Outside the Classroom

Life moves quickly at Carleton, and not just because of the 10-week terms. Carleton’s vibrant community presents myriad opportunities for students. You can pursue your existing interests and talents or discover new ones!

Want to crack Star Wars food puns over a meal? Watch your friends at a dance show — or bust a move yourself? Toss around a Frisbee? Whatever your interests, you’ll find plenty of ways to stay artistically, intellectually, and physically engaged at Carleton.

Living on Campus

Carleton is an active learning and living environment by design. That means students aren’t just academics. They’re community members as well. Nearly 96 percent of students live on campus — in dorms, interest and cultural houses, or town houses. This residential landscape fosters enduring friendships and connections, and creates an immersive college experience.

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Clubs and Organizations

We have more than 200 student-run organizations that cover everything from arts to athletics to activism. So you’re bound to find plenty of things that pique your interest. You’ll try new things, make new friends, and take your passions to the next level. Learn more about getting involved through the Student Activities Office.

Campus Events

Our passion isn’t limited to the classroom. Academic departments and offices from across the college bring a rich variety of visitors to campus each term. Catch a distinguished scientist, activist, or artist at the weekly convocation series. See professional dancers and musicians in the Kracum Performance Hall. Or join classmates for an intimate lecture on a specialized topic. With regular film screenings (from film noir and foreign cinema to second runs of recent blockbusters), new art exhibits each term, and regular student performances, there’s always something interesting to see or do on campus.

Staying Active

More than 70 percent of students take part in sports at Carleton. This includes everything from varsity soccer to Ultimate Frisbee to competitive ballroom dancing. We’ve got 20 varsity teams, 24 club sports, 14 intramural leagues, and dozens of physical education classes.

You’ll find opportunities to challenge yourself and be part of a community, all while flexing those muscles. Plus, our on-campus, state-of-the-art Recreation Center is available at no charge to all students. At the Rec you’ll find yoga and cardio classes, a fitness center, a rock climbing wall and bouldering cave, racquetball and squash courts, and an indoor track. We’ve also got two pools on campus that offer classes and open swimming.

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Diverse, Intercultural, Respectful

Carleton’s diverse community encompasses people from around the world and a host of backgrounds and identities. Several campus offices and organizations help our community thrive. We have programs designed to support students who identify as:

  • people of color and international students
  • LGBTQ+
  • low-income
  • first-generation
  • other underrepresented groups

Learn more! Visit the Office of International Student Life, Office of Intercultural Life, TRIO, the Gender & Sexuality Center, and the Carleton Chaplaincy.

Broader Horizons

Carleton is ready to help you expand your horizons. If you want to volunteer at a Northfield nonprofit or study geology in New Zealand, the Center for Community and Civic Engagement and Off-Campus Studies office will make sure you achieve those goals. The Career Center will assist you in finding a rewarding and résumé-boosting internship. And the office of Student Fellowships can help you secure the funding for an exciting summer research project.

Find your Place

A Carleton president once famously said: “The typical Carleton student is someone who would be offended by the idea that there is a typical Carleton student.” We take pride in both our individuality and our community spirit, so you’re bound to find friends with whom you have a lot in common and some who are wonderfully different from you. No matter what your interests are, at Carleton you’ll find people who share them — or would love to learn more about them.

Nontraditional Traditions

Forget stodgy rites of passage. Our traditions reflect our lighthearted irreverence. We might take our studies seriously, but we also know how to have fun. Where else will you find a Cookie House, Friday Flowers, Spring Concert, and the Silent Dance Party? Learn more about our nontraditional traditions.


Yes, it gets cold in Minnesota. It gets really warm, too. You will love watching the leaves change from green to gold and red in fall. You will enjoy the serenity of a quiet snowfall in winter. And you will join all of campus in rejoicing in the first signs of spring. No matter where you’ve lived previously, you’ll appreciate the experience of Minnesota’s four diverse seasons. We promise: the weather is way more awesome than it is scary. Learn more about the seasons at Carleton.

Life in Minnesota

Carleton’s got the best of both worlds. We’re nestled in a cozy river town with a charming main street and lots of beautiful lakes, state parks, and forests nearby. And we’re just 45 minutes from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul — the metro hub of the upper Midwest. Learn more about life in (and around) Northfield, or better yet, come see it for yourself!

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