Harvard of the Midwest: Top 5 Ivy Rivals in 2024

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Harvard is one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. It’s part of the prestigious Ivy League and one of the oldest institutions of higher learning. The school has tutored eight presidents of the United States and has numerous award-winning students and faculty members.

The Midwest is one of the four census regions of the US, and many prestigious universities that offer a high quality of learning exist there. Harvard of the Midwest refers to the best university or universities from the Midwest.

This article will educate you on everything that you may need to know about Harvard of the Midwest. You’ll learn why the school(s) have this name tag and whether or not they’re worth the hype.

What is The Midwest?

It’s necessary to fully know the Midwestern states to understand the term “Harvard of the Midwest.” According to the US Census Bureau, the Midwestern states include;

  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Lowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

The region is one of the best places to school in the USA because it has many top schools. It’s a good option for international students because it has diverse student demographics. However, you should learn that international students won’t have access to financial aid programs like in-state students.

Numerous extra-curricular activities exist among schools in the Midwest, making attending them more fun. The hostels are top-notch, the libraries are world-class, and there are many other recreational activities.

Another important reason to attend a school in the Midwest is its job prospects. The region has many notable companies with many opportunities for students looking for internships. If you graduate with decent grades, your chances of getting a good job are high.

Which Schools are the Harvard of The Midwest

The Midwest has lowly-ranked schools, middle-class schools, and highly-ranked schools. Some of these elite schools are the ones that people refer to as the “Harvard of the Midwest.” The term isn’t official, and these schools or people only use the name to signify that they offer educational qualities similar to Harvard.

There have been many schools linked with the Harvard of the Midwest tag. Some schools considered the Harvard of the Midwest include The University of Chicago, Washinton University in St.Louis, Northwest University, The University of Norte-Dame, and Truman State University.

This section will evaluate this school individually and tell you the one that best suits the Harvard of the Midwest tag.

1. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is arguably the best school in the Midwest, and it’s what many people consider the Harvard of the Midwest. You don’t need to guess why as a peek into the school’s stat is enough to convince you. It’s a private research university in Hyde Park and has existed since 1890.

While it’s not in the Ivy League, it’s an Ivy-level institution. The school has produced almost 100 Nobel Laureates among its faculty and alumni. It also has 10 Field Medalists, 53 MacArthur Fellows, 26 Marshal Scholars, 4 Turing Award Winners, and many other academic achievements.

US News and World Report ranked the school sixth among the best universities in the US, making it the highest-ranking Midwestern school. A school like this commands high tuition, and you’ll need to spend around $63,801 annually. The catch is that the level of education that you’ll get at the school is worth every penny.

You should note that it’s among the most competitive schools to enter in the US, being one of the best. With these stats, it’s undoubtedly among the closest to Harvard in the Midwest.

2.  Truman State University

Another school that has worn the Harvard of the Midwest tag is Truman State University. US News and World Report currently ranks it second in regional universities’ Midwest rankings. It’s one of the first to call itself the Harvard of the Midwest.

The justification behind the school identifying itself by the nickname is that it’s the best public university in the Midwest, according to US News and World Report.

Recently, students and staff of the school seem to enjoy the nickname Princeton or Praire rather than the Harvard of the Midwest tag. It was known as the Northeast Missouri State University until 1996.

Although Truman State University is a good school, its stats don’t put it at the same level as Harvard. Firstly, Harvard is private while it’s public. Also, it has a 45% acceptance rate, miles above Harvard’s tally.

However, Truman is a good option if you want a good school with low tuition. Its state in-state tuition and fees are $9,132, while the out-of-state tuition is $17,532. You should note that the school only has a 75% four-year graduation.

3. Northwestern University

Northwestern University is another elite university in Chicago that’s one of the best schools in the Midwest. The US News and World Report currently ranks the school as the 9th best university in the nation, and just like Harvard, it’s private.

Its education standards are undoubted and are a massive part of why it’s among the best ten schools in the country. The school has a $64,887 tuition and a 7% acceptance rate. 94% percent of students that enter the school graduate successfully, and it has a 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio.

The National Science Foundation considers the school one of the best for research and development in the US. It has produced around 23 Nobel Laureates, 2 Field Marshals, 43 Pulitzer Prize winners, and many other winners of prestigious academic and non-academic awards. Despite not being at the level of Harvard University, it’s still one of the best schools you can attend in the US.

4. Washington University in St. Louis

US News and World Report Ranks Washington University in St. Louis as the 24th best in the country. It’s a private research university in Washington and is one of the schools comparable to Harvard in the Midwestern region. It was founded in 1853 and named after George Washington.

Tuition at the school is at a high of $64,500. The school has a 12% acceptance rate an 94% four-year graduation rate, and a 7:1 student/faculty ratio. More than 90% of its students find suitable employment after graduation.

It has produced 26 Nobel Laureates across various fields, and its students and alumni have won many other prestigious awards. The National Science Foundation considers the school one of the best for research and development expenditures.

Washington University of St.Louis also has vibrant sports and extra-curricular activities, and you can be part of over 100 sports teams and fraternities.

5.  University of Michigan

The University of Michigan is another elite public school called the Harvard of the West. It was founded in 1817, and the US News and World Report currently ranks it number 21 on the National Rankings. The university has over 40,000 students and 250 programs.

It was first referred to as the Harvard of the West by former president John F. Kennedy during his 1960 Presidential campaign. Many students and staff enjoyed the comparison and began referring to the school using the name. However, it’s unofficial, and the official alias of the school is the “Wolverines.”

The school costs around $17,228 for an in-state student and considerably more for out-of-state students. While its tuition is among the highest among Public schools in the US, the level of education you’ll get is worth it.

The university has produced 26 Nobel Prize Laureates, two Field Medalists, and Six Turing Award Laureates. It also had many faculty members and alumni who have distinguished themselves in other areas of specialization. If you’re a sportsperson, it might interest you to know that the school has produced 188 Olympic medalists as well.

Which School is the Real Harvard of the Midwest?

Harvard is currently ranked the third-best school in the US by the US News and World Report. The school has 150 Nobel Prize winners and is the university with the most Nobel Laureates in the world. Summarily, anything you can envisage about an elite university, Harvard has it.

Based on the listings in the previous section, there is no doubt that the University of Chicago is the rightful Harvard of the Midwest. It’s ranked twelfth in the National rankings, just 9 places behind Harvard.

Its educational qualities, sporting prowess, alumni and faculty strength, and others are comparable to Harvard. Like Harvard, the University of Chicago is one of the best in the world.

Understand that all the universities listed in the previous section are elite. They perform excellently well if you compare them with regular universities. However, some schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton have standards that only a few schools globally can match.


There’s all you may need to know about Harvard of the Midwest. The University of Chicago is one of the best you can get from the region, and it’s worth your time if you get a chance. Understand that aside from the schools on this list, there are many other prestigious institutions in the Midwest that you can attend.

Before you decide which school to attend, ensure that you conduct adequate research to come up with the best one. If you’re an out-of-state student skeptical about whether or not the Midwest is safe for school, it is. While it has its challenges, it remains one of the most accommodating for international students in the US.

If you’re searching for the best schools in the region, look no further than the five listed in this article.

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