May 25, 2024  
College Catalog 2024-2025 
College Catalog 2024-2025


The Admissions and Financial Aid Division aims to enroll students who will further the tradition of academic excellence, particularly emphasizing 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 holistic in approach. 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 strongly believes 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 that represents 50 states and includes citizens of over 98 other countries, as well as varied economic, cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

In addition, a fulfilling college experience includes a dynamic campus life. Macalester students have long made significant achievements in nonacademic areas, the arts, athletics, and 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 essential considerations in evaluating a candidate’s admission credentials.

Our admission evaluations are comprehensive and complex because there are many ways a student can show promise of contributing to Macalester. We seek a student body committed to the academic challenge and will contribute to campus life beyond the classroom. Living on campus is an integral 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 who are 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 to have taken at least some of the honors or advanced courses available at their secondary schools. 

Macalester does not use a minimum grade point average as a threshold for admission, and no applicant will be disqualified for lacking a particular course.

Admitted applicants must successfully complete all secondary school coursework at a level similar to previous work, upon which the admissions offer is based, and continue to meet the standards expected for admission to Macalester, as determined in its sole discretion. Admitted students must update Macalester regarding any material changes in the information submitted during the application process, including academic standing and disciplinary or criminal history-a final copy of a secondary school transcript for approval before matriculation.

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:

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.

For students admitted to Macalester through the first-year admissions program, Macalester will accept for credit a maximum of thirty-two (32) Macalester credit hours from courses earned at a college or university prior to matriculation at Macalester. Summer session college credits, Minnesota Post-Secondary Education Options Program credits, and International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Program credits are included under this limitation.

Application Deadlines and Reply Dates

Please refer to the Admissions Dates and Deadlines website. 

Early Decision: The College offers two Early Decision application plans for students who have decided that Macalester is their first choice institution. In choosing either of the early decision plans, candidates indicate that Macalester is their first-choice College and 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.

  • Early Decision I candidates must file 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 the listed deadline. 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. They 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 the listed deadline. Thus, candidates requesting financial aid must file the appropriate forms as soon as possible. Instructions on applying for financial assistance will be mailed when the application for admission is received or sooner upon request. 

Early Action: Under this application program, candidates must submit application materials by November 1. Admissions decisions will be mailed in December. 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.

Regular Decision: 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. Complete application instructions are provided on the Financial Aid website.

Early Admission: Occasionally, a few students who have yet to graduate from secondary school are admitted to Macalester at the end of their junior year. Among the significant 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. Students seeking early admission to Macalester should use the regular application process.

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 various reasons, most commonly to allow a student to spend time overseas. Deferral requests, which are approved at the discretion of the Dean of Admissions, are granted for one academic year. There are no semester deferrals. Macalester will accept up to 32 credits for academic work completed prior to matriculation at Macalester, whether earned during secondary school or during the deferral period. The Registrar’s Office makes decisions regarding transfer credit. Deferral requests or questions about the process should be directed to the Admissions Office. For more information, phone the Admissions Office at (800) 231-7974 or (651) 696-6357.

Transfer Credit:

Macalester College will accept a maximum of thirty-two (32) semester credits earned prior to matriculation. College/university credits, summer session college credits, credits earned through a post-secondary education program, International Baccalaureate credits, and Advanced Placement Program credits are included in this 32-credit limitation.

Once enrolled, students must request that an official transcript be sent directly to the Registrar’s Office by the college or university. Student-issued transcripts are not accepted for transfer of credit. Beginning in late May, the Registrar’s Office will review any official college/university transcrtipt(s) and credit will be transferred accordingly. Transcripts 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.

Methods of Application for Transfer Students

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

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

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 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 showing competence to carry out 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 up to 64 transfer credits may be used to fulfill this requirement. All candidates for a Macalester College degree must complete at least four semesters on the Macalester campus.

To Learn More

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

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

International Student Email: