Northwestern vs. Carleton College


Should I go to Northwestern University or Carleton College? Compare the two schools' costs, SAT, ACT, GPA, admissions criteria and outcomes to help you determine if Northwestern or Carleton College is the better college for you.

Northwestern Comparison

Northwestern University vs. Carleton College comparison
Northwestern Carleton College
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Location Evanston, IL Northfield, MN
Setting Small City Distant Town
Students 22,127 2,097
Type Private 4 Year Private 4 Year
Religious Affiliation - -
Status Non-profit Non-profit


Tuition (In State) $54,120 $54,438
Tuition (Out of State) $54,120 $54,438
Room & Board $16,626 $14,085
Avg Net Price $26,099 $28,148
Avg Grant Aid $44,247 $38,342
% Receiving Grant Aid 54% 58%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 8.5% 19.8%
Avg High School GPA 3.92 3.9
Admissions Standards Elite Elite
Applicant Competition Extreme Very High
ACT Range 33/35 31/34
SAT Range 1430/1550 1350/1530
Application Deadline Jan 1, 2020 Jan 15, 2020


Graduation Rate 94% 93%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $89,800 $65,600
Making Student Loan Payments 87% 92%
Median Student Loan Debt $19,378 $19,500
Median Loan Payment $200 $201
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Comparable Facts

  • Northwestern University is larger than than Carleton College based on total student enrollment (22,127 students vs. 2,097 students)

Northwestern vs. Carleton College Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, Northwestern or Carleton College?

  • Carleton College is 0.6% more expensive to attend than Northwestern for in-state tuition ($54,438.00 vs. $54,120.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 0.6% higher at Carleton College than Northwestern University ($54,438.00 vs. $54,120.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at Northwestern University than Carleton College ($26,099 vs. $28,148)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at Carleton College are 18% lower than costs at Northwestern University ($14,085 vs. $16,626)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at Carleton College than Northwestern University (58% vs. 54%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by Northwestern University students is 15.4% larger than aid received Carleton College ($44,247 vs. $38,342)

Northwestern vs. Carleton College Admissions Difficulty Comparison

Which college is harder to get into, Northwestern or Carleton College? Average SAT and ACT scores plus acceptance rates offer good insight into the difficulty of admission between Carleton College or Northwestern .

  • The average SAT score at Northwestern University (1460) is 60 points higher than at Carleton College (1400)
  • Incoming Northwestern students have a 2 point higher average ACT score (33) than students at Carleton College (31)
  • Carleton College has a higher acceptance rate (19.8%) than Northwestern (8.5%)

Northwestern vs. Carleton College Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, Northwestern or Carleton College? Graduation rate, salary and amount of student loan debt are indicators of a college which offers better outcomes for its graduates. Compare the following outcomes facts between Carleton College and Northwestern.

  • The graduation rate at Northwestern is higher that Carleton College (94% vs. 93%)
  • Graduates from Northwestern University earn on average $24,200 more per year than Carleton College graduates after ten years. ($89,800 vs. $65,600)
  • Northwestern University students graduate with a $122 lower median federal student loan debt than Carleton College graduates. ($19,378 vs. $19,500)
  • Northwestern graduates are paying $1 less per month on federal student loans than Carleton College graduates. ($200 vs. $201)
  • More Carleton College graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former Northwestern students, three years after graduation. (92% vs. 87%)

Sources: U.S. Department of Education IPEDS and College Scorecard