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Illinois Wesleyan University
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Illinois Wesleyan University

Bloomington, Illinois

Where the multitalented go to learn.

This is a true renaissance university where students are encouraged to explore all of their interests. Double majors in diverse subjects like physics and music are common. Students have a host of compelling opportunities to enrich their education with off-campus experiences that might involve spending a year at Pembroke College/Oxford University or perhaps a semester in Washington D.C. through American University.

Student Profile

2,090 students, 1199 female, 891 male

Faculty Profile

184 full-time faculty members. 92% of the faculty hold a Ph.D. or appropriate terminal degree. 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, average class size is 17, average lab size is 15.

Residence Life

82% of students live on campus, 19 residence halls. Options include traditional large residence halls, smaller houses, a Spanish house, an art house, and an international house.

School Location

The twin cities of Bloomington/Normal, which have a combined population of over 125,000, and are about 130 miles from Chicago, 165 miles from Indianapolis, and 160 miles from St. Louis.

Athletics

NCAA Division III CCIW Conference; 18 varsity sports teams (9 men’s; baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track & field; 9 women’s; basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, and volleyball) 

Activity/Club/Organization Types

165 student organizations including student government, student media, service organizations, and special interest clubs. 

Other Information

Illinois Wesleyan University is an independent, co-educational, undergraduate university.

Academic Programs

Accounting, Anthropology, Art, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Educational Studies (elementary and secondary), English (literature or writing), Environmental Studies, French, German, Hispanic Studies, History, International Business, International Studies, Mathematics, Music, Music Theatre, Nursing, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Risk Management, Sociology, Theatre Arts (performance and design technology), Women’s Studies.

More Distinctions

  • President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll annually since 2006 -  the only liberal arts college in Illinois to be honored each year the award has been presented.

  • 2012 Washington Monthly ranked Illinois College fifth in the nation for number of hours per student spent in service. Illinois College was also named a top 100 liberal arts school in the nation in the same year.

  • Named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

  • Ten NCAA Division III track and field national championships in the last four years.

Engaged Students

Students are encouraged to actively explore all that the University has to offer both in terms of academics and extracurricular activities. Students in a portfolio management class actually manage part of the University’s endowment and student research is celebrated every year at a student research conference…


A place where you can do it all

  • IWU offers a balanced liberal arts education, which fosters the success of its multitalented student population and provides students with the diverse experiences needed to prepare them for a global society.
  • As a solely undergraduate community, IWU dedicates all of its resources and unique opportunities to its 2,100 undergraduate students. Many students choose to conduct research in their fields, and this work is supported by the annual John Wesley Powell Research Conference held on campus. 2011, over 130 students participated in the conference. Presentations traditionally deal in a wide range of subjects, from the natural and social sciences to areas such as music composition, international studies, history, and more.
  • IWU students often complement their education with a study abroad experience. Students can take advantage of nearly 300 semester- and year-long programs in over 75 countries, or participate in month-long study abroad courses offered during the distinctive May Term portion of the 4-4-1 academic calendar. IWU is also one of 12 schools nationwide to have an exchange program with Oxford University.
  • The community surrounding Illinois Wesleyan offers distinctive opportunities as students look to supplement their classroom experiences with off-campus learning experiences. The best example of this is the Action Research Center, which coordinates research projects undertaken by Illinois Wesleyan University students, faculty, and staff in partnership with groups in the larger central Illinois community. Current projects include work on McLean County’s ten-year plan to end homelessness, a tutoring and mentoring program, and work with the Ecology Action Center to reduce pesticide use.

Great Teaching

The University encourages academic innovation by allowing faculty members to experiment with new material and techniques by teaching experimental courses and highly flexible topical courses…


Active and innovative

  • All of Illinois Wesleyan’s courses are taught by professors, and 92 percent of the faculty members hold terminal degrees in their fields. Through the faculty advising program, every student has a faculty advisor during their entire four-year college career. With a student to faculty ratio of eleven to one and an average class size of 17, faculty members are drawn to IWU by the one-on-one interaction that students themselves are seeking.
  • Relationships with professors are developed early with the help of the distinctive Gateway colloquium course—a small, discussion-oriented course designed to develop first-year students’ proficiency in writing academic and public discourse. This course is capped at 15 students.
  • Every professor holds at least five office hours each week, but this is just one example of the accessibility of faculty. Faculty members actively seek out students for participation in independent studies and research projects. While the traditional semesters afford opportunities for these types of endeavors, the May Term is often utilized for these experiences, as well.
  • Most classes at IWU are small, personal, and discussion-based. In fact, only six students need to register for a course in order for the course to be taught. There are exceptions to this rule, and courses with as few as two students have taken place.
  • Dr. Narendra Jaggi, professor of physics, was recently named Illinois Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. IWU faculty members consistently receive grants to help them continue and expand upon their work and research. Recently, grants have been awarded in areas such as music composition, green chemistry, and nursing.
  • Majors in the College of Liberal Arts: Accounting, Anthropology, Art, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Educational Studies (elementary and secondary), English (literature or writing), Environmental Studies, French, German, Hispanic Studies, History, International Business, International Studies, Mathematics, Music, Music Theatre, Nursing, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Risk Management, Sociology, Theatre Arts (performance and design technology), Women’s Studies.

    Pre-Professional Programs: Pre-Dental, Pre-Engineering, Pre-Forestry, Pre-Law, Pre-Medical, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Veterinarian.

Vibrant Communities

Big name speakers and performers, great sports, 165 student clubs and organizations, fantastic facilities and a host of other activities and opportunities make for a thriving campus community…


Something for everyone

  • IWU has an 80-acre campus located in suburban Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, about two hours south of Chicago and within three hours of St. Louis and Indianapolis. Bloomington-Normal is one of the fastest-growing communities in Illinois, with a population of 125,000 permanent residents. With Illinois State University located eight blocks north of IWU’s campus, there are roughly 24,000 college students in town nine months of the year. With two universities so closely situated, Bloomington-Normal thrives as a college town, replete with numerous restaurants, coffee shops, an indoor and outdoor mall, movie theaters, and a diversity of entertainment. The local media pay close attention to IWU sports and campus events, and the University is a centerpiece of this central Illinois community.
  • On campus, the school’s 10 Greek fraternities and sororities account for 30 percent of the campus population, providing a balance between Greek life and independent life. With a diverse student body, professional schools of music and theatre, 18 successful NCAA Division III sports teams, an active and engaged Student Senate, and a residential campus with over 75 percent of the students living on campus, students are never lacking for things to do beyond academics.
  • In recent years, entertainers and guest lecturers have included Maya Angelou, Ben Folds, Kurt Vonnegut, Cornell West, Gavin DeGraw, Angela Davis, Dr. James Watson, John Updike, Magic Johnson, Mat Kearney, Dmitri Martin, and many others.

Successful Outcomes

The Career Center works with students throughout their time at IWU to help them find a rewarding career and enriching internships that match their academic interests…


Education for a changing world

  • In a typical year, about 35 percent of IWU graduates will pursue an advanced degree, whether at graduate school, medical school, law school, or other type of institution. Recently, IWU graduates have attended institutions such as: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Georgetown, Duke, Oxford, Stanford, and Emory universities.
  • IWU graduates benefit from the school’s diverse, flexible liberal arts curricula, and about 20 percent of each year’s graduates complete a double major. Students also benefit from a diverse student body—IWU’s diversity enrollment has increased by 50 percent over the last ten years.
  • IWU boasts a medical school acceptance rate nearly twice the national average—the acceptance rate typically hovers around 90 percent. Challenging, fast-paced courses; research and internship/externship opportunities; and small classes and labs all play a role in preparing students for the MCAT and medical school.
  • Overall, IWU has a 92 percent employment placement rate. IWU’s School of Nursing has a 100 percent employment placement rate, and the Music Education program has placed all of its graduates into the teaching profession over the last eight years. Also, in two of the past three years, IWU accounting students had the highest CPA pass rate in the state of Illinois.
  • Famous Illinois Wesleyan alumni include executive assistant director of the FBI Mike Mason; former vice president Adlai Stevenson; three-time Grammy winner Dawn Upshaw; seven-time NBA All-Star Jack Sikma; former CEO of BFGoodrich, Kinko’s, and Lexmark B. Charles Ames; State Farm CEO Ed Rust; and actor Frankie Faison.

Admissions and Financial Aid

2011 – 2012: comprehensive ($37,774 tuition) Financial Aid: need and merit-based financial aid is available.

Alumni giving rate: 31%; Endowment: $176 million

Each IWU school or college looks for somewhat different strengths and abilities in reviewing applicants’ credentials. However, applicants for admission are recommended to have:

  • Fifteen (15) academic units within the areas of English, foreign language, mathematics, laboratory science, and social science.
  • A cumulative grade point average of B or higher.
  • Well-written personal essays.
  • Student activities in school and the community.
  • Results of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT-I) or American College Test (ACT) showing comparable aptitude to grade point average, class rank, and preparation. Scores from these tests will be accepted from high school transcripts. For specific information on standardized test requirements and high school coursework, contact a member of the Admission Staff.