See what students say:


Carleton College, with its low student-teacher ratio and small-town Minnesota setting, "is a rigorous school full of laid-back, outdoorsy students with a passion for learning and for developing strong community." With a trimester schedule and an emphasis on the liberal arts and interdisciplinary scholarship, Carleton also boasts strong programs in the sciences and social sciences. The school has a reputation for being "highly rigorous without the cut-throat competition that other elite institutions are known for"; many students use the words "challenging" and "collaborative" to describe this tight-knit, highly focused academic community. One student sums it up as an "Ivy League education without all the Ivy League pretensions." While academics are "challenging" and classes are "fairly fast-paced," the work is "worth every ounce of effort" and professors are almost universally praised as "friendly, accessible, supportive, and enthusiastic about teaching." Students "have no qualms about dropping in on office hours to chat" and have "been to many wonderful dinners at professors' homes." "Students help each other out a lot, too (even if it is just emotional support)." One student describes the school accurately with her reasons for choosing to attend: "I wanted to be at a place where I was challenged. I wanted to be surrounded by people who were smarter than me but also wanted to see me succeed." Finally, students report excellent resources for pursuing graduate study, and visible improvements within career services

Student Body

At Carleton, students are, "on the whole, pretty liberal" as well as "politically and environmentally aware," and "are highly interested in activism on the whole." Students note that they "spend the majority of the weekend studying but still find time for socializing and spending time on extracurriculars, but most students feel that they don't have enough ‘down time.'" "Generally they are very welcoming, extremely kind (when walking around campus nearly everyone I pass will shoot me a smile), dedicated to their studies on weekdays but want to party on weekends, and kind of dorky." "There are so many clubs and organizations to get involved in, and so many people doing really interesting things outside of any structured class or club, that it is incredibly hard to not get involved in something or other." "Everyone loves to have meaningful conversations," "people are very self-aware, but not self-centered," and "the best part about that is that they all keep really open minds." Students feel that "Carleton has been ramping up diversity efforts in recent years," but could still stand a bit more improvement in that area.

Campus Life

Weekends at Carleton bustle with activity to help balance the intellectual challenges of weekday classes. As one student put it, "I often find myself attending a concert at the Cave, the student pub; going to a show one of my friends wrote at the Little Nourse Theater; taking a quick trip to the cities for Mall of America or an uptown excursion; or, most likely, having a surprisingly engaging and deep intellectual discussion with some friends at a party on a Friday night." Intramural sports such as broomball and ultimate Frisbee are "freakishly popular." Outdoor activities are very popular in the Arboretum, "an 800-acre forest where students go for runs, go snow-shoeing, or have camp fires." The campus even features Dacie Moses House, "a house for baking cookies 24/7." If you're looking to unwind with a less structured activity, "the drinking policy throughout Northfield is strict, but... it's relaxed here at Carleton," and most students report that while partying is an option, "there are just as many opportunities for substance-free activities. Even at parties, there is no pressure to drink." As Northfield is small and most students live in the dorms (a few wish for more off-campus living options), Carleton life tends to be campus-centric. "Carls" complain about very few things: the cold Minnesota weather, on-campus food options, and the accessibility of the health center. Overall, though, it's clear that students here feel well cared for.


Acceptance Rate

SAT Reading
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
660 - 770
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
660 - 770
SAT Writing
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
650 - 750

ACT Composite
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
30 - 33

Testing Policies

ACT Writing Policy
ACT with or without Writing accepted

SAT Essay Policy
SAT with or without Writing accepted


Early Decision — November 15

Early Decision II — January 15

Regular — January 15

Other Admission Factors


Rigor of Secondary School Record
Class Rank
Academic GPA

Selectivity Rating

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Faculty and Class Information

Total Faculty
with Terminal Degree


Most frequent class size
10 - 19
Most frequent lab / sub section size
10 - 19

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years


  • Area, Ethnic, Cultural, and Gender Studies

  • African-American/Black Studies
  • American/United States Studies/Civilization
  • Asian Studies/Civilization
  • Chinese Studies
  • Japanese Studies
  • Women's Studies

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology/Biological Sciences, General

  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

  • Computer and Information Sciences, General
  • Computer Science

  • English Language and Literature/Letters

  • English Language and Literature, General

  • Foreign languages, literatures, and Linguistics

  • Ancient/Classical Greek Language and Literature
  • Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
  • French Language and Literature
  • German Language and Literature
  • Latin Language and Literature
  • Linguistics
  • Romance Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other
  • Russian Language and Literature
  • Spanish Language and Literature

  • History

  • History, General

  • Leisure and Recreational Activities

  • Theatre/Theater

  • Mathematics and Statistics

  • Mathematics, General
  • Statistics, General

  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Cognitive Science
  • Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other

  • Natural Resources and Conservation

  • Environmental Studies

  • Philosophy and Religious Studies

  • Philosophy
  • Religion/Religious Studies

  • Physical Sciences

  • Chemistry, General
  • Geology/Earth Science, General
  • Physics, General

  • Psychology

  • Psychology, General

  • Social Sciences

  • Economics, General
  • International Relations and Affairs
  • Political Science and Government, General
  • Social Sciences, General
  • Social Sciences, Other
  • Sociology and Anthropology

  • Visual and Performing Arts

  • Art History, Criticism and Conservation
  • Dance
  • Film/Cinema Studies
  • Fine/Studio Arts, General
  • Music History, Literature, and Theory



Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


Notable Faculty

Prominent Alumni

Michael H. Armacost
Pres. Brookings Institution, former US ambassador

Barrie Osborne
Oscar Award winning producer

Sidney Carne Wolff
Director National Optical Astronomy Observatories

Arnold W. Donald
CEO, Carnival Corporation

Jane Hamilton

Christopher Kratt
Producer of educational programs for children

Mary-Claire King
Prof of Genetics-U of Washington-genetics research

Academic Rating

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


ROI & Outcomes

Information from PayScale:

Starting Median Salary (Up to Bachelor's degree completed, only)

Mid-Career Median Salary (Up to Bachelor's degree completed, only)

Starting Median Salary (At least Bachelor's degree)

Mid-Career Median Salary (At least Bachelor's degree)

Percent High Job Meaning

Percent STEM

Students Say reports that 43 percent of Carleton graduates feel their careers help make the world a better place. The average starting salary for a Carleton grad is $44,700, with popular jobs including executive director, research analyst, and art director. Economics, Political Science, and Computer Sciences are three of the most popular majors at the school. A Biology major notes that "there are great resources for academic and career help, and all kinds of interests are encouraged." Carleton's Career Center offers assistance to students at all levels of the job (and internship) hunting process. According to the school's website, two online resources, The Tunnel and Going Global, give students the opportunity to search for internships, participate in on- campus recruiting, and learn about international job and internship opportunities, respectively. Students note that Carleton professors "are very helpful in finding students summer . . . job opportunities."


Application Deadlines
Jan 15
Notification Date
Mar 31

Required Forms

Forms CSSProfile
Forms Divorced Parent

Bottom Line

At Carleton College, the total cost for tuition and fees and room and board comes to just over $64,000 annually. Fortunately, the folks writing the checks at Carleton believe that cost should not be an obstacle to achieving a Carleton education. The average financial aid package for freshman includes scholarships and grants totaling $39,854—that gets you halfway there. When you factor in Carleton's other financial aid offerings in the form of work-study and loans, the dollar amount will seem much more manageable.

Bang For Your Buck

Carleton's financial aid program is primarily need-based, and the college commits to meeting the need of admitted students fully. This means that a student's aid award will include grants and scholarships from Carleton, applicable government grants, on-campus work, and a reasonable amount of loan. Students graduate with about $20,000 in loan debt on average. Carleton's financial aid program helps support the unique culture and character of this college through its goal of enrolling diverse students regardless of their ability to pay for college. With nearly three-fifths of the student body receiving need-based grant aid, there is a broad socioeconomic representation across the student body, and students laud Carleton for its "generous financial aid."

Financial Aid Statistics

Average Freshman Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Undergraduate Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Need-Based Loan

Undergraduates who have borrowed through any loan program

Average amount of loan debt per graduate

Average amount of each freshman scholarship/grant package

Financial aid provided to international students

Expenses per Academic Year

Required Fees
Average Cost for Books and Supplies

Tuition / Fees Vary by Year of Study
Board for Commuters
Transportation for Commuters

Available Aid

Financial Aid Methodology
Federal and Institutional

Scholarships and Grants


Need-Based College/University Scholarship or Grant Aid from Institutional Funds
Need-Based Federal Pell
Need-Based Private Scholarships
Need-Based SEOG
Need-Based State Scholarships

Federal Direct Student Loan Programs
Direct PLUS Loans
Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFEL)
College/university loans from institutional funds
Federal Perkins Loans
State Loans

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender

Financial Aid Rating


Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Foreign Countries Represented



51% female
49% male
83% are out of state
99% are full time
1% are part time


Campus Life

Undergrads living on campus
Help finding off-campus housing

First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment

Housing Options

Apartment Single
Disabled Student
Dorms Coed
Theme Housing
Wellness Housing

Special Needs Admissions

College Entrance Tests Required

Interview Required

Special Need Services Offered

Student Activities

Registered Student Organizations
Number of Honor Societies

Number of Social Sororities
Number of Religious Organizations


Athletic Division
Division III

17% participate in intercollegiate sports

Men's Sports (Knights, Carls)
11 Sports

Cross Country
Track Field Indoor
Track Field Outdoor
Women's Sports (Knights, Carls)
11 Sports

Cross Country
Track Field Indoor
Track Field Outdoor


What do you get when you combine aggressive sustainability initiatives with students, faculty and an administration committed to the environment? A more enjoyable campus, a shrinking carbon footprint, and, of course, recognition from The Princeton Review. In 2011, Carleton College formally introduced its Climate Action Plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. But sustainability initiatives were in place long before that year. Carleton boasts two wind turbines (360 feet tall!) for the production of renewable energy for the local grid, a LEED Gold residence hall for low impact living, and campus-wide compost, electric vehicle charging station for both campus and public use, and single-stream recycling programs to minimize the amount of waste the college community sends to the landfill. In fact, Carleton’s ongoing energy conservation programs have saved more than 1,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, 40,000 therms, and an estimated $100,000 in annual energy costs since 2010. Dining Services has heightened its green commitment by encouraging trayless dining. Not only does this move decrease water consumption, energy consumption, and food waste, but Dining Services reinvests money saved from this program in food quality, ensuring ever-improving eats for Carleton College students. Carleton’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement offers tons of ways for students to engage in local agriculture, energy, and sustainability initiatives through both classes and volunteer work via the Farm Mentorship program, Kids for Conservation, and others. In January 2014, Carleton students helped organize the Northfield Area Climate Summit, a day of education and action that drew more than 650 participants. With Carleton College rolling out new green initiatives and opportunities for students every week, we recommend you go check out the college’s sustainability blog for yourself.

School Has Formal Sustainability Committee

Sustainability-focused degree available

School employs a sustainability officer

Public GHG inventory plan

% food budget spent on local/organic food

Available Transportation Alternatives

Car Sharing Program

Carpool/Vanpool Matching Program

Cash-Out Parking

Free Or Reduced Price Transit Passes And/Or Free Campus Shuttle

Incentives Or Programs To Encourage Employees To Live Close To Campus

Indoor And Secure Bike Storage, Shower Facilities, And Lockers For Bicycle Commuters
Data provided by Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS®, as of February, 2016.

Campus Security Report

Campus Security Report

The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose their security policies, keep a public crime log, publish an annual crime report and provide timely warnings to students and campus employees about a crime posing an immediate or ongoing threat to students and campus employees.

Please visit The Princeton Review’s page on campus safety for additional resources:

The Princeton Review publishes links directly to each school's Campus Security Reports where available. Applicants can also access all school-specific campus safety information using the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education:

Other Information

Campus-wide Internet Network

Email and Web Access Available

% of Classrooms with Wireless Internet

Number of Computer Labs / Classrooms

Average Number of PC's per Lab

Network Access in Dorm Rooms

Network Access in Dorm Lounges

Fee for Network Use

Student Web Pages Permitted

Student Web Pages Provided

Partnerships with Technology Companies

Online Class Registration Available

Personal computer included in tuition for each student

Require Undergraduates to Own Computers

Undergraduates that Own Computers

Discounts Available with Hardware Vendors

Carleton ITs Department has educational discounts from Apple, Dell and Lenovo via the web.

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Courses

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Campus Radio / TV Stations

Campus Visits Contact

Michele Kamen
Visits Coordinator

Admissions Office
100 S. College St.
Northfield, MN 55057



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Cowling Arboretum
Weitz Center for Creativity
Historic Goodsell Observatory
Japanese Garden
Recreation Center
Sayles Campus Center, Library

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Mall of America
Guthrie Theatre
Walker Outdoor Sculpture Garden
Science Museum of Minnesota
Uptown Area (Mpls)

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center
Monday-Friday and Saturday during academic year
8am-5pm and 8:30am-noon

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: Varies
Average Length: 1 hour

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions

daily (morning and afternoon)

Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Coach Directly

Advance Notice
1 week

Contact Email Address for Visit

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays

Contact Admissions Office

1-night stay; bring a sleeping bag or reserve a rollaway bed; 3 complimentary meals in the dining ha


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is 35 miles from campus. Carleton offers a very limited schedule of rides between the airport and campus; call the admissions office to make arrangements. Taxi service runs from the airport to the College. Rental cars are also available at the airport. Amtrak trains serve Minneapolis/St. Paul. These trains generally arrive late at night; therefore, you should plan to stay overnight near the station and take a bus or taxi to Northfield the following day. Northfield Lines also has a bus service to campus.

Driving Instructions to Campus
From I-35, take Exit 69 to Minnesota Hwy. 19 and head east for 7 miles to Northfield. At the first stoplight (where Hwy. 19 merges with Hwy. 3), turn left. Proceed to the next stoplight (2nd St./Hwy. 19) and turn right onto 2nd St. You will come to a stop sign at Division St.; continue straight ahead up the hill on 2nd St. Turn left at College St., which takes you to campus and the admissions office.

Local Accommodations
The Archer House (212 Division St.; 507-645-5661) is a restored turn-of-the-century inn just a couple of blocks from campus. Highlights are its convenient downtown location and gorgeous views of the Cannon River. Rates range all the way from inexpensive to expensive; special rates may be available during the week. The price includes continental breakfast.The Country Inn (300 Hwy. 3 S.; 800-456-4000) is 1 mile from campus. AmericInn (1320 Bollenbacher Dr.; 507-645-7761) is within three miles of campus. There are numerous hotels in the southern metro area of Minneapolis/St. Paul that will be within 45 miles from campus.