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Timothy Peck
6 College Lists

10 Best Colleges in Montana

What’s Covered:

 

Montana earned the moniker of the “Treasure State” due to its rich deposits of gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, coal, and oil. By the end of the 19th century, Helena was home to more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world thanks to its mines. Another resource Montana is rich in is its schools. The state is home to everything from Catholic-affiliated liberal arts colleges like Carroll to tribal colleges like Salish Kootenai to large public institutions such as Montana State University. 

 

Our Ranking Methodology

 

Our list of the 10 best colleges in Montana 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 Montana

 

1. Carroll College

 

Location: Helena, MT  

Acceptance Rate: 78%

Middle 50% SAT: 1070-1270

Middle 50% ACT: 22-28

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,322

 

Carroll is a Catholic liberal arts college with a 63-acre campus on the outskirts of Helena, Montana’s state capital. Carroll College’s location affords students a wide range of academic, professional, and recreational opportunities, including internships at various federal and state local offices and easy access to world-class mountain biking and hiking. Carroll College students will also find numerous cultural experiences in Helena; the city is home to Holter Museum of Modern Art, the Helena Symphony, and the Montana Shakespeare Company, along with more traditional Montana activities like rodeos and dog sled races. 

 

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

 

2. Montana State University | MSU

 

Location: Bozeman, MT   

Acceptance Rate: 80%

Middle 50% SAT: 1090-1320

Middle 50% ACT: 21-28

Undergrad Enrollment: 14,240 

 

Montana State University was founded in 1893 as a land-grant institution and it’s the largest university in the state today. MSU is one of just 131 colleges and universities in the country that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies as having “very high research activity,” and one of only 69 that is also classified as having “significant commitment to community engagement.” MSU’s location near two exceptional ski areas—Bridger Bowl and Big Sky—makes it particularly attractive to skiers. Those more interested in indoor activities are enticed by Bozeman’s cultural amenities, including its symphony, opera, and ballet companies, along with shopping, dining, and art. 

 

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

 

3. Rocky Mountain College | RMC

 

Location: Billings, MT   

Acceptance Rate: 71%

Middle 50% SAT: 930-1155

Middle 50% ACT: 18-24

Undergrad Enrollment: 839

 

Founded in 1873, Rocky Mountain College has the distinction of being the oldest college in Montana—in fact, the school is older than Montana itself, which didn’t receive statehood until 1889. RMC is a small liberal arts college that has historically been associated with the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church, however, the college is open to students from all backgrounds and is committed to openness to all points of view, including religious. RMC is notable for offering some unique majors, such as aviation, and equestrian studies. 

 

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

 

4. University of Montana

 

Location: Missoula, MT   

Acceptance Rate: 94%

Middle 50% SAT: 1055-1245

Middle 50% ACT: 20-26

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,714

 

The University of Montana is the flagship institution of Montana’s public university system. The university is located in the heart of the northern Rockies in western Montana, and Missoula is known as the “Garden City,” thanks to its dense trees and lush landscape. The University of Montana is particularly attractive to outdoor enthusiasts, as it is within driving distance of both Yellowstone and Glacier National Park and offers easy access to activities like skiing, hiking, and fishing. Consequently, the University of Montana has produced more Udall Scholars—exceptional students who intend to pursue careers related to the natural environment—than any other school in the country. 

 

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

 

5. Montana Tech of the University of Montana | Montana Tech

 

Location: Butte, MT   

Acceptance Rate: 91%

Middle 50% SAT: 1080-1260

Middle 50% ACT: 21-26

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,369

 

Montana Tech was founded in 1900 as the Montana State School of Mines. Originally, the school was housed in just one building, hosted 21 students, and offered only two degrees: mining engineering and electrical engineering. Today, the college remains focused on STEM. In fact, it’s Montana’s only STEM-focused university and offers degrees in fields ranging from biology to engineering to nursing. Montana Tech is proud of its outcomes; the university ranks 83rd for in-state students and 115th for out-of-state students—out of 1,978 institutions—on Payscale’s list of best value colleges. 

 

Learn more about Montana Tech of the University of Montana and what it takes to get accepted.

 

6. University of Montana Western | UMW

 

Location: Dillon, MT   

Acceptance Rate: 56%

Middle 50% SAT: 890-1120

Middle 50% ACT: 17-22

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,126

 

The University of Montana Western was founded in 1897 as the State Normal School, a college to train teachers. Today, UMW offers a wide range of programs, including everything from equine studies to fine arts to mathematics. UMW is known for its “Experience One” block scheduling, through which students take a single course at a time, for three hours per day, over three and a half weeks—students usually take four courses a semester. Experience One provided students with a concentrated learning experience unmatched by other institutions. 

 

Learn more about the University of Montana Western and what it takes to get accepted.

 

7. University of Providence | UP

 

Location: Great Falls, MT   

Acceptance Rate: 55%

Middle 50% SAT: N/A

Middle 50% ACT: 16-23

Undergrad Enrollment: 484

 

The University of Providence is a small, faith-based, Roman Catholic liberal arts university. UP is grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition, but students from all backgrounds are welcome on campus—only a quarter of undergraduates are Catholic. The university offers just 11 undergraduate majors:

 

  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education Programs
  • Exercise Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Legal & Paralegal Studies
  • Nursing 
  • Sports Management
  • Theology & Ministry

 

Great Falls, home to UP, is often called the “basecamp” of Montana—it’s located between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks and offers a plethora of opportunities to students outside of the classroom 

 

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

 

8. Salish Kootenai College

 

Location: Pablo, MT   

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Middle 50% SAT: N/A

Middle 50% ACT: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 558 

 

Salish Kootenai College provides an educational experience grounded in the cultures of the Séliš, Ksanka, and QÍispé people of the Flathead Nation. The school’s mission is to provide Native Americans with higher educational opportunities—61% of students are tribal members, 16% are tribal descendants, and there are 68 North American tribes represented on Salish Kootenai College’s campus. Degree programs range from liberal arts to business, but the school is most notable for its Native American Studies Careers Division. 

 

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

 

9. Montana State University Billings | MSUB

 

Location: Billings, MT   

Acceptance Rate: 99%

Middle 50% SAT: N/A

Middle 50% ACT: 17-24

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,602

 

Montana State University Billings provides 115 academic programs through its five colleges: 

 

  • College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Health Professions and Science
  • City College

 

The university boasts of its outcomes—its four-year graduates, on average, make $4,500 more per year than graduates from other four-year Montana public institutions. Located in the largest city in Montana, MSUB maintains a close-knit campus community, thanks in part to a variety of student organizations and a low 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio.  

 

Learn more about Montana State University Billings and what it takes to get accepted.

 

10. Montana State University-Northern

 

Location: Havre, MT   

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Middle 50% SAT: 845-973

Middle 50% ACT: 16-22

Undergrad Enrollment: 794

 

Montana State University-Northern offers over 35 majors in the arts and sciences, agriculture, business, engineering technology, education, and nursing. The university is located just 45 miles south of the Canadian border and services a massive geographic region that includes four Native American reservations along with Montana’s smallest and largest towns. Through the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), qualifying students—from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands—are able to attend the university for considerably less than non-resident tuition.  

 

Learn more about Montana State University-Northern and what it takes to get accepted.

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

 

Curious about your odds of acceptance at one of the 10 best colleges in Montana? CollegeVine can help. Our free chancing engine uses a variety of factors—including grades, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities—to calculate your odds of getting into hundreds of schools in the Treasure State and across the country.

 

Our chancing engine can also help you build a balanced school list of colleges inside and outside of Montana. By providing your odds of acceptance, you can strategically assign safety, target, and reach schools and put yourself in the best position to get into a college that fits your needs and meets your expectations. 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.