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St. Olaf vs. Carleton

I_need_adviceI_need_advice 56 replies20 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited October 2009 in Saint Olaf College
What are the major differences between these two colleges? I know that they are both located in Northfield.
edited October 2009
8 replies
Post edited by I_need_advice on
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Replies to: St. Olaf vs. Carleton

  • OleWannabe88OleWannabe88 91 replies31 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Pretty much the only similarity the two schools have is that they are located in the same town. Many from out of state will visit both as they are so close, but the type of student each school attracts is vastly different.

    To put it bluntly, the majority of students at St. Olaf are sheltered white kids from the suburbs, mainly upper-middle class, who are generally fairly liberal by midwestern standards, but are still generally somewhat conservative. About 60% of the students come from the Midwest, whereas at Carleton, around 80% are from out-of-state. Carleton tends to attract more of the "hippie" type crowd. The stereotype is that it's really easy to tell a St. Olaf girl from a Carleton girl based on her fashion style and how blonde she is :-)

    The St. Olaf campus is officially "dry" (though we like to call it "damp"), the Carleton campus is not, but the policy at St. Olaf isn't enforced very harshly. It's basically evolved into a policy to keep parties under control and to keep drinking out of the hallways.

    Academically, Carleton may be technically stronger, but St. Olaf has gained significant ground in the last few years. Our biology and math departments have started gaining national recognition, and a group of Physics majors recently took first place at the annual Rube Goldberg engineering competition at Purdue (we were the only liberal arts school to ever enter, and it was our first attempt). We also have an incredibly strong music department (ever heard of the St. Olaf Choir).

    Both colleges are committed to sustainability-we each have a wind turbine; St. Olaf uses the energy on campus and Carleton sells it to the Excel company. Carleton wants to put in a second one in the near future. Both colleges use the food service provider Bon Appetit, which is committed to getting as many products locally as possible and encouraging sustainability in their cooking.

    If you have more specific questions let me know; these are just some broad generalities off the top of my head. Basically, both schools are great, they just generally tend to attract very different types of students.
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  • binglebingle 354 replies73 threadsRegistered User Member
    A Northfield resident with family that have attended and worked at both says there's less difference between the two colleges and their student bodies than people in either institution like to think
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  • r-crispier-crispie 56 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Good summary, OW88. My impression of St Olaf is that it has a high performing fraction in the math and science departments e.g. D's bf has at least one 800 and started in a more prestigious school. Olaf's minor religion related requirements may be a factor for some.

    Carleton is generally selective. The personalities, and schedules, of the schools are quite different and don't seem to mix much despite occasional attempts by the colleges themselves.

    I had two out of state students with three years overlap between the two colleges, there was little interaction with either of the other's college. They supported each other logistically when the other's college was shutdown for holidays or summer, probably had dinner togther 1-3 times a month, and pooled resources.

    Both are good schools dedicated to their students.
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  • thoroughgirlthoroughgirl 2 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    That's not at all fair. I'm #2 in my class of 220+, have a 33 ACT with only one attempt, and am applying to schools such as Davidson and Swarthmore. The reason I applied to St. Olaf instead of Carleton was the different feel of each campus. Sure Carleton has better stats, but I was incredibly underwhelmed by my visit there. There is something to be said about Carleton being a misplaced East Coast school and St. Olaf being solidly grounded in Midwestern values. Both are good schools, they are just different.

    St. Olaf's campus is prettier in my opinion (I like its slight separation from town and the fact that it's on a hill), it is a much more religious campus, and if you want to immerse yourself in a musical world, it is the place to be. As I said, you cannot deny that overall Carleton has a "smarter" population, at least academically, but students who are good enough to get into Carleton can just as easily choose St. Olaf as it will still give them an excellent education.
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  • Archer1415Archer1415 138 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    That's a very classy post about St. Olaf, Sisneg.

    You should forward it to the school administration and see if they will gift you a complimentary annual planner.
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  • TigerCC2014TigerCC2014 425 replies35 threadsRegistered User Member
    Siseneg has about 4 different names on CC all used to bash St Oalf. Not a reliable poster. Do some research
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  • TigerCC2014TigerCC2014 425 replies35 threadsRegistered User Member
    Pay your fine and study harder.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Someone alluded to the schedule difference above. Carleton is on a trimester. Typically students take only 3 classes at t time, but for three shorter periods than a regular semester. They finish their first trimester at Thanksgiving, and don't come back until after New Year's. Given the winter weather, this is a nice break. I know some Carls who also earn big money in that window working holiday retail.

    You can obviously look this up yourself, but the average SAT and SAT scores for admitted students are quite a bit higher at Carleton. So it is harder to get into, but also has an average student with a higher score.

    2012 Carleton 50% ranges:
    SAT CR - 670-760
    SAT M - 670-760
    SAT Wr - 660-750
    ACT - 29-33

    2012 St. Olaf 50% ranges:
    SAT CR - 580-700
    SAT M - 580-700
    SAT Wr - 570-690
    ACT - 26-31

    In general St. Olaf is considered the more politically conservative of the two. Also, from what I know of my kid's classmates who have attended both (and their subsequent FB posts and personal stories), the campuses are equally "damp".

    And Siseneg is clearly the same **** who keeps popping up and bashing St. Olaf.
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