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Students Say...

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. Click any category for a cross-section of their uncensored comments.

Academics | Student Body | Campus Life | Choosing Carleton

 

  • Everyone usually fits in at Carleton, they just can't be afraid to limit themselves.Alex Brewer '12
  • There's such a variety of different pleasant smells here! When the wind blows from the Malt O'Meal factory and they're making chocolate cereal, the world smells delicious. Those are good days.Colin Hazlett '12
  • I chose Carleton because it was the only school that proved to me that the professors were as dedicated to the students as the students are to their education. Also, the financial office was really understanding of my financial status and made it very affordable for me to come to Carleton.Erin Jones '12
  • 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
  • I was surprised to feel that I wanted to get to know and have lengthy conversations with the vast majority of people here. People here do not fit into groups as students typically do in high school. I remember meeting football players who were Classical Studies majors and French majors who were also pre-med.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
  • There is never a time when you would ever say "there's nothing to do on campus today!"Peter Schlesinger '12
  • Everyone is excited about who they're meeting and what they're learning. Someone who only cares about academic learning would not fit in well. Carleton students realize that academics are only half (a very important half) of the learning experience. If all you want is a place to do your work, Carleton is not the place for you - it has too many cool things to be experienced!” –Peter Schlesinger, ‘12Peter Schlesinger '12
  • College is the time to figure out who you are, and in order to do that, sometimes you have to make mistakes. But the thing is, everyone here will help you out when you do. When I procrastinate for too long and then try to sleep, my roommate makes me do my homework. Everyone helps everyone here, which makes it a really safe, giving environment.Kelly Thomas '11
  • Carleton has really helped me learn that being self-conscious is a waste of time. If you feel like being barefoot, or muddy, or dancing in a fountain, or cartwheeling down a hill, you should do it.Kelly Thomas '11
  • I guess that there is no need to worry about fitting in at Carleton if you are passionate about something--the social aspect of your experience here will take care of itself.Zaira Gonzales '11
  • I chose Carleton because I felt I could get the best possible undergraduate education here. I was accepted to some more well-known schools, but I love the personal atmosphere of Carleton. There is no place in the world quite like Carleton, and I have to say that I consider it to be the best choice I've ever made.Brian Kilgour '11
  • The student body is very supportive. There's no competitive edge, and you will get very few odd looks if you're in the library working late into the night on a Friday - and you certainly won't be the only one! It's not hard to connect with a wide variety of people...that being said, you will certainly be happier once you find your niche. But your niche is out there! There are hard partiers and people whose idea of a fun Friday night is watching a British sci-fi show with good friends.Kate Madison '11
  • Carleton students are genuinely friendly, genuinely thoughtful, and genuinely and equally interested in academics and just sitting around and laughing with friends. Carleton students like to think about what life is really for.Karl Snyder '12
  • Students here are generally open-minded, willing to learn through various ways, and friendly. A distinct Carleton feature is that students are capable of making changes to the community they are part of without any artificial obstacles being created from the administration. In fact, it's as supportive as it gets, offering students an opportunity of direct governance and input.Asim Manizada ‘13
  • Quirky and open. You can sit down anywhere in the dining halls and strike up conversations with the people sitting around you. And good conversations at that. It just works here, and it's a nice feeling.Julia Leghorn ‘14
  • Don't come to Carleton if you don't take pride in school work.Sarah Duane '11
  • As far as I can tell there is really no specific feature that defines a Carleton student. Obviously, the type of person who tends to want to come to Carleton is someone who wants to be challenged intellectually. However, beyond intellectual integrity you can find any type of person at Carleton.Student Body
  • Carleton is about exploring and learning new things in a very organic way, meaning that, if allowed, new interests develop which can ultimately set someone down a very different path than they imagined.Ellen Esch '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
  • Of course there are many people who will go out and party on Friday and Saturday nights, but if that's not your thing, you WILL find other people with the same interests. People also won't judge you.Freshman
  • If you want to party, you can party. If you don't want to, you don't have to. There are tons of lectures, concerts, discussion groups, dances, and movies found all over campus...and many people are content just to curl up and watch a movie with friends! The only thing that is difficult is "dating" - not having relationships, but "dating," because it is so difficult to find time.Kate Madison '11
  • I don't know of a single person that will turn you away simply because they don't know you; people are so welcoming and friendly here.Jojo Schmidt '13
  • Carleton is a place where a stranger is a friend you haven't yet met.Asim Manizada ‘13
  • There is any type of social life you want here. Want a dance party? Want a Disney-Movie-Night? Want to geek out with some RPG's? It's all happening on campus. It's just hard trying to figure which you want to do most.Julia Leghorn ‘14
  • Campus life is all about having fun. Especially on the weekends, people have worked so hard every week that they just want to relax with friends and have a good time. The night life is very inclusive and varied so that everyone can have a chance to decompress on the weekend. The social scene is active- you can't walk around the library (or anywhere else) without running into several people you know, which in my opinion is one of the best parts about a small college; friends are everywhere.Katie France '12
  • For a very academic school, there are a LOT of things to do. Alcohol is very prevalent, but not unavoidable, and there are lots of sub-free events, too. Most campus events are free, too, which is fantastic!Chloe Meisner ‘11
  • One of my favorite parts about the social scene thus far is how much interaction there is between different class years. Unlike in high school where Seniors may have seen Freshman as lame, at Carleton the Seniors, Juniors, and Sophomores see Freshman as new people to meet and become friends with. Some of the first new phone numbers you are likely to put in your phone, in fact, are older students who are just as likely to invite you to a frisbee game on the Bald Spot as some of the Freshman you will meet. That being said, the social scene at Carleton is however you want to make it. Drinking at Carleton is very acceptable and is done by many students on weekends and also Wednesday nights. RA's tend to not care about drinking and students who are not on sub-free floors can easily have alcohol in there room. That being said, partying is only a small part of the weekend social life. Whether you want to go make cookies at the Dacie Moses House, watch a movie on the bald spot, or just play a board game in your room there are endless numbers of ways to have fun on both weekends and weeknights.John Carson '14
  • I am a three term athlete, so I only have one night a week when I can go out. I never feel pressured to drink on nights I choose not to, but when I do want to go out there is definitely something going on. Most people at Carleton know how to party on Saturday night, then buckle down again on Sunday for the week's homework.Kelly Lovett '11
  • You can essentially do anything you want at Carleton. If you want to party, there will be parties for you to go to. If you want to be in the library studying on a Saturday night, there will be people in there with you. If you want to play Ultimate every day for 4 years, you can do that too. You can do all of the above if you want to.Simon Johansen ‘14
  • I chose Carleton because it felt the most like me. I loved what I could study here and the opportunities the college would afford me (and many of which I have taken advantage of)...but most of all I loved how much Carls reminded me of the spark of geekiness, love of learning, love of knowledge, and quirky impulses that I find in myself.Kate Madison '11
  • I chose Carleton because it felt like home--it felt like a place that I could live and grow and laugh and study. Essentially, Carleton felt like a place where I could simply be me.Jojo Schmidt '13
  • I heard it described as a place with really really amazing academics, but relaxed people with a good sense of humor. I thought, "That sounds like me."Karl Snyder '12
  • For me, athletics were a huge part of why I chose Carleton. When I visited campus I stayed with the volleyball team. Walking around campus with them, I felt as if I fit in already. As soon as I left campus I told my parents I was applying early decision because it's the only school I wanted to go to.” – Kelly Lovett, ‘11Kelly Lovett '11
  • I can't really narrow it down to one thing. The academics, the sports, the people, the professors, they're all good. For me, it came down to taking a leap of faith.Simon Johansen ‘14
  • Carleton is a very intense place. The students all say "We work hard and we play hard." Ten-week terms are short, but they provide for an intensity of learning that is addictive - and tiring. It is tiring and it is stressful, and it isn't for everybody. It's not easy, and nobody holds your hand, but you have help; you have lots of help whenever you need it. Carls are wonderful, quirky people who love to learn, and this is a really supportive environment. And the College fosters that. Carls are group of people who love our school. We realize it's not perfect, but we love it anyway and seek to make it better so we can love it the more.Kate Madison '11
  • Visiting during the school-year is a great idea, so you can observe the kinds of interactions that Carleton students have on a daily basis. My favorite aspect of Carleton is easily the kinds of people it attracts.Karl Snyder '12
  • I chose Carleton because of the vibe I got on campus. People are here to learn together. So far, some of my favorite times have been in the libe or floor lounge taking study breaks with my friends. It's a fun learning environment.Julia Leghorn ‘14
  • Come to Carleton, and don't be afraid to see students who wave at you and say hi without even knowing you.Asim Manizada ‘13
  • You will do work on a Friday or Saturday night.Sarah Duane '11
  • The winter isn't really as bad as everyone says. It's the summer weather you want to avoid.Alexandra Price ‘13
  • It's much more friendly and supportive than more competitive East Coast liberal arts colleges.Freshman
  • The oak trees in between Olin and Boliou are the most beautiful trees you will ever see.Sophomore
  • You probably won't LOVE everything about Carleton; I know that there are several things I would prefer were a bit different. However, the overwhelming experience for me has been positive. Don't come expecting everything to be perfect, but do expect to have the time of your life!Chloe Meisner ‘11
  • Bring a gorilla suit to college! Whether it is Carleton or SMU, the gorilla suit is a must for weekends, pranks, and sometimes even the occasional class. Plus, if you have a popular name like mine, people can easily distinguish you as "Gorilla Josh" as opposed to "Normal Josh.Josh Carson ‘14
  • Being at Carleton is 100% more awesome than being a dinosaur. I don't care which dinosaur or how awesome it is.Rachel Porcher ‘13
  • The Silent Libe Dance Party ROCKS! The stretch of the Cannon River in the Arb is a hidden gem for tubing late in spring term and early fall! Professors have amazing networking skills and can often times help you find summer employment in an area you are really excited about.Ellen Esch '11
  • Carleton is very open. You can do almost anything you want. But just because you CAN do something does not mean you SHOULD do something.Simon Johansen ‘14
  • Carleton students are inquisitive, engaged, nerdy, enthusiastic, and friendly. They're the sort of person who has at least one academic topic they can gush about for hours, and probably more than one. They are interesting and, perhaps more importantly, interested.Katie Neher '13