Macalester College is one of very few selective liberal arts and sciences colleges located in the heart of a major metropolitan area. Macalester’s demanding academic program and commitments to internationalism, multiculturalism and service to society are all amplified by its location in the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Macalester draws students from every corner of the globe. Nearly 2,250 students come from more than 95 countries and all 50 states, bringing different backgrounds and perspectives to enrich conversations and learning, in and out of the classroom. The United Nations flag has flown over campus since 1950, a symbol of Macalester's commitment to world peace and understanding.
Being in the heart of a metropolitan area allows for over 50 courses to readily partner with businesses and organizations surrounding campus, as well as provide access to internships and service opportunities. World-class museums, music, theater, professional sports teams, 16 Fortune 500 companies and an artist-designed miniature golf course add flavor to the lives of Macalester students. Between the two downtowns, Macalester’s campus sits on 53 acres in a historic residential neighborhood in Saint Paul. Within five blocks, there are at least 20 restaurants, eight coffee houses, five places of worship, bookstores, a movie theater and stores for art supplies, bike repairs, pharmacies, music and more.
Religious affiliation: None
Student body profile
Students at Macalester are curious, highly motivated, serious about their academic pursuits and supportive of each other. Macalester students are more likely to work together for collective academic success than to compete. The liberal arts education at Macalester is intentionally designed to widen perspectives and expand personal and professional opportunities. Every Macalester student takes a First Year Course (FYC) in their first semester. These seminar-style courses are limited to 16 students and the professor is the academic advisor for each student in the class.
- Community Psychology and Public Health in which students engage in off-campus shadowing opportunities
- Drama: Theater and Politics, which incorporates theatrical performances in multiple Twin Cities theaters including the world-class Guthrie Theater;
- Environmental Leadership, where students apply knowledge learned in the classroom at a local environmental business or organization;
- Legislative Politics, where students intern as legislative aides in the nearby Minnesota State Capitol.
I wanted a college where I felt I could belong: somewhere I wasn't going to be seen as purely a number; a home away from home. Macalester gave me that feeling from my first visit and has not left me since. Everyone is so welcoming and so open to different ways of life.
Audrey Kellar '22
Macalester approaches admissions with a holistic and rigorous assessment of a student’s potential for success. Experience and research have consistently shown the most important factor for predicting success is academic performance in high school. The Admissions Committee evaluates high school performance by reviewing students’ access to and performance in courses (i.e., grades), as well as teacher recommendations, leadership experience, extracurricular involvement and personal essays. A test-optional admissions policy means students are welcome, but not required, to submit standardized test scores if it’s believed the scores will add another positive layer to the application.
Cost & financial aid
Each admitted student receives a financial aid package that meets 100 percent of demonstrated need for financial aid. Two out of three Macalester students receive need-based financial assistance. The average financial aid award for full-time students with demonstrated need in 2020-21 was $53,873. Grants and scholarships made up 85 percent of the average financial aid package.
First-time, full-time students receiving grants and scholarships
Financial aid application deadline
Early Action, Nov. 8
Early Decision I, Nov. 8
Early Decision II, Jan. 10
Regular Decision, Jan. 24
Learn more about financial aid at Macalester College.
Contributing to long-lasting friendships and a sense of community, there are over 100 student organizations available at Mac. They help articulate students’ values as part of the campus culture and reflect the diverse interests of our students. Topics and shared interests for these organizations and clubs range in focus from art, athletics, comedy, culture, dance, entrepreneurship, forensics, gaming and Mac radio, to politics, Quiz Bowl, recreation, religion, rocketry, slam poetry, software development and more.
Number of student organizations
Types of student organizations
Cultural or ethnic
Fine art offerings
At Macalester, majors are offered in areas of study such as art, dance, music and theater. Students also participate in ensembles and coursework within the performing and visual arts without declaring a major in that area of study. Completed in 2019, the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center ushered in a new wave of creativity and collaboration for students and faculty, with expanded theaters, new studio spaces, the Mairs Concert Hall and the Law Warschaw Gallery.
Theater & Dance
Comedy / Improv
Dance Team / Club
Collegiate Water Polo Association
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC)
Swimming / Diving
Track and Field (indoor and outdoor)
Swimming / Diving
Track and Field (indoor and outdoor)
Number of club sports
Club sports at Macalester are initiated and organized by Macalester students who share a common interest in specific sports activity. In addition to sport skill development, club sports also provide students with learning experiences and leadership opportunities through involvement in club organizations, administration, budgeting, scheduling and fundraising. Student leaders work closely with the Club Sports Director who provides overall administrative support and oversight.
Number of intramural sports
Intramural activities are organized on a team and individual basis, as well as recreational and competitive levels, enabling all to participate. Recreational and competitive sports are a valuable part of a liberal arts education. These physical activities are part of a life-long learning process and complement the academic and artistic knowledge gained at Macalester.
When you graduate from Macalester, you might become a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, write a bestselling novel, or be chosen as one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10 Young Scientists.” You wouldn’t be the first graduate to do so, and like students through our history, you’ll find a liberal arts education is designed to help you discover a path to success. Ninety-three percent of graduates are employed, attending graduate school, interning or on fellowship within six months of graduation. Your professors, Macalester alumni, and Career Exploration counselors and staff create an extensive network aimed at supporting your personal and professional goals.
Disciplines with largest number of graduates
1. Social sciences
2. Biological and biomedical sciences
3. Physical sciences
Use LinkedIn’s alumni tool* to explore what Macalester graduates majored in and the types of careers they have and with which companies.
*based only on those who have accounts on LinkedIn
Office of Admissions
1600 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN55105