With more than 22,000 undergraduate students, this public research institution has quite the presence in the Windy City. The University of Illinois at Chicago has a graduation rate that's slightly higher than peer schools and also boasts a relatively diverse student body, with significant white, Hispanic, and Asian populations on its 240-acre campus.

When they're not cramming for the popular business, biology or psychology classes in one of UIC's 16 academic colleges, students can explore all that downtown Chicago has to offer or join one of the school's hundreds of student organizations, including a competitive gaming club, investment banking association and a group that picks up litter.

Most students live off campus, and commuters can take advantage of the Commuter Student Resource Center, which has not only a lounge area and a kitchen but also lockers and study rooms. For fun, students can check out the campus’s 43-foot rock-climbing wall, attend a free comedy show, listen to UIC Radio or catch a Flames game. Every fall, students flock to Spark in the Park, a free concert that in recent years has featured performers like Lil Tecca and Nick Jonas.