5 Colleges And Universities In Minnesota For Driven Students

Getting a degree doesn't have to mean going a long way from home and putting your life on hold while you get an education. Minnesota has a wealth of great schools that allow students to pursue what they already know they're interested in while taking advantage of all the state has to offer. In no particular order, here are some institutions offering experiences unique to the state.

Starting off the list at #1 is the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, the oldest and largest campus in the University of Minnesota system. With a student body of around 50,000, it has consistently ranked as one of the largest public universities in the nation by enrollment. This includes more than seven thousand international students, representing more than one hundred countries.

Undergraduates can choose from a long list of majors and programs at the College of Biological Sciences, College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences, and others. Graduate programs are available in areas such as law, veterinary medicine, and dentistry. The College of Continuing and Professional Studies allows interested minds to enroll in individual courses to fit their personal needs.

Coming in at #2 is Bemidji State University. The town that gives the school its name is nicknamed "The First City on the Mississippi" due to the importance of its nearby lake. It is also the alleged birthplace of Paul Bunyan, and is an attractive destination for lovers of nature and the outdoors. The University has programs geared toward its local area, with degrees in wildlife biology, criminal justice with a tribal justice emphasis, and an Ojibwe language program.

Located on the western shore of Lake Bemidji, the school has a commitment to environmental stewardship and community service. Students can take advantage of the Outdoor Program Center, and get involved in organizations like the Council of Indian Students and Students for the Environment. 82% of those who attend receive some sort of financial aid, making this an ideal small school for those who can appreciate the wonders of the area.

In the #3 spot is Itasca Community College, located in the city of Grand Rapids. Founded in 1922, it offers programs in areas such as nursing and healthcare, geography, natural resources, and wildland firefighting. A range of diplomas and associate's degrees are available for students looking to prepare for certification tests, gain professional experience, or continue on to a four-year institution.

Residential living is offered at Itasca for full-time students, and concurrent enrollment is available to local high-school students. ICC also offers a Spring Semester study abroad experience in Denmark, with eight weeks of study and additional time for travel in Europe. The college's Biomass Project aims to involve those attending the school's natural resources, engineering, and power generation programs in the development of renewable sources of energy for the campus.

At #4 is The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, two nationally-recognized liberal arts colleges that have both been operating for more than 100 years. CSB was originally a school for women, and SJU for men. The two began a formal partnership more than 60 years ago, and today almost everything is co-ed. While residence halls are separate, students take classes, eat, attend events, and use athletic facilities on both campuses.

Easy transportation between the campuses is provided by the LINK, a free shuttle service. The Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary offers numerous graduate degree programs, including a Master of Arts in Liturgical Music. Undergraduates can take advantage of minors and pre-professional programs in areas such as book arts, chiropractic medicine, nutrition, occupational therapy, and athletic training.

Rounding things out at #5 is Augsburg University, located in Minneapolis in an area that includes Murphy Square, the city's oldest park. 97% of undergraduates receive financial aid, creating a diverse student body representing all sectors of society. The school also boasts a 12 to 1 student to faculty ratio, ensuring one on one contact with professors.

Though Augsburg is affiliated with The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, fewer than 20% of students identify as Lutheran. Doctorates are available in Nursing Practice and Psychology, and among the masters programs are a Master of Music Therapy and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. With a dedication to the liberal arts, dozens of undergraduate degree programs are available in a wide range of disciplines.