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In Depth: Materials and Deadlines

You've got a lot to keep track of. Let us help you sort through the options for how to apply.

You've got a lot to keep track of. Let us help you sort through the options for how to apply.


Applying to college is a big deal. We’re here to walk you through the various things to consider as you prepare your application to Carleton. As always, whenever you have questions, connect with us.

Dates to Consider

Early Decision

This is a great option if Carleton is your first choice. If we offer you admission through Early Decision, you are required to withdraw all other applications and enroll at Carleton. You can submit Regular Decision applications to other colleges while you wait to hear back about Early Decision.

Fall Early Decision Dates

Winter Early Decision Dates

Regular Decision

This is how most students will apply to Carleton. This is a good option if you want to wait until April to consider all your offers. It can also allow you to compare financial aid packages.

QuestBridge

We partner with QuestBridge, a nationwide program that supports talented, high-achieving, low-income students. We accept QuestBridge applications through the National Scholar Match process. We also accept them through Early Decision and Regular Decision. So deadlines vary depending on which round of admission you pursue. If QuestBridge interests you, be sure to read about the QuestBridge application process.

  • Application materials submitted: Late September

Transfer Students

Carleton accepts some transfer students for each fall term. The application materials are similar to those for first-year applicants. To graduate from Carleton, you must spend at least two years in residence at Carleton. This includes your senior year.

Application Logistics

Application Status, Decision Notification, and Enrollment

After you’ve applied, you’ll be given access to an applicant status page to track your documents. This is where we’ll post your admissions decision, too, though we’ll also send a decision by mail. Admitted students who live outside of the US will receive decisions via courier service (FedEx, DHL, etc.). Admitted students can confirm their enrollment through the applicant status page, or by mailing the enrollment agreement and a check.

Enrollment Deposit

The $300 enrollment deposit consists of two parts: $250 is used to confirm your enrollment and is returned to you upon graduation, and $50 is a lifetime transcript fee. The enrollment deposit is not applied toward your fall term balance.

Applying for Financial Aid

Generally speaking, we require the FAFSA and CSS Profile. See our Financial Aid Information for Prospective Students for more information.

Late Applicants

Applications may be submitted late, but priority will be given to those applying on or before the deadline. Students who submit late applications must recognize they are applying on a space-if-available basis. In some years, the College is able to offer admission to late applicants. In other years, the first-year student class may be filled and students to whom we would like to offer admission must be placed on a waiting list to see if vacancies occur in late spring or early summer.

Early Admission

Students may be admitted to Carleton without completion of a fourth year of secondary school. It is expected that such candidates will present unusually strong academic credentials, display a high degree of maturity, and have the enthusiastic support of their secondary schools.

Gap Years

Accepted students who wish to defer college for a year (take a gap year) following completion of secondary school can request to be considered for this opportunity by submitting the Gap Year Request Form. We ask that you submit your request by May 1, when possible, and confirm your plans by June 1. The Dean of Admissions may choose to review late requests on a case-by-case basis. Students granted gap year deferment may neither apply to nor enroll at another degree-granting college/university program.

Application Materials

We need the following documents to evaluate your application:

First-Year Students

  • Application: Common App, Coalition App, or QuestBridge App (we have no preference)
  • Transcript: should include:

    • your classes and grades from the first three years of high school
    • your senior year schedule
    • grades from the first term of senior year (when available)
  • High School Counselor Recommendation (also known as “School Report”)
  • Two academic teacher recommendations
  • Test Scores: SAT or ACT

    • We only waive SAT/ACT tests if these tests are not offered in the student’s country
    • Carleton does not require the writing section for either test
    • You may send scores through your school counseling office
  • TOEFL or IELTS for students whose primary language of instruction has not been English
  • SAT Subject Tests are optional
  • No application fee

Transfer Students

  • Application: Common App or Coalition App (we have no preference)
  • Report from Registrar or School Official (this confirms you are in good standing)
  • Transcripts (Final High School and College)
  • Two teacher recommendations
  • Test Scores: SAT or ACT

    • We only waive SAT/ACT tests if these tests are not offered in the student’s country
    • Carleton does not require the writing section for either test
  • TOEFL or IELTS for students whose primary language of instruction has not been English
  • SAT Subject Tests are optional
  • No application fee

Optional Materials

There are several optional components you can consider submitting:

Interviews

Our interviews are low-key conversations between you and a member of the Admissions team. They are meant to be informative. They help you get a better sense of how you might fit in at Carleton. And they help us learn how your strengths and talents might be nurtured in our community.

We do not require an interview.

We interview high school students from May 1 of junior year through January 15 of senior year. We interview transfer students through February 15. We offer several interview options on- and off-campus.

Artists

We allow applicants to submit arts supplements in:

  • music
  • theater
  • dance
  • the visual arts
  • film

You can submit these on your applicant status page, which you’ll gain access to after you apply. We send your samples to appropriate Carleton professors. They review your samples for the admissions committee.

These portfolios are not required for participation or majoring in the arts at Carleton. All students are welcome to submit materials, regardless of their plans once at Carleton.

How to submit arts supplements

You can upload your portfolio of work at the bottom of the applicant status page, under Portfolio. Please note the following guidelines:

  • All students: include information that helps faculty understand your experience and level of interest in the discipline. Examples: résumé, personal statement, individual sample descriptions.
  • All samples: include contrasting examples of expression and technique
  • Visual art: submit no more than 20 images
  • Video and audio samples: no more than 3-5 minutes long
  • Ensemble performances: our preference is for individual work. If you submit ensemble work, indicate your contribution through a description and/or editing.

Athletes

Want to play a varsity sport at Carleton? Contact the coach directly through the recruit questionnaire.

Financial Aid

If you expect to need financial aid, we encourage you to apply for financial aid.