Illinois Wesleyan University

Bloomington, IL: Illinois Wesleyan University is a small liberal arts institution in central Illinois that has the academic standards of an Ivy League school. Called the Harvard of the Midwest, IWU is a university for those who want both academic challenges and close student/professor relationships.

I visited IWU overnight with the soccer team and I was able to see what life is like when school is in session. Everyone I met was very friendly and willing to answer my questions.

The campus is beautiful, exactly as I imagined a college campus would be. It is also small so everything is an easy walk.

I sat in on two classes and was pleasantly surprised. I had always heard that college freshman classes have hundreds of people but the ones I attended had fewer than 30. The largest class is about 60, and that is an introductory psychology course.

Professors taught both classes I visited, which is a major plus because often in bigger schools, teaching assistants run the courses instead of professors. Both professors took time to ask about my future plans, which was nice; they seemed genuinely interested in students’ welfare.

One of the more intriguing aspects to IWU is the May Term. IWU has its summer break at the beginning of May, but the May Term allows students to take one extra class during that month. The class could be on campus, an internship at a local business, or a month of studying abroad. This is very advantageous for students wishing to graduate early or for those pursuing a double major. It is an academic aspect that sets IWU apart.

The admissions counselors are all knowledgeable and friendly. The one I met with was interested in what was happening at my school, and was ready to answer any questions I had. With many organizations as well as varsity and club sports, there is something for every one of the 2,100 students. They can create new clubs, as well, if they have enough members to obtain a charter. IWU also has a beautiful new athletic center.

IWU is close to Illinois State University, and all the students I talked to said they have friends at ISU and go to events there, and vice versa. This is another aspect that sets IWU apart: while it is a small school, there’s a large school less than a mile away so the students from both schools can mix.

My overnight visit was very helpful in seeing all that IWU has to offer. It is perfect for those looking for a small, tight-knit community with an academic program competitive with some of the finest universities in America. See their website at