What's the vibe at Carleton?

My son keeps mentioning Carleton as a school he’s interested in; I’ve checked out the website and it looks impressive. Obviously, it’s a top-notch academic school, but anyone else have anything to add? Thanks!

It’s fairly intense, partly due to the trimester system and partly that it attracts driven young people. My kid is really enjoying the experience, both classes and extra-curriculars. There are a wide variety of opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. She is somewhat over scheduled this winter term, but is planning for a lighter term in the spring. There is a campus culture of cutting sleep short, some kids are better than others at setting personal limits on this. Like most college campuses, there is partying, but not a lot a pressure to do so if it is not your thing, and there are other kinds of social opportunities. Despite the intensity, it is not a competitive environment. Professors, classmates, etc are generally helpful and want to see everyone succeed.

My son won’t officially become a Carl until he heads to Northfield next fall as a member of the class of 2024, but he fell in love with the vibe at Carleton on his overnight visit last September. Carleton was one of the few non-NESCAC schools on his short list of academically strong LACs, and we were pretty sure he’d end up in New England — until his Carleton visit. Although there was much that he liked about Middlebury, Bowdoin, and Williams (all of which are obviously great schools), the vibe at Carleton ended up feeling like such a good fit for him that he decided to apply ED1. He was impressed by the professors who led the seminar-style classes he attended and said that the students were incredibly intelligent and engaged but also seemed laid-back and non-competitive. Most of all, he said that everyone that he met on campus — faculty members and students alike — was genuinely warm, welcoming, and authentic. The kids he hung out with acknowledged the intensity of their classes and the trimester calendar, and he joined them in spending some of his time doing schoolwork on the Sunday night he spent in the dorm with his student host, but he was struck by how much they seemed to truly enjoy what they were learning.

His father and I are wondering whether the lad, who’s lived in NC all his life, will end up liking Minnesota’s cold weather as much as he thinks he will, but it was hard to argue with his conviction that Carleton felt like home. That’s obviously a subjective impression — and one that involved expensive and time-consuming college tourism that may be a challenge for many families — but we found that it was critically important for our son to spend time on the campuses he was most interested in (experiencing dorm life, eating in the dining hall, visiting classes, etc.).

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Hi, I’m a current student at Carleton. The vibe at Carleton is very laid back and easy going-- everyone is so friendly and nice and the environment is very welcoming. It’s true that Carleton is no joke academically, but people really make an effort to make time for other things and I’d say most people are pretty good about striking a healthy balance between work and fun. Having a sense of humor and a light attitude is a pretty uniform trait among students; we take having fun as seriously as working hard. The environment here is super supportive and collaborative, and I’d say people really come together to support each other during times of high stress. Everyone talks about the winter being awful, but it honestly isn’t so bad. There are plenty of fun things to do during the winter months to get people outside and active, so it’s not nearly as much as a problem as I had expected it to be.


That’s good to hear
Thank you!

School PR should be good.

Probably should view comments on Niche for a more perspectives.