Pre College Students

For students in middle school and early high school, college might feel like light years away, but there is no such thing as too early when it comes to preparing for education after high school. The earlier you start the more prepared you will be as you get ready to launch your Dakota dreams — Start today by checking out the resources and information offered on this site to make your journey towards college as smooth as possible! Our Dakota Dreams will be by your side every step of the way.


Besides making more money, a college degree offers lifelong advantages that actually improve your quality of life.

Prepping for College


The South Dakota Department of Education provides free information to all South Dakota 6-12th grade students to research and explore over 3,500 post-secondary schools. Visit to explore information on Dual Credit, Pre-College Testing, College Readiness Courses, and  Advanced Placement (AP) Courses.

All you need to do is check with your SCHOOL COUNSELOR or PRINCIPAL to find out how to login to your own account.

Be Prepared

Education after high school might feel like a long way off, but it will happen sooner than you think. Being prepared means taking the right classes in middle/high school, saving money, and exploring scholarship options. Don’t put your Dakota Dreams on hold — Start preparing now!

The average cost for a full-time student in South Dakota’s public universities after tuition, fees, room, and board can be close to $16,000 each year. To help students cover these costs, we encourage you to begin saving now and understand the various forms of financial assistance that are available to you. For more information, please review the College Savings Options under Costs and Aid.

Each college and degree comes with a different price tag. Once the FAFSA, financial aid, and scholarships are completed, the price of education after high school can be quite reasonable — especially considering the long-term return on your investment.

Check out the Estimated College Cost page to see what it really costs to attend college.


Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form allows you to be considered for federal student aid. States and colleges also use FAFSA information to award their own grants, scholarships, and loans.

Filling out your FAFSA is a key step to unlocking your college dreams, because FAFSA is the gateway to money for college. FAFSA can require persistence and often times, a little help. The key to success is creating a timeline to meet FAFSA deadlines and working with the many resources available to get started.

FAFSA is one of the first steps to starting on a path to your dreams, because it unlocks financial aid from so many different sources. Research shows that each year $2-3 billion in federal aid is left unclaimed – it’s time to get your share! Post-secondary education can be affordable and is accessible at any age. 


There are things you can be doing each year leading up to graduation to help you prepare for college. Follow the links below to each year’s checklists, you can be sure your bases are covered.