Education Put to Work

The college is proud of its record of “education put to work.” Breadth in liberal arts study combined with depth in an academic major remains the most adaptable and enduring education for students anticipating productive lives in a rapidly changing world.

A large percentage of St. Olaf graduates continue their education in America’s best graduate and professional schools. Many St. Olaf graduates enter university programs in medicine, law, the fine arts, business and management, and government and public policy, as well as research programs in technologies not dreamed of a decade ago. Other graduates embrace the life and mission of the Church, teaching, and careers in international service, outreach, and travel.

The college counsels patience, search, and reflection in the preparation for future work. Some of the most successful academic programs and majors preparatory for careers are not decided until the end of the sophomore year, and college majors that seem unrelated to specific careers often prove extremely viable. It is noteworthy that many of the country’s top business leaders were philosophy or history majors. Today it is not uncommon to see chemistry majors enter law school and English majors (with requisite health science electives) admitted to medical school.

A number of factors contribute to the success of St. Olaf graduates, including an education that recognizes that as knowledge becomes increasingly less compartmentalized it will be those who have learned how to learn who will have the advantage.

Through their regular coursework, innovative options like the Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum program, and the hands-on experience provided by independent study and research options, internships, and programs facilitated by the Piper Center for Vocation and Career, students explore the interconnectedness of the world today and prepare for life in the ever-changing world of tomorrow.

Guiding students in their explorations are the informed and caring men and women of the St. Olaf faculty and staff, who provide continuing support to students in a regular and resourceful program of search and guidance. A number of pre-professional studies programs also help them shape their studies to fit the requirements of America’s top professional and graduate schools.