What sets a St. Olaf education apart from the rest?

With so many great liberal arts colleges, how do you choose? What makes St. Olaf stand apart? We think it’s this: St. Olaf doesn’t produce ordinary college grads. It turns out Oles (Oh-Lees). Oles are the people that companies want, because they know how to get stuff done. They think harder, approach problems differently, persevere with enthusiasm. Today more than ever, the world needs idealistic, tireless problem solvers. In other words, Oles.

Are you up to the challenge?

Oles are born of St. Olaf’s intense liberal arts academic program that hones minds, while its emphasis on global engagement helps broadens perspectives. Oles choose from more than 85 majors, concentrations, and pre-professional tracks. Courses are designed to develop a wide range of skills and the flexible habits of mind to meet 21st-century challenges: languages, quantitative reasoning, scientific literacy, creativity and collaboration, and the ability to communicate effectively.

More than a campus, a community.

Most important, perhaps, is the Ole community — a vibrant community that accepts, supports, and encourages, generating lifelong friendships and invaluable business connections. We have designed the campus, the curriculum, and the extracurricular programs to connect people and build friendships that last.

  • St. Olaf’s 3,000 students come from over 95 countries, every state, and a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds.
  • Oles live, learn, and play together. More than 95 percent live on campus or in college-owned houses nearby all four years.
  • Oles belong to over 200 student organizations and have countless opportunities to get involved. If you’ve spent years working at something you love, you can continue doing that with people equally talented and equally driven. But if you want to strike out in new directions, try new things, or find a new niche, this is a great community in which to do that.
  • Over 80% of Oles participate in varsity, club, and/or intramural sports and 30% of Oles participate in our internationally-known music ensembles.

An Ole's college experience is a wider world experience.

To be globally engaged is to be one part intellectual, one part experiential, and one part self-awareness and identity. Through languages and area studies, you’ll explore specific countries and cultures, but global issues are embedded in courses across the curriculum. Study abroad will involve more than simply taking classes in another country. It will connect you to local communities and get you involved in the daily lives of others. The experience will change the way you see the world.

Oles land jobs, but more importantly, they find vocations.

We provide pathways to develop Oles' strengths, talents and vocation. The Piper Center for Vocation and Career will help you identify your interests and abilities and shape your education around your career aspirations. You’ll use the Piper Center and the St. Olaf alumni network to pursue internships or job shadowing, start a business or organization, or seek fellowships and experiences that will prepare you for life beyond St. Olaf. 96% of Oles are employed, in full-time service projects, or in graduate or professional school within 6 months of graduation.

  • Student-faculty research is a widespread, and takes many forms. Through St. Olaf’s Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) program, students in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences conduct research throughout the school year and during the summer.
  • 85% of Oles participate in an experiential learning opportunities that include internships, research, and job-shadowing. $465,000 is awarded annually to subsidize unpaid or underpaid (but valuable) internships.
  • St. Olaf students have a stellar track record in the competitions for Fulbright, Goldwater, Beckman, and other prestigious fellowships. We’ve even had five Rhodes Scholars over the past 15 years.

Want to know more?

Visit the St. Olaf College Admissions Website for more information, and be in touch with us!

Apply to St. Olaf College

  • Early Decision 1 (binding)
    • November 15 deadline, mid-December notification
  • Early Action (non-binding)
    • November 15 deadline, mid-January notification
  • Early Decision 2 (binding)
    • January 15 deadline, February 1 notification
  • Regular Decision
    • January 15 deadline, mid-March notification

Required Application Materials

  1. Coalition Application or Common Application 

  2. Writing Supplement / Supplemental Questions
  3. Official high school transcript 

  4. Teacher Recommendation

  • The Early Decision Agreement Form (only required if you are applying Early Decision)
  • ACT and/or SAT scores are optional. Should you choose to submit them, you can self-report your scores via the Coalition application. St. Olaf supercores both SAT and ACT results.

St. Olaf does not have an application fee.

Financial Aid

The goal of our financial aid program is to make a St. Olaf education affordable. St. Olaf invests $60 million annually in grants and scholarships to support great students. We have a long tradition of meeting the demonstrated need of all admitted students through a combination of scholarships, grants, student employment, and loans. Our commitment to providing a strong financial aid program ensures that we continue to attract and educate a diverse student body of thoughtful and talented young men and women from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds.

St. Olaf requires you to submit the CSS Profile and FAFSA to be considered for need-based financial aid.  Students who meet our financial aid deadlines are given full consideration for all available sources of financial aid.  The St. Olaf College Net Price Calculator will provide an estimate of the need-based financial aid package you can expect to be offered. Please be aware that this estimate will not reflect merit scholarships.

    • Students receiving St. Olaf scholarships or grants: 93%
    • Average need-based financial aid package: $38,733
    • Merit Scholarship range: $2,000 - $25,000 per year
    • Median debt at graduation: $27,000

For more information and details on St. Olaf's financial aid process, please visit our Financial Aid website.

Visit St. Olaf College

If there was a “Top 10” list of reasons students decide to enroll at St. Olaf, the top reason we hear is “the campus and the community feel like home.” The best way to get a sense for life at St. Olaf is to check out our visit page. There you'll find ways to virtually connect with us and see visit options throughout the year. If you’re unable to set foot on campus, our virtual tour provides a great view of campus life.

In any visit, we ask that visitors register before connecting or coming to campus so that we may provide the best possible experience. You may call the Admissions Office (800-800-3025) to inquire about ways to connect with us.

International Student Admission & Financial Aid

International students are an important and growing part of the student body. This past year, St. Olaf welcomed students from 86 countries. The college’s emphasis on languages, international and off-campus study, and a global perspective makes this an excellent place for international students to live and learn. Visit our website for more information about applying as an international student to St. Olaf College.

International Student Admission Process:

All students apply using the Coalition Application or Common Application. International applicants may apply Early Decision (deadline: November 15 or January 8), Early Action (deadline: November 15) or Regular Decision (deadline: January 15). Students applying for need-based financial aid should apply by the Regular Decision deadline. 

Language Requirements:
  • If English is not your language of instruction, you are required to submit official results of the TOEFL or IELTS. Minimum TOEFL score is 90 (IBT), 233 (CBT), or 577 (PBT). Academic IELTS minimum band is 6.5.
International Student Financial Aid
  • St. Olaf offers merit scholarships and need-based grants to degree-seeking international students. A financial aid package may include scholarships, grants, college-sponsored loans, and on-campus employment. 
  • To apply for financial aid you may submit either the CSS PROFILE or the International Student Financial Aid Application. If you are not applying for need-based financial aid, please submit the International Student Certification of Finance form. 
  • Because St. Olaf has a need-sensitive admissions process and need-based assistance is competitive, it is in your best interest to be honest about your family’s ability to pay.