Carleton’s most refreshing characteristic is its genuineness and utter lack of pretension. In our academic endeavors, this sincerity is a major contributor to collaborative learning, and it explains our discomfort with gamesmanship or artifice. Such authenticity also leads to a hunger for unvarnished explanations and real understanding and a glad exuberance in learning for the sake of learning.

If you take that kind of exuberance beyond the purely academic realm as we regularly insist on doing at Carleton, you will begin to grasp the purposefully playful, even zany, sense of humor that imbues this college. We carry out our practical jokes, hold silent dance parties on tables in the library, and run in madcap pursuit of busts of German literary giants. By making a point of not taking ourselves too seriously, we show ourselves honestly to friends and colleagues and create community across boundaries that might otherwise divide us.

President Steven G. Poskanzer


General Information

  • Location: Northfield, Minnesota, population 20,581, 40 miles south of
  • Minneapolis and St. Paul
  • Founded: 1866, a private, coeducational, residential liberal arts college
  • Total enrollment fall 2018: 2,046 (50.5% women, 49.5% men)
  • Geographic distribution of student body: Midwest–34.1%, West–22.3%, East–19.5%, South–12.7%, International–11.4%

Carleton Features

  • A student-faculty ratio of 9:1
  • An average class size of 16; 70% of class sections have fewer than 19 students
  • 33 majors, 36 minors, and several interdisciplinary programs with more than 1,000 courses offered
  • A full-time faculty of 212, 98% of whom hold the most advanced degree offered in their field
  • Lecture series that include prominent writers, scientists, artists, philosophers, and politicians; Carleton theater and musical productions, exhibits, and weekly convocations
  • 94% six-year graduation rate
  • 80% of the student body participates in varsity, club, or intramural sports.
  • Carleton is a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with 20 NCAA Division III varsity athletic programs
  • One of the largest undergraduate libraries in the United States
  • A 1,040-acre campus, which includes an 800-acre arboretum
  • An 80,000 square foot Recreation Center

Fun Facts

  • Honors and awards: 6 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, 1 Davis Project for Peace, 8 Fulbright Fellowships, 2 Critical Language Scholarships, 2 Minnesota Space Grant Consortium Awards, 2 Mellon Graduate School Exploration Fellowships, 1 Goldwater Fellowship
  • Carleton has an incredible worldview. Thanks to an active off-campus studies program, some of the college’s best classrooms are halfway across the world in countries such as India, New Zealand, Tasmania, and Chile. In 2017–18 Carleton students studied on 90 different off-campus programs in 52 countries and territories. Seventy-six percent of the students in the Class of 2018 participated for academic credit in at least one program during their undergraduate years

Class of 2022 Highlights

Of the 532 students in this year’s entering class:

  • 12% come from outside the United States
  • 30% identify themselves as people of color
  • 13% are among the first generation of their families to attend college
  • 77% graduated in the top 10% of their high school class
  • 30 are National Merit and 3 are National Hispanic Recognition Scholars
  • Someone speaks: Arabic, Cantonese, Catalan, Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Haitian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Mandinka, Marathi, Norwegian, Punjabi, Portuguese, Russian, Rwandan, Shona, Sindhi, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese

Carleton Alumni

  • Approximately 75% of all alumni go on to graduate school within 5 years of graduation and 20–25% of alumni go directly to graduate school in the fall after graduation
  • The Alumni Annual Fund raised $8.23 million for Carleton, which represents contributions from 11,474 donors and 44% of alumni
  • Carleton ranks second among baccalaureate colleges in the number of alumni who have gone on to earn academic doctorates (1966–2014)

Carleton alumni go on to work in a variety of fields and industries. Here is a sampling of the most common employment:

  • 27% Business/Finance/Sales
  • 16% Education
  • 16% Science/Lab Research
  • 12% Information Systems/Technology/Library
  • 9% Health Care/Medical
  • 4% Peace Corps/AmeriCorps/Teach for America
  • 2% Social Service/Advocacy

Financial Aid

  • Carleton meets the full financial need of every admitted student for all four years
  • 80% of students work on campus, including those not receiving need-based aid
  • Carleton students typically graduate with less average loan indebtedness than students graduating from other private institutions in the country

Rankings

U.S. News & World Report, America’s Best Colleges, 2019 ed. (Fall 2018)

  • #1 Best undergraduate teaching (for 6th year)
  • #5 National liberal arts colleges
  • #8 Most innovative schools

Washington Monthly, Fall 2018 (national liberal arts colleges)

  • #4 Bachelor’s to PhD
  • #6 Loan repayment
  • #7 Research
  • #10 Peace Corps

Forbes, America’s Top Colleges, 2018

  • #6 in the Midwest
  • #16 Liberal arts universities
  • A+ Financial grade

Princeton Review, 2018

  • Top 50: colleges that pay you back
  • Top 50: green colleges

College Consensus, 2018

  • #6 National liberal arts colleges

Brookings Institute, 2015

  • #5 in “added value” among four-year colleges