StudentsReview :: Carleton College - Extra Detail about the Comment
Search for Schools by Region

or within distance of city

Similar Schools
Macalester College -- St. Paul, MN
Amherst College -- Amherst, MA
Brown University -- Providence, RI

  Who's got the Best?

Perceptual Rankings:
You Make 'Em.
We Post 'Em.
You Vote 'Em Up.
You Vote 'Em Down.
Aww yeah.

Carleton College

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityA- Faculty AccessibilityA
Useful SchoolworkA Excess CompetitionA
Academic SuccessA Creativity/ InnovationA-
Individual ValueB+ University Resource UseA-
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA FriendlinessA
Campus MaintenanceA Social LifeC
Surrounding CityC- Extra CurricularsB+
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Arrogant, Approachable

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Helpful

Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Surrounding City
Highest Rating
Faculty Accessibility
He cares more about Social Life than the average student.
Date: Apr 03 2005
Major: Math (This Major's Salary over time)
Academics: Top-notch liberal arts education. However, the lack of graduate classes means you may run out of classes in your major, especially in the sciences. Carleton is not as much in the "research loop" as, say, an Ivy or A-list state school, but the professors are driven, brilliant, and excellent teachers. Carleton encourages people to take classes outside their major, though sometimes the student body can counter that. I've taken 3 English classes; in two (creative writing) I was recognized as talented/ambitious enough to hold my own and accepted, in the other (English Lit survey) I was constantly made to feel like I didn't belong. "Go home, Math Boy."

I don't know that the education offered at Carleton is superior to that at other schools, but it's very different. Carleton gives you a liberal arts education in the true sense, and much about the experience caters to self-broadening. There are lots of nice, interesting places on campus to read or discuss classes with one's colleagues.

Student Body: 1900 students. A lot of them are very immature when they get to Carleton, but blossom into very interesting, cool people during freshman and sophomore year. The academic quality of student is even higher than one might expect from US News & World Report: many students turn down A-list schools to come to Carleton (Chicago, Williams, and on occasion Harvard). The major difference between Carleton kids and students at other elite schools is one of values: Carleton students are very idealistic, a large number go into the Peace Corps, Teach for America, and the non-profit sector.

There are a few complete duds among Carleton's student body, but few and far between. Most of the people here are great.

Social life: Pretty bad. Most weekend social events are sweaty alcohol parties where people go looking for a good time they never find. The small student body means that there is a lot of gossip. "Reputation" is a problem and about 10 people per class year get unfairly hammered by that, especially well-off male East Coasters who are viewed with extreme suspicion when they interact with women. Do not come to Carleton looking for a soulmate. True to its Northfield environs, Carleton is full of those small-town relationships, most of which (an arrogant East Coast kid sez) would melt in a big city like a snowman in hell. Each woman has a window of availability of about 15 days when she switches between the HTH (Hometown Honey) and her first joined-at-the-hip college pseudo-marriage. There is incredible competition for women during this short window, and of course most men end up disappointed. In other words, if you're single, you're probably locked-out until graduation.

The Town: For Northfield's size (17000) I don't know that one could expect anything better—it's great for what it is—but it is a one-street town, a bedroom exurb of Minneapolis. There are a few good pizza places, a great coffeeshop (Goodbye Blue Monday's) and there's an amazing Indian restaurant (Chapati's, on Division Street). However, I constantly had the feeling that my friends at places like Columbia, MIT, Chicago, UW-Madison were having much more fun… and they probably were. Northfield feels too small after about 4 months.

Administration: Somewhat statist in the sense that concerns of the College are placed, without apology, before those of the students. Donors' kids get ostensibly softer disciplinary treatment than low-income students. This is probably true everywhere, though.

Weather: I love it. Winters are very cold (0 to 20 F) but usually sunny. Spring and fall are the best, and absolutely beautiful. I don't think I'd trade the weather here for anything else.

Placement: Carleton gets an A- for graduate school placement and an D+ for job placement. I blame this latter fact on the fact that Carleton lives in the tradition of the aristocratic liberal-arts college, not the 21st century where even well-off students have the burden of self-establishment. Only 27 companies recruit at Carleton, while most similar schools enjoy ~300. You definitely can go to Carleton and get a good job, but you'll need to show a lot of personal initiative. Specific placement-hindering factors are the calendar (school gets out in June, conflicting with some internships), the lack of grade-inflation, and the relatively low profile of Carleton. Those who've heard of Carleton recognize it as a top-notch school, but most employers have not. Carleton's seeming inability to market its students to employers means that a large proportion of Carleton students end up ridiculously underemployed, some getting dumped into dead-end service jobs. But, I expect many of my classmates to be very successful 15 years post-graduation, because of the value of what they have learned.

Quality of Life: Dorms are reasonable, though some are cramped or have noise problems. The dorms people complain about being "far away" are actually only a 2-minute walk from the heart of campus, so location is never really a problem. Food is mediocre and overpriced, the "Snack Bar" is an atrocity.

Morale: People come to Carleton with sky-high, unrealistic expectations, and complain about the College for the first 1-2 years when those aren't met. I think this is probably true at every college. Even still, I think most students here are happy with their choice.

Overall: If you come to Carleton, you will sacrifice a lot in terms of fun, social life, and possibly job placement. On the other hand, you will grow as an intellectual and person. Carleton is one of the last institutions that caters to aristocratic (and possibly politically incorrect) notions of self-development and holistic education, rather than career-oriented instruction. The journey's not been perfect, but I have no regrets and wouldn't trade the past 3.7 years in for anything else.

Ask a Question or add a response!
Compare CarletonSave Carleton