Macalester college is a selective liberal arts college and its thrust for the past century has always been towards the high standards in academics. At Macalester, emphasis is placed on internationalism and multiculturalism, as well as service to society. The College has 59 academic concentrations to offer successful applicants.
The twenty-one hectare campus has been home to many ambitious students, including those that come from other countries. Macalester also prides itself on having one of the most diverse student bodies among liberal arts colleges, including an international student population that is the largest in the country. This school has always been at the top of rankings when it comes to colleges that could rival the Ivy League universities when it comes to the quality of education offered.
Macalester started in 1874 when it was chartered as a Presbyterian-affiliated college, but has henceforth become non-sectarian. It opened for classes in 1885. Rev. Dr. Edward Duffield Neill opened this college, as well as two other schools in the Saint Paul area. Neill wanted a new college with a strongly Christian curriculum and pattered on the academic curriculum of British universities. model. The original name for this new institution was Jesus College, which sparked controversy at that time. When Jesus College failed to attract applicants, Neill asked businessman Charles Macalester for support. Macalester gave a building for the college’s use, and this building was very close to Saint Anthony Falls.
The location of the college changed in 1885 after it received support from the Presbyterian Church. In 1891, an electronic trolley line that goes through the center of the campus was approved by the college board. In 1893, women were admitted to the college, and the college accepted students of other faiths regardless of the religious affiliation.
Macalester survived through the years on endowments from Dr. James Wallace, father of DeWitt Wallace. Wallace acted as the college president from 1894 to 1900, and assumed the post formally from 1900 to 1906. He continued serving as a professor until 1939.
It was during the presidency of Charles Turck after World War II when the college became reputed as a college for international students. Turck recruited heavily abroad and brought in many international students, leading to a more diverse student population. During the 1960s, Macalester rose to prominence when it continued to attract the brightest high school graduates all over the country. Many Macalester students have been recipients of honors such as Rhodes Scholarships, British Marshall Scholarships, Fulbright Scholarships and Foreign Government Grants.
Macalester is a residential college and most students stay in one of the many lodging facilities, like residence halls and Language Houses for those learning or speaking Spanish, French, German, Japan, Russian and Chinese. There are also several residences with specific themes for students that want to live with others that share their interest. Themed residences include Veggie Co-op, Interfaith House, All Gender, Cultural House, Eco House, Study Away, and Healthy Living.
Campus safety is ensured by the school’s Safety and Security department in coordination with St. Paul’s police and fire department, and medical services. Patrols are done on campus 24 hours a day, with no breaks during the weekends. From nine o’clock in the evening to one o’clock, a campus escort service operates for students that need a ride home to their residences.
Macalester application comes with a question on whether the student intends to apply for financial aid. Those that stipulate their intent should start the financial aid application process immediately for immediate consideration. The financial packages offered are need-based, and students with greater demonstrated need may be given more options or more financial help.
2017 College Rankings