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Carleton College: Is it the Move?

Carleton College: Is it the Move?

By Sasha Aristizabal

Carleton College, a private liberal arts university in Northfield, Minnesota, came to Northside on Sept. 17 to talk to students about its college application process. As the fifth best liberal arts college according to USWeekly, Carleton is a selective school with a 29% acceptance rate. Carleton is a small rural school with an undergrad class of 2,000 students, and its student gender ratio is 51% female and 49% male. Because of its small population, Carleton has one of the lowest student-teacher ratios, nine to one, that sets the school apart from larger state universities.  Although the school’s costs are expensive, Carleton’s tuition of $49,263 can be fully met based on financial needs.

One of the biggest reasons students may want to apply to Carleton is that it matches with each student’s financial need. Depending on how much a family needs, Carleton will provide 100% of substantial financial need. Kaelie Lund, Carleton’s admissions representative, also emphasized that if you don’t have the financial means to go visit the school, a quick email to her could solve many of your issues. She also stated that showing up to the campus shows how interested you are in the school and is highly encouraged. Similarly, scheduling an interview is not necessary but shows interest. When visiting Carleton, prospective students can schedule an interview with a staff member or student. Lund says it is better to have an interview with a student rather than staff member because students are not as busy and would be able to write a recommendation. However, if you cannot fly up to Carleton, it is not a problem. You can request an interview here in Chicago with an alum who is more than glad to help out applying seniors.

Coming from a big city like Chicago to a rural city may seem intimidating, but Lund said, “Carleton provides a warm and welcoming environment. Although being a small school, the atmosphere is not something you can find anywhere else.” She mentioned how the students who attend Carleton are very engaged, curious, and collaborative. They are also genuinely interested in learning and are excited to be in school, which is reflected by the Carleton graduation rate of 93%. Since many students live on campus, staff members try their hardest to make sure all students feel comfortable.  Lund continued to elaborate on the many unique aspects of Carleton that cannot be found in many big state schools. One of these aspects includes the easier transition from high school to college due to the smaller environment. Although Northfield is a very small town, Minneapolis is only 45 miles away, which provides students with both an urban and rural college experience. Minneapolis is a popular destination for many Carleton students as they head up during the weekends to go shopping or go to the movies.

Northfield also brings many attractions to its small community. Lund explained how the school provides funding for entertainment to be brought down from Minneapolis to Northfield for students who are not able to go to Minneapolis. These attractions include bringing popular movies to the local movie theatre for the town to enjoy.

Carleton also offers a variety of study abroad opportunities. About 75% of students study abroad at least once during their four years at Carleton. Carleton’s Australia/New Zealand study abroad program is the most popular. Carleton's trimester system, which splits the school year into three semesters, allows students to study abroad multiple times and still graduate on time. The first trimester is from the first week of September through Thanksgiving. Most students go during their first trimester as it is the shortest break and allows them to be back for their second and third break, giving students time to catch up on their classes.

Carleton is also rich with many traditions and facilities that may seem odd to outsiders. For instance, the Daisy Moses house is open all day just for students to come in and bake whatever they want. The house is stocked with many types of baking materials and ingredients necessary. There are also silent dance parties that occur around finals week where many students get together in the library, share the same playlist, and press play at midnight.

If Northside was perfect for you, Carleton offers similar surroundings. For more information, check out Carleton College on its website (

  • Private liberal arts school

  • 2000 Undergraduate Students

  • 49% Males to 51% Female Ratio

  • 9:1 Student to Teacher ratio

  • $49,263

  • 52 % of Students on Financial Aid

  • $828,168,145 endowment number and spends $388,216 per student

  • Rural school in Northfield Minnesota

  • 29% Acceptance rate

  • 93% Graduation rate

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