As a residential college, you might expect Carleton's halls and houses to be the center of life for many students. You’d be right. Despite what people say about Carls living in the library, they really do spend more time in their residence halls than anywhere else on campus.
90% of Carleton students (those who aren’t in an Off Campus Studies program, that is) live in college housing. And whether it's in a residence hall, a shared interest house, or one of the coveted campus townhouses, Carls pack a lot of life into their residential life! From pizza study breaks to Bad Poetry Night, the activities that go on in Carleton’s halls and houses are often some of the most memorable of your college experiences.
Most of Carleton's students—and all first-year students—live in one of the College's residence halls (dorms). Most floors have a diverse mix of men and women from all four classes, and RAs are there to coordinate floor and hall activities and other social and educational events. All residence halls have lounges, TVs and laundry facilities. All campus buildings are smoke-free and most halls have substance-free floors.
Other Campus Housing
In addition to the residence halls, Carleton has ten apartment-style townhouses on campus and 29 other college-owned houses in the surrounding neighborhood. Several of the houses are shared interest living communities, where students with a particular passion—sustainability, faith, outdoor adventure, food, and science fiction, to name a few—can share space and ideas with like-minded classmates.
Generally speaking, we're a safe community. However, we encourage prospective students to review the Carleton College Annual Security and Fire safety Report. The Report includes statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in residence halls; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Carleton College; and on public property within or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus. The Report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security such as sexual assault and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this Report by contacting Carleton College Security Services or online here.
What's been your experience with roommates? Kiyo Gomi '12 says:I started off in a triple and have continued to live with one of my roommates for three years. The third night at college my new roommates decided to duct tape me to my bed, and while that seems strange, I really enjoy their humor and their general goofiness. I haven't regretted living with anyone.
Peter Schlesinger '12 says:There is always something really cool going on on campus. You have opportunities to join a huge range of clubs, and there is literally something for everyone. As for residential and social life, everything is pressure free and relaxed. There is ample opportunity to party if you want to. There are even more opportunities to attend concerts, improv troupes, dances, and a whole lot more. There is never a time when you would ever say "there's nothing to do on campus today!"
Peter Schlesinger '12 says:I live in Myers. My floor is really close, and we all have a good time together. Many of my meals are spent with friends from my floor. Last night, we were all a little tired of studying, so we decided to go play outside in the rain. The rain soon stopped, but we didn't - we all played tag from midnight to around 1 am! It was great.
Claire Weinberg '12 says:I live in Goodhue, which is the most out-of-the-way dorm (you have to cross a bridge over the lake to get to the main campus). People always complain about how far away it is, but it's only a three-minute walk at most from campus, and besides, you get amazing views of the sunset over the lake when you walk back across the bridge in the evening. Some of the people on my floor have become like family; we help each other out with practical things, pull pranks on each other, and keep each other company while we study. I think this kind of floor bonding is one of the best things about Carleton.
Collin Hazlett '12 says:I was extremely lucky to get Nourse. It's a hundred years old, it's beautiful (old wood and old brick and old glass), it has interesting secret nooks (I haven't used the forbidden secret tunnel entrance, because it's forbidden, but I know where it is), and it has a reputation for having very nice people.
Anna Chance '15 says:Freshman year in Watson, I received a package in the mail that had a lot of packing peanuts in it. I put it into recycling, but then—I walk out into the lounge and I find that my packing peanuts have been converted into SAND for a makeshift BEACH! There were towels scattered on the floor for "sunbathing" and residents had set up a small makeshift volleyball net. All players were wearing some form of swim gear and the 'volleyball' was a stuffed pineapple. There was even an "ocean" that people could dip their feet into, and cut-out pictures of waves taped to the windows! I suppose this just goes to show that Carls are pretty creative, spontaneous, fun-loving, and..a a little quirky. A Minnesota winter is not going to stop us from having a beach party!
How would you describe campus life at Carleton? Claire Weinberg '12 says:It’s fairly laid-back – people have a lot of activities and work, but they don’t run around like chickens with their heads cut off (except maybe during finals week). The dorms are all very nice, and people tend to form close relationships with their floors. The food is variable but mainly good. People are always looking to have fun, whatever that may mean for them. I love how the small campus makes it so that you see your friends multiple times a day, even if you don’t have classes together or live near each other. My favorite campus phenomenon is when everyone comes out of their cocoons at the beginning of spring term. We all start wearing very little clothing before it's at all justified by the weather, and you're constantly bumping into people you know walking around, because everyone wants to be outside.
What does the social life of a student consist of? Are parties considered a normality or a matter of expulsion? The Admissions Office says:
The answer to the first question is: the social life depends on the student. For some, the perfect Friday night is spent watching movies with friends. For others it is spent at a coffee shop, or holding a bonfire on Mai Fete Island. Maybe it's running in the arboretum, or playing Frisbee with floor-mates. And since this is Carleton, there is probably someone playing Scrabble somewhere, or knitting, or juggling.
As to the second question: a party certainly isn't a reason to expel someone. No one, to our knowledge, has died from dancing badly, or often. Because this is a college, and because some of our students are over 21, there are parties that involve alcohol (though there are plenty that do not). If a party involves alcohol, we expect students to make healthy and legal choices. If someone makes poor choices, then each case is dealt with individually and in accordance with school policy.