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1520 St Olaf Ave
Northfield, MN 55057-1098
p. 507-786-2222
w. wp.stolaf.edu

St Olaf College

St Olaf College Rating: 3.8/5 (11 votes)

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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.

Financial Aid

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

Ranks 3878th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Minnesota.


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.

Campus Facilities:

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).

Intramural Sports:

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.


  • St. Olaf College. 2011.
  • Werenko, John D. Guide to American art schools. Penguin Books, 1987. Print.

Information Summary

Ranks 4th in Minnesota and 74th overall
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Campus Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault N/A N/A
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape 5 0.16
Robbery N/A N/A
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 7 0.22
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft 1 0.03
Arrest 2 0.06

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 6 0.03
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter 1 0.00
Forcible Rape N/A N/A
Robbery 2 0.01
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 51 0.25
Larceny 249 1.24
Vehicle theft 15 0.07

Demographics – Main Campus and Surrounding Areas

Reported area around or near Northfield, MN 55057-1098
Surrounding communityDistant town (between 10 to 35 mi. away from an urban cluster)
Total Population22,011 (17,752 urban / 4,259 rural)
Households6,515 (2.65 people per house)
Median Household Income$53,438
Families4,579 (3.14 people per family)

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Baccalaureate Colleges — Arts & Sciences
UndergraduateArts & sciences focus, no graduate coexistence
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, more selective, lower transfer-in
EnrollmentExclusively undergraduate four-year
Size & SettingMedium four-year, highly residential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringBachelor's degree
Calendar SystemFour-one-four plan
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationEvangelical Lutheran Church
Congressional District2702

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 216th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $40,700 $40,700 $40,700
FT Undergraduate Required Fees N/A N/A N/A
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $1,273 $1,273 $1,273
FT Graduate Tuition N/A N/A N/A
FT Graduate Required Fees N/A N/A N/A
PT Graduate per Credit Hour N/A N/A N/A
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $51,860 $51,860 $51,860
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $51,860 $51,860 $51,860
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $42,600 $42,600 $42,600

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $38,150 $39,560 $38,150 $39,560 $38,150 $39,560
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,000(N/C)
On-Campus – Room & Board $8,800 $9,090
On-Campus – Other Expenses $900(N/C)
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $8,800 $9,090
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $900(N/C)
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $1,900(N/C)

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application FeeN/A
Graduate Application FeeN/A
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 4,011 (1,704 male / 2,307 female)
Admitted 2,374 (1,016 male / 1,358 female)
Admission rate 59%
First-time Enrollment 752 (319 male / 433 female)
FT Enrollment 752 (319 male / 433 female)
PT Enrollment N/A (N/A male / N/A female)
Total Enrollment3,125

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /   / 
College Prep. Completion
Formal competency demo
Admission test scores
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference Minnesota Intercollegiate Ath Conf
NCAA Basketball Conference Minnesota Intercollegiate Ath Conf
NCAA Baseball Conference Minnesota Intercollegiate Ath Conf
NCAA Track & Field Conference Minnesota Intercollegiate Ath Conf

ACT Test Admission

80th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 78%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 26 / 33
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 25 / 31
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 26 / 31

SAT Test Admission

71st for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting SAT results 37%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 590 / 710
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 590 / 710
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 1180 / 1420

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity2,791
Meals per Week21
Room Fee$4,340
Board Fee$4,920

Student Completion / Graduation Demographics

Total 20 16 21 33 2 609 9 726
American/United States Studies/Civilization 7 7
Ancient Studies/Civilization 1 1
Art History, Criticism and Conservation 2 4
Art/Art Studies, General 18 1 19
Asian Studies/Civilization 5 3 10
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 2 1 2 7 89 1 105
Chemistry, General 1 3 45 49
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General 4 4
Computer Science 2 1 7 11
Dance, General 1 4 5
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General 1 14 15
Economics, General 8 1 2 1 60 1 73
English Language and Literature, General 1 2 46 2 52
Environmental Studies 1 19 20
Ethnic Studies 2 2
French Language and Literature 1 3 4
German Language and Literature 1 1
History, General 3 17 1 21
Kinesiology and Exercise Science 2 1 16 19
Latin American Studies 1 1
Latin Language and Literature
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 10 10
Mathematics, General 1 1 1 27 1 31
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Music Performance, General 1 1 16 18
Music Teacher Education 8 8
Music Theory and Composition 3 3
Music, General 1 1 17 1 20
Music, Other
Norwegian Language and Literature
Philosophy 1 1 10 12
Physics, General 1 24 25
Political Science and Government, General 3 1 1 1 29 1 36
Psychology, General 5 4 49 60
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 1 1 2 11 15
Religion/Religious Studies 1 4 6
Religious/Sacred Music 1 1
Russian Language and Literature 1 1
Russian Studies 3 3
Social Studies Teacher Education 4 5
Social Work 3 2 9 14
Sociology and Anthropology 5 1 1 13 23
Spanish Language and Literature 1 11 12
Women's Studies

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 889th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $76,745 ($79,586 male / $69,763 female)
Number of FT Faculty 217 (122 male / 95 female)
Number of PT Faculty 308
FT Faculty Ratio 0.7 : 1
Total Benefits $7,736,298

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