Macalester College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Macalester College
Macalester is a private, liberal arts college dedicated to creating ethical leaders out of...

Macalester College

St Paul, Minnesota

Macalester is a private, liberal arts college dedicated to creating ethical leaders out of its students. Macalester promotes the values of multiculturalism and service to the community and encourages students to use the knowledge they gain to bring about positive change.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
2,172 undergraduate students
98% of undergrad students are full time
40% male — 60% female
68% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
215 full-time faculty
56 part-time faculty
10 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

62% of students live on campus.

Retention Fall 2015

95% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

90% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 15%
Hispanic/Latino 6%
Black or African American 2%
White 65%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 7%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 5%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 0%

First Year Experience

The first-year experience at Macalester is fulfilled by one course. Students have plenty of options when it comes to selecting a class. For some students, their first-year experience may serve as an introduction to a minor or major. For other students, the first year course is a way to explore a new discipline. In some cases, first year courses require that students live with one another. These courses are indicated by an “R”.

Study Abroad

Study abroad allows students to experience an entirely different culture and its customs. Approximately 60% of Macalester students study abroad, and there are many options to choose from. Students can select from over 90 programs, spanning across 6 continents. In the last four years, students have visited 68 different countries and spent an average of 15 weeks abroad.

Community-Based Learning

Community-based learning involves the integration of coursework into service. Students work closely with faculty and community partners to organize projects and research focused on community needs. This method of learning is beneficial to all participants. Students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned to make a positive change, the community profits from the service, and professors have the chance to guide their students in a thoughtful initiative that couples academics with social awareness.

Undergraduate Research

Macalester students have the chance to participate in undergraduate research. With the guidance of a faculty members, students can conduct their own, original research projects. In some cases, students go on to have their work published. Students also have the opportunity to collaborate or work under professors who are pursuing their own research. In fact, 200 students from the class of 2014 completed some form of research with a faculty member before graduating.

General Education Requirements

Distribution requirement
Students are required to take a number of courses that cover all disciplines offered by the college. This is the core of a liberal arts education—where students graduate as well-rounded individuals with experience in several different areas of study. Students are exposed to social sciences, the humanities, natural sciences, and mathematics.

Macalester is committed to graduating informed and engaged citizens of both the domestic and the international community. Students must fulfill the internationalism requirement. These courses, indicated by an “I”, explore our global society and the ways in which other societies function.

United States Identities and Differences
While it is incredibly important that students learn about the global community, it is equally vital that they explore American values and traditions. The USID requirement explores U.S cultural, social, economic, and political institutions and processes.

Quantitative Thinking
The ability to draw conclusions from quantitative evidence is an incredibly useful skill that crosses multiple disciplines. Macalester requires every student to take a series of quantitative thinking courses, in which they will learn the foundations of data analytics.

Writing Requirement
Writing courses at Macalester are mandatory. Students must exhibit strong written communications skills before they receive their diploma. Through a series of courses, students gain experience with the writing process, developing a strong thesis, and effective communication. All students must take an argumentative or craft writing course within the first semester of their first year. In total, students are required to take and pass three writing courses.

Second Language Proficiency
Every Macalester student must exhibit proficiency in a second language, equivalent to four semesters of study. Students that have taken the Advanced Placement test may qualify to bypass this requirement. In any case, Macalester must validate all scores. Students wishing to start their language sequence at a higher level can test into an advanced course.

Civic Engagement

Service to society is recognized as an integral part of the undergraduate experience. As a responsible institution, Macalester pushes students to participate in the community as active and thoughtful citizens. The Civic Engagement Center works in partnership with the community and responds to the needs of different organizations.

Specialty and Language Houses

Specialty Houses are available to students wishing to live with peers that share similar interests. These residences act as smaller communities within the larger campus structure. Interested students are invited to apply by February. Currently, there are eight Specialty Houses. They include: All Gender House, Arabic House, Cultural House, Eco House, Healthy Living Community, Interfaith House, Summit House, and Veggie Co-Op.

Living in a Language House is an immersive experience. Residents speak the language of the designated home and explore the culture and customs of the country they are studying. A few native speakers also live in the house and help students with their speaking skills. The current language houses offered are Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Russian.


Macalester’s Academic Internship Program coordinates off-campus work opportunities for students. Internships are extremely beneficial. Not only do students gain hands on experience, but they learn valuable information about their chosen industry. Macalester encourages every student to pursue internship opportunities, recognizing the experience as a vital part of an undergraduate education. The College offers several services in order to prepare students for the job, including resume building and assistance securing an internship. Additionally, students are called to apply their academic experience to service learning and courses that integrate some form of community-based initiative.


Admissions Fall 2015

6,030 Total Applicants 
2,353 Total Admissions 
583 Total Freshman Enrollment

39.02% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 620 730
SAT Math 620 740
SAT Writing 630 720
ACT Composite 29 32
ACT Math 27 32
ACT English 29 34
ACT Writing 8 10




Tuition $48,666
Fees $221
Total $48,887
Room and Board (on campus) $10,874
Room Only $5,810
Board Only $5,064
Estimated Total On Campus $59,761


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

87% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
59% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$31,734 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$6,073 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates