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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to common questions about applying to Carthage.

Can I use the paper application, or should I apply online?

Either is fine. Use this link to apply online. Waive the $35 application fee when applying online by using voucher code 889-464 when prompted for payment on the last step of the application.

Q. Will I be admitted?

Fill out this form and receive a personal response regarding your likelihood of admission to Carthage.

If I apply and am admitted, do I have to attend Carthage?

A. No. Our application is non-binding. You can still apply to other colleges, and attend the college of your choice. Our offer of admission is guaranteed through May 1.

I can’t get transcripts or letters of recommendation sent right away. Can I still apply now?

Definitely! Go ahead and send in your application now! You can send us unofficial transcripts for admission purposes. Letters of recommendation are not required, though they will be added to your file if you send them later.

I didn’t see an essay prompt. What should I write about?

Essays are not required (except for nursing applicants).

I have not been able to take the ACT or SAT. Can I still apply?

Yes! Carthage is test-optional, meaning we will review your application based on your high school transcripts.

What if I do want to submit test scores?

You are more than welcome to submit test scores, though not required. We do accept self-reported test scores for admissions purposes. If you submit self-reported scores, upon enrollment you would need to provide official test scores. You can list your scores on the application.

I want to submit test scores, but I wasn’t satisfied with my ACT or SAT score. I’d rather apply after I retake the test. Is that OK?

You can still send your application now. If you submit test scores that are too low for admission, we typically defer a decision until we receive a new score. Even if you are admitted now with test scores, we will accept a higher score later (through the December test date), which can increase your scholarship eligibility. If you get a lower score, we’ll disregard it. We do superscore, combining the highest sub-scores from multiple test dates.

Why should I consider applying to Carthage now instead of waiting?

You’ll find out your admission status and learn about scholarships at Carthage before most of your friends hear back from colleges. If you apply now and submit your transcripts, you should hear back from us fairly quickly.

Can I get more information about Carthage?

Check out this Carthage overview, which includes a list of majors, sports and campus stats. You can also review these Carthage quick facts. And, of course, contact us with any questions!

Do you have any upcoming visit days?

We do! Check out our upcoming in-person and virtual visit days. All visitors will receive a $500 per year visit grant ($2,000 over four years) as part of their Carthage financial aid package.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $22,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …