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Colleges / Explore Lists / Big Ten Schools 2021

Big Ten Schools 2021

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List by College Confidential
Photo: Vlada Karpovich/Pexels

The Big 10 is the oldest Division 1 collegiate athletic conference in the United States. Despite its name, the conference actually consists of 14 world-class research universities that are known for their strong academics, competitive D1 athletics and boisterous school spirit. The conference was originally founded in 1895 when a handful of Midwestern universities came together with the goal of developing a more standardized system to regulate intercollegiate athletics. The conference has since expanded to include more schools, including University of Maryland, Penn State, and Rutgers. Seven of the member universities are in the eastern division of the conference, and seven are in the western division. All fourteen Big 10 schools are committed to fulfilling the mission of academic achievement and athletic success. In 2016, the consortium officially changed it's name to the Big Ten Academic Alliance.

The Big 10 universities are listed below, ranked by acceptance rate from the most to least selective universities in the conference.

1. Northwestern University

Acceptance Rate: 9%

Northwestern in Illinois is a founding member of the Big 10 and the only private school in the conference. NU is the most selective school in the Big 10 conference. NU accepts only 9 percent of applicants and graduates 94 percent of all students.

Northwestern's mascot is Willie the Wildcat, and its sport teams are called the Wildcats, or sometimes just the 'Cats. The NU women's lacrosse team is considered the best in the conference.

  • 2. University of Michigan

    Acceptance rate: 22%

    The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor is a public university that was founded in August 26, 1817. It is one of the founding members of the Big 10 conference. U-M accepts 22 percent of applicants, and graduates 91 percent of students. U-M has 27 D1 varsity teams and 29 club sports team. U-M Ann Arbor is best known for men's football, ice hockey and basketball and women's volleyball. Michigan's mascot is the Wolverine and it's colors are maize-yellow

  • University of Michigan
    Ann Arbor, MI
  • 3. University of Maryland, College Park

    Acceptance rate: 44 percent

    The University of Maryland, College Park is a public university in College Park, Maryland. It became a Big 10 school in 2013, making it one of the more recent additions to the consortium. UM College Park has 20 varsity sports teams. Their teams are known as the Maryland Terrapins, or the Terps, after a the diamondback terrapins, a type of turtle commonly found in the region. UM College Park is best known for its men and women's basketball and lacrosse teams, as well as men's soccer and women's field hockey. Maryland was the Big 10 conference champion in 2020/2021.

    The University shares the colors red, white, black, and gold with the Maryland state flag.

  • 4. University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Acceptance rate: 54% The University of Wisconsin - Madison is the flagship of Wisconsin's public university system. It was founded in 1848. UW - Madison is best known for its football team, which plays home games in the packed Camp Randall Stadium, as well as men and women's basketball and ice hockey. The University of Minnesota is its biggest athletic rival. The school's mascot is Buckingham U. Badger, or Bucky Badger, as he is more commonly known. The school colors are Badger (or Cardinal) red and white.

  • 5. The Ohio State University

    Acceptance rate: 54%

    Ohio State in Columbus, OH is the flagship of Ohio's public state university system. It is often considered one of the best public universities in the country. Ohio State has 36 varsity sports teams. It's football team is one of the most highly-valued college football teams in the country. In 2018, it was valued at over a billion dollars. Ohio State's biggest athletic rival is the University of Michigan. These two Big 10 schools are two of the six U.S. universities that have won national championships in men's baseball, basketball, and football. Ohio State students are called "Buckeyes" after the state tree. The school colors are scarlet red and grey.

  • 6. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus

    Acceptance rate: 57 percent The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a public research university with campuses in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. UM Twin Cities' football program is one of the oldest college football programs in the country. In addition to football, they are best known for ice hockey, cross country and track, and women's gymnastics and rugby. Their biggest rival is the University of Wisconsin. These two Big 10 schools' football teams have a long-stanading tradition of competing for Paul Bunyan's axe. The UMN Twin Cities mascot is Goldy the Gopher, in honor of Minnesota's nickname, "The Gopher State." The school colors are maroon and gold.

  • 7. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Acceptance rate: 59% University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the flagship university of Illinois' public university system. The school has campuses in two cities: Urbana and Champaign. In 2020, U of I adopted a new mascot for the fighting illini's, the belted kingfisher, a blue and orange bird that is native to the state. The school's colors are also blue and orange.

  • 8. Purdue University

    Acceptance rate: 60% Purdue University is a public university in West Lafayette, Indiana that was founded in 1869. Purdue was one of the founding members of the Big 10 conference, and now has 18 NCAA Division 1 varsity team. The university's biggest athletic rivals include two other Big 10 schools, Indiana University and University of Illinois, as well as Notre Dame. Purdue's mascots are a vehicle called the Boilermaker Special and a made-up character called Purdue Pete. The school colors are old gold and black.

  • Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN
  • 9. Rutgers University - New Brunswick

    Acceptance rate: 61% Rutgers New Brunswick is the oldest of the three Rutgers University campuses in New Jersey. Rutgers just became a Big 10 school in 2013, however the university is thought of as the "birthplace of football" because the first collegiate football game was played between Rutgers and Princeton on the RU campus in 1969. (Rutgers won). Rutgers teams are called the Scarlet Knights, and the school colors are, fittingly, scarlet and grey.

  • 10. Michigan State University

    Acceptance rate: 71 percent Michigan State University is a public school in East Lansing, Michigan that was founded in 1855. Michigan State joined the Big 10 in 1950. MSU now offers 25 NCAA Division 1 varsity sports for students. The university's mascot is Sparty the Spartan and it's colors are white

  • Michigan State University
    East Lansing, MI
  • 11. Indiana University Bloomington

    Acceptance rate: 78 percent Indiana University Bloomington is the state's flagship public university, located in Bloomington. Indiana joined the Big 10 in 1899, just four years after the consortium was founded. Student-athletes are called Hoosiers, which is a slang term meaning someone from Indiana. IU Bloomington offer 24 Division 1 varsity sports, plus a large number of thriving club teams. The school colors are crimson and cream.

  • 12. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Acceptance rate: 78%

    The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is a public research university in located in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship institution of the University of Nebraska system. Nebraska just became a Big 10 member in July 2011, when it was unanimously approved as the 12th school in the conference. The university has 19 NCAA Division 1 sports team that compete within the Big 5. NU's biggest rivals in the conference are Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Nebraska students are called cornhuskers, and the mascot is Herbie the Husker. The school colors are scarlet and cream.

  • 13. The University of Iowa

    Acceptance rate: 83% The University of Iowa is a public university situated along the banks of the Iowa River in Iowa City. Iowa has 18 NCAA Division 1 teams, known as the Hawkeyes. The university recently eliminated four teams - men's gymnastics and tennis, and men and women's swimming and diving - in response to a budget deficit. Iowa joined the Big 10 in 1899, the same year that Indiana joined. It's biggest rivals within the Big 5 conference are Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The school colors are black and gold.

  • The University of Iowa
    Iowa City, IA
  • 14. Penn State - University Park

    Acceptance rate: 76% Penn State University Park is a public school located in Western Pennsylvania. Penn State was one of the later schools to join the Big 10; it became a member in 1990. The university's mascot is the Nittany Lion and its colors are white and three distinct shades of blue, mores specifically Nittany Navy, Beaver Blue and Pennsylvania Sky.

  • Penn State - University Park
    University Park, PA
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