Macalester College Top Questions

What is your overall opinion of this school?


its a small campus but I like it that why- hence why i chose it. Its not that small that everyone knows everyone or you get bored of your friends but its intimate. I'd say people generally spend a fair amount of time studying as well as doing extra-extracurriculars (aka I spend a lot of time in the music building). There are many great restaurants in walking distance and you can bus to many awesome music venues. There is a lot to do in the twin cities if you take the intiative to go out and find it (cars are useful but by no means a necessity). Most people spend most of the year on campus, I tend to go out and use the cites a lot.


It is a great school for the first two years of college life, yet on your 3rd year, make sure you study abroad or get off campus for a semester, otherwise you will be very tired of this very small space by your senior year. Don't believe in the international shpeel the admissions gives you. it's an average college, trying to eick out a living, you'll have great speakers from all over the world, but you'll get the same if you go to any big university, the only difference is you will have a great community to rely on your first two college life years. after that macalester is too small, and lacks the resources. Also beware, the career center is one big waste of time and money. so don't expect the college to help you land a job after you graduate, so pick your major wisely, you will need to pay those loans, and a BA will only get you as far as you take it, and that's not far with no resources except your parents, relatives, family friends to help you with finding your jobs/internships/etc. I would say if you are thinking long-term, more than just these 4 years, macalester isn't a great place to be in terms of resources. but if you are outgoing and have no problems relying on distant family friends to help you land places, then you'll be fine.


Macalester is too small. I knew I wanted a small school, and I like the number of students in itself, but we have none of the conveniences of a larger college. There are two places to eat: the cafeteria, and the Grille, which does not have reliable hours. Vending machines are often broken and don't get fixed. Washers and dryers are always breaking. We have one 24-hour computer lab, but it is seldom staffed, its printers break down a lot, and the computers need maintenance. Most of the other labs have these problems, and don't have reliable hours. Academic buildings also close very early--you're not allowed to work late. Professors are generally friendly and helpful, but the school's small size doesn't help them remember you after a semester. Macalester's location is interesting and pretty enjoyable, except that nothing around it is open very late.


Coming to Macalester was by far the worst decision I've ever made. There are no opportunities to ever meet anyone new because you've met everyone by the end of the first semester. It is not what "college" is supposed to look like. The administration is entirely inept and have no idea what they're doing. Sometimes I even feel bad for the Registrar because she does such a terrible job.


I think one of the best things about Macalester is that it's a small community in a big city. I think it's a perfect size because you get lots of attention from professors and such, and you really get to know your classmates and fellow students. But being in St. Paul, you have access to so many amazing opportunities that you wouldn't get in a smaller town. Great ethnic food, tons of places to hear live music, see dance or theatre, lots of ways to get involved in the community whether you're into education, environmental activism, anti racism...whatever. One thing that can really get to me, though, is that we're always breaking everything down, always critiquing, always looking for what needs to be changed. I think if i could change anything about Mac, i'd make us a little more optimistic, a little more constructive. The students are good about ranting or even calmly explaining the problems with *fill in the blank* and they're even good about fighting to change the problems, which is great. Sometimes i just wish we were good at appreciating the good things too.


It's a small school, and it can get a little claustraphobic some times. But if the idea of a small school is appealing, then you can guess at the advantages - knowing your professors and your professors knowing you, being close to classmates, feeling like a member of a close knit community - and you can take heart that all of those things exist at Macalester. But on the flip side, it can all feel like a little too much. Have a bad day and everyone will know. Have a relationship go in the hole and everyone will ask you about it. People you don't even know will know lots about you, and vice versa. But that's the cost of it. At the same time, a smart comment in a class, a prominent place in a popular student org, or a number of other things besides joining a frat or being the captain of the football team can make you a minor celebrity on campus. You really do experience a connection between the person you want to be and the person people recognize in you, as recognition has a way of coming easily. That's a great feeling, and that's the advantage of a small school, and perhaps this one specifically, though again, I have very little comparative basis.


Macalester's commitment to education and global society is not only the school's tagline, but is evident in nearly all aspects of its liberal arts education. For the most part, classes are demanding, with professors who are well educated and committed to the students. And while there are many (many!) nights fully committed to studying, classes tend to be interesting and rewarding. Professors are generally friendly and always willing to help, frequently encouraging students to spend one-on-one time with them either during their office hours or outside of class. My biggest complaint about Macalester is its extreme liberalism. While I identify as a liberal, I feel like some students on campus take their political beliefs too far and make it difficult to coexist with people of other political and religious identities. Sometimes the school feels too small, but there are a lot of benefits that come from having small classes and individual attention. Despite the cold winters, the Twin Cities are perfectly hospitable for college life. There are plenty of volunteer activities and internships available and rarely is it difficult to find a concert, play, or sporting event to attend. The public transportation system works, but is not the most time-efficient mode of transportation. The cities are very bike friendly and it is easy to bike between Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Most people in my hometown are unfamiliar with Macalester, always asking me "where's that?", while assuming I go to some mediocre community college in the Midwest. You cannot be a person who relies on name-recognition if you want to come to Macalester; Macalester students come here for the education and social atmosphere, not to brag about their intelligence. A recent issue on campus is the social divide between the international students and the U.S. ones. While there is definite segregation between these groups, the school is looking at ways to better integrate future classes.


I love the size of the school. All of my professors know my first and last name and say hi to me in passing. I spend a lot of time on campus, but the Twin Cities also offers a lot of off-campus activities. Macalester's administration is pretty annoying in their attempts to make Mac a "New Ivy" but that is easily ignored. There is a lot of school pride, but not "spirit" like in high school. People that I have talked to love going here, but they don't exactly dye their hair blue and orange for sports events. The most frequent student complaint is the segregation of international and domestic students. I am glad I went here, and don't regret it.


First I'll explain the truth about Mac, especially what the people are really like. I feel like the student body and the climate are the main difference between any given small liberal arts college. Coming to Mac I might have had some preconceived notions about what kind of kids I would encounter, but I mostly expected it to be more cool people and less stupid idiots (than high school). For the most part that's true, because you don't get in unless you have some kind of brain, and that generally entails some kind of social skills. However, Mac is conforming more and more to the "small school big price" business model, and losing what made it so unique. From a business perspective it makes sense, but why the hell would I go to Minnesota for the exact same education and experience I could get in California? The reason that I came to Macalester was that it possessed a quality, indefinable perhaps, that is Mac. We are steadily losing that quality, and within ten years we will have sold our soul to be exactly like every other goddamn "new Ivy" out there.


It's the perfect size for me, the location is okay. They kind of duped me into thinking St. Paul is a city, but it does have a large immigrant population that makes it so much more diverse than going to school in Northfield. The school is slightly cliqueish, almost like high school. Though if you aren't afraid you can break out of these social molds and meet amazing people across the board. Not a lot of school pride, people tend to come to get an education and leave, and it's bloody freezing here.


Macalester is all about image, from the way the administration presents the school to the individual students. Macalester is seen as a center for international co-operation, multiculturalism, and open-minded intellectualism. It is also a cesspool of elitism. Macalester creates division among students by separating international and domestic students and white and non-white students. International students get a lot of perks that domestic students don't, like special events and trips off-campus. Programs exist just for non-white students in the name of promoting "diversity and multiculturalism," going against the idea of unity and acceptance. By distinguishing differences by giving certain groups more privilege, Macalester succeeds in creating alienation and resentment. The image is that everyone is equal and accepted; the reality is the opposite. As a non-white student, I am personally offended by Macalester's presentation of multiculturalism and diversity. Macalester is not creating a community of global citizens as it claims it wants to; it is creating graduates that exotify other cultures and think that they are better than other people for attending this college.


Mac is a small tight knit community in Saint Paul. Despite being a small community that mostly hangs out with itself, the Mac social scene is paralyzed by social awkwardness to a degree I'd never encountered anywhere else. This is more of a home for social retards than a school. The winters are terror inspiring so you'll never want to leave your dorm much less campus during most of the school year. Hanging around over the summer is a good idea because it allows you to get to know the cities better. Unfortunately, Mac's administration seems hell bent on transforming Mac from a small community of radical activists to a much more average, ivy wannabe school with an emphasis on sports, vague pontificating about social activism and mediocre academics. What used to make Mac special is slowly but surely being bled from this once great school.


Mac is not too big, or too small. For me, it's just the right size. It's a tight community but I still meet people I don't know every day. The campus is right on the central avenue of Saint Paul (Grand Avenue) so food (multicultural or just a coffee), dry cleaning, photo printing services or a friendly local flower shop are all things within a short walk. There isn't a lot of school pride and we don't have fraternities or any selective clubs like that. People are very interested in global issues and having many international students helps. I came here (from Israel) just because I knew that Mac promotes a multicultural, informed life. Everyone has their own interest, whether it's the environment, eating disorders or writing for the school paper, and many student organizations allow for everyone to find a way to put their interest into action. And a little bit off topic - the food at the cafeteria is really good.


Macalester has about 1500 students and is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. It's nice to have such a small campus because professors are very accessible and you start recognizing other students' faces really quickly. A downside is that it's sometimes hard to get into classes you want. Most people from North Carolina don't recognize the name Macalester, or know about it being a relatively prestigious school; generally people just want to know why I go somewhere so cold for school. The cold for me is actually the most negative part about Macalester; it's really hard to get exercise during the winter.


Be prepared to burst your bubble. At Mac the beautiful campus is just the beginning of the college. Learning doesn't stop at the college gates or for that matter the incredible cities we're in but our education spans the globe. At Mac you'll learn to be a global participant.


It's really cold!!!!!!! It's April 28th and it snowed two days ago. It's often sunny but gets down to -20 or -30, so watch out. Being a small school, it's easy to talk to professors here, but sometimes it feels way too small. Most people I know at home have never heard of Mac, but when you find someone who knows it they're usually impressed. Most time on campus has to be spent on homework! There is a lot of homework! St. Paul is a fun city; Minneapolis has more going on but most people seem to stay on campus a lot and don't really take advantage of the location. This could be because we're at least a 30-minute bus ride from anything really cool, and it's too cold to bike for 3/4 of the time here. Athletics are sort of a weird scene. There are a few really good athletes but most people view sports as very extracurricular and aren't as dedicated as people on most teams. There isn't a whole lot of school pride, and I know a lot of students here who don't really like Macalester, not for one particular reason but some combination of the cold weather, excessive homework, and notoriously awkward student body.


best thing: TIGHT community great size if you're looking to recognize, be friends with or know of most people around campus reaction: if they are from ri they say, minnesota? if they are from minnesota, they say, oh thats a hard school small campus: time is spent there lots of oppurtunities for things to do in twin cities administration: ok school pride: in a unique way, not your typical "go to the football game" school but its loved student complaints: study abroad, student housing options


Macalester is perfect for me because I really wanted a small school in a big city. If I had gone to a similarly sized school in the middle of no where, it would have gotten But since we're in a city, it's really easy to get off campus and go explore the Twin Cities, and get to meet people outside of Mac. There is always a lot to do off campus, and great options through volunteering and internships to really build your resume. We're in a really cool section of St Paul where you're not surrounded by sky-scrapers or something, but it still feels pretty urban. One thing to check out about Macalester is soccer games- they are the biggest thing to do on Friday and Saturday nights in the fall. Soccer is a bigger deal than football and tons of people go to the games, and its fun because you get to see our school pride and also our weird cheers (drink blood, smoke crack, worship satan, go mac!). People often complain about Minnesota winters (which aren't that bad with layering) or always having a lot of work (but they secretly love their classes and papers). People do often complain on weekends that there aren't enough parties, but there is always stuff to do, there are just no huge keggers or something.


The best thing about Macalester is just the great people who make up your evryday life--the teacher, your fellow students and the staff.


Macalester is a great school for those who want an intellectual, but intimate environment. Professors usually know you by name, which is really nice. Some people are a little pretentious, but most people are very smart, but still know how to have fun and laugh at themselves.


Because everyone's reason for coming to Macalester is very different, the multifaceted student body runs the gamut in every imaginable sense. People are very focused and committed to their academics, but is equally supportive of everyone else. There are times when the campus gets a bit small, but being the twin cities, you can get lost outside of campus and get refreshed and eager to come back to campus.


Macalester is, sometimes, too small; if you have a problem with someone, it can be hard (but not impossible) to keep a distance. At the same time, though, the vast majority of people at Macalester are awesome, so it's rare that you would have a problem with anyone in the first place. Also, Macalester is about halfway between the river and downtown St. Paul, so it's really easy to get off-campus if the size is driving you crazy.


The best thing about Macalester is how accepting everyone intends to be. The only problem with that is that we tend to be more accepting toward folks within the "counterculture" or those who are in some way marginalized, and not so accepting toward folks who are more conservative or on a business school track. We tend to think we accept all kinds because we absolutely don't discriminate against the GLBT community, for example. Then, when it comes to kinds of folks not usually found on campus, but absolutely found out in the "real world," like conservatives or those unwittingly perpetuating the capitalist system and other institutions, Mac students suddenly become much less tolerant. If there was one thing I would change about Mac that would be it. Somehow we get to think that we're the most open-minded people on the planet because we interact with all types of people, but within our Macalester bubble we really only get to interact with a certain set of people that is not a true reflection of the nation. Our school is a bit too small. There are great things about such a small school - all my professors know my name, it's easy to get around campus, a BIG class is still just 60 people, I was able to participate in the soccer program in a way I never would have been able to at larger schools. But even though it's small the school seems to have a good amount of bureaucracy and since there's no more than two degrees of separation among the entire campus community, people can talk. It's not that we're necessarily gossipy types, it's just that when you actually know the "characters" in any story, the story becomes more interesting. Many people have never heard of Macalester. When I tell people from outside of Minnesota that I go to Mac, and they have heard of it, they are usually impressed. When I tell people from within Minnesota I go to Macalester, I think there is more of a radically liberal, crunchy stigma attached to the school. I spend most of my time on campus at class, in the library, or at coffeeshops nearby. Saint Paul is not exactly a college town, but there are tons of colleges here nonetheless. The music and cultural scene here is fantastic for the size of the Twin Cities. The Mac administration is way more conservative than the student body. The biggest recent controversy on campus had to do with a themed party thrown by a student group. The theme was "Impolitically Correct" or something like that. Basically everyone dressed up in the most un-PC outfits they could come up with. I was actually studying abroad that semester so I'm a little unclear of all the details. I will say that people are excessively PC on this campus, and need to lighten up a bit. The PCness becomes pretentious and snobby. There is a lot of school pride, in the sense of collective identity, but we don't really wear our school pride outwardly. We don't have cheerleaders or anything like that. At Macalester, you can take free bagpipe lessons because of our school's Scottish heritage. Speaking as a female on this campus, one of the most frequent complaints is the lack of hetero-males! We have an almost 60-40 female-male ratio, which didn't sound so striking when I applied, but let me tell you it matters. Plus, if you trust a recent conversation I just had with some friends, where we decided at least a quarter of that male population is GLBT, whereas a smaller percentage of the women identify as lesbian, the numbers are very much out of my favor in terms of finding a single male looking for a relationship!


I love it here. I think the campus is a great size. Some of the dorms really need updating but I have seen much worse elsewhere. The Mac Bubble is pretty pervasive and it takes a lot of effort to escape that and go explore the cities. The biggest recent controversy was over a "politically incorrect" party that took place over winter break (january 2007).


Best thing: lots of opportunities to do lots of different thing One thing i would change: the social life, no one hooks up, and it's always the same people at the parties Size: just right but on the small side: if you want to avoid someone you will somehow see them everywhere Reactions: "wow you must be smart" in the midwest, on the east coast "is that in canada?" time spent: my room, the campus center, or athletic facilities College town: cute block or two of stores right around campus. able to get into the cities although the bus service is kind of infrequent on weekends administration: i have no idea, i don't really encounter any administrative things regularly biggest recent controversy: the campus email service has not been functioning since we had a power outage over a week ago school pride: yes, but in small ways unusual things: everything and nothing at the same time experience: training trips for sports frequent complaints: the email service sucks, a lot of work, work study in cafe mac is awful


The best thing about Macalester is the students. There is a thirst for learning/knowledge at this institution that I think is incomparable to most other colleges. This collective and unanimous effort to grow intellectually makes Macalester the best environment for learning I could ever imagine. I would change the fact that there is a relatively small amount of domestic diversity. We have so many international students from all over the world but the majority of American kids here a middle-upper class white. Our school is small, but to me it fit just right. I would never say, between two great cities, that Macalester is too small. When I tell people that I go to Macalester, they either congratulate me for being admitted and lasting here, or they smile politely (a telltale sign that they've never heard of it! - this happens a fair amount, but I would say that Macalester as a name is becoming more and more well-known) Not a college town - but a cool town! Great administration, they are here for the advancement of their students, they make things better for the students first and I think this is fantastic. The biggest recent controversy was about a Professor who had a class about racism who declined many kids access to the class because they were white (he wanted to create an environment where racism could be "openly" discussed by non-white students) There is an average amount of school pride, I am sure there is more pride at bigger schools (we are proud to be part of a very progressive and intelligent community) Everyone here is pretty crazy, in one way or another. The kids here themselves are outstandingly unusual - that's the way we like it. One experience I will always remember is when I got an A on the hardest test I have ever taken (Organic Chemistry!)


Don't come here if you care. No one does if you don't fit in like you ought to elsewhere. The campus location is nothing special. You might as well go to a rural college if you don't have a car because the bus system can never get you anywhere directly. The students rarely actually take care of the dorms and are prone to ripping things up to "shove it to the man" like the rich kids they are. There's an air of rebellion against nothing here, and it irritates me, because the "rebellious" kids usually have no sense of what they're rebelling against. Even though the school is supposedly "gay friendly", there have been multiple spurts of homophobia and other hate crimes. You might as well go to any other school if you're worried about your identity. They might even give you less lip service, which would be nice.


I love Mac. Everyone is interesting. There is no "normal," and at first I was worried about that, that because I'm used to being "the weird one" I suddenly would be normal, but I'm not. Everyone's really an individual, and everyone's really accepting of everyone else's individuality. There is no push to fit in. I mean, my friends and I sit in the lounge and play "Magic: the Gathering" for hours when we don't have too much homework (and even if we do) and we're far from the only ones. We're just a big, nerdy, silly family and it's great. There is sometimes an overly p.c. atmosphere and a feeling of needing to say the right thing or have the right ideas about a certain topic.


I think there is school pride but people don't like to admit it, because thats what those pricks did in high school that you never ever want to be like. I think we spend a little too much time trying a little too hard to be "different" sometimes. I think there is a big chunk of wealthy kids who go here, because they think they are rebelling against their parents are they have jumped on the bandwagon of anti-bush and spend obscene amounts of money on clothing that looks like its from a dumpster. They would never admit they are rich because here its kind of looked down upon. But there are a lot of kids who are really genuine in what they believe and why they are here and i think they overshadow the others. I also feel like there is a pessimism about campus. like the world is a horrible place and minnesota is so cold and why did i come here and Mac wasn't my first choice so I'm going to sit here and cry about it. Mac was my first choice and I am happy to be here and yeah there are a lot of problems but just do what you can to make them better. People can be very whiny, and I know that right now I'm whining about them, but you get the idea.