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Why I Chose Carleton

McKenna shares her college search process and some reasons why she chose Carleton.

McKenna shares her college search process and some reasons why she chose Carleton.

During my freshman year of high school, I took what was essentially a Buzzfeed quiz.

I plugged in what I knew I wanted in a college — a smaller, liberal arts college where most people lived on campus — and the Internet spit out some recommendations. What surprised and excited me was that I had the option to attend a school in Minnesota, my favorite state ever.

That school was Carleton College.

I then promptly forgot most of these schools and names until I started seriously looking for a college. That’s when I remembered Carleton and did some additional research.

Carleton quickly became one of my favorites.

Carleton has always been co-ed, which is pretty cool. And, Carleton offers strong science programs, something I really liked. Plus, like I mentioned, it’s in Minnesota!

A view of Anderson Hall's entrance
In fact, we just opened part of our new science center, Evelyn Anderson Hall.

What really sold me, though, was the sense of community.

There’s a saying “Carls help Carls” which, although a little cheesy, rings true for me. When I’m on campus, my default assumption is that people will help me. Carleton is very collaborative; I consistently get academic help from my friends.

Carls aren’t defined by a single academic interest.

In high school, when I was heavily involved in both theater and engineering, I felt tension between my interests. Events conflicted sometimes and were often located at opposite ends of my high school campus. I don’t feel that tension at Carleton. Professors, students, and staff alike are aware, and supportive of the fact, that students have multiple passions.

That support has helped me explore and learn about myself and has ultimately led me to become a Russian major. My closest friends are Math, Physics, and CS majors as well as musicians, jugglers, and anime nerds. This diversity of interests leads to some amazing dinner conversations! I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Do a (virtual) visit to campus.

I visited Carleton in the middle of February during my junior year of high school (on a weekend without snow somehow ??) and met up with a current student. She introduced me to her friends and I ended up attending a floor event and a comedy performance. I was sold! I then returned to campus again to interview during the summer before my senior year. The rest is history!

Skinner Chapel in winter
This was what I was expecting to see in Minnesota in February, but I got 60 degrees and sunny. To be honest, I was a little disappointed.

Ultimately, you’ll be successful no matter which college you attend, so go somewhere that makes you happy.

Carleton is a great fit for my personality — which is something I’d encourage others to consider when visiting and applying to schools. I have a few other tips for succeeding during your senior year of high school, but that is probably my biggest takeaway.

McKenna is a Russian and Psychology double major who is suffering from major Minnesota-withdrawal (her favorite season is, in fact, winter). On campus, she’s often designing lights for a student performance, speaking Russian in Parish house, or grabbing a meal with friends. She’s also a proud member of the Carleton Equestrian Team and is currently playing Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in her free time. Meet the other bloggers!