The general requirements have students taking classes in a variety of different disciplines. There are requirements for Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Science/Math, and Fine Arts. There are also requirements like US Multiculturalism, Writing, Internationalism, and Quantitative Thinking. For each major there's usually about 8-12 classes, sometimes this requires courses in other departments. Class sizes very rarely exceed 35 for a lecture and 15 for a seminar style class. Competitiveness isn't really an issue here, everyone is smart and everyone has their own goals. There's definitely a drive to succeed, but we aren't constantly comparing ourselves to our classmates or competing for the affection of professors. Since classes are so small, you have a close bond with professors, and your course varies wildly depending on which professor is teaching your section. The workload depends on your area of study, but I know that I have a heavier workload than most of my friends at state schools or less competitive (admission-wise) private schools. As for studying abroad, you can really pick anywhere in the world and the school will try to find a way to get you there. Because of the school's size, all of the campus resources can be really helpful because you get to know staff and they want to get involved to help you get where you want to go. Grading heavily depends on the professor, some choose to make their classes pass/fail, some will give you seemingly arbitrary grades, some never give higher than a B, some are really generous and some are really fair while others are stingier with points.Quality of Life
Housing is probably a little above average. The campus is extremely safe, the cafeteria really high quality, the immediate neighborhood is a little boring, a rather posh residential area. Access to downtown is very easy to use and students use public transit often.Admissions
I applied regular decision using the Common App. There was a supplement that included essay questions, one of which was the standard "Why [insert school here]" the other, I don't remember. I found out about my admission status a week or two before I received the financial aid package. I signed up for the Sampler for Admitted students, was very happy with my financial aid package (principally need-based aid) and after attending the sampler, I made my decision.Level
General requirements include 8 credits in social sciences, 8 credits in hard sciences, 16 humanities credits - 4 of which must be in art, an international diversity requirement, a domestic diversity requirement, a writing requirement, First Year Course, and foreign language requirement of at least 4 semesters. My major requires a minimum of 14 course with at least 9 taken above the 200-level, but every department is distinct. Class size is very small, with an average of 17 and student-faculty ratio stands at 11-1, making professors easily accessible outside of class. The school prides itself on its multicultural/international focus and its plentitude of study abroad programs - which are encourage in every department. Because Macalester is located in a major metropolitan area, there are lots of research, internship, and volunteer opportunities in the Twin Cities. Additionally, it is common in almost all department to have classes that require service learning components as part of the curriculum.Quality of Life
Housing is decent on campus and all students are required to live on campus their first 2 years at Mac. Living on campus creates a safe haven and makes getting to know people a lot easier, as well as staying involved with events on campus. The dining facility (of which there is one for the entire school) is the required dining option for all students living on campus and offers a wide range of options. Macalester's "Cafe Mac" is definitely one of the highlights of living on campus.Admissions
In addition to regular admission, Macalester offers the early decision as well. There is only one supplemental essay to the common application that asks the applicant to explain why they wish to attend Macalester College specifically and what they feel they would bring to the community. Macalester is known for its generous financial aid packages and many students have cited the amount of aid that Macalester gives as one of the school's best selling points. No athletic scholarships are available but there are few merit-based scholarhips. The college has become need-aware in the last few years but guarantees to meet 100% demonstrated need for all accepted students.Level
There are a number of Gen. Eds that include Multiculturalism, Internationalism, and a language requirement. Classes are normally small and there are lots of resources outside of class to help you. The professors are very helpful and flexible. Most students study abroad. Macalester is challenging, but worth it.Quality of Life
The campus is awesome! It's small, but comfortable. The dorms are nice enough and Cafe Mac is great. The area is nice too, great for long walks or bike rides, and you can always catch the bus into downtown Saint Paul or Minneapolis. This is a very friendly safe campus.Admissions
common app and personal essay as well as specific short essays. Fafsa, and profile.Level
General Requirements: 4 semesters of a language, 2 social science courses, 2 natural science and math, 3 fine arts and humanities, internationalism, multiculturalism, first year course, senior capstone or honors project, quantitative requirement, writing requirement
All students have an academic adviser in their field of study
Average class size is 17
Professors are highly accessible, research is also very possible-80% of science majors do research before they graduate
60% of students study abroad and some majors require study abroadAdmissions
Use common application and then one additional essay on "Why Macalester." There is an optional interviewLevel
To graduate a student must complete quantitative thinking classes (the classes must sum to a Q3, meaning you can take one Q3, or a Q1 and a Q2, or three Q1s, or more). You must also complete a writing course, a first year course (a course taken during the first semester one a subject of your choice), and general distribution requirements (including things like social sciences, hard sciences, fine arts, etc.). Major requirements vary by department. My English major requires ten credits, my chemistry minor requires twelve credits (I may have the twelve credits wrong). Academic advisers are assigned at the beginning of your first year according to your first year course, however you are free to change after your first semester. It is extremely easy to meet with teachers on a one to one basis. They all have office hours, and if their hours conflict with your schedule you are encouraged to email them and set up an appointment. Research opportunities are usually available over the summer to upperclassmen. The school is relatively hard to get into academically, and I think that the admissions officers look for more than academics. A great personality is valued almost as much as a great test grade. They look to see if you will fit in not only academically, but also socially. The grading is usually tough and fair, but that is slightly dependent on the teacher. Visiting professors tend to be the easiest graders. I do not know a huge amount about faculty, but the creative writing professor I have now was a candidate for the NAACP Image Award. It is nearly expected that you will study aboard, and while the workload is heavy most students join at least one on campus organization.Quality of Life
The dorms are comfortable, and the campus is gorgeous (yes, even during the Minnesota winter). Cafe Mac has amazing food and the Leonard Center (the gym, aka the 'nard) is really wonderful. Kudos to emphasizing eating right and exercising. Library is nice, and with the ability to get books from surrounding campuses, is a lot larger than it looks.Admissions
The mailings for the application process were really funny. The application process was fairly straight forward, standard sorts of questions. They offered early decision and early action, but I chose to apply regular decision. The Common App was an option (that I utilized to its fullest extent). The financial aid was pretty incredible, and the scholarships were really nice!Level
I applied through the Common Application website and supplement, had a non-mandatory on-campus interview, and was accepted regular decision.Level
It is a liberal arts based curriculum. Requirements include quantitative thinking, math, science, internationalism, multiculturalism, social science and art. There is a strong internship for credit program, and a very strong study abroad program.Admissions
Macalester is on the Common Application and has a fairly standard supplement. I applied regular decision, and received only need based aid. To my knowledge, Macalester only has merit based aid for international students.Level
interviews are optional; the application includes an essay about why the applicant is choosing Macalester plus all the Common App materials; not many merit-based scholarship opportunities but tons of financial aid is offered for those who need itLevel
Macalester has general graduation requirements that students can fill with a variety of different classes, we do no have a core curriculum of specific classes every student must take. The requirements include taking a language and becoming proficient in it, taking 2 math/sciences classes, taking 3 humanities/fine arts classes, taking 2 social science classes, taking a class to fill the writing requirement, taking a class that discusses multiculturalism (one of Mac's pillars), and taking another class that discusses internationalism (another pillar).
Class sizes are small, almost always 25 students or less, the average is 16. Professors are always helpful, open, and interested in what students are doing. I got back from my semester abroad in Senegal and one professor and I spent over an hour just discussing my experience and looking at my pictures in a coffee shop when we were meeting to talk about something else.
Grading depends on the professor but usually they expect excellence to give out As. Academics are competitive but mostly students want to do well without putting anyone else down. Study groups are very common and everyone is helpful and contributes explanations and great attitudes.
There are amazing research opportunities in almost all the departments- professors receive grants every semester to continue exciting and notable research. Just this semester two science professors each received over $450,000 to do research!
Of course there are great study abroad options, many majors even require students to go abroad for a semester. Credit and tuition transfers easily and Mac makes it incredibly easy to go on the program of your dreams.Quality of Life
I love it all. For your first 2 years at Mac every student lives on campus in the dorms or alternative living options like the language houses, eco-house, or veggie co-op. The living options are comfortable, well-maintained, and very close to all the academic buildings. Our cafeteria and meal plans are great because the food is actually good and there is enough variety for everyone: vegetarians, carnivores, etc.
The campus is beautiful, safe, open, and natural. We have 24 hour security, a safe walk program and we live in one of the best neighborhoods in St. Paul.
The library has great resources and can be a really pleasant place if your not too stressed out.
Overall, the campus is happy, students seem at ease and very comfortable. When the weather is nice people are always outside reading, relaxing, throwing a frisbee, kicking a soccer ball, or napping. You can just tell that students are happy to be a part of this community.Admissions
You can use either the Common Application with a supplement or fill out Macalester's application. There are essay questions, you can have an interview, and you can apply for early decision I or II if that's what you want. Macalester offers to meet students' entire demonstrated need with financial aid.Level