University of Michigan, Grinnell College is fourth and the University of Notre Dame is fifth.

State Rankings

Taking a look at State rankings, Northwestern University is ranked number one, University of Chicago is second, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign is third, Illinois Wesleyan University is fourth and the Illinois Institute of Technology is fifth.

Below are the top 10 schools ranked Overall, in the Midwest and in Illinois:

2023 Best Colleges & Universities:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Yale University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • Rice University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Duke University

Best Colleges & Universities in Midwest:

  • Northwestern University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • Grinnell College
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Carleton College
  • Macalester College
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

Best Colleges & Universities in Illinois:

  • Northwestern University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
  • Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Wheaton College
  • University of St. Francis
  • Bradley University
  • Monmouth College
  • Olivet Nazarene University

Here’s a look at how the state’s top 3 schools performed in various categories:

Northwestern University:

  • 1st – Post Attendance Median Salary
  • 2nd – Admission Rate
  • 2nd – Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 2nd – Graduation Rate
  • 4th – Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 12th – On-Campus Crime
  • 39th – Net Cost

University of Chicago:

  • 1st – Admission Rate
  • 1st – Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 1st – Graduation Rate
  • 2nd – Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 3rd – Post-Attendance Median Salary
  • 8th – On-Campus Crime
  • 40th – Net Cost

University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

  • 4th – Graduation Rate
  • 4th – Post-Attendance Median Salary
  • 5th – Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 6th – Admission Rate
  • 14th – Net Cost
  • 21st – On-Campus Crime
  • 40th – Student-Faculty Ratio