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Start Your Search

Starting a college search is never easy. Starting a college search during a public health crisis, now that’s a challenge! Fortunately, it’s a challenge you can rise to meet. And all of us at Carthage are here to help you.

At Carthage, we strive to make the admissions process easy to understand, so you can focus your attention on making the right decision for you. During this difficult time of COVID-19, we’re taking even more steps to help our students and families:

  • We’re offering numerous ways to visit Carthage every month. Join a live information session to learn more about Carthage, or register for an individual campus visit. 
  • Our Admissions counselors are available for individual conversations at a time that’s convenient for you. Learn more about visiting Carthage at
  • Students entering Carthage in Fall 2021 will NOT need to submit ACT/SAT scores. Carthage College will not require standardized test scores for admission given the significant disruption students are facing caused by COVID-19. The change takes effect for all students applying for fall 2021. Students will have the option of submitting scores if they wish. Just submit your high school transcript. You will be considered for admissions and all Carthage scholarships, including our competitive scholarships.

Ashley Hanson“This is an exceptionally difficult time for high school students across the country,” says Ashley Hanson, associate vice president for enrollment at Carthage. “We want to reassure students and families that we understand the many challenges they are facing. Each student is going to be impacted by this in unique ways, and we’re here to help you.

“This crisis has disrupted your studies, sports, extracurricular activities, fine arts performances, volunteer work, and so many other things that you are passionate about. We want to help ease your worries right now, not add to them. So don’t let concerns about college add to your stress. Instead, be excited for the future that awaits you!”

You can still start your college search — even when you can’t leave your house. Here are some FAQs about getting started, the application process, and more: 

The College Search

How has this public health crisis changed the college search process? Should I be doing something different?
Many steps in the college search process have not changed. Start by asking yourself what kind of school you are looking for:

  • What kind of classroom environment is right for you?
  • What subjects are you passionate about now? What subjects are you hoping to explore further?
  • Do you have an intended major? (It’s OK if you don’t!)
  • What kind of relationships do you want with faculty?
  • What activities are important to you outside of the classroom? i.e. sports, clubs, choir, community service, cafes, museums, and more.

Then start researching colleges using college websites. For more information, check out 10 Steps to Carthage — our guide to what happens between now and your first day as a college student. Our Admissions Representatives are here to help at every step, so contact us at or 800-351-4058 with any questions. 

The important thing is to start the process now, like you normally would. Think of it as a way to look forward! We all need good news right now, and you’ve worked hard to get here. It’s OK — and healthy — to let yourself be excited. 

What are the different options to visit Carthage right now?
There are so many ways to visit Carthage right now! You can set up an individual meeting in person; by phone; or through Zoom, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime. You can attend one of our virtual information sessions. You can explore Carthage through our virtual tour

Can I meet with a professor, coach, or a current student?
Yes! We would love to set up a one-on-one meeting with a professor, coach, or even a current student. Simply give us a call in the Office of Admissions to set up a time that works best for you. 


As a high school junior, when I can apply to Carthage?
You can submit your application for admission beginning in June!

If I apply and I am admitted, do I have to attend Carthage?
No. Our application is non-binding. Our offer of admission is guaranteed through May 1.

My school is on break, and I can’t get transcripts or letters of recommendation sent this summer. 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 have not been able to take the ACT or SAT. Can I still apply in June?
Yes! For Fall 2021, Carthage is moving to fully test-optional, meaning we will review your application based off 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. Upon enrollment you would need to provide official test scores. You can list your scores on the application, or submit your test scores online at

Why should I consider applying to Carthage in the summer?
You’ll find out your admissions status and learn about scholarships at Carthage before most of your friends even start applying to colleges. If you apply now and submit your transcripts, you should hear back from us early in your senior year.

I didn’t see any essay prompt. What should I write about?
Essays are not required (except for students applying to our Nursing program).

Scholarships and Financial Aid

My family has questions in regards to scholarships and financial aid. Who can help me?
Your admissions director is the person that will work with you and your family throughout the financial aid process, which is typically the most important part of the college search process. Please reach out to the Office of Admissions to set up your one on one conversation. You can see all of the scholarships available at Carthage by visiting

My family’s financial situation is really uncertain right now. What should I do?
We understand that the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting our families in many different ways, including financially. In Fall 2019, Carthage lowered our tuition by 30%, while still offering substantial financial aid. We encourage students and families with concerns about affording Carthage to speak to your admissions director. He or she can tell you about Carthage’s many scholarships and other support. Contact us at or 800-351-4058 with any questions.  

Other Questions?

Our Admissions Representatives are here to help at every step, so contact us at or 800-351-4058 with any questions. You can find your Admissions Representative here.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2020), 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 …