Northwestern University is probably the most poorly-named institution of higher education in the US, after, of course UPenn. Located, as you might have guessed (not.) in the middle of the country (namely, near Chicago), its name not only fails to reflect its true geographical location, but, being "directional," makes the (private) university sound like a state school, and gives rise to frequent confusion, on the part of East Coasters, with Boston's Northeastern University, a far less prestigious institution. All this is pretty sad, given that Northwestern is a fairly solid school, although, to add insult to injury, it's not even the best university in the Chicago area - UChicago, its cross-town rival, is leaps and bounds ahead, intellectually. That said, Columbians might appreciate the irony of the fact that, though it's located in a suburb, Northwestern has better transit access and much more active, lively surroundings.