Macalester College is one of the rare liberal arts colleges located in a city, and Mac students (as they like to call themselves) definitely take advantage of their location. The suburban campus is about 6 miles from downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, the state capital – and also only about 6 miles from downtown Minneapolis.
Like many liberal arts colleges, Mac encourages students to take a well-rounded course of study with distribution requirements, so if you’re a bio, math or computer science major, you’ll take a few history, literature and humanities classes, along with the 2-year language requirement, and vice versa. Biology is the most popular major, but there’s just about an even split between STEM and humanities majors. Theatre majors have amazing opportunities in this active theatre town – they are each guaranteed a paid internship at one of the local theatre companies.
Campus life at Macalester College is active. Students are required to live on campus for 2 years, and then about half move off campus for their junior and senior years. Almost 60% of students study abroad, and nearly 90% do some type of community service during their time here. Students who are a little quirky fit in well here – everyone is Midwest-friendly (even those who come from the coasts pick up this trait!) and welcoming. About a quarter of students are involved in varsity sports.
Admission to Macalester College has become significantly more competitive over the past few years, as their application pool has increased by 60% – nearly 10,000 students apply to join this community (each entering class has about 525 students). Mac is very seriously and permanently test-optional. If you choose to submit your scores, they play just a small role in how the admission office reviews applications. Even Mac’s supplemental essay question, which asks about applicants’ connection to Macalester’s city-based location, is truly optional.
Mac students are a little quirky. They’re definitely intellectual and eager to take advantage of the school’s location. If you’re interested in the liberal arts but also looking for a great city location, Macalester College could be a great place for you!
Debbie and Evelyn visited Mac in September, 2022. You can scroll through the photos from our visit below.