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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

10 Best Colleges in Minnesota

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Minnesota is known as the “land of 10,000 lakes.” The state is actually home to more than 11,000 lakes and has 90,000 miles of shoreline—more than Hawaii, California, and Florida combined! Another thing that Minnesota has an abundance of is great colleges. The state is home to everything from world-class liberal arts colleges like Carleton and Macalester to excellent large public universities like the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.


Our Ranking Methodology


Our list of the 10 best colleges in Minnesota was constructed with a focus on school quality, outcomes, and return on investment (ROI). It also considers a host of other factors such as retention rate, selectivity, endowment per student, student-faculty ratio, median earnings, and cost of attendance. You can find CollegeVine’s rankings in their entirety here.


10 Best Colleges in Minnesota


1. Carleton College


Location: Northfield, MN   

Acceptance Rate: 21%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1340-1508

Middle 50% ACT: 30-34

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,940


In addition to being one of the best colleges in Minnesota, Carleton College is also one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation. Carleton’s campus is a tight-knit community; students are required to live on campus for at least three years, and most choose to stay on campus for all four years. Class size is small at Carleton (it has a student-faculty ratio of 9 to 1), allowing students to receive individualized attention and form bonds with their instructors. When it comes to unwinding, the Knights like to fun—one of the most popular traditions is Rotblatt, an annual softball game where an inning is played for every year that Carleton has existed. 


Learn more about Carleton College and what it takes to get accepted.


2. Macalester College


Location: Saint Paul, MN   

Acceptance Rate: 39%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1290-1430

Middle 50% ACT: 29-33

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,049


Macalester College was founded in 1874 as a Presbyterian-affiliated, but nonsectarian, college and maintains its ties with the Presbyterian church today. Macalester’s Scottish heritage is seen (and heard) throughout campus: the student center is called the Loch, bagpipe lessons are available to all students for free, and the Macalester College Pipe Band has been a fixture for almost 60 years. Macalester places an emphasis on internationalism and multiculturalism—60% of Mac students study abroad in one of the college’s 90 programs spread across six continents. 


Learn more about Macalester College and what it takes to get accepted.


3. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities | Minnesota


Location: Minneapolis, MN

Acceptance Rate: 69%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1260-1430

Middle 50% ACT: 25-31

Undergrad Enrollment: 36,061


The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is the flagship institution of the Minnesota public university system and is the state’s only land-grant university. The school offers more than 150 majors, ranging from acting to urban studies. The University of Minnesota is a founding member of the Big Ten and athletics play an important role at the university—expect to see a lot of maroon and gold (the school colors) and gopher merchandise (the school mascot) while cruising around campus. The Golden Gopher men’s hockey team is one of the best programs in the nation, winning five national championships


Learn more about the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and what it takes to get accepted.


4. St. Olaf College


Location: Northfield, MN   

Acceptance Rate: 51%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1160-1370

Middle 50% ACT: 25-32

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,953


Founded in 1874 by Norwegian Lutheran immigrants, St. Olaf is one of the best colleges in Minnesota along with being one of the best Christian colleges in the nation. St. Olaf remains grounded in the Lutheran tradition today, however, it welcomes students from all faiths or no faith at all. Another legacy of St. Olaf’s founding is the college’s Nordic studies program, which not just teaches students a Nordic language, but also Nordic culture and society. St. Olaf operates on a 4-1-4 calendar, in which students take four courses in the fall and spring, and one month-long course in January. 


Learn more about St. Olaf College and what it takes to get accepted.


5. Gustavus Adolphus College


Location: Saint Peter, MN   

Acceptance Rate: 70%   

Middle 50% SAT: N/A

Middle 50% ACT: 24-30

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,245


Founded by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in the 1860s, Gustavus Adolphus College holds true to its founders’ values today with its commitment to educating students for community benefit and personal development. The college remains affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, but students of all backgrounds are welcome to attend. The college also remains connected with Sweden and Scandinavia—hosting the Nobel Conference, an academic conference authorized by the Nobel Foundation (located in Stockholm, Sweden), offering a noted Scandinavian studies program, and having a long history of students studying abroad in Sweden. 


Learn more about Gustavus Adolphus College and what it takes to get accepted.


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6. Saint John’s University | SJU


Location: Collegeville, MN   

Acceptance Rate: 81%   

Middle 50% SAT: 945-1195

Middle 50% ACT: 22-27

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,569


Saint John’s University is the oldest continually operating institution of higher education in Minnesota. SJU is a Catholic-affiliated university (47% of SJU students are Catholic, though students of all faiths are welcome) and the school is guided by Benedectine values. Saint John’s University is an all-male school; women attend its sister institution, the College of Saint Benedict. Together, the two schools provide students with a small liberal arts college experience, but with the resources of a larger university.


Learn more about Saint John’s University and what it takes to get accepted.


7. Concordia College 


Location: Moorhead, MN   

Acceptance Rate: 58%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1073-1240

Middle 50% ACT: 20-27

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,883


Concordia College is another one of the best colleges in Minnesota with Nordic heritage. The college was founded in 1891 by Norwegian settlers and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, but students of all backgrounds are welcome, with people from 31 religions and traditions calling Concordia home. The college offers study-abroad programs to Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences and the University of Tromsø—the world’s northernmost university. Concordia has a number of rich traditions, from receiving a personalized beanie as a first-year to getting a ring as a junior or senior. 


Learn more about Concordia College and what it takes to get accepted.


8. University of St. Thomas  


Location: Saint Paul, MN

Acceptance Rate: 5%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1470-1560

Middle 50% ACT: 33-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 4,703


The University of St. Thomas is a Catholic-affiliated school that develops students into morally responsible leaders and critical thinkers who work to advance the common good. Studying abroad is an important part of the St. Thomas experience, with 59% of students participating in programs across more than 50 countries. The school also has a campus in Rome, Italy, to house St. Thomas students participating in academic and summer programs. St. Thomas University boasts of its student outcomes: 95% of students are employed or in graduate school within a year of graduating. 


Learn more about the University of St. Thomas and what it takes to get accepted.


9. Bethel University


Location: Saint Paul, MN   

Acceptance Rate: 86%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1035-1325

Middle 50% ACT: 21-28

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,710 


Founded in 1871, Bethel University is the largest institution among the 13 schools in the Christian College Consortium. Bethel University is an Evangelical Christian college, which requires students to emulate the life and teachings of Jesus. Students must live by Bethel’s “Covenant for Life Together,” which, among other things, prohibits the use of alcohol and tobacco, premarital sex, and homosexual sex. Bethel College claims a spot on Campus Pride’s “Worst List,” which identifies the worst and most unsafe campuses for LGBTQ youth in the U.S.  


Learn more about Bethel University and what it takes to get accepted.


10. Dunwoody College of Technology


Location: Minneapolis, MN   

Acceptance Rate: 97%   

Middle 50% SAT: N/A

Middle 50% ACT: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,281


The Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest. Dunwoody is focused on preparing students for the workforce by ensuring they graduate with in-demand skills. The college offers a variety of programs, including automotive service technology, construction management, welding and metal fabrication, computer science, and architecture.


Learn more about Dunwoody College of Technology and what it takes to get accepted.


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?


Wondering what your odds are of admission at one of Minnesota’s exceptional schools? CollegeVine can help. Our free chancing engine uses a variety of factors—such as grades, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities—to predict your odds of acceptance at hundreds of schools in the land of 10,000 lakes and across the country.


Collegevine’s chancing engine can also help you build a balanced school list. By providing your odds of acceptance, you can strategically assign safety, target, and reach schools and put yourself in the ideal position to get into a great fit school. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.