My friend and fellow writer at The Prospect, Eric Aldieri, posted a list of the top 5 most beautiful college campuses in New England, and I got a little bit offended. I get that he is from the East and really only applied to schools in the East and is going to be attending a school in the East. But, I’m from the Midwest and I only really applied to schools in the Midwest and I’m going to be going to a school in the Midwest, so doesn’t it make sense that I post a list of the top 5 most beautiful college campuses in the Midwest? We even get to tackle the great, “Is Ohio really the midwest?” debate. Which, by the way, Google says that it is (Midwestern states include: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio). So without further ado, here is my list (including one school in Ohio mwahaha).
1. The University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. Aka Hogwarts–UChicago is constantly spoken about as one of the most beautiful colleges in the country. Its nickname of Hogwarts comes from both its look (it really does look just like Hogwarts) and the fact that it’s so difficult to get in (it’s basically as rare as being born a wizard *ba dum chhhhhh*). Growing up in Chicago, Hyde Park was like this weird, mystical place where you went to visit your friend’s Jewish grandparents. Then, as you got into high school, you would occasionally travel to UChicago’s campus to see a show at the Court Theatre or basically just admire the architecture.
UChicago is basically perfect: from its cozy South Side location to its castle-like buildings. There is really only one problem with the campus: that one pink and orange lego-looking dorm building. You know what I’m talking about, UChicago students.
2. Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. As a small liberal arts college in the middle of rural Minnesota, Carleton rarely makes any of these “Most Beautiful Campus” lists, but, honestly, it should. Not only is Carleton beautiful, but it has a great student body, it’s considered one of the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the country, and its best buds (St. Olaf and Macalester) are basically right next door. It’s really just a win-win situation for anyone looking for a beautiful yet challenging liberal arts college in the Midwest (which basically, do you know how many of those there are here? There’s two in the town next to me alone). Beware of snow, though, because that is a thing. In fact, Carleton even has a cross-country skiing team because it’s that much of a thing.
3. Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Many claim that Bloomington is only accomplished because of its music programs. While this may or may not be true, it is the only Big Ten school to make my list. IU is so beautiful that you will regularly see parts of the campus being rented out for things like weddings and other beautiful events. The Big Ten schools have a very old and rich history and all of them are known for big brick buildings and beauty, but IU is basically the only one that has it all in my opinion. When people think Midwestern state schools, they think of cold-looking buildings in the middle of cornfields (which is sometimes the case, see Illinois State University), but that is definitely not the case with IU. Visit once and fall in love with the small town, rich cultural scene atmosphere, and open quad with big, beautiful buildings. Stepping onto IU’s campus is like coming home (even if you decide not to attend).
4. Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Known for having a very conservative campus and toting alums like Paul Ryan, I knew that Miami of Ohio–or J Crew U, as my high school friends always called it–was not for me. But, I did always admire its seemingly perfect campus (probably part of the reason why it attracts such seemingly perfect students). Honestly, everything I know about Miami is hearsay and therefore I feel unqualified to write much about it. Here’s a pretty picture of it, though.
5. Loyola University Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. I love how pretty much every college in Chicago let’s you know it in their name (UChicago, Columbia College Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago). It’s like they’re so proud of that fact, and honestly why shouldn’t they be? Loyola is located on the North Shore, basically halfway to Northwestern while still being in the city. It’s a Jesuit university but the campus is overall very liberal. Its very traditional campus is tucked away in a very pretty part of the city, far away from the hustle and bustle. Going to Loyola feels like going to a school in the middle of nowhere except you can take a train or bus to civilization and be there in no time.