Carleton is a small, well-regarded liberal arts school in Northfield, Minnesota, an hour outside of Minneapolis. It characterizes its curriculum as intense and challenging, and it prides itself on the individuality of the students it attracts. Classes are small and rigorous, and professors are accessible to students in the off hours. Intellectual discussions permeate social conversations in the dorms and at parties, though students say the tone is more collegial than competitive. The vast majority of students live on campus, and nearly 4 out of 5 students hold an on-campus job.

Outside of work and studying, there’s plenty to keep students busy. There are more than 250 student organizations, including a radio station and a weekly newspaper, and many students participate in sports, whether it's more traditional teams, like soccer and basketball, or some of the campus’s less familiar squads, like ultimate Frisbee or competitive ballroom dancing.

While the median price of a degree stands higher than the average at similar schools at almost $206,000 without factoring in state and federal aid, Carleton boasts a high graduation rate, with 92% of students graduating in six years.