Carthage College is a private liberal arts college in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. The school was founded by a group of German Lutherans as The Literary and Theological Institute of the Lutheran Church of the Far West in Hillsboro, Illinois. The school underwent several name and location changes, taking its current name from Carthage, Illinois, a prior location. Today, there are approximately 3,400 students at Carthage. Three-quarters of those attend full-time, and one-quarter part-time.
The college prides itself on prioritizing hands-on learning, small classes, and interdisciplinary study supported by a strong faculty. According to their website, the school offers:
- a curriculum that challenges students to think critically and express themselves effectively
- a campus life that encourages involvement and service
- a community of faith that nurtures spiritual growth and develops moral responsibility
- co-curricular activities that inspire students to test their own limits and express their individuality.
Still strongly affiliated with the Lutheran Church, the college welcomes students of all faiths.
The school boasts a student-faculty ratio of just 14:1 and an average class size of 17. There are more than 40 majors to choose from, including many common options such as Education and Pre-Law, but also such unique options as Studio Art, Climatology, Jazz Studies, Church Music, and Coaching. It is also possible to self-design a major. In addition to bachelor’s degrees, Master of Education degrees are awarded. The school cooperates with Loyola University Chicago to offer a joint Executive MBA and Master of Social Work.
There are several programs that offer a wide variety of opportunities to students outside of the classroom. In particular, Carthage has a strong reputation for encouraging study abroad and offering many ways to do so.
Students must successfully complete 138 credits to graduate. Most classes in the course catalog are worth four credits. Normally, about one-third of coursework a student will take is core material common to all majors, one-third is coursework specific to the student’s major, and the remaining third is comprised of electives. Students are strongly encouraged to sample a variety of electives from across the course catalog in order to explore and develop their interests and understanding of the world. Many students also elect to complete a minor.
Core classes for all students include two courses in Western Heritage, Understandings of Religion, a mathematics course, an additional religion course, two modern language classes in the same language (which may be Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, or Italian); and two single-credit exercise and sports science classes. Students must also successfully complete a J-Term (an intensive course held in January, between the semesters) class their freshman year, as well as at least one more J-Term during another year.
Carthage Symposium is a team-taught class by two instructors from different departments. Each Symposium is a unique creation of those professors and an exploration of the way their disciplines relate. Depending on the topics and the work involved, Symposiums can be worth either 4 or 8 credits.
Writing Intensive Courses
Writing Intensive Courses, in which students are explicitly taught writing skills in addition to the course content, include Western Heritage I and II, Global Heritage, and the Senior Thesis.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The school has a rolling admissions policy and reviews applications when they are received. Students interested in applying should contact the school through email, phone, or visiting the admissions office and picking up a form to be mailed in after completion. First year students who are considered are generally recent high school graduates and the admissions officers would like to see a high school transcript, complete with GPA and class rank, along with ACT or SAT scores, and the application fee. Transfer students need to submit the same materials along with all college level transcripts.
In addition to the many state and federal financial aid options available to students, the school also offers several of their own need- and merit-based scholarships, including targeted scholarships for transfer students, California residents, and students studying French, German, Chinese, and Japanese. Over 90% of students receive financial aid of some kind.
Student Financial Aid Details
Carthage College has a strong reputation for turning out successful students. Ninety-five percent of graduates earn their degrees in four years. Within six months of graduation, 95 percent of graduates report landing a satisfying career position or enrollment in graduate school.
Clubs and Organizations
There are nearly a hundred student clubs and organizations on campus to fit a variety of personal and professional interests. About 20% of students are involved in one of the 15 sororities and fraternities on campus.
Living on Campus
Nearly 70% of students live in one of the nine residence halls located on campus. Most are traditional dormitories with a variety of singles, doubles, and suite style rooms. Oaks Village also offers apartment-style options. Many Greek organizations are housed within the residence halls.
Dining on Campus
In addition to a traditional college cafeteria, there are a number of convenient eating options on campus. There is a cyber café in the library featuring frozen yogurt and Einstein Bros. Bagels, a Starbucks in the A.W. Clausen Center of Business, and a variety of fast food outlets in the new student union, including Jamba Juice, Seattle’s Best Coffee, and World of Wings.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Red Men and the Lady Reds compete on the intervarsity level in NCAA Division III. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and water polo. Club sports include hockey, men’s volleyball, and bowling.
In addition to competitive athletic programs, the Athletic and Recreation Center offers a 16 lane swimming pool, indoor rock climbing wall, indoor track, and well-equipped fitness center for student use.
Well known alumni include:
- Former World Bank President Alden W. Clausen
- Actress Katie Cleary
- Novelist Tony D’Souza
- Iowa Supreme Court Justice Scott M. Ladd
- NFL players Steve Hanson, Rick Kehr, John Wager, Adam Walker, and Jim Jodat
- Secretary to Abraham Lincoln, John Hay
- Historian Susan Lee Johnson
- Miss Wisconsin 2011 Laura Marie Kaeppeler
- Author and historian Jon Kukla
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.