Founded in 1860 by evangelical abolitionists, Wheaton College is a small liberal arts school west of Chicago and a former stop on the Underground Railroad. Its students, who are passionate about academics and spirituality, find a solid education and evolving devotion to their faith at Wheaton.

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Students take on rigorous academics and develop strong relationships with professors, who provide both academic and personal mentorship. Ninety-one percent of undergraduate students get scholarships or grants to help them pay for school and complete it on time: Wheaton boasts an almost 87% six-year graduation rate.

Most students agree that being close to Chicago is a definite plus, especially at such a small school, where it can be hard to escape the "Wheaton Bubble." The community is close-knit, however, and many students forge close friendships with their dorm-mates.

Students have to adhere to Wheaton's Community Covenant, which prohibits undergraduates from using alcohol or tobacco, or holding dances without official college sponsorship, so there's no typical college partying — save for the underground few. For fun, Wheatonites can participate in campus sports, gospel choir, cultural clubs and student ministries, and the school hosts theater productions and improv shows for weekend entertainment.