Expanding Horizons, Expanding Opportunities
"St. Olaf College strives to be an inclusive community, respecting those of differing backgrounds and beliefs. Through its curriculum, campus life, and off-campus programs, it stimulates students' critical thinking and heightens their moral sensitivity; it encourages them to be seekers of truth, leading lives of unselfish service to others; and it challenges them to be responsible and knowledgeable citizens of the world."
In keeping with that declaration of the college's mission, St. Olaf sponsors a number of program offerings that seek to enhance educational opportunities for low income and traditionally underrepresented student groups. A range of diversity initiatives from precollegiate mentoring to preparing St. Olaf graduates for careers in academe reflect the college's commitment to expanding educational opportunities.
- Upward Bound helps young students prepare for higher education. Participants receive instruction in literature, composition, mathematics and science on college campuses after school, on Saturdays and during the summer.
- Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) works in collaboration with teachers, community members, students and families to significantly increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
- Educational Talent Search (ETS)serves young people in grades six through 12. In addition to counseling, this early intervention program's participants receive information about college admissions requirements, scholarships and various student financial aid programs.
- The SSS Summer Bridge Program brings up to 40 high school students to campus each summer for six weeks to participate in an intensive college preparatory program.
Scholarships for St. Olaf Students
- TRiO Scholarships are offered through the Office of Financial Aid. Funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.
- Providing Support Structures for Chemistry Majors (PSSCM) offers scholarship support for students who intend to graduate with a major in chemistry and are interested in pursuing careers in science. The program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is designed to encourage the study of chemistry by low-income students. This is a key element of current NSF initiatives to increase study in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
- Biologists for the Future, also a National Science Foundation funded S-STEM program, is intended to guide students through a successful major in biology as excellent preparation for meaningful scientific careers. As with PSSCM, Biologists for the Future provides not only scholarships but also academic mentoring, career guidance, and activities focused on professional development.
Academic and Career Support
- Student Support Services (SSS) is a student retention program sponsored by St. Olaf College with substantial support from the U.S. Department of Education, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Hearst Endowment. The program is designed to help ensure academic success for St. Olaf students who meet federal eligibility guidelines and are committed to enhancing their academic experience at the college level.
- The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program
is a federally funded national program that encourages low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students to pursue doctoral study and consider careers in higher education. McNair Scholars participate in career-oriented internships and are paired with faculty mentors who share research interests.
- The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation/North Star Alliance is a group of Minnesota schools that hopes to double the number of baccalaureate degrees earned by groups that are historically underrepresented in the STEM fields.
Ian Gacheru was one of the first St. Olaf students to benefit from a NSF supported S-STEM scholarship.