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Carleton vs St. Olaf: Need help comparing the two

Hi all! I've been accepted to both Carleton College and St. Olaf College, and I'm unsure which one to choose. What are some pros and cons of each school, particularly regarding academics, the social scene, and extracurricular opportunities? Thanks in advance!

6 months ago

Congratulations on being accepted to Carleton College and St. Olaf College! Both are great liberal arts schools in Minnesota, but there are some key differences to consider when making your decision.


Carleton College is often considered more academically rigorous and has a stronger emphasis on research and collaboration. The campus is known for producing a high percentage of Fulbright scholars, which indicates the strong academic environment it fosters. Carleton's trimester system allows students to enroll in more classes and explore a wider variety of subjects.

St. Olaf College has a strong reputation in the fields of music, natural sciences, and math. They have a more traditional semester system, and coursework still demands hard work and commitment. However, it might feel less competitive than Carleton.

Social Scene:

Carleton has a more laid-back atmosphere, where students are known to be collaborative and diverse. Although the school is generally seen as quirky and intellectual, there is a strong sense of community.

St. Olaf College has a more traditional feel, and the social scene may feel slightly more conservative and less diverse than Carleton. Activities on campus are centered around the religious affiliation (Lutheran) of the college. However, it offers a robust social environment with many activities and organizations to join.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

Both schools provide a wide range of extracurricular activities, and the availability of clubs and organizations at each institution is comparable. Carleton is known for a strong emphasis on community service and social activism, while St. Olaf stands out for its music and arts programs.

One important thing to consider is that both schools are located close to each other in Northfield, MN, which provides opportunities for collaboration and shared events between the two institutions. This means that choosing one school doesn't mean you'll be completely isolated from the other's campus and resources.

In the end, your choice should be based on the academic strength in your area of interest, the campus atmosphere you prefer, and the extracurricular opportunities that appeal to you. It would be beneficial to visit both campuses if possible or connect with current students and alumni to get a more personal perspective on the schools. Good luck with your decision!

6 months ago

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