Carleton College Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know

Overview of Carleton College

Carleton College is a private liberal arts institution with an acceptance rate of 20%. Situated less than an hour from Minneapolis-St. Paul, the institution has a large selection of undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students to choose from. A robust student/faculty ratio backs students, and professors take a personalized approach to the teaching and learning process. Outside of the classroom, students will find plenty of opportunities to engage with the campus community via the university’s many clubs and organizations. Strengths in the liberal arts and sciences earned Carleton a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and the institution typically ranks as one of the nation’s ten best liberal arts institutions.


  • Total Enrollment: 2,097 (all undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 50 percent male/50 percent female
  • 99 percent full-time

Cost of Attendance Information

  • Tuition and Fees: $57,111
  • Books: $866
  • Room and Board: $14,658
  • Other Expenses: $1,640
  • Total Cost: $74,275

Financial Aid Information

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 80 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 58 percent
    • Loans: 41 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $36,313
    • Loans: $5,150

Academic Programs Offered

  • Most Popular Majors: Social Sciences; Physical Sciences; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; and Mathematics and Statistics

Retention and Graduation

  • First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 97 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 88 percent
  •  6-Year Graduation Rate: 93 percent

NCAA Athletic Programs

  • Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field
  • Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball
  • The institution plays in the NCAA Division III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).

Overview of Carleton College Admissions

Carleton College has a competitive admissions process with a low acceptance rate. Students whose SAT/ACT scores and GPA are within the institution’s requirements have a good chance of being admitted. Applicants must complete an online application, and send test scores from either the SAT or ACT and high school transcripts. Glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a challenging course load. Students with unique talents and accomplishments can still receive strong consideration even if their GPAs are outside of the admissions offices mean range. After applying, students will receive a message from an admissions counselor about the next steps of the application process. Interested students should check out the university’s website, which has helpful tips and contact information for the admissions offices.

Admissions Data

Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, Carleton College had an acceptance rate of 21%.  for every 100 students who submitted applications, 21 students gained admission, making Carleton’s admissions process highly competitive.

SAT Requirements and Scores

Carleton College requires that applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 52% of admitted students provided SAT scores.

This admissions data tells us that Carleton’s admitted students scored in the top 20% on the SAT. 50% of students admitted to Carleton scored between 670 and 750 on the reading and writing section, while 25% scored below 670, and 25% scored over 750. In the math section, 50% of students who gained admission scored 680 and 780, while 25% scored below 680, and 25% scored over 780. Applicants with a cumulative SAT score of 1530 or higher will have competitive chances at Carleton College.

ACT Requirements and Scores

Carleton requires that applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 57% of admitted students provided ACT scores.

This admissions data tells us that Carleton’s admitted students scored in the top 5% on the ACT. The median 50% of students admitted to Carleton received a cumulative ACT score.

Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission

If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for Carleton College, then it should be easy for you to gain admissions to the schools below. If Carleton College is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.

Villanova University, Binghamton University, University of California, Santa Barbara, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Stony Brook University, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Connecticut

Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission

If you’re a competitive candidate for Carleton College, then you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.

Tufts University, Duke University, Northeastern University, Emory University, University of Southern California, University of Michigan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will Be More of a Challenge

These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than Carleton College. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, then you’ll be a competitive candidate for these schools.

Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, Yale University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Dartmouth College

Applying to Carleton College

Application Deadline: January 15

Undergraduate Admissions Website:

Undergraduate Application Link(s):

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