Forget taking a year abroad. Head to Brigham Young University and take two years to travel the world -- as a Mormon missionary.
BYU is America's largest religious university: 98% of its more than 30,000 undergrads belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. More than 90% of the men and 20% of the women go on missions while at college, in many cases jetting off to other countries to do community service and spread the message of the Mormon Church. Along the way, they often learn a second language.
For BYU applicants, the school is usually their top choice: Nearly 80% who are admitted enroll. Since the church funds about 70% of the school's tuition costs, Mormons pay just $2,210 a semester -- non-Mormons pay twice that.
"We have a very respected and highly rigorous academic program," said Todd Hollingshead, a BYU spokesman. "The students who apply to BYU typically share many of the same values and they know they're going to get a great education at a very reasonable cost."
When they're not hitting the books, students can head to the Wasatch mountain range 20 minutes away for a weekend of skiing, hiking or camping. Or they can join 65,000 fans at the stadium for a Cougars football game.
"Any weekend you could end up having to choose between going to a game, comedy show and choir performance," said Hollingshead. "There's definitely no shortage of activities.
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