St. Olaf CollegeAcademic CatalogSt. Olaf College

Table of Contents

An Education for the 21st Century: Academic Life
» The Mission
» The St. Olaf Curriculum
» Majors and More
» The 4-1-4 Calendar
» Academic Advising
» Academic Support
» Academic Resources
» The Campus

Graduation Requirements
Academic Regulations and Procedures
International and Off-Campus Studies
Special Programs
Admissions and Financial Aid
Life Outside the Classroom
Facts and Figures
College Calendar

Registrar's Office
Admin 224
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057



Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Academic Support

The Academic Support Center

The Academic Support Center (ASC) ( works with students, faculty, and staff to assist students who strive to become stronger independent and collaborative learners. The ASC has professional staff and student staff to assist those who want to improve their academic performance, either in general or in a particular course. Programs run by the ASC include:

  • The Study Skills Center (SSC) offers individual help with managing time, taking notes, studying for tests, reading effectively, studying foreign languages, and solving problems. The SSC is staffed by Academic Assistants, subject area tutors with special training.
  • The Writing Place provides assistance during any stage of the writing process. Peer tutors can help with essays, research papers, lab reports, creative writing projects, scholarship letters, and more.The Math Clinics are staffed by advanced mathematics students who offer help with questions on reading assignments or problem sets from beginning calculus and statistics courses.The Math Clinics are staffed by advanced mathematics students who offer help with questions on reading assignments or problem sets from beginning calculus and statistics courses.
  • The Math Clinics are staffed by advanced mathematics students who offer help with questions on reading assignments or problem sets from beginning calculus and statistics courses.
  • Student Disability Services provides consultation and advocacy assistance for students with documented or suspected disabilities. Services include identifying a disability, reviewing documentation, assessing study skills and time management needs, and implementing appropriate accommodations.
  • English Language Skills Assistance offers individual tutoring for students who have writing or reading difficulties because English is not the language spoken at home.
  • The Tutoring Program uses subject area tutors who are approved by department faculty and trained by the ASC to work with students experiencing serious difficulties in a particular course. Tutoring is available in most subject areas as part of an overall plan developed collaboratively with an ASC professional staff member.

All ASC services are free of charge for full-time St. Olaf students. Most students first encounter the ASC at Schedule Planning Workshops during Week One and at a series of sessions called “Beyond Basic Academic Survival” on the day before classes begin.

Student Disability Services

Student Disability Services is the designated office on the St. Olaf College campus that verifies and files documentation, establishes reasonable accommodations, and acts as a resource/advocate for students with disabilities. Any student who has need for accommodations should contact the coordinator, Student Disability Services, Room 1, Old Main Annex, Academic Support Center, 507-786-3364.

To be eligible for services, students must have a documented disability: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities (walking, seeing, speaking, learning, breathing, working, taking care of oneself, performing manual tasks). 

Student Disability Services seeks to provide equal access to students with disabilities through accommodations and support and to inform and edify the entire college community about disability concerns.

Student Support Services

The St. Olaf College Student Support Services (SSS) program is a college retention program funded by the U.S. Department of Eudcation and St. Olaf College. For a full description of the services it provides, look under STUDENT SERVICES on page 341.

Other ACADEMIC support

Class Attendance

Class attendance is expected and usually required. Irregular class attendance becomes the concern of the college since absence from class represents an academic loss. Excessive or prolonged absences are reported by instructors to the Dean of Students Office.

Study Time and Study Habits

Many students need to adjust their time use habits on arrival at college. St. Olaf students report spending, on average, two to three hours of study outside of class for each hour in class. Making the best use of the limited time available usually requires using a good mix of daylight and evening hours for studying and avoiding study marathons. Successful study at St. Olaf usually includes reading ahead, attending class, using office hours, studying for each class in frequent, short study sessions, attending help sessions, forming a study group, asking questions soon after they arise, and seeking help if the preceding efforts don’t appear to be working.

Study Groups

Most students find it helpful in at least some of their courses to form a study group of two to five interested classmates. Such groups often improve understanding of course material through discussing assignments, exploring course ideas further, brainstorming possible test questions for each other or formulating questions to bring up in class.

Faculty Office Hours

Professors hold office hours for the classes they teach. “Office hours” are regular times set aside each week to talk with students from class — usually on a walk-in basis. This provides an opportunity to ask questions about class topics, to extend the class discussion, or to get to know instructors better.

Help Sessions

Many departments hold special help sessions or discussion groups for particular courses. These are usually listed on syllabi for those courses and are usually staffed with upperclass students who have been successful in the course. These sessions may offer an opportunity to get a second look at the class material, to rehearse the ideas and vocabulary, and to ask questions.

Continuous Reporting System

Instructors are required to file a continuous reporting form that alerts the Office of the Dean of Students to students who are having attendance, academic, or personal difficulties in a course.