Shimer College

Let us begin by defining our terms.


We’re very small. Deliberately so.

Shimer enrolls fewer than 150 students, with no more than 12 per class. But we’re part of a tri-college campus, so we have the all the resources and amenities you need to round out your college experience.

We believe in the persisting value of the liberal arts. 

Our focus is a Great Books curriculum based entirely on primary sources. You’ll never read a textbook at Shimer or take a multiple-choice quiz. We use the same method of learning in all our courses, one based on dialogue, not lecture. Instead of taking exams that ask you to regurgitate knowledge, you write essays. With the skills they acquire at Shimer, graduates pursue a wide-range of careers and advanced degrees.

We have a cultural haven as our campus.

Located minutes from the Loop, we have easy access to countless reading series and art shows, museums and cultural centers, public protests and rallies, Lake Michigan and bike trails, and endless archives of unadulterated information. All reachable by public transportation steps away from our building.

We are an active and engaged community of equals. 

We are a self-governing community that lives by shared accountability and personal responsibility. Every voice is heard, all beliefs respected. We count among us prodigies who left high school early, homeschoolerstransfers, veterans, sci-fi writers, multilinguists, painters, philosophers, contrarians, misfits, and the double-jointed. 

Whether you stumbled upon us by pure fortune or you’ve long known our unique story, as long as you value curiosity, exploration, and very good books, you’ll feel welcome at Shimer.