Luther College-Decorah, Iowa
Small, welcoming Christian school
What it Feels Like to Go Here
Students at Luther College embark on a charming experience once admitted. Situated in the heart of Decorah, Iowa, Luther steeps in a small town politeness that the student body wholeheartedly embraces. “There is always someone smiling at you, saying ‘hi,’ offering to help,” said junior Mitch Bruggers. The students find difficulty in ignoring the school’s Norwegian heritage. Buildings christened “Yilvisaker,” “Olson” and “Dieseth” dot the campus, but you’ll have more trouble pronouncing these places than finding them.
Renowned for its music program, Luther’s notable alums made their names with instruments. A well recognized former student, Weston Noble, is revered across campus and the nation for the creation of Luther’s awe-inspiring Nordic Choir. Other memorable alums include composer Kurt Heinecke, whose music can be found on Spotify, and former politicians Jim Nussel and Dean Johnson. If you’ve got determination, Luther can give you the education to make your dreams a reality.
Where We Hang
A number of different hangouts nestle around Luther, catering to anyone and everyone’s social needs. Looking for a bite to eat and a relaxed atmosphere? Marty’s Café has you covered. “[It has] great food and it is a great place for socializing or studying,” said junior Mason Monturo. If you’re interested in camaraderie, you don’t need to search far. Junior Cory Wirth explained that because Luther requires students to live on campus during their four years, the dorms hold a special social significance. The college experience isn’t complete without coffee, and Luther students know how to satisfy their caffeine cravings. “[Java Johns has] good coffee and a lot of booth tables which make it a great study spot. But they also have couches and comfy chairs so it’s a good spot for reading and relaxing as well,” said junior Katie Carlson.
1. How much are students partying?
“Partying is definitely an option at Luther, but I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say we have a ‘party culture.’ When I think of schools with a party culture, I think of some of the state schools…where they’re notorious for partying a lot. With that being said, I think Luther College offers plenty of partying opportunities to for the students looking to let loose on the weekends,” said junior Cory Wirth.
2. What will you get in trouble for at Luther?
“You will get in trouble at Luther if you say you don’t like music or singing… and a good portion of the school practices very strict Protestantism/Catholicism,” said senior Marlene Jones.
3. How much sex are students having?
“I’ve known a decent amount of people who want to ‘hook up,’ but I feel like there are more people who want to develop relationships with people,” said junior Sean Trewin.
4. What would you tell incoming freshmen about Luther?
“I would tell incoming freshman to be outgoing, try new things, and meet new people. But also, keep time management in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Do what makes you happy,” said junior Mitch Bruggers.
5. What shocked you most about Luther?
“I guess the thing that surprised me the most about Luther is how big it seems even as the one of the smallest schools I’ve ever attended. I run into familiar faces as often as I come across strangers,” said Jones.
“I have enjoyed most of my experience at Luther. I have met some amazing people and gained so many great relationships. One thing I am not in favor of is having to live on campus all four years of my time here.” – Mitch Bruggers, Class of 2018, Management and Communications
“I have really enjoyed my time at Luther, I have made amazing friends and have had many amazing experiences.” – Mason Monturo, Class of 2018, Music/Vocal Performance
“My overall experience at Luther is mixed. I absolutely love the education I’m receiving. The professors I have had are extremely helpful and they care about my well being in the class and also as a normal human being. I feel that Luther is preparing me for my future career as a high school history teacher in the most successful way…” – Kailee Keyser, Class of 2018, History
“I have loved everything I have participated in at Luther. The college and community have been very good to me. The relationships I have developed are enduring because the people around me are so great. .” – Sean Trewin, Class of 2018, English
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience at Luther College thus far. When I go back home for the summer, I always look forward to moving back into school. My great experience at Luther has ultimately been made possible by all of the people I’ve met along the way. I honestly believe that some of the best people in the world come to college in Decorah, IA,” – Cory Wirth, Class of 2018, Biology
Top Three Majors
Top Three Most Popular Student Organizations
1. Choir (Aurora, Norsemen, Cathedral, Collegiate, Nordic and Cantori)
Music surrounds Luther College. “I love to sing and being in choir is like experimenting at Luther in a more musical way. It is also a stress relief method for me,” said Luther junior Linh Nguyen. First year women audition for Aurora, while men do so for the Norsemen. Sophomores and above can audition for Nordic Choir, a prestigious choral ensemble; sophomores can also try out for emerald-clad Cathedral Choir. Juniors and seniors don scarlet robes in Collegiate Choir, and Cantori opens its arms to ladies in their sophomore year or above.
2. Student Activities Council (SAC)
SAC allows Luther students to organize events and performances on campus. “I really enjoy SAC because I really feel that the events that we do are so important to the Luther community. I believe that there’s a strong busy culture at Luther where everyone feels that they need to have something ‘productive’ that they’re doing at all time,” said Zach Stekel, a member of the SAC executive board. “In reality, I believe that everyone really needs time to release stress and sometimes the most productive thing you can do is take a break and let yourself recollect your thoughts.”
3. KWLC Radio
Luther’s commercial-free radio station has been satisfying listeners since 1926. If you’ve got on-air aspirations, KWLC hopefuls can fill out a brief application on Luther’s website. “My experience with KWLC has been absolutely wonderful! I love working there because of the people I get to meet,” said junior Aaron Shouse.
Luther wouldn’t be classified as a blow-off school by any means, but if you’ve worked hard in school, you shouldn’t worry too much about an acceptance. In addition to an application and essay, students must submit a letter of recommendation and high school transcripts. The average enrolled student’s ACT score at Luther hovers around 28. “The high standard for academics was intimidating although that was one of the reasons I wanted to go to Luther,” said sophomore Sadie Andersen. Clearly, though, the application experience went well for Sadie since she now calls Luther College home.
Location: Decorah, Iowa
Tuition and Fees: $39,760
Total Cost on Campus: $48,540
Undergrads Enrolled: 2,385
Grads Enrolled: 0
Total Enrolled: 2,385
Acceptance percentage: 71.2%
Percentage of Male Students: 44%
Percentage of Female Students: 56%
Percentage Receiving Financial Assistance: 98%
Percentage Receiving Need-Based Financial Aid: 63%
Percentage Receiving Merit-Based Scholarships: 84%
Percentage Receiving Federal Grants: N/A
Percentage Receiving Loans: 69%