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A college that changes lives

By Bradley West '13
November 28, 2012

St. Olaf College is included in the recently published version of Colleges That Change Lives, a guidebook written by New York Times education editor Loren Pope and revised by Hilary Masell Oswald that promises an in-depth look at 40 colleges that "prepare you for life and all the things life comprises."

The revised edition praises the college's popular study-abroad programs, renowned Music Department, and robust science and math programs. The authors also note that St. Olaf ranks 11th among four-year colleges in the number of graduates who go on to earn doctoral degrees and boasts a medical school acceptance rate of about 80 percent.

Pope and Oswald discuss St. Olaf's unique and rigorous curriculum, highlighting its four Conversations programs. The authors call the Conversations "a hallmark of a St. Olaf education — and a shining beacon of what liberal learning ought to be," and note that the programs "give an added layer of life to an already vivacious campus."

The book is equally enthusiastic about St. Olaf students themselves, saying that "they're self-assured but not pretentious or cocky. They'd probably cringe at the word 'wholesome,' but it's apt: Students display a genuineness that teeters on the edge of wholesomeness."

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or