Carleton College

Prestigious, Personalized Liberal Arts Education at Carleton

Carleton College appears on our list of the 30 Best Colleges for Young Democrats.

The logo for Carleton College

Named fifth nationally by the U.S. News & World Report, Carleton College is a top-tier, nonprofit Annapolis Group member in Minnesota that confers 33 bachelor’s majors and 36 minors each 10-week trimester at a 9:1 student-teacher ratio with 96 percent retention. For example, the Mathematics BA follows a 210-credit path under Dr. Eric Egge with Center for Computing projects, American Mathematical Society membership, internships like the Federal Reserve System, and a Budapest Semester. Chaired by Dr. Ronald Rodman, the 210-credit Music BA involves recitals at the 400-seat Kracum Hall, Jazz Ensemble concerts, the Guest Artist Series, and optional K-12 teacher licensure.

At Olin Hall, the Psychology BA builds a 210-credit, four-year curriculum led by Dr. Mija Van Der Wege with opportunities to conduct Cognitive Science Research Lab projects, volunteer at Camp Akeela, attend the MidBrains Conference, earn $500 Towsley Fund grants, and join Psi Chi. Directed by Dr. Jay Beck, the 210-credit Cinema & Media Studies BA lets undergrads participate in the International Film Forum, publish The Carletonian, get creative in Weitz Center, and intern at Twin Cities PBS. Other Bachelor of Arts degrees include Religion, East Asian Studies, Chemistry, Linguistics, Geology, History, Philosophy, International Relations, Economics, and Computer Science.

Featured Programs

About Carleton College

Carleton College originated on October 12, 1866, when the General Congregational Conference of Minnesota met in Faribault to plan the North Star State’s fourth higher learning institute. In 1870, Rev. James Strong welcomed four freshmen to a 20-acre campus donated by Charles M. Goodsell. In 1871, William and Susan Carleton helped keep Northfield College afloat with a $50,000 gift. The next year, Carleton College and its Willis Hall were named in their honor. In 1887, the Goodsell Observatory was erected as Minnesota’s largest such building. In 1905, Carleton College adopted a non-sectarian liberal arts curriculum with distribution requirements. Regionally accredited in 1913, it launched the Carleton-in-China Program in 1922. In 1929, Carleton Trustee Frank B. Kellogg won the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1985, the Acting in the Community Together (ACT) Initiative was founded at Carleton College.

Endowed for $828.2 million, Carleton College now employs 222 full-time faculty teaching 2,046 Knights from 48 states and 24 countries on a 1,040-acre Northfield campus with the Donald J. Cowling Arboretum plus 240+ active clubs like Mock Trial. In 2017, Carleton College Voice received the CASE Circle of Excellence Silver Award. In 2018, Carleton earned the AIA Minnesota Honor Award for its Music & Performance Commons. Carleton was a 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Award finalist too. Forbes placed Carleton College 49th overall with the 16th best liberal arts education. On Niche, Carleton boasts America’s 10th best environmental science, 13th top international relations, and 22nd best physics degrees. The Princeton Review honored Carleton for the 14th most accessible professors. The Brookings Institute deemed Carleton the fifth most value-added institution. Washington Monthly positioned Carleton College 10th for most Peace Corps volunteers.

Carleton College Accreditation Details

On April 22, 2019, Carleton College submitted to a comprehensive evaluation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA) for the Institutional Actions Council to reaffirm the Level II accreditation through 2028-29 under its 11th president, Dr. Steven G. Poskanzer, an American Council on Education Fellow. Headquartered 402 miles southeast via Interstate 90 in Chicago, Illinois, this mammoth 19-state Midwest Region accreditor is recognized by the U.S. Education Department and Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Particularly, the Joint Carleton and St. Olaf K-12 teacher certification program is accredited by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB).

Carleton College Application Requirements

Admission to Carleton College is classified “very difficult” by Peterson’s because only 1,378 of the 6,499 Fall 2017 applicants were okayed for highly selective 21 percent acceptance. First-year Knights are evaluated based on both school and extracurricular achievements. Strong candidates will conclude college-prep curriculum with four years of English and some AP courses. Advanced Placement exams graded 4 or better qualify for college credit. The Class of 2021 had an average GPA of 4.06. Nearly all freshmen rank in the upper quartile academically. Accepted mid-range ACT scores were 30-34. The middle 50th percentile had SAT composite marks of 1360-1530. Successful transfers generally have 15+ credits, including College Math and Writing, graded “C” or better. Cumulative GPAs must be at least 2.5 to qualify. Foreign undergrads prove English fluency with a minimum 600 TOEFL pBT or 7.0 IELTS score.

Carleton College has Early Decision deadlines of November 15th for Fall and January 15th for Winter. The Regular Decision deadline for freshmen is January 15th. Prospective transfers can apply until March 31st. Note admission interviews are only available from May 1st to February 15th. Confirming the acceptance decision with a $300 enrollment deposit by June 1st is required. Accordingly, submit the Common, Coalition, or QuestBridge Application for free online. Have school officials mail official transcripts to One North College Street in Northfield, MN 55057. For testing reports, select SAT/TOEFL code 6081 or ACT code 2092. Fulfill other checklist items like the CSS Profile, Early Decision agreement, counselor recommendation, two teacher evaluations, arts supplement, personal statement, résumé, portfolio, and athletic recruit questionnaire. Contact (507) 222-4190 or for more.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2019-20, Carleton College is charging full-time Bachelor of Arts majors $28,389 each semester or $56,778 annually. Studying part-time incurs $6,048 per six-credit course. Off-campus independent study costs $2,016 for 3-4 credits and $3,024 for 5-6 credits. Undergrads cover a $333 activity fee each year. Residing at the Northfield campus’ dorms like James Hall adds $7,704 for yearly housing. Standard meal plans for Burton Dining Hall are $6,954 extra. The comprehensive fee is $71,769 each year. Carleton also budgets $853 for books and supplies plus $1,628 for miscellaneous expenses. Annual bachelor’s attendance equals about $74,250 on-site or $59,592 at home.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Student Financial Services Office in Scoville Hall Suite 102 helps 62 percent of full-time Carleton Knights collect median aid of $34,188 each for $44.85 million combined. Institutional funds include the Eugene Bailey Scholarship, George International Fellows Scholarship, Mary Fjelstad Facciani Music Scholarship, Vernon James Pick Scholarship, Davies Scholarship, Jacky Trager Maguire English Scholarship, Reeves Blau Family Scholarship, Neil Dungay Memorial Scholarship, Eric Lasley Scholarship, and Malcolm Hanson Memorial Scholarship. The Fritch Endowed Scholarship gifts $10,000 annually to middle-income students from rural or suburban areas with under 200,000 people. Carleton College sponsors 30 National Merit Scholarship finalists with stipends of $2,000 each year. Federal resources, such as the Pell Grant, Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan, and Work-Study Program, require FAFSA forms coded 002340. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education also offers the State Grant, Indian Scholarship, Teacher Shortage Loan Repayment, and more.

Search through 43 accredited academic departments ranked 35th overall by Times Higher Education at the Carleton College website.