Looking at colleges? Find the out the differences between the two biggest schools in South Dakota.

By Jessa Nayman

As the 2015-2016 school year comes to a close, it is time for next year’s seniors to start thinking about college. It’s a good idea to start touring colleges as soon as possible because trust me, senior year flies by faster than you think. I highly recommend checking out in state schools, even if you’re like me and have your heart set on going out of state. I toured schools in Colorado, Minnesota, and Wyoming, and now I’m deciding between Brookings and Vermillion; sometimes your plans, don’t go as planned. So if you decide to take me up on my advice and check out universities in South Dakota, make sure to check into the student life. Even though student life is not the most important factor when deciding a college, it is something to consider before committing to a school. Here are some similarities and differences between SDSU and USD:

Greek Life

USD definitely had more of a Greek life presence on campus than SDSU. Both of my tour guides at USD were members of the same sorority and were already trying to recruit me to their “sisterhood.” Apparently move-in day for the girls who decide to rush is three days before everybody else, which provides enough time to snag a new best friend before the rest of the freshmen arrive. Another nice thing about USD’s Greek life is that they have housing options for almost all of their sororities and fraternities, while SDSU had only a couple. If Greek life is an interest of yours, I would suggest attending USD.

Residence Halls

For the most part, SDSU’s dorms were superior to those at USD. USD’s halls were all connected except for Coyote Village, while SDSU’s were separated into a community called Jackrabbit Grove. The desks and closets at USD were built into the wall and strung together which made it impossible for two people to be studying at their desk at the same time. However, the closets there were extremely deep and had built in shelves so I know that somehow I would be able to shove my entire wardrobe into them; AND they even had a closet door for privacy. SDSU had separate and mobile desks and dressers, which students usually put underneath their lofted beds. The closets were opposite of each other but they were small, which required the students (or at least the girls) to pack in their clothes air-tight from wall to wall. SDSU’s dorms also had higher ceilings and enough room to squeeze in a futon and a tv, which I did not get the impression was possible at USD. Both had free wifi and cable set ups, but SDSU’s lobby and kitchen areas were newer and more modern than those at USD. Overall, SDSU’s dorms felt more spacious and comfortable than USD’s.



Okay, obviously USD wins in this department. There’s no need to trade in your beloved red wardrobe for a depressing blue one like you would at SDSU. Plus, which mascot is more intimidating? A jackrabbit or a coyote? I think the answer is pretty evident.



If I could have visited one of the college’s on their big homecoming day, I would have picked SDSU without a doubt. While both schools have a parade and floats and tailgates, SDSU’s Homecoming week is known as Hobo Days. The students spend the week dressed up as Hoboes with “Weary Willie” and “Dirty Lil” and bum free meals from the campus staffs’ houses. I mean USD has their Dakota Days (D-Days) but Hobo Days get so much hype at SDSU that I can’t imagine any student not participating in the events.


Both schools are big with their sports, but I’d have to say USD takes the trophy on this one. They have the Dakota Dome, which is home to the volleyball, basketball, track and field, swimming and diving, AND football teams. Yes, that’s correct – the football teams! The H. Lauren Lewis Field is an indoor football field located inside the Dome; say good-bye to chilly Friday nights! The Jackrabbits, however, will be playing their first football game in the new Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium this coming season and will be a night you won’t want to miss. Not to mention, this year SDSU also made it to the NCAA March Madness tournament and gained national attention. Either way, sports culture is prominent at both schools.


Obviously both schools have more to provide than just an indoor football field and high ceiling dorm rooms, but these little details may sway you in your decision more than you’d think. The most important thing to remember in your college decision is that you should feel at home wherever you decide to go. Despite all the information I have learned by taking TWO trips to SDSU and USD my senior year, I still am unable to make a decision between the two. My advice for next year’s seniors: visit colleges early on in the school year and don’t wait until the day of graduation to choose your school. It will save you a lot of stress.