Top Universities in South Dakota

By | April 20, 2019

For those interested in studying in South Dakota, we have a very useful list. We selected the best South Dakota institutions for prospective students. Please know that rankings are based on academic research, alumni reviews, graduation rates, as well as assessment from peer colleges. On the page, you will find major admissions stats such as acceptance rate, tuition fees, average SAT scores for each ranked college or university.

  • Visit AllCityCodes for all area codes in the state of South Dakota.
Rankings Schools
1 South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD)
Tuition: in-state: $7,404, out-of-state: $9,350
Total enrollment: 12,725
Fall 2011 acceptance rate: 92.3%
Average freshman retention rate: 76%
6-year graduation rate: 60%
Classes with under 20 students: 30.2%
SAT/ACT 25th-75th percentile: 19-25
2 University of South Dakota (Vermillion, SD)
Tuition: in-state: $7,704, out-of-state: $9,650
Total enrollment: 9,970
Fall 2011 acceptance rate: 88.9%
Average freshman retention rate: 76%
6-year graduation rate: 49%
Classes with under 20 students: 53.4%
SAT/ACT 25th-75th percentile: 20-26


Top Universities in South Dakota

Mount Rushmore

In the southwest of South Dakota, in the Black Hills, there is a majestic monument – Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Here, huge (about eighteen meters high) images of four US Presidents are carved from the granite rock: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

The idea of ​​building these gigantic sculptures originated in the early twenties of the last century with the historian Doane Robinson after he learned about the huge bas-relief on Stone Mountain in Georgia, dedicated to the heroes of the Confederacy. Robinson thought that building something similar in South Dakota would make the state much more attractive to tourists. He wanted to recreate in the monuments the images of people who played a significant role in the history of the development of the West of the United States, for example, the famous pioneers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the leader of the Lakota Indians Red Cloud, or the famous soldier and showman William Cody, known as ” Buffalo Bill “.

However, the sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who joined the project, insisted that the monument should be significant for any resident of the United States of America. He chose to portray George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as the most famous presidents and Thomas Jefferson, during whose reign the Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States. Theodore Roosevelt was nominated by former US President Calvin Coolidge.

The construction of the monument began on October 4, 1927 and ended on October 31, 1941, after the death of Gutzon Borglum. During the construction, both blasting and several hundred workers were used, manually cutting granite. Due to the heterogeneity of the rock mass, it was necessary to deviate somewhat from the original project, in particular, the image of Theodore Roosevelt is much deeper into the rock. The lack of funding and the outbreak of World War II prevented the construction of all the planned elements of the memorial, in particular, the hall, in which it was planned to place the originals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, was not completed.

Mount Rushmore Memorial is located at an altitude of about 1,750 meters above sea level and covers an area of ​​more than five square kilometers. The plans of its creators, aimed at attracting tourists, have been fully realized: tourism is now one of the most important sectors of the South Dakota economy. Several million people come here every year to see the famous “stone presidents”, which makes Mount Rushmore one of the most popular US attractions.

Due to its popularity, the Mount Rushmore memorial has been featured in many literary works and movies. Sculptures of the presidents are the most recognizable symbol of South Dakota, it was Mount Rushmore that was chosen to be depicted on the coins dedicated to this state from the Fifty States and America the Beautiful series.

Mount Rushmore is a National Memorial and is managed by the US National Park Service.