Boston College vs Carleton: A Comprehensive Analysis

August 4, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Boston College vs Carleton: A Comprehensive Analysis

If you are in the process of choosing a college to attend, you may have come across Boston College and Carleton College as potential options. These two schools have distinct differences in terms of location, size, and overall culture. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive analysis of  Boston College vs Carleton College, with the aim of helping you make an informed decision about which school may be the best fit for you.

Introduction: Boston College vs Carleton

When selecting a college or university, it is important to know what you want in your educational experience. Both Boston College and Carleton College have unique qualities that could appeal to different students, depending on their goals and interests.

Boston College is a Jesuit institution located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. It is known for its strong liberal arts curriculum and its commitment to social justice. The campus is situated on a hill overlooking the city of Boston, providing students with easy access to the city’s cultural and historical attractions.

Carleton College, on the other hand, is a small liberal arts college located in Northfield, Minnesota. It is known for its rigorous academic program and its commitment to experiential learning. The campus is situated on a beautiful arboretum, providing students with ample opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration.

Brief Overview of Boston College

Boston College is located in Chestnut Hill, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private Jesuit research university that was founded in 1863. With an undergraduate population of around 9,000 students, Boston College offers a diverse range of majors and programs through its nine schools and colleges.

Boston College signage hanging off a pole

Boston College has a strong commitment to community service and social justice. The university offers numerous opportunities for students to engage in service projects and volunteer work, both locally and globally. In addition, Boston College has a number of centers and institutes dedicated to promoting social justice and addressing issues such as poverty, inequality, and human rights.

Another notable aspect of Boston College is its strong athletic program. The university is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference and has a number of successful sports teams, including football, basketball, and hockey. Boston College has won numerous conference championships and national titles in various sports, and many of its athletes have gone on to successful professional careers.

Brief Overview of Carleton

Carleton College is a small liberal arts college located in Northfield, Minnesota. Founded in 1866, Carleton’s undergraduate population is approximately 2,000 students. Carleton College offers a broad range of academic programs and majors, with an excellent reputation for research and scholarship.

Carleton College is known for its rigorous academic curriculum, which emphasizes critical thinking, writing, and research skills. The college has a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, which allows for personalized attention and mentorship from professors. Carleton also offers a variety of study abroad programs, allowing students to gain international experience and broaden their perspectives.

Entrance sign and Skinner Memorial Chapel on the campus of Carleton College.


Aside from academics, Carleton has a vibrant campus life with over 200 student organizations, including clubs for sports, music, theater, and community service. The college also has a strong athletic program, with 20 varsity sports teams competing in the NCAA Division III. Carleton’s beautiful campus features a mix of historic and modern buildings, with plenty of green spaces and outdoor recreational areas for students to enjoy.

Academics: Boston College vs Carleton

Boston College offers over 200 undergraduate programs of study, ranging from arts and sciences to nursing and business. Boston College is well known for its strong programs in theology, philosophy, education, and communication, among other fields.

Carleton College, on the other hand, offers a vast array of majors and programs, with a particular emphasis on the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Carleton is also recognized for its outstanding academic programs in math, computer science, and physics.

In addition to its undergraduate programs, Boston College also offers a variety of graduate programs, including law, business, social work, and theology. The graduate programs at Boston College are highly regarded and attract students from all over the world.

Carleton College also offers a number of unique academic opportunities, such as its off-campus studies program, which allows students to study in locations around the world. Carleton also has a strong commitment to interdisciplinary studies, with many courses and programs that combine multiple fields of study.

Campus Life: Boston College vs Carleton

Boston College offers a vibrant campus life, with a number of clubs, organizations, and athletic teams available to students. With over 300 organizations ranging from community service to cultural clubs, and a Division I athletics program, Boston College has plenty to offer its students in terms of extracurricular activities.

Carleton College is also known for its rich campus culture, with a variety of clubs and organizations for students to join. Carleton’s athletic programs boast a strong track record of success, with some teams ranking nationally in their respective sports.

In addition to the numerous clubs and organizations available at Boston College, the campus also hosts a number of events throughout the year. From concerts and performances to guest speakers and cultural celebrations, there is always something happening on campus. Students can also take advantage of the many resources available, such as the career center and academic support services.

At Carleton College, students have the opportunity to participate in unique programs such as the Carleton Liberal Arts Experience (CLAE), which allows students to explore different academic disciplines and engage in hands-on learning experiences. The campus also has a strong commitment to sustainability, with initiatives such as a campus garden and a bike share program.

Housing and Dining Options: Boston College vs Carleton

Boston College offers a range of residential options for students, including traditional dormitories, apartment-style living, and even themed communities. The dining options at Boston College are also diverse, with a variety of meal plans to choose from and several dining halls on campus.

View of students eating in a table.

Carleton College offers a range of housing options to students, including dormitories, suites, and on-campus apartments. The dining options at Carleton are also varied and cater to a range of dietary needs, with several dining locations across campus.

Additionally, Carleton College offers a unique program called “The Farm House,” which is a student-run cooperative living community focused on sustainable agriculture and communal living. Residents of The Farm House work together to grow their own food and maintain the house, creating a close-knit community centered around sustainability and environmentalism.

Diversity: Demographics and Inclusivity Initiatives

Boston College is committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity on its campus. The student body at Boston College is diverse, with students of different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Additionally, the university offers a range of resources and initiatives to support diverse perspectives and foster a sense of community among its student body.

Carleton College is also known for its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. The school has taken numerous measures to promote diversity, ranging from creating an Office of Intercultural and International Life to sponsoring a range of cultural events and festivals throughout the year.

One of the initiatives at Boston College is the Diversity and Inclusion Education Program, which offers workshops and training sessions to students, faculty, and staff on topics such as unconscious bias, microaggressions, and cultural competency. The program aims to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of the Boston College community.

Similarly, Carleton College has a Diversity Peer Educator program, which trains students to facilitate discussions and workshops on diversity and inclusion topics. The program aims to promote dialogue and understanding among students from different backgrounds and perspectives.

Career Services: Boston College vs Carleton

Boston College has an extensive network of alumni engaged in various professions, which provides current students with excellent opportunities for networking and career advancement. Furthermore, Boston College offers career-oriented resources, including job fairs, internships, and career advising services.

Carleton College also offers excellent resources and opportunities for students looking to advance their careers post-graduation. With a range of resources and programs focused on career development and job placement assistance, Carleton students are well-positioned for success in their chosen fields.

In addition to the resources offered by Boston College and Carleton College, many other universities and colleges across the country provide career services to their students. These services may include resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, and career assessments to help students identify their strengths and interests.

It is important for students to take advantage of these resources early on in their college careers, as they can help students explore different career paths and gain valuable experience through internships and other opportunities. By utilizing career services, students can increase their chances of finding fulfilling and successful careers after graduation.

Affordability: Boston College vs Carleton

Boston College is a private university, and tuition costs can be a bit steep, especially for out-of-state students. However, Boston College does offer a range of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans, to help students meet the cost of attendance.

Carleton College is also a private institution, and its tuition costs can be high. However, Carleton offers a number of financial aid options, including scholarships and grants, to help students cover the cost of attendance.

Graduation cap on banknotes

It is important to note that both Boston College and Carleton College have a commitment to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of their students. This means that if a student is accepted and demonstrates financial need, the college will provide enough financial aid to cover the full cost of attendance.

This can include tuition, room and board, and other expenses. This commitment to financial aid can make these institutions more affordable for students who may not have otherwise been able to attend.

Admissions Process: Boston College vs Carleton

Boston College has a selective admissions process, with an acceptance rate of around 19%. The application process requires applicants to submit test scores, transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation.

Carleton College also has a somewhat selective admissions process, with an acceptance rate of around 18%. The application process requires applicants to submit transcripts, test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation.

Additionally, both Boston College and Carleton College offer early decision and early action options for applicants. Early decision is a binding agreement, where the applicant agrees to attend the college if accepted, while early action is non-binding and allows the applicant to apply to other colleges as well. These options can increase the chances of acceptance for applicants who are committed to attending the college.

Student Perspectives: Boston College vs Carleton

When it comes to assessing overall student satisfaction, one useful tool is to gather perspectives from former students. Both Boston College and Carleton College have an active alumni network, with graduates who have gone on to do amazing things in various fields.

Many alumni from Boston College speak very positively about the college’s diverse student body, strong academics, and supportive campus community. Similarly, Carleton College alumni praise the school’s close-knit community, rigorous academics, and active extracurricular offerings.

However, it is important to note that not all alumni have had positive experiences at their alma maters. In a recent survey conducted by Boston College, some alumni expressed concerns about the lack of diversity among faculty and staff, as well as the high cost of tuition. Similarly, Carleton College alumni have raised issues about the school’s lack of resources for mental health support.

Conclusion: Which School is the Best Fit for You?

Choosing between Boston College and Carleton College can be a tough decision, as both schools have a lot to offer incoming students. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on each student’s individual preferences and goals.

a female student thinking of something while looking on the paper

If you are looking for a school with a strong sense of community and school spirit, Boston College may be the better choice for you. The campus is known for its lively sports culture and active student organizations. On the other hand, if you value a more intimate and collaborative academic environment, Carleton College may be the better fit. The school’s small class sizes and emphasis on interdisciplinary learning create a close-knit community of scholars.

It’s also important to consider location when making your decision. Boston College is located in the heart of Boston, a bustling city with endless opportunities for internships and cultural experiences. Carleton College, on the other hand, is located in a small town in Minnesota, surrounded by natural beauty and a tight-knit community. Think about what kind of environment you thrive in and what kind of experiences you want to have during your college years.

Final Thoughts: Making Your Decision

Attending college is a significant decision, and it is important to take the time to carefully consider your options. Both Boston College and Carleton College offer unique educational experiences, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. By evaluating each school’s offerings in terms of academics, campus life, diversity, career services, affordability, and admissions, you can make an informed decision about which school may be the best fit for your goals and interests. Good luck!

It is also important to consider the location of each college and how it may impact your overall college experience. Boston College is located in a bustling city with access to numerous cultural and professional opportunities, while Carleton College is situated in a small town with a tight-knit community. Think about what type of environment you thrive in and how it may affect your college experience.

Ultimately, the decision of where to attend college is a personal one and should be based on your individual needs and preferences.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about what we offer.


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