Carleton has reached a new milestone: for the first time in the college’s history, 100% of students have enrolled in an Off-Campus Study (OCS) program.
“Carleton’s current OCS programs are extremely personalized,” said a representative from the OCS office. “In fact, they can be tailored to any unique location across the entire globe. No wonder we had so many last-minute sign ups!”
This term, students are studying in many exciting locales, from Indiana to Hawaii to Glenview, Illinois. (No, it’s not really Chicago.) They have been placed in home stays, which achieve the highest standards of cultural immersion, given that they literally cannot interact with anyone but their host family.
Such arguably “confined” or “cramped” home stays in fact encourage a deep dive into the culture of a place, argue OCS staff. Each off-campus destination poses its own unique set of quirks and challenges, by which Carls can enrich their understanding of the world and their place within it.
“I’ve learned that here in Nebraska, it’s socially acceptable to wear sweatpants to class every day,” reported one student.
“In Cambridge, it’s really important for members of the family to establish a highly specific, strictly-enforced dishwashing schedule. Laundry, too, and vacuuming—things we normally don’t think too much about at Carleton are actually central, almost sacred elements of culture here,” said one student.
“At first it was difficult, but then I thought—of course it’s going to be difficult. If it weren’t challenging me, and making me want to pull my hair out and physically attack all my siblings, what would I be learning?”
“It’s really given me a chance to get out of the Carleton bubble,” said another. When asked where they were Zooming from, they replied: “the St. Olaf side of Northfield.”
The Admissions office, too, is thrilled about the OCS uptick. “Finally, a statistic to differentiate Carleton from absolutely no other small liberal arts college in the country!” said one employee.
“I’m sure that admitted students will be looking at this when they choose which college to attend in the fall,” said one tour guide. “Or, rather, which college-sponsored Zoom account to log into.”
The OCS office had been concerned about the effect of COVID-19 on its enrollment, but the result has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, Carleton is considering implementing more mandatory OCS programs in the future.
As one college official put it, “I’m heartened by the opportunities which global crises give us to permanently change everything.”