Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Academic Support

The Academic Support Center

The Academic Support Center (ASC) (, in collaboration with faculty, other staff, and students, assists students who strive to become stronger independent and collaborative learners. The ASC's professional and student staff assists 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 world languages, and solving problems. The SSC is staffed by Academic Assistants (subject area student tutors with special training).
  • The Writing Place is a walk-in learning center, staffed by trained student writing assistants, where all students may receive help with research papers, essays, and reports at any stage of the writing process.
  • The Math Clinics are staffed by advanced mathematics students who offer help with questions on reading assignments or problem sets from beginning calculus courses.
  • Student Disability Services provides consultation and advocacy assistance for students with documented or suspected disabilities. Services include reviewing documentation to identify appropriate accommodations, supporting development of college level coping skills, and facilitating communications with professors regarding disabilities and accommodations.
  • English Language Learning Program, staffed by trained student writing assistants, provides individual and small group tutoring for students whose first language is not English and who need semester-long help with academic writing.
  • Assigned 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.

Student Disability Services

Student Disability Services is the designated office on the St. Olaf College campus that verifies and is the custodian of student disability documentation, establishes reasonable accommodations, and acts as a resource/advocate for students with disabilities. Any student who has need for disability services should contact a Student Disability Services Specialist, Academic Support Center, Modular Village, 507-786-3288.

To be eligible for services, students must have a documented disability: a physical, social/emotional or cognitive 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 to students with disabilities equal access to academic information through accommodations and support and to inform the college community about disability issues.

Student Support Services

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

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 faculty 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 do not 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 three 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. St. Olaf faculty encourage students to avail themselves of this opportunity.

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.