Macalester College (St. Paul, MN)

Outside the Bay Area, CA

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I can't say enough good things about Macalester!  It was a great experience for me, and yes, there are many grads here!  Actually one great thing about Mac is that there are grads EVERYWHERE. People who are drawn to Mac tend to be folks who then go out and travel and live and work all over the world. The percentage of students from other countries is exceptionally high for a liberal arts college in the states.  And even within the US there are kids from all over the country.  The campus is beautiful, and you could just stick around there, but you also have the twin cities at your doorstep so if you want to get out and roam and feel anonymous you've got plenty of options for that as well. Yes, the weather could be a challenge if that's not what she's used to - so that will depend in part on her willingness to be up for that being part of the college adventure.  Is it good for quiet and quirky students?  I would say definitely.  There is a high quirky quotient at Mac.  As to quiet, I think she'll easily find her people.  You might look into going to the next Macalester event that I know of, which is Mac in the City - SF on Oct 6 (http://www.macalester.edu/alumni/eventsandtravel/mac-in-the-city/).  It's set up for alums but I would think they would welcome interested prospective students.  Best of luck on the search!

Hi origami - Pitzer is one of the Claremont Colleges. I went to Scripps (decades ago) It's pretty nice socially though like most private colleges, not as diverse as you'd hope. Pitzer is the most socially progressive of all the schools. It is perforce a student body with a lot of rich kids, mostly white. I worked as a waitress in the dorms at Scripps and the kids on scholarship were a pretty great group. There were not and may not now be many black and Hispanic students though as a group the Claremont colleges had a strong program of admissions officers going to high schools in the LA area and finding students of color. They could have given them more emotional/academic support - they may have improved that. Don't know about Pitzer financial aid office. The diversity for me (lol) was learning to get along with rich kids from the east coast.Not sure how good I was at it. good luck.

Macalester is a sweet little school. My daughter turned down a big scholarship there but has good friend who went there from Berkeley and loved it. Her friend is soccer player. It is cold....really, really cold. good luck. Mills is diverse, has strong LBGQT community. Mills may be academically less rigorous than other two. good luck. 

Hi there,

I attended Macalester and it was a great fit for me. It's a popular school for many Bay Area students, especially those from BHS and some independent schools. I'm was raised in the snowy Midwest so winters were not a concern . But the people I met from all over the world didn't let cold or snow stop them from engaging in all things winter. The campus is compact so going from one building to another won't force you too be out in the cold too long. Dorms are close to dining hall. In fact many people would leave their dorm without jackets to walk the very short distance for meals.  It's a beautiful well maintained campus and just walking to your next class can be a chance to take in the surroundings and fun things students might do like build an igloo or snow "people" holding signs about an upcoming student event. The campus has lots of open space/grass. I had classes so small that when it was warm, we'd have them outdoors. Try that at Cal or a larger urban campus. Academically it is phenomenal. Small classes, brilliant professors, and best of all, attending classes with people from everywhere. )I attended an Ivy League graduate school and was more than prepared after 4 years at Mac. I sometimes pitied many classmates for not having the intimate experience I had (most went to East Coast colleges- large and impersonal).  I've stayed active as an alumnus and  support them by volunteering and financially through contributions.  Have your daughter request an Alumni interview and I think that will help her gauge if it's the place for her. I don't regret ever going and never apologized about my small liberal arts education. 

Proud Mac alumn and Berkeley resident

Hi there,

I am a Mac grad living in Berkeley and can answer questions. I'm active in Alumni activities and have insight to the school.  Contact me at sb.carter [at] aol.com.

Proud Macalester Alumn. 

Check out Reed, but (as much I loved going there) I'm not sure I would recommend it for a student who "gets good grades by works for them."  That's not meant as a put-down -- just that Reed is a very intense place and can be difficult even for kids who coasted through high school with excellent grades.  It's also expensive and does not have the endowment (ability to award generous financial aid) of some other schools.  Mills is an excellent recommendation.  I know many California kids (a fair number gay) who have been delighted with Macalester.  Bowdoin would be another place to consider but it may not be metropolitan enough. 

Not sure how far you're willing to travel, but I would check out Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.