Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Admissions Procedures

St. Olaf College seeks to assemble a student body which reflects a variety of geographic, cultural, economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. We want each class to be a diverse and energetic group of students eager to undertake the challenges of a liberal arts education. Admissions decisions take into consideration academic achievement, academic aptitude, and personal qualifications as well as leadership and significant involvement in school and community.

If you have questions about the application process, please contact the Admissions Office at 800-800-3025. Many students find a campus visit helpful in their search for a college. If you would like information about scheduling a campus visit, please contact the campus visit coordinator at 800-800-3025 or 800-ASKOLAF (800-275-6523).


A secondary school program combining breadth and depth is an excellent preparation for study at St. Olaf. Advanced Placement or enriched courses, when available, are particularly helpful. We recommend a program of study that includes the following:

  • Four years of English;
  • Three to four years of mathematics;
  • Two to three years of natural science;
  • Three to four years of social studies; and
  • Two to three years of the same second language, including study in the senior year.

We advise students to pursue an academically rigorous high school program that emphasizes creativity, writing, and critical analysis. Analytic and quantitative skills developed in such courses as trigonometry and pre-calculus are important for all students. In addition, we encourage students to take academic electives such as computer science, economics, the fine arts, geography, journalism, sociology, speech, and world history. Keyboarding, word processing, health, and physical education, while valued, are not appropriate substitutes for academic subjects.

Careful attention is given to each application, and explanation of special circumstances are encouraged. St. Olaf offers a variety of courses designed to meet the diverse needs and qualifications of entering students.

Application Requirements

Each application for admission is reviewed on its merit. Applicants to St. Olaf must submit:

  1. A $40 application fee (waived if the application is completed online).
  2. The Common Application, available from high school guidance offices or online at or
  3. The St. Olaf Common Application Supplement, available from the Admissions Office and online at or
  4. An official transcript from an accredited high school or equivalent (see below). This transcript should include grades through the junior year in high school.  The admissions office reserves the right to request grades from the senior year.
  5. Scores from either the American College Test (ACT) or the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT1) (see below). Please consult the Admissions Office if you have any questions.
  6. One letter of recommendation from a teacher, preferably from a class taught in grades 10-12 in an academic subject: English, foreign language, history, social studies, mathematics or the natural sciences.


An official transcript of the high school academic record should be sent by the high school to the Admissions Office. The transcript must show the record of completed high school work, rank in class (where provided), and aptitude test scores.


The single most important academic factor is the achievement record as shown by the candidate's high school transcript. Test results are an important, but secondary, factor. Applicants are advised to take either the ACT or SAT early in the college admissions process, but not later than January of the senior year. High school guidance offices have information on the tests, test dates, testing centers, and registration procedures.


Two types of application — Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision — are available to students:

A. Early Decision Application

Early Decision is designed for students who have determined that St. Olaf is their first choice. Students may not submit Early Decision applications to other institutions and must withdraw all other applications if they are accepted. Early Decision students must commit to attend St. Olaf upon admission. There are two rounds of Early Decision. Applicants who submit their complete Early Decision application by November 15 will be notified December 15. Application who submit their complete Early Decision application by January 15 will be notified February 15. Interested students should contact the Admissions Office for more information.

B. Regular Decision Application

Candidates not applying under Early Decision are considered under the Regular Decision application process. Students considering a number of different college opportunities should apply under our Regular Decision process. The Regular Decision application deadline is January 15 and applicants will be notified March 20.


Students who intend to major in music or who wish to apply for a St. Olaf music scholarship must submit the music scholarship application form, audition CD, music resume and letter of recommendation to the Music Admissions Office by Dec. 15. Students who are applying as music majors must also complete the online music skills test by December 15. All students must also complete their college application for admission by January 15. More information can be found online at or by calling 507-786-3297.


To receive full consideration for admission for September 2009, transfer students must complete the application for admission by March 1. Applications completed after that date will be evaluated on a rolling and space-available basis. Transfer students should submit the Common Application for Transfers, the St. Olaf College Common Application Supplement and the College Official's Form. Students should also submit an official final high school transcript and official college transcripts showing all completed college coursework. The St. Olaf Registrar will provide transfer students with an evaluation of their transcripts for transfer of coruse credits. Credit granted for transferred work is provisional and subject to the completion of one year of satisfactory study at St. Olaf College.

A maximum of 18 courses may be transferred. St. Olaf requires a residency of 17 courses over the equivalent of two years. The grades earned at other institutions are entered on the St. Olaf record but are not calculated in the St. Olaf Grade Point Average.

TRANSFER COURSES AND CREDITS, as follows and in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog, contains important information about limitations on future transfer courses taken at other colleges after a student transfers to St. Olaf. Transfer students should also refer to the credit scale printed later in this chapter. Questions should be directed to the Office of the Registrar at 507-786-3015.


St. Olaf welcomes applications from American and international students from around the world. Students who are neither a U.S. citizen nor a permanent resident of the United States are considered international students at St. Olaf College. International students may apply under the Early Decision or Regular Decision processes. International students are required to submit official results of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), ACT or SAT. If English is not the official language of the student's home country or the primary language of instruction, the TOEFL or IELTS is required. More information can be found onlin at or by calling 507-786-3025.

Services to international students include airport pickups, special orientation sessions, peer counselors, intercultural programs, friendship family program, and academic, financial, and U.S. Immigration counseling.

St. Olaf College was approved for non-immigrant students by the Immigration and Naturalization Service on December 15, 1983, file number SPM 214F0253.000, and is authorized under federal law to enroll F-1 and J-1 non-immigrant students.


Students admitted under Regular Decision must notify the Admissions Office of their college choice by May 1, the national candidate reply date. To confirm enrollment, an initial payment is to be made on or before May 1. It will be credited towards the student's comprehensive fee. An additional payment is due by June 1. These payments are neither refundable nor transferable.


The fields in which Advanced Placement and credit may normally be obtained are: art (history and studio), biology, chemistry, English, French, German, government, history (European or American), Latin, mathematics, music, Norwegian, physics, politics, psychology, Russian, and Spanish. See the Academic Regulations section of this catalog for details on Advanced Placement credit.


Consult TRANSFERRING TO ST. OLAF in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog for details.


“Part-time” students are those who intend to graduate from St. Olaf and who register for fewer than three courses. Such students must also apply to the Admissions Office.