Martin Luther College, in southern Minnesota, is designed for students on a very specific career path. Owned by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the school prepares its roughly 700 undergraduates to become pastors, teachers and staff ministers for the public ministry in the synod. The college is only a few decades old, created in 1995 by combining Dr. Martin Luther College and Northwestern College, both of which dated to the late 1800s.

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Courses are mixed with daily chapel, Bible study and service projects. The college is a standout for affordability and its success at getting students through to graduation. Education is the most popular academic program on campus, as graduates are qualified to teach in both public schools and schools of Lutheran denomination.

Martin Luther College fields 16 NCAA Division III teams, and more than half of students participate in at least one intramural sport. There are also a number of student clubs, although two dominate: drama and music. Mankato, a haven for snowboarders, is just 30 minutes away, and a two-hour drive will get students to the Twin Cities.