Georgetown vs Carleton: A Side-by-Side Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Three students talking while sitting on a bench.

Georgetown vs Carleton: A Side-by-Side Analysis

Are you torn between choosing Georgetown or Carleton for your undergraduate degree? Both of these colleges are known for their academic excellence, beautiful campuses, and outstanding faculty members. In this comprehensive article, we’ll be comparing Georgetown vs Carleton side-by-side, to help you make an informed decision about which college may be the better fit for you.

Introduction to Georgetown vs Carleton

Georgetown University is a private research university located in Washington DC, and was founded in 1789. The university has a rich history and is one of the oldest Catholic universities in the United States. Carleton College, on the other hand, is a private liberal arts college that was founded in 1866 and is located in Northfield, Minnesota. Both institutions aim to provide a high-quality education to students from diverse backgrounds, and both have established themselves as top-tier colleges in the United States.

Georgetown University is known for its strong programs in international relations, law, and business. The university has produced many notable alumni, including former President Bill Clinton and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Georgetown also has a vibrant campus life, with over 200 student organizations and a strong athletic program.

Carleton College is known for its rigorous academic program, with a focus on undergraduate education. The college has a unique approach to learning, with a trimester system that allows students to fully immerse themselves in their studies. Carleton also has a strong commitment to sustainability, to become carbon neutral by 2050.

History and Background of Georgetown University

Georgetown University is an old university with a rich history. It was founded in 1789 by John Carroll, who was the first Catholic bishop of the United States. The university was initially created as a college to educate young men in the Jesuit tradition. Over the years, Georgetown has expanded its offerings but remains committed to its Catholic identity. Today, the university is home to multiple schools, including Georgetown College, McDonough School of Business, School of Foreign Service, and Georgetown Law School, among others.

Georgetown University building almost covered by trees

Georgetown University has a long-standing reputation for academic excellence and social justice. The university has produced many notable alumni, including former President Bill Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and actor Bradley Cooper. In addition to its academic programs, Georgetown is also known for its commitment to community service and social justice initiatives. The university has a strong tradition of promoting diversity and inclusion and has been recognized for its efforts to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all students.

History and Background of Carleton College

Carleton College was founded in 1866 by the General Conference of the Congregational Churches. The college was initially established as a place to educate young men on Christian principles and to provide a liberal arts education.

Over the years, Carleton has grown in size, and now offers majors in a variety of subjects, including computer science, psychology, and biology. The college has an excellent reputation for offering a challenging curriculum, and for preparing students for successful careers upon graduation.

Carleton College is located in Northfield, Minnesota, a small town about 45 minutes south of the Twin Cities. The campus is situated on 955 acres of land and includes an 880-acre arboretum that serves as a living laboratory for students studying environmental science and biology. The college is also home to several unique traditions, such as the annual “Primal Scream” event, where students gather at midnight during finals week to scream their stress away.

In addition to its academic offerings, Carleton College is known for its strong commitment to community service and social justice. The college has several student-led organizations dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, and students are encouraged to engage in service projects both locally and globally. Carleton also has a strong alumni network, with graduates going on to successful careers in a variety of fields, including business, law, medicine, and the arts.

Location and Campus: Georgetown vs Carleton

When it comes to location, Georgetown and Carleton both offer something unique. Georgetown University is located in Washington DC, a bustling city that is known for its rich history, arts, and cultural scene. The Georgetown campus features stunning architecture and is located in the heart of the city.

On the other hand, Carleton College is located in Northfield, Minnesota, a small town with a population of just over 20,000 people. Carleton’s campus is known for its natural beauty, with rolling hills, scenic paths, and beautiful buildings that blend seamlessly with their surroundings.

three students in the walkway

Despite their differences, both Georgetown and Carleton offer a variety of opportunities for students to explore beyond their campuses. Georgetown’s location in Washington DC provides students with access to a wide range of internships, cultural events, and political activities.

Carleton, on the other hand, is located near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, which offer a vibrant arts and music scene, as well as numerous job and internship opportunities. Additionally, both schools offer study abroad programs that allow students to experience different cultures and broaden their horizons.

Academic Programs Offered by Georgetown vs Carleton

Georgetown and Carleton both offer a wide range of academic programs to their students. Georgetown University, divided into four undergraduate schools, offers over 100 programs of study and produces exceptional graduates, compared with other universities. A standout program is its undergraduate business school, The McDonough School of Business, which is ranked 19th in the nation (according to US News & World Report). Carleton, too, offers over 30 majors covering a broad array of fields like computer science, physics, psychology, and political science.

Additionally, Georgetown University offers a unique program called the Georgetown Scholarship Program (GSP), which provides financial assistance and academic support to high-achieving, low-income students. GSP students receive full-tuition scholarships, as well as mentorship and career development opportunities.

Carleton College also has a distinctive program called the Carleton Liberal Arts Experience (CLAE), which is a summer program designed for high school students from underrepresented backgrounds. CLAE provides students with a taste of college life and helps them develop skills in critical thinking, writing, and research.

Faculty Comparison: Georgetown vs Carleton

Both Georgetown and Carleton are known for their exceptional faculty members, who are experts in their fields and committed to providing an excellent education to their students. At Georgetown, professors come from diverse backgrounds and are passionate about their work. The Carleton faculty similarly brings achievements from across their fields and are enthusiastic about sharing their research with students.

Georgetown’s faculty members are known for their engaging teaching styles, which often involve interactive discussions and hands-on learning experiences. They prioritize creating a collaborative and inclusive classroom environment, where students feel comfortable sharing their ideas and perspectives. In contrast, Carleton’s faculty members tend to use a more traditional lecture-style approach, but they are equally dedicated to ensuring that their students receive a comprehensive education.

A professor assisting a student on his laptop

When it comes to research specialization, Georgetown’s faculty members are particularly renowned for their expertise in international relations, political science, and law. Many of them have published influential books and articles on these topics, and they often bring their real-world experiences into the classroom.

Carleton’s faculty members, on the other hand, have a strong focus on the humanities and social sciences, with a particular emphasis on literature, philosophy, and sociology. They are also actively involved in cutting-edge research projects, which allows them to bring the latest insights and discoveries to their students.

Student Life: Georgetown vs Carleton

The student life experiences at these two institutions vary widely. Georgetown is located in the heart of Washington, D.C., and provides a social experience that complements its urban setting. Its student body is highly involved in clubs, sports, and other activities – which range from over 100 student organizations to 29 NCAA Division I varsity athletic teams, including basketball, soccer, cross country, and golf.

Carleton provides a more intimate experience, observing a smaller population and campus; however, students will never find themselves bored. Their strong athletic programs, club system, theater performances, and musical ensembles make for a flourishing participating life on campus.

Georgetown University offers a variety of housing options for its students, including traditional dormitories, apartments, and townhouses. The university also has a residential community program that allows students to live with others who share similar interests or identities. Carleton College also offers a range of housing options, including traditional dormitories, theme houses, and apartments. The college has a strong commitment to sustainability and has implemented several green initiatives in its housing facilities.

In addition to clubs and sports, both Georgetown and Carleton offer a wide range of extracurricular activities. Georgetown has a vibrant performing arts scene, with several theater groups and Cappella groups. The university also has a strong commitment to community service, with many opportunities for students to get involved in local and global service projects.

Carleton has a thriving arts community, with several music ensembles, theater productions, and art exhibitions throughout the year. The college also has a strong focus on social justice and offers many opportunities for students to engage in activism and advocacy work.

Admission Criteria: Georgetown vs Carleton

When it comes to admissions, both Georgetown and Carleton have a highly selective process. According to US News & World Report, Georgetown admits 12% of its applicants, while Carleton admits 18% of its applicants. Both colleges require SAT/ACT scores and academic records for admissions consideration. Applications for both institutions are conducted online through their official websites, and both have an early decision option for students seeking early acceptance.

A woman in the library writing on her notebook

In addition to SAT/ACT scores and academic records, both Georgetown and Carleton also consider extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation in their admissions process. Georgetown places a strong emphasis on community service and leadership, while Carleton values intellectual curiosity and a passion for learning.

It is important to note that both colleges have a need-blind admissions policy, meaning that a student’s financial need is not taken into consideration during the admissions process. However, both institutions are committed to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of admitted students through a combination of grants, scholarships, and work-study programs.

Financial Aid and Scholarships Available at Georgetown vs Carleton

Georgetown and Carleton both offer generous financial aid packages for their students. Georgetown offers need-based financial aid to students who demonstrate a need for assistance, while Carleton provides its students with need-based scholarships, grants, employment opportunities, and low-interest loans. Both colleges offer scholarships to students who demonstrate academic excellence in their high school years, as well as for various extracurricular activities.

In addition to need-based financial aid and scholarships, both Georgetown and Carleton offer work-study programs to their students. These programs provide students with part-time employment opportunities on campus, allowing them to earn money to help pay for their education while gaining valuable work experience. Additionally, both colleges have dedicated financial aid offices that are available to assist students and their families with any questions or concerns they may have about the financial aid process.

Alumni Networks: Georgetown vs Carleton

Graduates from both Georgetown and Carleton have a strong alumni network that provides support and networking opportunities for students seeking career opportunities. Georgetown graduates have a reputation for getting jobs at the highest levels of government, international organizations, corporations, law firms, and non-profit organizations. Carleton graduates have found success in their respective fields, and have gone on to pursue careers in science, technology, education, arts, and more.

Group of students walking to go to school.


Georgetown’s alumni network is particularly strong in the fields of politics and public service. Many graduates have gone on to work in the White House, Congress, and other government agencies. The network also includes prominent figures in the international community, providing opportunities for students interested in pursuing careers in diplomacy and global affairs.

Carleton’s alumni network is known for its strong connections in the tech industry. Graduates have found success at major tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft. The network also includes successful entrepreneurs who have started their own companies in a variety of fields, providing valuable resources and mentorship for students interested in pursuing their ventures.

Diversity, Inclusivity, and Cultural Experiences on Campus

Both Georgetown and Carleton are committed to promoting diversity, inclusivity, and cultural experiences on their campuses. Georgetown provides its students with various cultural and diversity-focused clubs, centers, and activities, reflecting the cultural diversity of Washington D.C. Carleton is known for its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity on its campus, and has developed various programs to support underrepresented communities.

At Georgetown, students can participate in cultural events such as the annual International Food Festival, which showcases food from different countries and cultures. The university also has a Center for Multicultural Equity and Access, which provides resources and support for students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Carleton, on the other hand, has a program called “Posse,” which recruits and supports students from diverse backgrounds. The college also has a Gender and Sexuality Center, which provides a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students and allies.

Graduation Rates, Student Retention, and Post-Graduate Outcomes: Georgetown vs Carleton

Both Carleton and Georgetown have excellent graduation and retention rates. According to College Factual, Georgetown has a retention rate of 96% and a graduation rate of 94%. Carleton College has an impressive retention rate of 98% and a graduation rate of 91%. Both institutions have also made significant strides in ensuring that their graduates are well-prepared for successful careers post-graduation, with most graduates finding themselves employed within the first year of graduation.

Group of students working on their project.

Carleton College has a unique approach to student retention, with a focus on building a strong sense of community on campus. The college offers a variety of programs and activities that encourage students to connect with faculty members, creating a supportive environment that helps students thrive academically and socially. Additionally, Carleton has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with programs and initiatives designed to support students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Georgetown University has a strong reputation for producing graduates who are well-prepared for careers in a variety of fields. The university offers a range of career services and resources, including internships, job fairs, and networking events, to help students explore career options and connect with potential employers.

Georgetown also has a robust alumni network, with graduates working in a variety of industries and fields around the world, providing valuable connections and opportunities for current students and recent graduates.

Conclusion: Which College is the Better Choice?

In conclusion, both Georgetown and Carleton are exceptional colleges that offer an excellent education to their students. The choice ultimately depends on your academic interests, your social preferences, financial considerations, and overall fit. It’s essential to visit both campuses and speak to current students to get a better feel of each institution before making a decision.

One factor to consider when choosing between Georgetown and Carleton is the location of the college. Georgetown is located in Washington D.C., which offers students unique opportunities to intern and work in government and politics. On the other hand, Carleton is located in Northfield, Minnesota, which provides a more rural and close-knit community feel.

Another factor to consider is the size of the college. Georgetown has a larger student body, with over 7,000 undergraduate students, while Carleton has a smaller student body, with just over 2,000 undergraduate students. This can impact the classroom experience, as smaller class sizes at Carleton may provide more individualized attention from professors, while larger class sizes at Georgetown may offer more diverse perspectives and opportunities for networking.

A man is holding a book standing in the foreground while other students in the background are chatting.

As a prospective student, your decision of choosing Georgetown or Carleton must depend on various factors. Georgetown is ideal for students who are drawn to the excitement of city life, while Carleton is perfect for those who want to experience life in a small, tight-knit community, surrounded by natural beauty. Ultimately, both universities have their strengths and weaknesses, which you should weigh carefully before making your final decision. Whichever university you choose, you can be assured of receiving a top-notch education that will prepare you for success in your career and life.

One factor to consider when choosing between Georgetown and Carleton is the size of the student body. Georgetown has a larger student population, which can provide more opportunities for networking and socializing. On the other hand, Carleton’s smaller student body allows for more personalized attention from professors and a stronger sense of community among students. It’s important to think about what kind of environment you thrive in and what kind of experience you want to have during your college years.

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 and learn more about what we offer.

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