Students at St. Olaf College can appreciate the opportunity to choose from over 40+ majors and programs, including the highly popular Biology, Biological Science, and Economics programs. Faculty and staff members welcome and encourage students to pursue double majors to increase their academic placement among professional competition. Many students actively participate in the Performing Arts and Music programs that are offered at St. Olaf, graduating to become members of symphonic orchestras, leaders in the entertainment industry, and many also take advantage of educating others in their field. Located in the small town of Northfield, Minnesota, St. Olaf provides all students with the resources and amenities needed to help them develop their skills and master their talents both in and out of the classroom.
Since the majority of faculty members at St. Olaf hold advanced degrees, students can take advantage of getting first-hand knowledge of their professional field in order to accurately prepare themselves mentally, socially, and academically. In addition, students are able to advance their social and professional skills throughout the campus and beyond by participating in the various events, seminars and work study programs available, most of which are established and maintained by the student body. At least 65% of students spend a semester or more abroad as a part of International and Off Campus Studies Programs that are available to enhance their academic and social experiences.
St. Olaf College has always been dedicated to providing students with an intense and challenging curriculum since it was established in 1874. Embracing a strong dedication to the Lutheran Church right up through the present day, St. Olaf was founded to offer students a solid way to obtain a liberal arts education that encumbered a global perspective. Since the late 1800s, the College has embraced a strong musical foundation, with early students actively involved in the church choir and community performance groups. Today, the St. Olaf Performing and Visual Arts Programs is world recognized, presenting endless possibilities for students to be discovered during their college years.
Named for the King of Norway, who served from 1016 until his martyrdom in 1030, St. Olaf College was run as an academy for students preparing for clergy and other professions up until 1886. St Olaf Academy continued to operate until 1917. The first graduating class honored by St. Olaf College received their degree in 1890. During the early 1900s, many college departments, such as the United Church Seminary and the Red Wing Seminary, began merging with St. Olaf College – offering students a stronger academic support system and building the curriculum into what it is today. St. Olaf College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
Life on the St. Olaf College campus can be described as anything but mundane! Students are encouraged to participate in one of the 200 registered clubs and organizations that meet regularly on the campus. Honoring today’s academic atmosphere, there is a strong Diversity Initiative on campus that encourages a variety of learning opportunities. Academic resources available to students on campus include a computer lab and The Piper Center for Vocation and Career. An extensive list of Research, Internship and Scholarship Opportunities is available to students as a springboard to the ‘next step’ for students ready for success!
Students are encouraged to live on campus and may utilize one of over 10 residence buildings or over 15 honor houses. St Olaf has earned recognition in our 2015 ranking of Liberal Arts Colleges with the Best Student Housing. Each housing facility is fully furnished and provides students with on-site laundry facilities as well as direct access to the Residence Hall Staff Office. Off campus and summer housing is available upon request to accommodate students who participate in the SSS Summer Bridge program (for upcoming students), or work study programs, that provide students with employment opportunities on and off campus.
Faculty and staff members are actively involved in campus life, ensuring that students are provided with everything they need to grow academically and socially while attending St. Olaf College. This includes being easily accessible to assist students with resources and options to advance their studies such as the study abroad program or work study program that both offer students a hands-on experience in their professional fields. The college’s Main Street Initiative illustrates its dedication to student success and happiness. St. Olaf has earned two more distinctions in our rankings categories: Highest Student Satisfaction and Most Student Recommended.
St. Olaf College is equipped with a professional and experienced Financial Aid staff that is able to assist students in all phases of college funding from application research through the submissions process. There are many different funding options that can help student alleviate the out-of-pocket costs for students such as grants, scholarships and gift funding in addition to traditional forms of loans. In addition to the most common forms of financial aid such as Pell Grants, FAFSA and TAP loans, St. Olaf College also offers students private funding in the forms of academic, artistic and athletic scholarships that can offer partial or full tuition relief each semester.
St. Olaf’s Financial Aid department is dedicated to helping students and their families explore all funding options. All students are encouraged to participate in the work study program throughout their college experience to obtain employment positions, despite the status of their financial aid, to help alleviate the personal expenses, as well as the cost of books and supplies. Members of the Financial Aid Office can assist students in obtaining positions on and off campus as well as internships.
What Students Say about St. Olaf
“The professors legitimately do their best to challenge their students in all aspects of their education. I can say that many ‘truths’ I took for granted were confronted so that I had to form better formed opinions. It really is a college that changes lives.” – St. Olaf senior
“I like the community atmosphere; everyone is really friendly and it’s a smaller campus so I feel like I actually know of or am friends with most people in my class, which not all college students can say at state schools.” – St. Olaf junior
“The people are friendly, intelligent, and everyone is always willing to have a thoughtful conversation. Also, most professors have an open door policy and encourage students to come by and chat, even if it’s not about class.” – St. Olaf junior
“St. Olaf has an open atmosphere that creates room for innovation, debate, and laughs. The people are inspired and that’s the kind of place I want to grow in.” – St. Olaf freshman