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Carleton Liberal Arts Experience


Program Overview

The Carleton Liberal Arts Experience (CLAE) is a free, in-person, week-long summer academic program for high school students. CLAE supports 52 high school students who have just completed their sophomore year. CLAE Scholars experience the benefits of a liberal arts college education through classes in science, art, social studies, and technology. Students from across the country are invited to apply for this academic program. In order to participate in this year’s fly-in program, you must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, including a booster shot if eligible.

CLAE is intended for students who identify as Black or African American, or who have an interest in African American culture. Throughout the week,  scholars will focus on African American community and identity through the framework of a liberal arts education.

CLAE also includes preparation and guidance for the college search and application process. CLAE Scholars live in our campus dorms for the week, with opportunities to explore our college town and the Twin Cities and participate in fun group activities.

Recent CLAE course offerings include:

    • The African American Experience
    • Schooling, Opportunity, & Identities in the U.S
    • What We Don’t Know We “Know”: Pop Culture and the Distortion of Reality
    • Religion and the Black Freedom Struggle
    • DNA Fingerprinting: The Science of Forensics

Recent college application workshop offerings include:

    • Understanding Your Options: What Make a Liberal Arts Education Unique?
    • Keys to Getting Into College: What You Need to Know About the Application Process and Financial Aid
    • Write Your Way In: Strategies for Success on Your College Application
    • Navigating College: Where and How to Find Support on Campus

CLAE Scholars are supported by Carleton faculty members, admissions staff, and current Carleton students. It is a great way to meet other students from across the country and to get a sense of what a liberal arts education is like. 

Program Dates

Saturday, June 25, 2022, through Saturday, July 2, 2022
CLAE 2022 will be back in person!!!

Applications are now closed for 2022.

Application opens: January 24, 2022
Deadline to apply: March 27, 2022

Who should apply?

Students who identify as Black or African American, or who have an interest in African American culture, are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be college-bound high school students who are current sophomores. The CLAE program occurs in the summer between sophomore and junior year of high school. Please note that the selection process for CLAE is competitive, and successful applicants tend to demonstrate great academic promise and a strong level of community involvement.

Application Details

The application is completed online and includes:

  • application form
  • several short-answer essays
  • a current high school report card or transcript (this should include your sophomore year schedule and grades from the fall of 10th grade)
  • one recommendation letter from a teacher, counselor, or mentor
  • Application Timeline
    • January 24, 2022: application opens
    • March 27, 2022: student applications and all supporting materials are due
    • April: students are notified of their application decision.

Please note that applicants will only be considered for CLAE once they have completed their application and all of the above supporting materials have been received by the CLAE staff. Just like in the college application process, it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all materials have been turned in by the correct deadline.

Prior to CLAE, I had never been surrounded by so many self-motivated, tenacious, and gifted students. CLAE truly exposed me to a part of myself that I had never known.
Peter Uwalaka '07
CLAE Scholar '01, Carleton College '07, Harvard University Graduate School of Education '10
"I am applying to Carleton because I appreciate what the school has done for me. My first trip to Minnesota was for CLAE and it was my very first flight alone. It was one of the greatest opportunities I've been given."
DeLante Blagburn '23
Greenville, SC
"I was excited to experience liberal arts, and during my stay on campus I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved how engaged everyone was during the seminars, expressing well thought out opinions and ideas while also actively listening to what others had to say."
Javin White '20
Bowie, MD
"CLAE is where it all started for me. I attended the program with 49 other African American students and fell in love with the school...I felt like I belonged on campus."
Brittany Deweaver '20
Oakland, CA

CLAE Staff

Profile Pic for CLAE

Daamir Robinson

Director, CLAE

Assistant Dean of Admissions, Diversity Outreach and Access Team

A profile photo of Carleen smiling

Carleen Thurnblad

Administrative Assistant in Admissions for Diversity and Outreach Programs