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Illinois Colleges

Illinois Colleges

 

Illinois is a state of a little over twelve million five hundred thousand people, situated in the heart of the Great Plains.  The great metropolis of Chicago grew on the shore of Lake Michigan in the north of the state after the Erie Canal connected the Great Lakes through Lake Erie to the Eastern Seaboard - and today Chicago is still the primary component of the state's identity.  The rest of the state proved to be fertile agricultural land, fed by many rivers and some thirty five inches of precipitation per year.  While the traders, the businessmen and the livestock dealers were along Lake Michigan in the city, the rest of the territory developed as a productive farm state. 

 

Chicago became a western industrial center for the nation after the railroads arrived in the 1850s.  It also was a terminus for moving cattle from western grazing lands and developed an enormous stockyard area adjacent to portions of the railroad.  It had all the flimsy wooden structures typical of a boomtown and most of the city burned in 1871.  Toda Chicago is the heart of a metropolitan area of eight million people.  The megalopolis spreads north to the Wisconsin border and crosses west into Indiana.

 

Chicago has become a financial center, but remains an important transportation hub both for railroad traffic and now air travel.  O'Hare is the busiest airport in the country.  Urban and specialized industrial centers have developed around the cities of Elgin, Peoria and Rockford.  The state retains some of its agricultural production capacity but has developed substantial industrial capacity outside of the Chicago area.  Such has long been the case: according to the 1880 census industrial production was producing twice the wealth that the state's agricultural base provided.

 

The state's weather is classic Midwest, with some special added features if you are in Chicago - along the shore of Lake Michigan.  There, the winds off the lake and the storms sweeping in from Canada can really chill the city during the winter.  During the summer, that same breeze has kept many of the Cub's home runs inside the park at Wrigley Field.  Winters on the plains are cold and can be snowy; spring is beautiful and too short.  The summers are hot and somewhat humid. 

 

Chicago is a big league city.  Several universities are located there.  Job opportunities from industrial to financial are also bound to be available there, if for no other reason than the size of the city and the diversity of its economy.  It is a major convention town, known for its restaurants, theater and museums.  It has not one but two major league baseball teams and an NFL franchise with a brand new stadium. 

 

If you are looking for a higher education experience in an urban center, there are a lot of reasons why Chicago would be a good choice.  It has a decent mass transit system and is surprisingly free of the sense of urban crowding that you feel in New York or Boston.  The people of the city take pride in their town; in many ways, Chicago IS Illinois.  On the other hand, life in a mid-sized prairie town isn't bad either and Chicago can remain a nice place to visit.

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