How much does a taxi cost from the Airport to campus?

A taxi is the most expensive way to get to campus. If possible avoid this by taking the Northfield Lines (a bus service).  If you need to take a taxi, the price will range between $100-$140. You can check out taxi services in Northfield and to/from the MSP International Airport as there are a range of companies in the rank.

Can I stay on campus over winter, spring or summer break?

Yes, it is possible to stay on campus over winter, spring or summer break, although staying for summer break is discouraged unless you have a campus job. During vacations students have to pay an additional rent to stay in dorms of ~ $100 a week.

Is the dining hall open during breaks?

Dining halls are not open during break however students will have access to a kitchen, and there are a few local grocery stores (Family Fare, Cub Foods, Walgreens) where students can pick up supplies. We recommend that students also sign up for the Carleton Cupboard, where some food items and seasonings can be found free of charge during break periods.

Can I find a job on campus over break?

Yes. Students who look for a job safely in advance tend to be successful in securing a job. As with any job application, however, students need to be responsible and prepared.

Where/how can I get a cell phone? How much does it cost? How does it work in the US?

During ISO week a special trip will be made to Target, where pre-paid phones may be purchased. Prices may vary depending on the amount of usage you may require.  Purchasing a monthly phone plan (or post-paid) from a known company – Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, may not be possible right away as you may need a Social Security Number (SSN) to make such a purchase or put down a large deposit. A SSN is issued by the U.S. government’s Social Security Administration and only to those who have authorized employment; we will discuss SSN during orientation. 

Please note that the U.S. has several types of cell or mobile systems, and the one used by most of the rest of the world, GSM, is only operated by AT&T or T-Mobile.  If you have an unlocked GSM phone, you may purchase pre-paid SIM cards through these two companies. Also, most U.S. cell companies charge for out-going and in-coming calls.  

Phones are available for your dorm room upon request with local and long-distance access. You will receive a monthly statement for calls made from your room phone. 

What are the shopping opportunities during International Student Orientation, and once at Carleton in general?

There will be a school sponsored trip to Target and Cub Foods during orientation. The school will provide transportation to students for a few hours to get all the things they need.

How do I get around Northfield, and to the Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul)?

The school website has a full description of all transportation available. It is very easy to get around Northfield for free, and the bus to the Cities is approximately $15.

Do I need to bring a computer?

Most students do, but this does not mean that you have to. The school has lots of computer labs in every academic building that are free to use. Some are accessible 24/7, and all operate both MAC and WINDOWS. It is more than feasible to get by without a personal computer.

Can I mail some of my belongings to Carleton over the summer?

No, you cannot mail your belongings to Carleton prior to your arrival. All belongings need to arrive with you, or be purchased upon your arrival to campus.  Once you are on campus, you are able to place your belongings in storage during summer break. A small fee does apply to each box of items you may store. The post office has more information on shipping.

Can I arrive to campus before ISO starts? Will the college provide me accommodation then? 

You need to arrive on campus on the ISO Arrival Day. Carleton will not accommodate you before then. If you do arrive prior to the allowed date, you will need to arrange your own accommodation at a local hotel.

What is a OneCard? What are Schillers?

In addition to giving you access to buildings and services, the OneCard also allows you to make purchases at authorized campus locations at both Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges, as well as certain businesses in town. Schillers are the OneCard’s unit of currency. One U.S. dollar equals one Schiller.

How does laundry work on campus?

Each dorm has a laundry room with both washing machines and dryers. Students are expected to provide their own laundry detergent but the use of the machines is currently at no cost to the student.

How do meals work at Carleton?

All first year students are on the 20 meal plan for the first term, which allows you to eat 3 meals per day except for Sunday breakfast. You also get $75 Dining Dollars, which you can use at the Sayles and Weitz Cafes. There is also a meal replacement option, which allows you to exchange a limited number of Dining Hall meals with a meal from the Sayles Cafe. After the first term students can switch to the 15 meal plan or stay on the 20. The 15 meal plan is the same concept as the 20, except you get $300 Dining Dollars.

What happens to my belongings over break?

During Spring and Winter Break your belongings stay in your room and you do not need to move them out, however, during the long Summer break, you need to move completely out of your room. Storage is available at a small cost for international students who cannot take back all their belongings with them.

The weather at Carleton: how bad does winter get?

The way you handle winter will depend upon its severity relative to your climate at home. January is the coldest month of the year and the average high temperature is 22 degrees F (- 6 degrees Celsius) and the average low is 4 degrees F (-16 degrees Celsius). There are plenty of stores around Northfield and in the Cities where you can buy appropriate winter clothing.

When you arrive on campus in September the temperature will be around 65 degrees F (18 degrees Celsius) and it is still possible to walk around in a t-shirt. 

On campus employment: how does it work?

If you have been given a work study as part of your financial aid package you are guaranteed campus employment and will be placed in a position when you arrive. This position will depend upon the experience and preferences that you submit to Student Financial Aid (they will be in touch with you). If work-study is not part of your financial aid then you are free to look for a job once you arrive, whether on or off-campus (depending on your visa restrictions).   You can find available positions through the Student Employment Website.

How/where/when can I get my textbooks?

There are many ways to get your textbooks, much of which will depend on your budget. You can purchase or rent your textbooks online from the school bookstore before you come to campus and then simply pick them up when you arrive. You can also buy or rent from sites like Amazon and ship them to the school address (300 N College Street, Northfield, MN, 55057). There is also a CSA Textbook Library where you can borrow books for free.

How do I get health insurance at Carleton?

Health insurance is dealt with through the Carleton Business Office. Please visit the Business Office website for more information.

What documents should I keep with me when I travel?

There are several important documents to keep with you at all times. The most vital are your passport and I-20. However it is also useful to have ISL’s contact information, your certification of finances, and address for the school. Make sure to have copies available of your passport, in case of loss or it being stolen.

Can I change my mind about classes once I get there?

Yes, there is the drop/add option if you have issues with your classes, although this must be done within the first week of classes. You have more time, however, to decide whether to take a class pass/fail.

How do I register for classes?

The best way for a comprehensive guide to registering for classes is to visit the Registrar’s page.

Is there a big party culture at Carleton? Will I be expected to partake?

Carleton is an American college which contains a wide spectrum of students with different interests. Although Carleton is a wet campus (students over 21 may purchase and consume alcohol) there are many different societies and activities for students who do not want to drink. Carls also pride themselves on accepting everyone’s individual choices, and not pressuring each other to drink.

Will there only be co-ed bathrooms?

No. Some floors do have co-ed bathrooms but this is only after everyone on the floor agrees to it. If you do not want a co-ed bathroom and prefer unisex ones the floor will accommodate you.

What happens if I do not like my roommate?

If you do not like your roommate or you are in continual conflict there are several avenues open to you. The first is to talk to your RA (residential assistant). This is someone who lives on your floor and is employed by the school to support you. They will try to come up with a solution to the issue. If that does not work, you can take the issue to RESLIFE, an office in the school and they will attempt to resolve the issue.


For additional information, please contact:  

Liz Cody, Director of Office of International Student Life
Email:    Phone: +1-507-222-4013