2021 Big 10 School: Should You Really Attend One?

Many college students have heard of the Big Ten Schools, but you might not know precisely what the Big 10 refers to in its several contexts.

The Big Ten is one of the most esteemed intercollegiate athletic conferences in the country. Like the Ivy League, the term Big 10 commenced as an athletic conference founded by Purdue University in 1895.

It has 14 schools, where many schools are located in the Midwest. While they are all unique, Big 10 schools have many similarities and are known for highlighting athletics and academics.

What exactly is the Big 10?

The Big 10 is one of the top intercollegiate athletic conferences in the country. The entire list of its member institutions in NCAA Division I schools with FBS programs. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official sports, 14 for men and 14 for women. Big Ten schools participate in 42 sports, and they have combined to win more than 450 teams and 1800 individual national championships.

There were ten schools in the Big Ten since its inception, and now there are 14 schools that are part of the Big 10. The Big Ten includes the following colleges:

  1. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  2. Indiana University Bloomington
  3. University of Iowa
  4. University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  5. University of Michigan
  6. Michigan State University
  7. University of Maryland, College Park,
  8. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  9. Northwestern University
  10. The Ohio State University
  11. Penn State University
  12. Purdue University
  13. Rutgers University
  14. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Northwestern is the only private college in the Big 10. The other schools are prominent public universities. Maryland and Rutgers are the most recent additions to the Big Ten. They are also the only East Coast schools in the Big Ten. Rutgers is in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The rest of the Big Ten schools are in the Midwest.

How Big 10 Colleges are different from other Colleges 

Big Ten schools provide big-time athletics at foremost academic institutions. Many of the Big Ten schools are in vibrant college towns. The nearby population supports the school with genuine pride and honor. The students, alumni, and residents of the area are usually big fans of the athletic teams and are impatient to show their school pride.

Except for Northwestern, these are among the largest schools in their respective states and some of the most prominent schools in the country

The Big Ten Schools

I carried out in-depth research and created a table with the undergraduate enrollments, average standardized test scores, and the Big Ten Schools’ Big Ten Schools’ acceptance rates. The schools are listed according to their acceptance rates.

Big 10 School 2021

Pros and Cons of Attending a Big Ten School

Generally, the Big Ten schools are large public universities in the Midwest, it's tough to generalize all Big Ten schools. For instance, the culture and environment at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Rutgers are different. Nebraska, Lincoln, and New Brunswick, New Jersey are in different regions of the country. The demographics of their student bodies are different.

The advantages, disadvantages, majors offered, vibes, locations, acceptance rates, and student bodies vary for every Big Ten school. Although, you can make some generalizations about the advantages and disadvantages of attending a Big Ten school.

Pros of the Big Ten School

High-level Spirit

Big Ten schools have super vibrant environments. Most students who attend a Big Ten school are passionate to be in college. If you visit their campus all you can see is their college colors on the bar, restaurant, and outside college walls.

When I visited the University of Illinois, I saw thousands of students wearing their signature colors outfits and many shops selling University of Illinois apparel and souvenirs. You won’t find the same spirit in colleges like Stanford, Harvard, etc.

Big-Time Football

The Big Ten is one of the topmost football conferences in America. College football is very popular, and the Big Ten is one of the most prominent football conferences in the country. On game days at UNL, the attendance of people in the football stadium would make it the third-largest city in Nebraska. In the Big Ten four of the football stadiums are among the 17 largest football stadiums in the country.

The stadiums are always full and people come from all over the state and country to attend and support their team. There are heavy enthusiasm and energy among the fans.

Well-regarded Academics 

Big Ten Schools are admired academically. Big Ten schools are known to be some of the top public universities in the country. According to the US News, the University of Michigan is ranked as the #3 public university (#24 National University), the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin are ranked in the top 15, and many others Big Ten are also well ranked.

Providing the Benefits of the Large Universities 

Big Ten schools are all top public universities, so they give all the advantages of attending a large school. They offer an ample variety of degrees and programs than smaller colleges. At Penn State, there are more than 150 different possible majors. For comparison, at Amherst College, known as the best liberal arts colleges in the country, there are only 38 different majors.

At the University of Iowa, there are specialized majors like actuarial science, rhetoric and composition, athletic training, and music therapy.  In some schools like the University of Minnesota, you can major in construction management or apparel and textiles.

Also, there are lots of extracurricular activities. There are tons of student organizations, clubs, and fraternities, and sororities. At the University of Maryland, there are more than 70 Greek organizations and 60+ cultural organizations, including the Argentine Tango Club, the Pride Alliance, the NAACP, and the Vietnamese Student Association.

Public colleges are subsidized by state governments, the price of attending for in-state residents is lower. The tuition fees for a Michigan resident at Michigan State University are $25,046, and they're $50,352 for an out-of-state student.

Cons of the Big Ten School

Large Class Size

Because of the size of the Big Ten schools, students have to take pictures with hundreds of students, especially in introductory courses. 

At Ohio State University, the student-teacher ratio is 19:1 and 32% of classes have 50 or more students. At Kenyon College, a liberal arts college in Ohio, the student-faculty ratio is 9:1 and 75% of classes have 20 or fewer students. Students understand better in smaller classes where there is more interaction with teachers and other students.

Situated outside Urban Areas

Most Big Ten schools are located in rural areas. Here you won’t be able to enjoy your urban life(good cafés, bars, movies, theaters, variety of food, and hustle-bustle of the city life) right on your doorstep, some people may be disappointed.

The Weather

All the Big Ten schools experience some of the most extreme winters. For some students, the weather is not an important factor in choosing a college. Some students like to have a college in a temperate climate with year-round sunshine and mild cold in the winter. If you're from Florida or California, you'll have to get some actual winter wear before attending a Big Ten school.

What are the Deciding Factors to Attend a Big Ten School?

To decide for the Big Ten School you have to go through the same process when deciding which colleges to apply to and which one to attend. Understand the factors that are important to you in college. Contemplate the facilities, environment, selectivity, size, and majors offered at the school, and determine how much each factor matters to you.

Check-outLook the college’s website, and use guidebooks, college finders, search websites, and ranking lists to help you in the college selection process. If possible, consult with your parents, teachers, counselors, current students, and alumni. 

If finances are a concern for you, wait until you receive your financial aid packages from the schools that accept you to determine what your overall Expenses will be for each school.

If you want colleges that are similar to Big Ten schools which offer big-time athletics and quality academics in a college town you can think about the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Florida, Texas A&M, or the University of California-Berkeley.

Similarly, a private college that provides big-time athletics and values academics, then Northwestern, Duke, Stanford, USC, and the University of Notre Dam are great options for you.


Understand and know which college fits your nature and personality and has the facilities, value academics, and environment that will allow you to flourish and achieve your life and professional goals.