Carleton v Grinnell Help

Actually, looking back at Grinnell’s campus map and the pictures I took, it’s a lot less chaotic than I remember. I think I just did a really bad job of a self-tour, and then did a better job of it at Carleton. So, you know, ignore that comment. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

So where are you leaning? Both are great. I get the sense you are feeling Grinnell a little more. Go with your gut.

Re the St. Olaf’s T-shirts, I believe there is quite a bit of interaction between the students at both schools. I wouldn’t have been surprised if you said you saw Carleton tshirts at St. Olaf’s. Both wonderful schools, as is Grinnell.

I do think Carleton might lead to slightly better career opportunities than Grinnell, mainly because of its proximity to a major city and perhaps more name recognition in the Midwest.

One more thing, and it may not matter to you at all. Carleton’s trimester system means, if I am correct, that students study abroad in the first part of the academic year. I only know this because my D did a study abroad program popular with Carletonians who said they all study abroad at that time. I’d check with Carleton if this is important to you.

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Agree that there is no wrong choice based on the information shared in this thread.

Realize that you are selecting between two of the best colleges in the country.

Delighted to read that you are a runner. Don’t know whether or not you have run in very cold weather, but it is not fun. Lungs get a burning sensation when running in extremely cold weather. Are there any indoor running tracks nearby or on campus ?

3 course trimester system allows one to devote serious study time to each course–something that can be difficult when taking 5 courses. = essentially, in my view, quality over quantity.

The presence of nearby St. Olaf College adds a great deal to the overall atmosphere.

I know twins who split up, with one at Grinnell and the other at Carleton. They were ready for some separation. Each moved onto Med/grad school and have done well.

So, 2 good choices. Sorry, that’s all the help I can offer.

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I’ve toured both, and visited Carleton many times with my eldest son. I love the place. My youngest son likes Grinnell more. He likes the way it is laid out in an orderly, simple rectangle. I much prefer the more random nature of the Carleton layout, with it’s hills and lakes. Also love the trails in the arb, with the river running through it which you can canoe on, and fish from. Grinnell is too oppressively flat and dry for me.

I don't know that you can say that Carleton is more "nerdy" than Grinnell. They are probably more alike than different in that respect. More money at Carleton? Maybe, but I don't get the privileged, old(or big ) money feel that I get from from some of the schools on the coasts. St. Olaf has far more Minnesotan students than Carleton does. Maybe that's behind the anecdotal comment from the "Northfield resident". I certainly don't think of it as a snobbish institution. Pretty friendly and welcoming, actually. 

Carleton will have a slightly colder winter, just like they might, or might not, have a slightly nerdier student body. I would find the proximity to the twin cities appealing, over the proximity to Des Moines.

I would go with whatever school impressed you most, and has the best course to fit your interests. S2 likes both, but will probably go somewhere else,partly because of his interest in CS, and partly because his father is cheap.

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I’m in the same exact situation! I was so excited to be accepted to both but now am very torn. Just visited both campuses and am as conflicted as ever. Carleton’s been my dream school for years. But I’m having trouble letting go of Grinnell. It seems like such a special place. I know they are about as similar as two schools can be and there is no wrong choice. Both are expensive for me and I’m appealing FA at both places but Grinnell is the cheaper option (got merit aid instead of FA) so the decision may come down to that for me. This is a tough decision that we are very lucky to get to make but it’s so hard to choose haha. I’m curious to hear when decide/if you have already decided.

hi, friend! i just wanted to hop back onto this thread and say go with your gut. i want to reiterate what so many people on CC told me over the years, and that is to not have a “dream school.” i say that in absolutely no way to bash carleton, but more in a way to say don’t be blinded by the dreamscape you’ve made for it.

one thing i wanted to say is that, if grinnell is making you reconsider what you believed to be your dream school, is it really your “dream school”? if it came down to finances, if grinnell is cheaper for you in the long-run, i would choose it (though, i suppose i am biased since i am a current student and i am low-income so finances were a big factor for me). you can’t go wrong when it comes to affordability. if you have any questions about grinnell at all, please, feel free to DM me and ask. i’m happy to answer anything you’d like to know.

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Can you give some examples of Grinnell life, focusing on what the OP is interested in?
Other questions…
Do you have a favorite professor or class, and why?
What do you typically do on a Wednesday evening/night (5pm+)?
What’s your coolest experience so far (we’ll keep in mind it’s been a covid year!)
Do you feel Grinnell (as an institution but also as a student community) took covid seriously?
What’s the surrounding community like? Do you feel safe? Are you bored there and if bored, is there a way to “escape” somewhere else?

hi! yeah, i think i already gave some examples of grinnell life in my previous comments, but i can answer the questions you just asked!

— i don’t necessarily know if i have a favorite class (virtually all of the classes i’ve taken at grinnell have been incredible), but i thoroughly enjoyed social movements (sociology class) with ross haenfler. he’s a great professor. incredibly understanding and intelligent. as far as favorite professors go, mina nikolopoulou is probably my favorite professor i’ve ever had. she teaches GWSS courses. not only is she intelligent and headstrong in what she believes in, but her heart is also simply too big for her body. she’s an amazing woman. I’ll leave it at that, haha.
— wednesdays vary for everyone. when things were normal, parties were sometimes thrown on wednesday nights, and i would oftentimes go to them (depending on a variety of things). now, i sit in my room, do some homework, hangout with my friends who are on campus, etc. i have fun regardless if it involves a party or not, haha.
— hmmm… my coolest experiences would probably have to be either spontaneous trips to absolutely nowhere and looking at the stars with my friends or taking over rooms in the HSSC and making them our own personal theaters. there is, of course, other fun traditions at grinnell (10/10, block party, tithead, waltz, etc.), but i like the intimacy of being with my friends (can you tell how much i miss them?), haha.
— grinnell and the student body have taken COVID as seriously as it gets, honestly. there are way too many details to list about how careful they’ve been, but if it gives any indication, 400-500+ new students just moved onto campus two or so weeks ago, and we only had 1 new case of COVID. oh, also, grinnell will now be hosting its very own vaccination clinic. over 800 people got the Pfizer vaccine yesterday (wednesday), and i assume an equal number of people got it today as well. it’s open to students, faculty, staff, and their friends and family members. I’m 99.99999% sure once more vaccines become available, they plan to vaccinate people in the town as well who need it. it’s been pretty incredible.
— the surrounding community is very… purple. you have your obnoxious jerks who can’t seem to let go of trump who will drive through with their trucks and scream stuff out the window. it’s extremely annoying. however, you also have people in the town who actively love and welcome us into their li’l home on the prairie with open arms and open hearts. (even the churches here have that sign in multiple languages that says, “no matter where you are from, we are glad you’re our neighbor.”) i feel safe, but I’m also white and male, so I’m rather privileged when it comes to answering that question. i don’t really get bored because i have amazing friends whom i love hanging out with and schoolwork often keeps me busy (as do extracurriculars… whew, lord), but if someone does get bored, DSM and IC are just a little bit away, and chicago is 4 hours i believe. “escaping” is a little relative (i.e. i use music to “escape”), but i do believe that every student can find a way out if they ever feel suffocated.

hope these responses help!


thank you, that’s terrific!

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