One of the leading four-year residential colleges in the nation; St. Olaf College presents an academically exhaustive education coupled with a deep-rooted faith tradition. Opened on January 8, 1875 as St. Olaf’s School, the St. Olaf College was the first site under the leadership of Thorbjorn Mohn, its first president. It was originally established in 1874 by a group of Norwegian-American pastors and farmers. The institute is named in the honor of Olaf II of Norway, patron saint and former king of Norway. Also known as ‘The Hill’, St. Olaf is a liberal arts college of the church in the Lutheran tradition (ELCA). The scenic campus is home to over 15 academic and administrative buildings, and more than 25 student residences, spread across an area of 300-acres.
St. Olaf College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, and is a member of the North Central Association. The institute also has several discipline based accreditations from agencies such as American Chemical Society, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Schools of Dance, National Association of Schools of Music, National Association of Schools of Theatre, and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
St. Olaf College offers more than 35 major areas of study for the Bachelor of Arts degree program, four for the Bachelor of Music degree and over 15 other areas of concentration. Students can opt for a major in diverse areas of study including mathematical, sciences, fine arts, social sciences, and humanities. Students also choose to pursue an individually designed major on any subject that permits articulate and exhaustive study utilizing the resources available through the institute.
St. Olaf College offers a variety of online programs for students who are unable to attend a traditional college due to various reasons. Through the online courses offered by the institute, such students can earn a degree without having to attend a regular college. The classes are available online, and the course materials are accessible 24 hours a day. The course materials are made available through the module course management system or class shared folders.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Each semester, St. Olaf College boasts an enrollment of more than 3,100 students from over 45 states and more than 35 countries across the world. Applicants seeking admission to St. Olaf must send the completed application form along with the official transcripts, one letter of recommendation, a second letter of academic recommendation, ACT and/or SAT scores, and the application fee. Getting a transfer to the institute is easy. Applicants must send the transfer application form along with all the important transcripts from previously attended institutes. International students are encouraged to apply for admission. Applicants from non English speaking countries must take the TOEFL or Academic IELTS test to provide a proof of proficiency in the language.
St. Olaf College offers a variety of financial aid programs to help the needy and deserving students meet their educational expenses. The different types of financial aid offered are grants, scholarships, loans and student employment. All applicants seeking financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The federal and state grants are gifts that do not require any repayment. Some of the grants are Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), and Minnesota State Grants.
Some of the merit scholarships offered by St. Olaf College are St. Olaf Academic Scholarship Program, National Merit Scholarship Program, St. Olaf Service Leadership Scholarship, St. Olaf TRiO Scholarship, Music Scholarships, Dance Scholarships, Art Scholarships, and Theatre Scholarships.
Students can also opt for loans to pay for their college. However this form of financial aid must be repaid with interest. St. Olaf College also offers work-study programs through which the students can take up part time jobs and meet their educational expenses.
Student Financial Aid Details
Students enjoy a vibrant and active campus life. The Students Government Association acts as the voice of the students, and organizes several activities and events. The SGA operates through 10 branches, managed by elected groups such as Volunteer Network, Music Entertainment Committee, Diversity Celebrations Committee, Student Activities Committee, Board of Regents Student Committee, The Pause, Student Organizations Committee, Student Alumni Association, After Dark Committee and Political Awareness Committee.
There are over 190 registered student clubs and organizations at the campus, including various academic, political, athletic, religious, service, multicultural, awareness, and other special interest groups. Some of the student clubs are Buntrock Commons Policies, Contracting: Entertainment, Event Planning and the City of Northfield, Film/Video and Public Performance, General Student Policies, and KSTO Radio Station.
Media and Publications:
The Manitou Messenger is the student newspaper of the college and KSTO 93.1 FM is the student-operated radio station.
The residence life at St. Olaf promotes the growth of community within the residence halls, honor houses and across the campus. Each of the residence halls is equipped with modern facilities for the convenience of the students. Some of the amenities include a formal lounge, laundry facilities, piano, computer room, recreation room, kitchen and vending machines. St. Olaf offers comfortable living in the following residence halls: Ellingson Hall, Hilleboe-Kittelsby Halls, Hoyme Hall, Kildahl Hall, Larson Hall, Mellby Hall, Mohn Hall, Rand Hall, Thorson Hall, and Ytterboe Hall.
St. Olaf is home to several well-stocked libraries such as the Rolvaag Memorial Library, Halvorson Music Library, the Shaw-Olson Center for College History, Glasoe Science Library, the Kierkegaard Library and NAHA. The libraries present an extensive collection of books, magazines, journals, reference materials, and other online resources.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
St. Olaf College’s athletic department sponsors men’s and women’s varsity teams in diverse sports such as baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, hockey, skiing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field (both indoor and outdoor), volleyball, and wrestling. The colors are black and gold. The sports teams are nickname the Oles. The athletic teams compete in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).
St. Olaf College also sports several student coached club and intramural teams that contend within the student body and also at inter-college levels. Some of the most popular club teams are the St. Olaf Ultimate teams, The Berzerkers and Durga, which participates in the national collegiate tournament (Spring Ultimax) in North Carolina, every year.
- Al Quie, former Minnesota Governor
- Ole Rolvaag, Eminent Writer
- Barry Morrow, Oscar-winning screenwriter
- Gretchen Morgenson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
Additional School Information
U.S. News & World Report’s ‘America’s Best Colleges’ (2009 edition) ranked St. Olaf 33rd among the nation’s top liberal arts colleges in graduation rate performance, 35th in academic reputation, and 25th in freshman retention. The overall US News ranking of the institute is 47.
- Werenko, John D. Guide to American art schools. Penguin Books, 1987. Print.
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