Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Toggle Navigation Menu

College Access

Why Liberal Arts?

Macalester students have an opportunity to connect with local youth by leading campus visits or earning their financial aid award through Off Campus Student Employment with local college access organizations. Many alumni also serve as full-time AmeriCorps members, helping local youth prepare for ACT exams and the college admission process.

Macalester students provide the majority of tutors for St. Paul Public Schools’ AVID program for ESL learners who would also be first generation college students. Student tutors are trained by the Minnesota Literacy Council. Typically, three or more Off-Campus Student Employees (OCSE) also work with the online teachers at Breakthrough Collaborative. Other OCSE students earn work study financial aid working 8-10 hours per week in local schools. Each year, 16 first-year Bonner Community Scholars tutor six hours weekly in area elementary and middle schools.

Bonner Scholars

The Bonner Community Scholars Program is a four-year civic engagement program providing leadership programming, academic support, civic engagement opportunities and a social network.  Bonner invites all first year students to apply, and selects up to 12 new participants each year. First generation college students, Minnesota residents, and students who have participated in college access programs (eg. Upward Bound, Admission Possible, AVID, TRIO, etc) are strongly encouraged to apply.

Financial Aid At Macalester

We’re committed to enrolling an economically diverse student body. Admitted students receive an aid package that meets 100% of demonstrated financial need.  According to US News & World Report, Macalester is one of only 70 four-year colleges in the United States that meets the full financial need of its admitted students.

Admissions at Macalester

Many factors–recommendations, essays, interviews, leadership potential and abilities, and extracurricular activities–are considered in our evaluation of each applicant’s admission credentials. Admissions interviews at Macalester are optional, but strongly recommended if you visit campus. If you are coming to campus, sit down and talk with someone on the Admissions staff. Interviews are available Monday-Friday from April through January, and Saturdays during the fall semester. Seniors who wish to interview must do so by January 24 of their senior year.


Macalester is a QuestBridge partner and participant in the QuestBridge National College Match, a college and scholarship application process that helps outstanding low-income high school seniors gain admission and full four-year scholarships to some of the nation’s most selective colleges. We encourage all interested students to explore this partnership at You will find information about the 39 college partners, including information on National College Match, College Prep Scholarship, and Quest for Excellence Awards.


Pre@Mac is a four-day experience immersing you in the language of college. We’ll introduce you to everything you need to know about finding and applying to your perfect school. Living on campus, just like a Mac student, you’ll:

  • Discover the different kinds of colleges and universities out there, from big state schools to liberal arts colleges like Macalester
  • Learn how schools like Mac use financial aid to make college more affordable
  • Experience life as a college student—sleeping in Mac’s residence halls, dining at Café Mac, and exploring our campus and neighborhood
  • Sample real classes taught by Macalester professors
  • Connect with other students on the college journey just like you

You’re invited to apply for this free experience—we can’t wait to meet you!

Tips for Applying to Macalester

Macalester recommends a secondary school curriculum with four years of English, three years of history or social science, three years of mathematics, three years of laboratory science, and two years of a single foreign language. In addition, applicants are expected to take at least some of honors or advanced courses available at their secondary schools.

For students admitted to Macalester through the first-year admissions program, Macalester accepts for credit no more than the equivalent of 20 Macalester credit hours from courses earned at a college or university prior to matriculation at Macalester. Summer session college credits, Minnesota Post-Secondary Education Options Program credits, International Baccalaureate credits, and Advanced Placement Program credits are included under this limitation.

Read here about the Admission and Financial Aid Policies for Undocumented Students