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Carleton in Their Own Words

To truly understand Carleton, talk to the people who know it best: our students.

We asked students to share their candid opinions about Carleton's student body, academics, campus life and more. Below is a cross-section of their uncensored comments.

Academics | Student Body | Campus Life | Choosing Carleton


  • Carleton’s academic environment is very relaxed. We have a very rigorous academic curriculum, but students here are incredibly self-motivated, eliminating any competition often found at similar schools. I appreciate that my classmates want to learn for the sake of learning. I know some people who have audited classes because they want to learn about the material but can’t fit it into their schedule.Caroline Giese '11
  • Carleton offered every subject I might have wanted to study, which is a lot of subjects – the major deciding ones were archaeology and film, which weren't offered at several of the other colleges I looked at.Claire Weinberg '12
  • Don't come to Carleton if you don't take pride in school work.Sarah Duane '11
  • Academics are hard and intense. There's no getting around that. But there is no competition between students or between faculty. The profs want you to come to their office hours and talk; they push you to do better and think more, but most also help you along the way. There is a lot of work and it's often hard to balance work and fun, but everyone is in the same boat, so it can be very supportive.Kate Madison '11
  • Academics at Carleton are an emphasis; students here really enjoy learning and that passion is incredibly evident on campus, allowing for the dynamic that we treasure here.Jojo Schmidt '13
  • Really rigorous, I'm not gonna lie. Almost everyone takes academics extremely seriously though. Blowing off homework is not the norm. People never talk about their grades with other people though, unless it is that they expected higher or expected lower. A's and B's aren't mentioned. Everyone competes with his- or herself.Karl Snyder '12
  • I would not call academics hard, more like challenging. Practically anything is possible depending on how much you are willing to work for it.Asim Manizada ‘13
  • Students here aren't the type to fall asleep in class. It's not because we get enough sleep (almost none of us do), it's because we all think class is really entertaining.Alexandra Price ‘13
  • The academics are challenging, but the good thing is that everyone loves to learn and wants to get their work done, so it's easy to find time for homework. The professors also make class and homework fit together well, so you often leave class excited to start the reading.Katie France '12
  • Don't be above using your resources. It's the best thing you can do for yourself.Sophomore
  • Academic life at Carleton is intense! That said, everyone is in the same boat and there are lots of resources to make the going a bit smoother. It is possible to do well and still have a social life.Chloe Meisner ‘11
  • As hard as the classes are and as much pressure as there is to succeed, professors are not there to play 'gotcha.' They are truly invested in helping you to not just pass the class, but become a better student, a better writer, and a better person.Josh Carson ‘14
  • It's hard. A lot harder than high school. Three classes a term is plenty.Simon Johansen ‘14
  • The academic life at Carleton is rigorous, but I have yet to meet a teacher who is not willing to do everything he or she can to help you succeed. You definitely get what you put into it.Ben Picone '11
  • In the college search, I found it all too easy to forget that a good school meant a hard school. If I actually thought about it, I convinced myself that I wanted to be challenged. That belief has been tested here. Carleton is a really good school. Which means that it's hard. Classes are difficult. There's a lot of work. You learn faster than you ever thought you could. But the amazing part is the pause in the middle of writing a fifeen page paper, when I stop to realize, 'that soliloquy is beautiful.'Hunter Knight '11
  • It varies by the classes that you take. I know some classes have 100 pages of reading every night and papers every week, while others have almost nothing. I would say that the easiest class in the 100 level is equal to an AP class in high school and above that the difficulty curve gets much steeper.Marc Boyce '11
  • Challenging. I spend so much time doing work, but I do have time to hang out and besides, the work is fun most of the time.Dan Levy '11
  • It's harder than high school, but most people handle the workload pretty well. There are times when it can be overwhelming, but you aren't forced to sacrifice your social life or well-being in order to do well in class.Emily Cogsdill '11
  • Very rigorous, but with academic supports such as writing assistants, prefects, group studying, and office hours to help understand material.Claire Hill '11