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On My Carleton Decision

Andriana reflects on her decision to attend Carleton!

Andriana reflects on her decision to attend Carleton!

Hi everyone!

Happy spring—coincidentally, my first spring term at Carleton. The sky is blue, yesterday’s snow (literally) has melted, and it’s warm enough that I don’t even need a coat. It’s a beautiful day to be in Northfield.

The arrival of spring reminds me that for many of you high school seniors, it’s college decision time! You have probably received all of your offers of admission. Now, you get to choose where you will spend the next four years.

Each year, I write some iteration of this post, recapping the college decision process. But seeing as I’m more than halfway through my college experience (holy cows, colleges, and contentment!), I’m hoping to take a more reflective approach.

Am I glad that I chose Carleton?

100% yes. And I’m not just saying that because I work for the Admissions Office.

Carleton has been a wonderful experience. I love my community, campus, and department. I’m grateful to be surrounded by people who constantly want to learn. It brings me joy to see ten friendly faces whenever I step out of my dorm. This morning, as I walked to my English class in Laird, I realized that the building has adopted that super familiar, homey feel in my mind.

This is the right place for me.

Beloved Laird Hall (photo credit: Emilee Renwick)

My Favorite Features

Admittedly, I’m using buzzwords that you’re probably hearing from a lot of colleges. Pretty campus! Strong community! Excellent academics! So here are a few concrete features that, in my experience, make Carleton stand out from its peer institutions.

We are small but mighty!

Carleton is a small school—we have about 2000 students. In a school that size, you are bound to interact with a high percentage of the population. On a daily basis, this looks like running into people you know. A lot. You’ll see them in classes, in the dining halls, in town. You won’t get lost in the masses.

We love undergrads!

We are an undergraduate and residential institution. The vast majority of the student body is between the ages of 18 and 22, and most of us live on campus. It’s easy to connect with peers—we live in the same place and are in the same stage of life.

Rhino + Friends
Me + friends + paper mache rhino (long story)

Speaking of which. . . as an undergraduate institution, Carleton promises to prioritize students’ academic experiences. I have anecdotally heard about schools and programs that sideline undergraduate academics. That is a non-problem at Carleton, which is nationally recognized for the quality of its undergraduate education.

So what does this look like? Class sizes are small (my *big* course this term is my English class with 25 students). TAs are a supplementary resource—they truly assist rather than teach. Professors are frequently available for office hours, after-class chats, and weekend or evening gatherings.

We like school!

Carleton curiosity is a real and enriching part of the academic experience. We spend Saturday nights poking fun at Gothic literature, procrastinate by conversing about the ethics of surrogacy, and have heated discussions about cancel culture. (Yes, real examples.) And we do it because we think it’s fun!

William + Crossword
William the Cat during Saturday Presentation Night

Do I have regrets?

I wish I’d gotten a full ride, but alas, what can you do?

Bottomline is. . .

I think Carleton is a wonderful place to go to school. Still, your circumstances, interests, and priorities might be different from mine. So talk to current students. Talk to your friends/family/guidance counselor/trusted person. Talk to yourself in the mirror. Most importantly, have faith in your ability to make the right decision.

Andriana is a native of Richmond, VA, though her love of snow suggests she might be a northerner at heart. She is in her junior year at Carleton, where she is an English major and a Cross-Cultural Studies minor. When Andriana isn’t busy staying warm in the Minnesotan tundra, you can find her binge-reading, playing music, or watching a favorite movie or show for the umpteenth time. Meet the other bloggers!