Carleton(sigh)...dreaming of broomball and frisbees

<p>I have to start off by saying that Carleton sounds AMAZING. The only problem is that I'm not sure if I can get in without the early decision(or even with it for that matter) and there are two reasons why ED is not really an option:
1.) I've heard that colleges give less financial aid for ED applicants because theyre not competing over you. Financial Aid is a MAJOR issue since my parents are divorced and my mother is unwilling to pay anything for my college. If I had both parents incomes I'd be in the range where I wouldn't need much financial aid but I don't know how I go about telling the financial aid office that my dads income is the only one that will help me and therefore I need a lot more.
2.) I haven't visited and won't be able to do so until accepted. I live in PA so I'd have to fly and my dad and I both work and have crazy schedules. </p>

<p>The schools sounds amazing based on everything I've heard. I wanted a liberal arts college(love small classes and closeness to professors) but all of the options my guidance counselors have suggested to me have either been too conservative and preppy(ex: Washington and Lee) or too much of a hippie school(ex: Oberlin). I'm a liberal but not to an extreme so I wanted a place that seemed like it had a diverse group of people and Carleton seems to fit that description. I also like that it seems like it has a lot of weird traditions and has a quirky reputation. Anyways before I go ramble on forever about the reasons I think I'd love Carleton, here are my stats:</p>

<p>white female from PA
SAT I: 1440
SAT IIS: Bio M, Eng, Math IIC, all in 700 range
Rank: 16/330 in class at competitive public high school
Taking toughest course load at my school. We have a gifted program that you have to take IQ testing and maintain at least a B to get/stay in the class and I'm in all of those classes. We have those and regular AP courses and the gifted courses are considered above AP and prepare you for the AP test. APs: Will be taking Art History, Calc, Gov/politics, Eng. Lit, and possibly others depending on whether I think I'll do well(Bio, Physics, Spanish) by end of this year. Already took English Language and got a 5.
GPA: 3.9 unweighted 4.3 weighted
Extra curriculars:Key Club(10,11,12)Student Gov(10,11,12)NHS-elected head of peer tutoring and was a volunteer peer tutor myself(11,12) worked 100+ hours of volunteer work at sports medicine clinic, attended highly competive summer program(Pennsylvania Governor's School of Health Care) as well as other programs(National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine), Leadership Club-did summer leadership training program between 9th and 10th grade to join club(10,11,12), BBYO(Jewish Youth group)(11,12),Cross Country(9-had to quit because of hip injury), crew(rowing)(10,11,12(maybe, if I have time))work approximately 20 hrs per week at bagel place(reason why not able to do crew seeing as I desperately need money and crew usually costs at least a couple hundred a month), Competitive Rowing camp over summer between 10th and 11th grade
Planned major/career: deciding between law and journalism and pretty set on an English/Poly Sci double major
Other interesting facts: My dad and brother never finished college so I don't know if this will help me since I'll be a first generation college student on my dads side of the family.
Please tell me your opinions about my chances at Carleton. I'm really worried about it since I'm unable to get the leadership positions that most people have over their senior year due to the fact that my time is generally split between work and my crazy course load this year(8 gifted/ap courses). Also if you can tell me anything that you love/hate about Carleton that would be appreciated since I'm unable to visit.
Also, if there are any other schools that are like Carleton or you think I should look at I'm open to suggestions. I'm currently considering:
Northwestern, Grinnell, Yale(huge reach in my opinion), UVA, Penn State Honors, Amherst
I definitely think that based on what I've heard about it, Carleton would be a perfect fit for me though. Wish I could visit and apply ED with guaranteed good finaid(sigh)....</p>

<p>My daughter is a freshman at Carleton and it sounds as if you would be a good fit for the school. My daughter applied ED and was very happy with the financial aid offered. I agree that financial aid and ED can be a risky proposition but based on the people I have spoken to about this situation, Carleton seems to be fair with financial aid determinations even for ED. </p>

<p>I would also mention that Carleton seems to consider working as valid as any extra curricular activity so I wouldn't worry too much about the lack of leadership. </p>

<p>If you are seriously considering ED I would strongly suggest that you visit before doing so. No matter how much you read about a school or talk to other people about a school, you need to personally experience the college to decide if it is right for you. This is particularly true if you are applying ED since, if accepted, you need to attend. This is important enough that if you are serious, you need to figure out a time to visit before the ED deadline. Carleton does have a bus that goes to the airport on some days to pick up prospective students so you only real cost if for the plane ticket. For information on when they have overnights and the bus to the airport, see <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>If there is no way you can possibly afford to visit before applying ED I would seroiusly think about just applying regular decision and wait for April. </p>

<p>Good luck in making your decision.</p>

<p>I used to work in the Carleton admission office, so here is my 2cents.</p>

<p>1) I'd suggest you visit first before applying ED to really find out if Carleton is for you.</p>

<p>2) Only apply ED to a school if you feel like that school is the end all and be all of colleges as far as you are concerned. If you feel that way about Carleton, then read on...</p>

<p>3) Your NEED BASED financial aid offer will be the same regardless of whether you apply early decision or regular decision. Once you are admitted ED, you will receive a financial aid package if you have submitted the preliminary forms (which I believe is still the CSS Profile - you may need to estimate). You will then have 1 month to send in your deposit. During this month, you will have a chance to talk with the financial aid office at Carleton if the financial aid is not meeting your need and supply them with documentation to support this. (2nd home payments, boat payments, etc, don't count.) :) If you cannot afford to attend Carleton based on your financial aid package, you would be allowed to withdraw your application. However, keep in mind that once you withdraw your application you are saying no to that school - there isn't a second chance in regular decision.</p>

<p>Good luck with your decision. Either way, I'd definitely say visit before you commit yourself. I think Carleton is a wonderful place, but you do need to make sure you can see yourself there for 4 years before you make that committment.</p>