What Are The Big 10 Schools?

The Big 10 Schools are an epitome of excellence - academics or extracurricular. Learn about the Big 10 Schools, top features, pro and cons, and more

TCM Staff

12th October 2020

Big Ten Schools have set an exemplary benchmark in myriad fields - academics, sports, and other extra-curricular activities. Conceived as a ramification of the intercollegiate conference for athletics, the Big 10 Schools are the nation’s top research institutions to provide world-class service(s) in different facets of education. The committee has since expanded to incorporate 14 member schools in the current date. 

The Big 10 is deemed as the nation’s first inter-college sports/athletics conference. Established in 1985, the (then) 7 member schools gathered to participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I program. The following 8 decades witnessed the branching of the Big 10 into 10 members. As of 2020, there are a total of 14 Big 10 schools, coupled with 2 affiliate member schools. A defining characteristic of the Big 10 schools is its enormous student population. These schools are mostly public educational institutions, funded and modulated by the Federal Government. Let us look at the 14 Big 10 Schools that have served magnanimously to students from every nook and cranny of the world. 

Big 10 Schools - Members

The Big 10 Schools have experienced several changes in its name since its inception. Initially coined as the Western Conference, and later the Big 9, the Big 10 schools are now popularly ‘nicknamed’ as the B1G. The 1895 conference constituted representatives from Purdue University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin. The member committee was joined by the University of Iowa, and Indiana University in 1899. 

Currently, the B1G consists of 14 member schools with the addition of 2 affiliate participants. Initiated in the Mid-western states of the U.S, the B1G has branched its roots to the geographic East Coast. Here are the member institutions of the B1G - 


US News Rank



Undergraduate rate


Evanston, Illinois

Northwestern University



Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan



Madison, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin



Champaign, Illinois

University of Illinois



Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State University



University Park, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State University



West Lafayette, Indiana

Purdue University



Piscataway, New Jersey

Rutgers University



College Park, Maryland

University of Maryland




University of Minnesota



Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University



East Lansing, Michigan

Michigan State University



Iowa City, Iowa

University of Iowa



Lincoln, Nebraska

University of Nebraska


The Big 10 Schools had kicked off as a committee competing for everything sports - intercollegiate athletic meets (the NCAA Division I), football tournaments (Football Bowl Subdivision), and more. However, their objective has since diversified to include academics and research in their curriculum. 

Stand-out characteristics of the Big 10 schools

The last few decades have witnessed the transition of the Big 10 team from an original athletic conference to a system incorporating an assortment of fields and domains into its constitution. These educational institutions manifest several semantic features along with their primary dictum of participation in a common athletic conference. One such semantic characteristic is the high influx of the undergraduate population. All the member schools of the B1G are elite research institutions, funded and governed by the Federal Government. They are mostly public institutions, with the exception of Northwestern University (which is a private university).

Here are the stand-out features of the Big 10 Schools - 

Selectivity, and Acceptance

Since these schools are sports-based schools many students might think the selectivity in these schools must be very lenient. But this isn't the truth, these schools may have a high intake but they are highly selective while accepting students. The average SAT score tops as high as 1200 per annum. Northwestern University dispenses a high SAT score of 1490. However, the good news is that they boast a very high acceptance rate as well.

Top-notch Athletics 

It is safe to coin that, athletics is the base which connects, or binds the Big 10 schools or universities. Athletics holds enormous importance in these schools, after all, athletics has made them raised them to fame. With the luxury of high-end sports facilities and massive playgrounds, games are played with full vigor. The Big 10 has incorporated sports as an integral element of their education curriculum, spending lavishly to facilitate only the best of service. 

Most Big 10 schools are known or are famous for their sports activities and athletic programs. On average we can say almost all the Big 10 schools invest nearly $70 million on athletics. Some of the schools which generate a large sum of capital from various athletics events are - the University of Wisconsin and Ohio State University. So, one can say that if someone wants to explore world-class athletics and state of the art sports infrastructure, then the Big 10 is your answer. 

The campuses have the culture and the (appropriate) set up which gives great emphasis to athletics. Students with the aim for a career in athletics, or accolades in the field are awarded generous packages of scholarships by the Big 10. All in all, we can say these colleges offer great opportunities for crafting a laudable career in sports along with an excellent academic history. 

Undergraduate Enrollment

When it comes to enrollment, the Big 10 schools have a ginormous intake. As they are public universities ( except for Northwestern University), they allow enrollment for almost 30,000 students, which is quite huge.

Research Facilities, and Federal Funding

For research scholars and enthusiasts the Big 10 Schools are epitome for optimal research. One stand-out advantage is that these schools receive large amounts of funds to promote research activities from the  Federal Government, encouraging students to pursue research. There is tangible evidence of these claims. Each year, the Big 10 engage in nearly $10 billion in research. The members of Institutional Cooperation (CIC) receive 12% of all federal research funds. In 2007 alone, it received $3.5 billion in federal funding.

A notable advantage of these schools is that they are home to enormous libraries with a massive collection of books. Students are subjected to excellent mentorship (in all fields) by the teaching staff. The Big 10s have formed strong ‘ties’ with each other, paving the way for the students and staff to access the libraries. There is an opportunity for students to register for credit transfer (from one member university to another). These educational institutions share their teaching professionals whenever, and wherever required.

In short, in the Big 10 Schools students are not only benefited from their school but also from other member schools of the Big 10.

Do you need a Big 10 education?

The enrollment in a Big 10 is entirely upon the student. For a sports enthusiast, these schools meticulously shelter his/her interests. The biggest perk of the Big 10 Schools is that they are elite, top public schools in the nation They receive their funding from the government, possess vast assets, offer reasonable tuition fees, and incorporate state-of-the-art infrastructure housing a large population. 

Most enrolled applications are by in-state students as they leverage the school’s reservation policy. However, when it comes to brand name and image they are unbeatable. They commemorate an impeccable culture, giving equal emphasis to work, and play. Though athletics is a major concentration for the Big 10s, they encourage other sports like badminton, football, and many more. 

The disadvantages for which many students may not prefer these Big 10 schools are that - 

  • The low student to faculty ratio leads to minimal interaction between the parties

  • These schools mostly do not experience a diverse demographic due to their in-state student reservation 

  • The head-count per class is quite high, almost accommodating a hundred students in each classroom


The bottom line is, if you are one of those who wish to make a career in athletics or sports or maybe looking for a career in research then Big 10s are the place for you. It gives students the right kind of environment where they can grow and be the best version of themselves.

Recent Articles

How to get the highest possible ACT score: A complete guide

Do College Credits Expire ? : College Credit Guide [2024]

What Is a Good SAT Score?

How to Get a Scholarship in 6 Easy Steps?

Undergraduate vs Graduate: What Is the Difference?

Time Management for College Students: 8 Helpful Tips