Best Colleges in South Dakota
South Dakota, also known as the Mount Rushmore State for the national monument, is in the midwest region. Most of the population lives in the eastern region, but colleges in South Dakota are all over. There are 22, and many are public or private not-for-profit institutions. The University of South Dakota is the oldest in the state, as well as the second largest. The most selective is Presentation College. Agriculture, ranching, defense, and tourism are the primary industries of the state, whereas Mount Rushmore tops the attractions list. Other points of interest include the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial, Badlands National Park, Pinnacles Overlook, and the sculpture “Dignity.”
How Were the Top Schools in South Dakota Chosen?
Cappex determines “Best Colleges” based on publicly-available information from the US Department of Education. Several factors include, but are not limited to, data about admitted students’ academic calibers, students’ expected career outcomes after graduation, and colleges’ investments toward making their institution accessible to all students.
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Founded in 1860, Augustana is a selective university located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and affiliated with the Lutheran Church. Offering more than 100 majors, minors, and pre-professional programs for undergraduates, plus graduate degrees and...
Each professor strives to utilize text, lecture, and assignments to ensure each student truly dives into the subject matter. What truly sets Augustana College above and beyond on this level is the attention to the ideas that unite the disciplines. I...” – Mallory from Yankton, SD
Mount Marty College offers a liberal arts education with an emphasis on the values of its Benedictine and Catholic affiliation from its scenic hilltop overlooking the Missouri River in Yankton, South Dakota. The college was founded by the Sisters of...
The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a university located in the Mount Rushmore region. The institution was founded in 1885 to train students in the skilled trade of mining, and now offers a variety disciplines in the sciences. SD Mines...
I have already gained alot of knowledge and it's only the end of the first semester. I'm studying for geology and took earth science in high school so I expected that I would know most of what we learned in physical geology but I really learned a lot...” – Rebecca from Rapid City, SD
Founded in 1883, the University of Sioux Falls is a Christian liberal arts university located in the heart of Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s largest city. USF’s Christ-centered institution offers more than 100 academic programs for undergraduate...
The University of Sioux Falls is an incredible school of academics, opportunities, and community. I cannot have imagined starting my life anywhere else. I'm not a number, but a student; not a statistic, by a searching and seeking soul; not just a...” – Lindsey from Colton, SD
Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Dakota Wesleyan University is a 4-year institution in the southeast region of South Dakota. For all incoming students looking to discover their academic path, DWU’s online Clifton StrengthsFinder helps...
The classes are challenging anc the teachers are very helpful. If you're not getting something, they'll work with you until you do.” – Leah from Iroquois, SD
Northern State University is a 4-year public school located in Aberdeen, South Dakota. NSU was named one of 10 colleges and universities with affordable out-of-state tuition by US News & World Report and USA Today College named Aberdeen the second...
I am learning everything I had hoped to as a college Freshman. The faculty here is not only more than qualified but because NSU is such a small campus, students here are more than just a number. Every professor genuinely cares about his/her students...” – Megan from Scranton, ND
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is a 4-year public school in eastern South Dakota and the state’s largest university. The oldest institution of higher education in South Dakota, SDSU awards bachelor’s degrees in over 200 academic...
SDSU has a great environment set up for learning and getting to that boring part of college we all dread...studying. The fact that most of the people in my dorm (Matthews) were involved in the same things as I am meant they were in a lot of my...” – Joshua from Madison, SD
Founded in 1862, the University of South Dakota is the state’s oldest public university and is a designated R2 research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The Vermillion campus is located along the bluffs of the Missouri River and home to seven...
From day one the teachers are really excited about teaching. Many professors, while not able to get to know students in class, welcome office visits with open arms. The class variety makes it easy to explore options and get a taste of other majors...” – Anne
Founded as a teacher training academy in the days when the Dakotas were still a territory, Dakota State University is a public technology-focused institution in eastern South Dakota. Dakota State confers undergrad degrees in over 45 areas of study...
With so much of our society becoming dependent on the use of computers in the work place, I am happy that I chose a college in which computer usage is a primary part of the curriculum. Going into education I had not really thought about needing...” – Cera from Sioux Falls, SD
Presentation College is a 4-year Catholic school, but it welcomes students of all faiths to its Aberdeen, South Dakota campus. Presentation confers degrees in 15 academic departments, with five of these programs available online. Campus Ministry...
Black Hills State University is a 4-year liberal arts institution situated on 123 acres of land in Spearfish, South Dakota. Through its three colleges, BHSU offers more than 120 majors and minors, as well as three honors tracks. Students can complete...
I've only been here at Black Hills State for 2 months, however I have been learning a lot and the classes and class sizes are very accomidating and not too long or overcrowded.” – LeeSah from Spearfish, SD
Established in 1968, Western Dakota Technical Institute is a public, 2-year institution located in Rapid City. As the only technical college operating in western South Dakota, Western Dakota Tech offers associate’s degree, diploma, and certificate...
There are very few Gen. Eds so you will begin learning about your specific major in the first semester.” – Rebbecca from Rapid City, SD
Established in 1968, Mitchell Technical Institute is a public, 2-year institution located in South Dakota. MTI offers 33 career-oriented academic programs, as well as five programs available for online enrollment. MTI’s campus features the Center for...
Mitchell Tech is great! There is a lot to do on and off campus. Not to mention the Faculty is very helpful when needed.” – Sheritha from Mitchell, SD
Lake Area Technical Institute is a 2-year technical college and the first technical school in South Dakota. Lake Area Tech features 30 academic programs in technical and career-based fields and 12 degrees that are available entirely online. The LATI...
With campus on the Lake Traverse Reservation, Sisseton Wahpeton College is a tribal college in northeastern South Dakota serving the Sisseton and Wahpeton Native American Bands. SWC offers 11 associate degrees and five certificate-granting programs...
Southeast Technical Institute is a 2-year technical and vocational school in Sioux Falls. Southeast Tech is home to ten academic departments hosting over 60 degree and certificate-granting programs. For students who desire the opportunity to learn a...
A great place to learn and be accepted. Quick, fast, and right to the job, only having to learn what you need to learn. Hands on learning with teachers to help you succeed.” – Brianna from Sioux Falls, SD
With a mission to improve Lakota life through higher education, Oglala Lakota College is a tribal college in South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. OLC is home to 10 academic departments and all classes incorporate Lakota language, speakers...
Sinte Gleska University is a 4-year, tribal institution located in Mission, South Dakota. Sinte Gleska offers over 20 academic programs, awarding certificates, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees. The college’s campus...
Sinte Gleska offers four year degree programs in Human Services, Business, Lakota Studies and Information Technology,generally, with several minors. The university is open to the general public and core studies involve the Lakota Culture. SGU is...” – Alicia from Parmelee, SD
The Avera McKennan School of Radiologic Technology is a medical imaging training academy in Sioux Falls. Avera McKennan is home to a 24-month Radiologic Technology program featuring courses in subjects such as General Diagnostic Radiography...
With a campus along the bluffs of the Missouri River, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital is a medical facility hosting medical training classes in southeastern South Dakota. The hospital is home to the Avera Sacred Heart Hospital School of Radiologic...
Sanford Medical Center is a private, 2-year institution with education centers located in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Sanford Health offers nine internship programs for undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as several research...
Originally founded by the North American Baptist Conference, Sioux Falls Seminary is a multi-denominational Christian graduate school with locations in Sioux Falls and Omaha. Sioux Falls Seminary offers master’s degrees in Divinity, Counseling...
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