Founded in 1866, Northfield College was established in Northfield, MN
by the Minnesota Conference of Congregational Churches and functioned as a preparatory school until 1870 when the first college classes were held. While the school left behind its affiliation with the Congregational Church
rather early in its life, the name remained until 1871 when it was renamed Carleton College in honor of William Carleton, an early financial contributor.
Since its humble beginnings Carleton has grown to become a vital part of the livelihood of Northfield, which is maintained its status as a small, semi-rural town despite the presence of two world-class, liberal arts education institutions (St. Olaf College, founded in 1874). Today Carleton College enrolls approximately 1800 students from each of the 50 states and from many foreign countries.
The academic program at Carleton is very rigorous and provides outstanding curricula in many fields of study. The most prominent and successful departments at Carleton in the last few decades have been the English, Biology, Geology, and Political Science programs. Carleton boasts a fine roster of both staff and faculty, many of whom are leaders in their field of study. The school provides a quality classroom experience with a typical student to faculty ratio around 17:1. Approximately 67% of Carleton students study abroad for at least one trimester during their stay.
A Division III school, Carleton is not known for its outstanding athletic program in the "big college sports" arena. However Carleton is well known for Ultimate Frisbee. Ultimate Frisbee is considered by many to be the staple sport for the entire college. Played by many students as the largest intramural sport on campus, Carleton also touts excellent club teams. Carleton Ultimate Team (CUT) and Syzygy (Women's Ultimate Team) have consistently placed among the elite teams nationwide year after year.
As a private, non-affiliated college, Carleton is on the high end in terms of total cost for higher education. One of the schools goals has always been to provide the highest level of excellence not only in education, but also in facilities and programs for students to become involved in. Recent projects such as a new recreational center, a new dining hall, and several near-campus housing projects have raised the demand on students' families' budgets. The tuition costs for the 2001-2002 academic year were $30,780 including room and board, but not textbooks.