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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 South Dakota

What’s Covered:


South Dakota is the 5th least-populous state in the U.S., but it still packs a lot of top colleges in its borders. The Black Hills and Badlands are prime tourist destinations in this Midwestern state that’s home to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Technical career fields are strong in the state, with a number of colleges offering degrees in nuclear engineering, wind energy, and aviation.


Our Ranking Methodology


Our list of the 10 best colleges in South Dakota was constructed with a focus on school quality, student 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.


Best Colleges in South Dakota


1. Augustana University


Location: Sioux Falls, SD

Acceptance Rate: 65%

Middle 50% SAT: 1060-1330

Middle 50% ACT: 25-28

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,800


Augustana University is a private, coeducational Lutheran University in Sioux Falls. It was founded by Scandinavian Lutheran pioneers and has maintained the traditions of thoughtfulness and service they instilled in its students. Undergraduates can choose from 100 bachelor’s degree programs ranging from psychology to nursing. The school is well recognized for its undergraduate research program which facilitates the investigation of new, novel concepts. Augustana’s students have plenty of ways to get involved outside of the classroom, with more than 100 student organizations and activities such as specialized clubs, 19 NCAA Division II athletic teams, and 20 performing arts groups in music and theater.


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


2. University of South Dakota | USD


Location: Vermillion, SD

Acceptance Rate: 86%

Middle 50% SAT: 1030-1260

Middle 50% ACT: 20-25

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,500


USD is the only public university in South Dakota and was founded in 1862 to provide quality education to the citizens of the Northern Plains. It’s a research-intensive institution that offers 202 undergraduate programs in concentrations like journalism, music performance, statistics, clinical psychology, neuroscience, and archeology. The USD Coyotes compete in NCAA Division I athletics in the Summit League. The institution is home to the state’s only medical and juris doctorate programs, as well as the state’s only school of medicine.


Learn more about University of South Dakota and what it takes to get accepted.


3. South Dakota State University


Location: Brookings, SD

Acceptance Rate: 92%

Middle 50% SAT: 1010-1260

Middle 50% ACT: 20-26

Undergrad Enrollment: 10,500


SDSU is a public research university in Brookings, South Dakota. It was founded in 1881 as the state’s land-grant university and offers over 200 majors to nearly 11,000 students enrolled. While 55% of students are South Dakota residents, 47 states and 66 countries are represented in the student body. SDSU Jackrabbits have 19 Division I sports teams that have won 34 league championships in eight different sports. 


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


4. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology


Location: Rapid City, SD

Acceptance Rate: 83%

Middle 50% SAT: 1160-1363

Middle 50% ACT: 24-29

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,300


The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) is a public, coeducational research university for STEM-focused education in Rapid City. It was founded in 1885 to promote the mining industry and other emerging technologies such as electricity. The school’s main focus is engineering, construction, computer science, math, and environmental science degrees. The university also has a strong alumni network.


Learn more about South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and what it takes to get accepted.


5. Dakota Wesleyan University


Location: Mitchell, SD

Acceptance Rate: 74%

Middle 50% SAT: 900-1060

Middle 50% ACT: 19-24

Undergrad Enrollment: 800


Dakota Wesleyan University (DU) is a private liberal arts college in Mitchell. It was founded by Methodists and as such it has maintained strong religious ties throughout its history. DU offers degrees at all levels from certificates to doctoral programs. Students can choose from over 40 undergraduate majors and minors, including communication, business administration, healthcare administration, athletic training, psychology broadcasting , and fashion merchandising .


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


6. Mount Marty University


Location: Yankton, SD

Acceptance Rate: 69%

Middle 50% SAT: 810-1050

Middle 50% ACT: 18-24

Undergrad Enrollment: 800


Mount Marty University, which the Sisters of Saint Benedict founded in 1936, is a private liberal arts college named in memory of Martin Marty, a Benedictine missionary to the Native Americans. It offers several undergraduate and graduate degrees such as biology, nursing, business administration, and English. Located on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River valley, the school is recognized for its nationally acclaimed theater program.


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


7. Northern State University


Location: Aberdeen, SD

Acceptance Rate: 88%

Middle 50% SAT: 930-1200

Middle 50% ACT: 19-24

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,000


Northern State University is a public university located in Aberdeen, SD. The university’s campus offers a combination of historic structures, modern buildings, parks, and one of the largest guaranteed scholarships in the region. Incoming students may join a vibrant residential community, participate in numerous campus activities, and pursue a degree from more than 22 concentrations, including finance, mathematics, political science, and education and development.


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


8. Oglala Lakota College


Location: Kyle, SD

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Middle 50% SAT: N/A

Middle 50% ACT: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,200


Oglala Lakota College is the only tribal college in South Dakota and is one of 34 tribally controlled colleges in the United States. OLC is located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota, with its main campus situated at Kyle, near Rapid City. The school has an open admissions policy; students who have graduated from high school are eligible to attend. The college offers transfer, vocational, and technical programs focusing on certificate degrees in trades like building construction technology, business administration, general studies, liberal arts, nursing assistant training, plumbing fitter technician license preparation program, and tribal management-government relations specialist certificate program.


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


9. University of Sioux Falls


Location: Sioux Falls, SD

Acceptance Rate: 91%

Middle 50% SAT: 1060-1180

Middle 50% ACT: 20-25

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,300


The University of Sioux Falls is a non-denominational Christian and liberal arts school in Sioux Falls. It was founded in 1883 and offers programs through its schools of Arts & Sciences, Education, Business, and Graduate Studies. The university also offers several pre-professional degrees. The University of Sioux Falls athletic teams compete at the NAIA level in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The University of Sioux Falls boasts a low 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a 99% job placement rate within six months of graduation.


Learn more about University of Sioux Falls and what it takes to get accepted.


10. Dakota State University


Location: Madison, SD

Acceptance Rate: 83%

Middle 50% SAT: 960-1220

Middle 50% ACT: 20-26

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,900


Originally founded in 1881 as a teacher’s college, Dakota State University is now one of the most technologically advanced campuses in the region. This public institution specializes in computer management, information systems, and related programs, however there is still an emphasis placed on the preparation of educators. The school provides several undergraduate programs across a diverse range of fields, including cyber operations, digital arts and design, marketing, and health information administration. A number of degree programs are also offered to students online. 


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


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?


Wondering what your odds are of admission at one of the 10 best colleges in South Dakota? CollegeVine can help. Our free chancing engine uses a variety of factors—like grades, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities—to calculate your odds of acceptance at one of the many schools in the Mount Rushmore State and across the country.


Our chancing engine can also help you build a balanced school list. By providing you with 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
Angelica is 2020 grad of the University of Minnesota with a degree in quantitative economics. She is a Founder and CEO of a strategic business consulting firm that helps startups, small enterprise and entrepreneurs with their goals. In her free time, she likes to read and travel.