Sometimes people lose sight of all that Illinois as a whole holds. While Chicago-land may receive the mast majority of the state's attention, once you get outside of the area, you begin to find that there's more to the Midwest's most heavily-populated state, which holds over 300 colleges and universities. While Chicago and the surrounding area may hold nationally-acclaimed institutions like Northwestern University, Loyola University-Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago, there are still copious amounts of opportunity at the other schools sprinkled around the state, such as Illinois State University in Normal/Bloomington and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. The Illinois Community College System even features two culinary schools. If you're looking for vast academic options, find them in the Prairie State.