Lake Forest College, fittingly located on the shore of Lake Michigan, offers its nearly 1,700 undergrads a liberal arts education with more than 30 majors from which to choose. Also on offer: four dual-degree programs — where students receive their bachelor's as well as an advanced degree — with partner universities, in subjects ranging from law to engineering.

With its campus 30 miles north of Chicago, Lake Forest makes the most of the opportunities and resources the city provides. It arranges field trips, coordinates academic projects and connects students with internships in the city. Students can even spend a semester living and learning downtown through Lake Forest's College in the Loop program.

Popular academic programs include finance, the social sciences and biology. Incoming students are enrolled in the First-Year Studies Program, which emphasizes critical thinking and writing skills through specialized introductory courses in a variety of topics examining cultures, religions and literature. Recent offerings include courses on music and math and an exploration of world history through the lens of one food: pizza.