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Big Ten Conference

Big Sports and Big Research Define the Universities in the Big Ten

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The members of Big Ten Conference can brag about more than athletics. These schools are all members of the Association of American Universities, schools distinguished by their excellence in research and teaching. Each also has a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Several of these universities make my lists of top public universities, top business schools and top engineering schools.

Compare the Big Ten schools: quick facts | SAT chart | ACT chart

Explore other athletic conferences: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac 10 | SEC

Also be sure to visit the About.com guides for college football and college basketball.

Illinois (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
sirmikester / Flickr

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign consistently ranks among the top public universities in the country. Its science and engineering programs are especially strong, and its library is outdone only by the Ivy League.

  • Location: Champaign, Illinois
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 44,407 (32,256 undergraduates)
  • Team: Fighting Illini
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the University of Illinois profile.

Indiana University at Bloomington

Indiana University Tower
prw_silvan / Flickr

The flagship campus of Indiana's state university system, Indiana University at Bloomington has an impressive 2,000-acre park-like campus whose building are often constructed from local limestone.

  • Location: Bloomington, Indiana
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 42,731 (32,543 undergraduates)
  • Team: Hoosiers
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the Indiana University profile.

Iowa (University of Iowa at Iowa City)

University of Iowa Old Capitol
Cbenning / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Iowa, like many schools on this list, has some top-notch academic programs to complement its impressive athletic teams. Nursing, creative writing, and art are all winners, to name just a few.

  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 29,810 (21,564 undergraduates)
  • Team: Hawkeyes
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the University of Iowa profile.

Michigan (University of Michigan at Ann Arbor)

University of Michigan Football Stadium
allygirl520 / Flickr

Academically, the University of Michigan is one of the strongest public universities in the country. On national rankings, Michigan is usually right up there with Berkeley, Virginia and UCLA. For pre-professionals, Michigan scores big in both business and engineering.

  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 42,716 (27,417 undergraduates)
  • Team: Wolverines
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the Michigan State profile.

Michigan State University at East Lansing

Michigan State University Spartan
mwlguide / Flickr

Michigan State has a massive 5,200-acre campus in East Lansing, Michigan. With over 47,000 students and close to 700 buildings, Michigan State is a small city unto itself. It may not be a suprise, then, that they have the largest study abroad program in the country.

  • Location: East Lansing, Michigan
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 47,825 (36,557 undergraduates)
  • Team: Spartans
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the Michigan State profile.

Minnesota (University of Minnesota at Minneapolis and Saint Paul)

University of Minnesota Pillsbury Hall
Mulad / Flickr

With over 51,000 students, the University of Minnesota is the fourth largest university in the country. Strong academic programs include economics, the sciences, and engineering.

  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 52,557 (34,812 undergraduates)
  • Team: Golden Gophers
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the University of Minnesota profile.

Nebraska (University of Nebraska at Lincoln)

University of Nebraska Architecture Hall
sscornelius / Flickr

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln consistently ranks among the top 50 public universities in the country. The university features excellent research facilities and strengths in fields ranging from business to English. The city of Lincoln can boast of a high quality of living and an extensive trail and park system.

  • Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
  • School type: Public
  • Enrollment: 24,593 (19,345 undergraduates)
  • Team: Cornhuskers
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the University of Nebraska profile.

Northwestern University

Northwestern University Marching Band
powerbooktrance / Flickr

Northwestern University has the distinction of being the only private university in the Big Ten Conference, so you can expect a significantly higher price tag. Nevertheless, students who qualify for financial aid can expect substantial grant aid, and on the academic front, the university has impressive strengths across disciplines, from English to Engineering.

  • Location> Evanston, Illinois
  • School type: private
  • Enrollment: 20,959 (9,466 undergraduates)
  • Team: Wildcats
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the Northwestern University profile.

Ohio State University at Columbus

Ohio State University Stadium
kla4067 / Flickr

Ohio State has the distinction of being one of the largest universities in the country, so it's fitting that they have a stadium that can seat 102,000. Ohio State usually ranks among the top 20 public universities in the country, and its programs in law, business, and political science are particularly noteworthy.

  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 56,867 (42,916 undergraduates)
  • Team: Buckeyes
  • Explore campus in this Ohio State University photo tour
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the Ohio State profile.

Penn State University at University Park

Penn State University Old Main
acidcookie / Flickr

Penn State is the flagship campus of Pennsylvania's state university system, and it is also by far the largest. Like several of the big universities on this list, Penn State has strong programs in business and engineering.

  • Location: University Park, Pennsylvania
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 45,628 (38,954 undergraduates)
  • Teams: Nittany Lions and Lady Lions
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the Penn State profile.

Purdue University at West Lafayette

Purdue Bell Tower
The Udall Legacy Bus Tour: Views from the Road / Flickr

Purdue University in West Lafayette is the main campus of the Purdue University System in Indiana. With over 200 academic programs for undergraduates, Purdue offers something for nearly everybody. Chicago is 65 miles away.

  • Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 40,849 (31,988 undergraduates)
  • Team: Boilermakers
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the Purdue University profile.

Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin at Madison)

University of Wisconsin Social Sciences
Mark Sadowski / Flickr

The University of Wisconsin frequently ranks among the top ten public universities in the country, and it is well respected for the amount and quality of research conducted in its nearly 100 research centers. But students alo know how to play -- the university frequents lists of top party schools.

  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 41,946 (29,880 undergraduates)
  • Team: Badgers
  • For ACT and SAT scores, acceptance rate, costs, financial aid, and other information, visit the University of Wisconsin profile.

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