Macalester College Acceptance Rate (Rank, Factors, FAQs) | 2023

Macalester College is a highly regarded liberal arts institution in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Aspiring students often wonder about the college’s acceptance rate and what it means for their chances of admission. 

Understanding the acceptance rate can provide valuable insights into the level of competitiveness and selectivity at Macalester College.

Overview of Macalester College

Macalester College is a prestigious liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Known for its rigorous academic programs and diverse community, Macalester offers a vibrant learning environment for students seeking a well-rounded education. 

The college is committed to fostering intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and global citizenship. 

Macalester strongly emphasizes internationalism and social responsibility, encouraging students to engage with real-world issues and pursue their passions. 

The campus is home to a close-knit community of students worldwide, creating an inclusive and multicultural atmosphere. 

Macalester College prepares students to positively impact the world through its innovative curriculum, dedicated faculty, and extensive study-abroad opportunities.

How is Macalester College Ranked?

Macalester College has consistently earned recognition and accolades for its academic excellence and commitment to providing a transformative educational experience. 

In various rankings, Macalester has achieved impressive standings among liberal arts colleges in the United States. 

According to U.S. News & World Report, Macalester was ranked 27th overall in 2022, with notable rankings in categories such as:

  • Most Innovative
  • Best Undergraduate Teaching
  • Study Abroad 
  • Best Value.

Forbes also recognized Macalester, placing it 86th out of 650 colleges in the U.S. and 38th among liberal arts colleges. 

Moreover, Washington Monthly ranked Macalester 16th among liberal arts colleges for its contributions to the public good, considering social mobility, research, and promoting public service. 

These rankings attest to Macalester College’s commitment to providing a top-tier education and fostering a vibrant academic community.

What is the Macalester College Acceptance Rate?

Macalester College, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, is known for its selective admissions process. 

The college has an overall acceptance rate of 31%, indicating intense competition for admission. However, Macalester also offers an early acceptance option with a higher acceptance rate of 62.9%. 

This allows prospective students to apply early and secure their spot at the college. 

Admitted students at Macalester typically demonstrate impressive academic achievements, half boasting SAT scores between 1340 and 1515 or ACT scores between 30 and 35. 

Factors Considered during the Macalester College Admission Process

During the admission process at Macalester College, several factors are considered to evaluate applicants holistically. 

Here is a list of the factors and their corresponding level of importance:

1. Academic GPA

Macalester considers an applicant’s academic GPA a crucial indicator of academic performance

A high GPA showcases a consistent level of achievement and dedication to academics. 

While a strong GPA is not the sole determining factor, it carries substantial weight in admissions decision-making.

2. Secondary School Record

The rigor of an applicant’s secondary school record is a significant factor for Macalester. 

They look for candidates who have challenged themselves academically by taking advanced or honors-level courses. 

A strong secondary school record reflecting a commitment to academic excellence and intellectual curiosity can greatly enhance an applicant’s admission chances.

3. Personal Qualities

Macalester College values personal qualities in its admissions process. 

They recognize the importance of character traits such as leadership, resilience, integrity, and a commitment to personal growth. 

Applicants who demonstrate exceptional personal qualities through their experiences, essays, and recommendations have a better chance of standing out in the admissions process.

4. Extracurricular Activities

The college values applicants with active participation and leadership in extracurricular pursuits

Whether it’s involvement in student clubs, sports teams, community service organizations, or artistic endeavors, these activities showcase an applicant’s interests, passions, and ability to contribute to the broader community. 

Admissions officers look for applicants who have made a positive impact and shown commitment, as involvement in extracurricular activities indicates a well-rounded and engaged student.

5. Application Essay

The application essay holds significant weight in the admissions process at Macalester College. 

It allows applicants to surpass their academic achievements and demonstrate their unique perspectives, personal growth, and intellectual curiosity. 

The essay allows applicants to showcase their writing skills and share meaningful experiences or challenges that have shaped their lives. 

Admissions officers look for well-crafted essays that provide insight into an applicant’s values, motivations, and aspirations. 

A compelling essay can help an applicant stand out and leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee.

6. Recommendation(s)

These letters provide insights into an applicant’s character, abilities, and potential for success in a college setting. 

Macalester values recommendations from teachers, counselors, or other individuals who have had significant interactions with the applicant in an academic or extracurricular context. 

Strong recommendations can provide a valuable perspective on an applicant’s abilities and help the admissions committee better understand the candidate.

7. Class Rank

Although Macalester considers less heavily weighted than some other factors, class rank during the admissions process. 

It provides insight into an applicant’s standing within their graduating class and can give context to their academic performance relative to their peers.

8. Work Experience

The admissions team recognizes that students may have had various levels of work experience during their high school years. 

Whether an applicant has held part-time jobs, completed internships, or engaged in volunteer work, their work experience provides insights into their time management skills, responsibility, and ability to balance commitments. 

It demonstrates maturity and dedication to pursuing opportunities outside the classroom. 

9. First Generation

Macalester College recognizes first-generation college students’ experiences and considers this a factor in the admission process.

Being a first-generation student means the applicant’s parents or guardians must still complete a bachelor’s degree

This distinction is considered during the admissions process to recognize and support students who are the first in their families to pursue higher education.

10. Interview

Interviews allow applicants to showcase their personality, interests, and motivations beyond what is conveyed in their application materials. 

The interview is a valuable platform for applicants to highlight their experiences, achievements, and goals. 

It also allows Macalester to assess an applicant’s fit with the college’s mission and values.

11. Racial/Ethnic Status

The applicant’s racial/ethnic status is considered during the admissions process to ensure a diverse representation of students on campus. 

Macalester strives to create an environment where students from various racial and ethnic backgrounds can engage in meaningful dialogue, learn from one another, and contribute to a vibrant campus community.

12. State Residency

The applicant’s state of residency may be considered to ensure geographic diversity among the student body.

Macalester aims to admit students from various states, promoting regional diversity and providing a rich cultural exchange among students from different backgrounds.

13. Talent/Ability

Macalester College values and considers applicants’ unique talents and abilities during admissions. 

This can encompass various areas, including artistic, athletic, musical, scientific, or leadership talents. 

Applicants are encouraged to highlight their exceptional abilities and achievements in their application materials. 

Whether in winning awards, participating in competitions, leading a team, or showcasing exceptional skills in a particular discipline, Macalester recognizes and appreciates the diverse talents that students can bring to the campus community.

14. Standardized Test Scores

Standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, are considered part of the admissions process at Macalester College. 

These scores provide a standardized measure of an applicant’s academic abilities and are used with other factors to evaluate their academic preparedness.

FAQs on Macalester College Acceptance Rate

What is the required GPA for admission to Macalester College?

Applicants must have a competitive academic record to gain admission to Macalester College. A minimum GPA of 3.94 is highly considered since it reflects the need for strong academic performance.

Is Macalester College considered prestigious?

Yes, Macalester College is considered prestigious. With its ranking of #27 out of 210 National Liberal Arts Colleges, Macalester is recognized as one of the top institutions in the United States.

Does Macalester College meet the full financial needs of international students?

Macalester College is committed to meeting admitted international students’ fully demonstrated financial needs. Through a combination of need-based financial aid, grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities, Macalester works closely with international students to meet their financial needs, allowing them to focus on their studies and fully engage in the college experience.

Is Macalester College considered a hidden Ivy?

Macalester is often called a “hidden Ivy” due to its academic excellence, rigorous curriculum, and high education standards. The college offers a liberal arts education comparable in quality to many Ivy League schools. Macalester’s strong faculty, diverse student body, and commitment to intellectual growth and global citizenship contribute to its reputation as a highly respected institution, earning its recognition as a hidden gem among top-tier colleges and universities.


Macalester College maintains a selective admission process with a relatively low acceptance rate. 

However, it’s important to remember that admission decisions are based on a holistic review of each applicant, considering various factors beyond test scores and grades. 

If Macalester College aligns with your academic and personal aspirations, submit a well-rounded application highlighting your strengths and demonstrating your potential as a valuable addition to their vibrant community.

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Righteous Godwin
Righteous Godwin

Righteous Godwin, a graduate of Mass Communication, is a content and creative writer. Her passion for writing compels her to give her all to every project she undertakes.

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