For High School Students
We’re thrilled your college search has led you to Macalester. Our goal is to help you enjoy the process, connect you to resources. and serve as a guide throughout your search.
Start with these easy steps
Finding the best fit
Colleges and universities have a wealth of information available on their websites, which can be extremely helpful, but also incredibly overwhelming. To help filter the information, be sure to think about your priorities. Here are just a few questions to get you started.
- Do the mission and values align to my beliefs?
- Does the college support my academic field of study?
- What student support services are available for me?
- Is the geographic location important?
FAQs for Applicants
Do you require test scores?
Macalester recently adopted a permanent Test-Optional admissions policy, starting with the Fall 2021 first-year class. This includes ACT, SAT, SAT II, AP, and IB.
We aim to reduce the anxiety many students experience regarding standardized exams and hope to provide applicants more freedom and flexibility in presenting their best selves to the Admissions Committee.
There will be no penalty for students who choose not to submit test scores in the selection process or distribution of merit scholarship. You can learn more about our Test Policy here.
If you believe your standardized test scores will add another positive layer to your application file, then please feel free to submit scores to our office or self-report them in the Common Application.
How will you review transcripts, considering grading policy changes and distance learning due to COVID-19?
We understand that some school districts have modified their grading processes to a Pass/Fail system, while other districts continue to use their Letter Grade system. We have always reviewed applications on a case-by-case basis and are very intentional about understanding the context of a student’s high school experience. We will review your transcript within the context of how your school district has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Part of our transcript review may rely on how your experience with virtual learning has been. We know that many students have been challenged to stay motivated, engaged, and attentive during virtual class sessions and this may have impacted your ability to be successful. We encourage you to let us know about your experiences with virtual learning in the Common Application, under the Education Progression section and/or the Additional Information section. The more transparent you can be with how you have handled remote learning, the better we will understand how this pandemic has impacted your academic performance.
What if my non-academic pursuits were affected by COVID-19 or distance learning?
We recognize that many students are unable to pursue internships, volunteer opportunities, jobs, and other experiences due to the pandemic. Rest assured that we will evaluate your application carefully, fully aware that your academic and extracurricular endeavors are different under these circumstances.
That being said, dedicating some time over the summer to hobbies and passions will be just as important to share on your application as formal extracurricular activities. To the extent that it is safe, do what you love!
Should I interview?
Admissions interviews at Macalester are recommended, but not required. Interviews are conducted by Admissions counselors, interns, and interviewers, and usually take 30 minutes. High school juniors can interview as early as the January prior to their senior year. Seniors who wish to interview must do so by February 1 of their senior year. Each student may only interview once.