Carleton College is a leading liberal arts institution located in Northfield, Minnesota. The rural campus (about 40 miles from Minneapolis/St. Paul) is situated on 955 acres, and it was established in 1866. The college is considered one of the top five liberal arts schools in the country, and recently landed in the first spot for best undergraduate teaching at a liberal arts college. With just over 2,000 students, the small campus is known for having a supportive rather than competitive feel among the students. Although incoming freshmen were the brightest minds at their high schools, Carleton students participate in collaborative academic interests instead of focusing on besting their classmates.
Carleton currently offers 33 majors and 38 minors. The most popular areas of study include social sciences; physical sciences; computer and information sciences; biological/life sciences; mathematics and statistics; and psychology. Class sizes remain small, with a student to faculty ratio of nine to one. About 70 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students. With more than 210 full-time faculty members, professors are able to spend more time with individual students and provide additional guidance in particular subjects. Because of the proximity to Minneapolis/St. Paul, students are also able to participate in off-campus studies. In fact, more than 70 percent take part in internships, summer research, or projects alongside alumni. Carleton College also encourages the sharing of ideas with their weekly convocations. These free lectures are available to the public, and the students benefit greatly from hearing the impressive guests speak.
Although Carleton College places a large significance on academics, the school has also created a fun on-campus atmosphere. All freshmen are required to live on campus, but 96 percent of all undergraduates decide to remain in some form of campus housing. There are nearly 200 campus organizations. There are three theater boards that put on more than 10 productions every term, an improv group, seven a cappella groups, four choirs, and seven instrumental ensembles. Students can also take part in dance groups, a Mock Trial team, a debate team, or one of the seven student publications. Individuals can also take advantage of the Cowling Arboretum, or “The Arb,” which covers 880 acres. There are walking, running, and cross-country skiing trails east of the campus. Runner’s World magazine even named the Arb as one of the top 10 places to run in the country.
With an 80,000 square foot recreation center and working labs with state-of-the-art equipment, Carleton makes sure that it offers only the best for its students. The close-knit community and small population help to create a unique bonding experience for undergraduates. The dedicated faculty and extracurricular activities also serve to make Carleton one of the best places to receive a liberal arts education in the country.