Jul 25, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


The nature of a college is strongly affected by the people who study there. This is particularly true for a small, undergraduate institution like Macalester. It is the goal of the Admissions and Financial Aid Division to enroll students who will further the tradition of of academic excellence with its special emphasis on internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society.

Because Macalester prides itself on academic excellence, a primary goal of the admission process is to select from among applicants those students who show particular promise to contribute to the intellectual life of the college. Our evaluation of this potential is a humanistic one. Many factors are considered in our estimation of a candidate’s intellectual promise. Among these are recommendations from secondary school personnel, the student’s application essays and co-curricular participation.

Macalester maintains a strong belief that learning transcends the classroom, and that students learn a great deal from each other, receiving insights into people and events that their own backgrounds did not provide. Macalester’s vigorous classroom experience is thus enriched by a student body which represents 50 states and includes citizens of over 97 other countries, as well as varied economic, cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

In addition, we believe that a fulfilling college experience includes a dynamic campus life. Macalester students have long made significant achievements in nonacademic areas-in the arts, in athletics, in activities involving contributions to the world around them. For this reason, evidence of social and ethical concerns, leadership potential and the ability to contribute to campus activities are important considerations in our evaluation of a candidate’s admission credentials.

Our admission evaluations are both comprehensive and complex, because there are many ways in which a student can show promise for contributing to Macalester. We seek a student body which is committed to academic challenge, and will contribute to campus life beyond the classroom. Living on campus is an important part of a Macalester education. For this reason, the College expects all first-year students to live on campus for two years, and many students choose to remain on campus for all four years. Macalester’s residence halls provide students with opportunities to meet and interact with people very different from themselves, participate in new activities and learn how to manage the many responsibilities of college life.

Secondary School Preparation

Macalester expects applicants to have completed (at a minimum) a secondary school curriculum consisting of: four years of English; three years of history or social science; three years of mathematics; three years of laboratory science; and three years of world language. In addition, Macalester expects its applicants will have taken at least some of the honors or advanced courses available at their secondary schools. Macalester uses no minimum grade point average as a threshold for admission, and no applicant will be disqualified for lacking a particular course.

College Entrance Testing

The submission of ACT or SAT test results is optional.

Methods of Application for First-Year Students

Macalester requires either the Common Application or the QuestBridge Application.  For more information go to http://macalester.edu/admissions/apply.

Macalester offers four application process options for first-year students. The procedures are similar for each option; however, notification dates and deposit deadlines vary. The criteria for the awarding of financial aid and special scholarships are the same for all four decision dates. For all application deadlines, materials should be submitted by the Application Deadline.

Permanent residents of the United States should follow the procedure used by U.S. citizens. All U.S. permanent residents must supply a photocopy of their green card with the application form.

Macalester will accept no more than the equivalent of 32-semester credits for academic work completed prior to matriculation at Macalester. Students who have completed a semester at a college or university as a full-time student before graduating from high school must apply as a first-year student.

Application Deadlines and Reply Dates

First-Year Students

U.S. and International

  Application Deadline Decision From Macalester Applicant’s Reply Date
Early Decision I November 1 December 4 December 19
Early Action November 1 December 21 May 1
Early Decision II January 1 January 29 February 15
Regular Decision January 15 March 26 May 1

Transfer Students

  Application Deadline Decision From Macalester Applicant’s Reply Date

U.S. and International Transfer Applicants


April 1 May 3 May 16


Early Decision: For students who have decided that Macalester is their first choice institution, the college offers two Early Decision application plans.

Early Decision I candidates must file their applications and supporting materials by November 1 of their senior year. Secondary schools must include grades through the first quarter or trimester of the senior year in the credentials they submit. Each Early Decision 1 applicant will receive one of three responses from the Admissions Office in mid-December: an offer of admission, postponement for consideration with the Regular Application candidate group, or denial of admission. Candidates admitted under this application plan must make a non-refundable $300 tuition deposit by December 20. Instructions on applying for financial aid will be mailed when the application for admission is received or sooner upon request.

Early Decision II candidates must file their applications and supporting materials by January 1, and will receive one of the three admissions responses in early February: an offer of admission, postponement for consideration with the Regular Application group, or denial of admission. Students offered admission under this plan must make a non-refundable $300 tuition deposit by February 15. It is thus important that candidates requesting financial aid file the appropriate forms at the earliest possible time. Instructions on applying for financial aid will be mailed when the application for admission is received or sooner upon request.

In choosing either of the Early Decision plans, candidates are indicating that Macalester is their first-choice college and that they would like early notification. Under both plans, a candidate must apply to no other college or university under an early decision plan. While early decision candidates may file regular applications to other institutions, the election of a Macalester Early Decision plan constitutes a pledge that these applications will be withdrawn and no new applications will be initiated when the candidate is offered admission to Macalester. If applying for financial aid, candidates may wait for the preliminary Macalester aid package before withdrawing other applications.

Regular Application: Under this application program candidates must submit application materials by January 15. Admissions decisions will be mailed during the last week of March. Students offered admission must make a non-refundable $300 tuition deposit by the national Candidate’s Reply Date of May 1. The non-refundable deposit is due regardless of whether a financial aid award has been received.

Financial Aid: Macalester remains committed to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of every student offered admission to the College. Students applying for financial aid should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the College Scholarship Service Financial Aid PROFILE (CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE) and provide tax documents. Full application instructions are provided on the Financial Aid website.

Early Admission: Occasionally a few students who have not yet graduated from secondary school are admitted to Macalester at the end of their junior year. Among the major considerations for early admission are the judgments of the Admissions Committee, the secondary school principal or college advisor, and the school faculty concerning the candidate’s maturity and qualifications to do distinguished work in college. An interview is almost always necessary. The Regular Application process should be used by students seeking early admission to Macalester.

Transfer Credit:

Macalester College will accept a maximum of 32 semester credits earned prior to matriculation. College/university credits, summer-session college credits, credits earned through a post-secondary education program, College Board Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and GCE A-Levels are included in this 32-credit maximum.

College/university courses will be evaluated once an official transcript is sent to Macalester directly by the sponsoring college/university. Transcripts are required for credit evaluation. They can be mailed to the address below, or sent via secure electronic transmission to Macalester College.

Registrar’s Office
Macalester College
1600 Grand Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105-1899

Advanced Placement (AP) scores are reported electronically to Macalester and qualifying credit will be added automatically. International Baccalaureate (IB) scores are also reported electronically to Macalester and qualifying credit will be added automatically. General Certificate (GCE) results will be evaluated upon presentation of your final documents. Only A-level results will be considered.

Deferral: Each year, some students who have been offered first-year admission to Macalester request the deferral of their admission. Deferrals may be granted for a variety of reasons, most commonly to allow a student to spend time overseas. Deferral requests, which are approved at the discretion of the Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid, are granted for a period of one academic year. There are no semester deferrals. Candidates should be aware, however, that Macalester will accept no more than the equivalent of 32-credits for academic work completed prior to matriculation at Macalester, whether earned during secondary school or during the deferral period. Decisions regarding credit are made by the Registrar. Deferral requests or questions about the deferral process should be directed to the Admissions Office. For more information, phone the Admissions Office at (800) 231-7974 or (651) 696-6357.

Methods of Application for Transfer Students

A transfer student is anyone who has been enrolled in a college or university as a full-time degree-seeking student.

Transfer students should follow the application instructions found on the Admissions website for U.S. Transfer Students and for International Transfer Students. Transfer applicants should usually present a cumulative grade point average of “B+” (or 3.33 average) or better.

Students considering transferring to Macalester may have their transcripts evaluated for the transfer of course credits prior to applying by sending an official transcript and specifically requesting this service from the Registrar’s Office. This evaluation is only preliminary, but is complete enough to be helpful in planning for transfer.

Credits from accredited colleges will be evaluated according to the nature and quality of the work presented, as determined by the Registrar’s Office. Students who have successfully completed courses with grades of “C-” or better in the natural sciences, social sciences, fine arts and humanities (or, in the case of community college transfer students, a transfer liberal arts program) will usually find that their credits transfer to Macalester. Six “quarter credits” equal four semester credits; courses taken pass/fail must have a verified grade of “C-” or better to transfer.

Students who have attended non-accredited institutions must have their work validated by examination or by showing competence to carry advanced work successfully. Award of credit in such cases may be delayed for one or two terms awaiting such evaluations.

Transfer candidates should note that 128 credits are required to graduate and not more than 64 transfer credits may be used to fulfill this requirement. All candidates for a Macalester College degree must successfully complete at least four semesters on the Macalester campus.

Students Not Seeking a Degree

If a course is not fully enrolled by degree-seeking Macalester students, registration is sometimes possible for students not seeking a degree. Financial aid is not normally available; however, outside funds may become available and students not seeking a degree may inquire about this possibility if they need financial aid. An non-degree application must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office at least one month before the semester’s first day of classes. Applicants must be high-school graduates, and must have completed some college or university coursework.

Macalester graduates may register for courses for credit during the registration period at the beginning of each term. Permission of the instructor is required to register for each course. Registration information and class schedules are available through the Registrar’s Office.

Audit-only Students. People not currently enrolled who wish to audit a course must register as an “audit only” student. Courses are only available to auditors if all degree-seeking students who wish to take the course have been accommodated. Instructor permission is required. A Macalester graduate may audit one course per semester at no charge, subject to the provisions above. The audit fee for all others is listed in the Tuition   section of this catalog. Registration opens for auditors on the first day of class and must be completed by the last day to register for the semester, as published in the 2023-2024 Calendar . Fee payment must be made at the time of registration.

To Learn More

Office Of Admissions
Macalester College
1600 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota 55105-1899

Phone: (651) 696-6357
Toll free: (800) 231-7974
FAX: (651) 696-6724

Web: macalester.edu
Email: admissions@macalester.edu

International Student Email:  internationaladmissions@macalester.edu