St. Olaf CollegeAcademic CatalogSt. Olaf College

Table of Contents
An Education for the 21st Century: Academic Life
Graduation Requirements
Academic Regulations and Procedures
International and Off-Campus Studies
Special Programs
Admissions and Financial Aid
» Admissions Procedures
» Financing Your Education
» Financial Aid Program
Life Outside the Classroom
Facts and Figures
College Calendar

Registrar's Office
Admin 224
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057



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, cul-tural, 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 com-munity.

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 app.
  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 under the Early Action and Regular Decision application processes.
  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. Two letters of recommendation from teachers of academic subjects. Candidates are also welcome to submit personal recommendations from coaches, music instructors, pastors, and others who know the candidate well.


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.


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

A. Early Decision Application

Candidates for whom St. Olaf is the first choice may choose to apply under Early Decision. Under Early Decision, qualified candidates who apply by November 1 of the senior year in high school will receive an admission decision by December 1. Early Decision candidates agree that St. Olaf is their first choice and that an offer of admission will be accepted within ten days of notification of admission or within ten days of a financial aid decision, and that the candidate will not initiate any new applications at other colleges upon committing to St. Olaf. Candidates who are unsure whether the commitment an Early Decision application represents is appropriate should contact the Admissions Office for more information.

B. Early Action

Candidates who wish to receive an admissions decision by February 1 should apply by December 1 under the Early Action program.  NOTE:  All candidates for the Buntrock Scholarship (the college's most prestigious scholarship) must apply under Early Action or Early Decision.

C. Regular Application

Candidates not applying under Early Decision or Early Action are considered under the Regular Decision application process. Regular Decision candidates may apply at any point during their senior year but are encouraged to apply no later than February 1 to receive full consideration by the admissions committee.


St. Olaf holds individual auditions for students who apply to the Bachelor of Music program or who wish to be considered for a music scholarship. Candidates must submit a taped audition by December 31 of the senior year. For more information about auditions, contact the Music Department at 507-786-3297. Students applying to the Bachelor of Music program must be admitted to the college prior to admission to the Bachelor of Music Degree. Bachelor of Music candidates may use any of the types of application including Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Decision.


College courses completed in accredited liberal arts colleges and universities will be considered for transfer credit at St. Olaf. Students who transfer to St. Olaf are required to follow the regular application procedure and submit an official college transcript from each college attended and a completed dean's form (available from the St. Olaf Admissions Office) from the dean of students of their most recent college or university. After the official transcript is submitted to the Office of Admissions, the registrar will provide the transfer applicant with a written evaluation of credits accepted by St. Olaf.

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. A minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based exam, 213 on the computer-based exam, or 79–80 on the iBT (internet-based TOEFL) is required for non-U.S. citizens seeking admission. The application deadline is February 1 for admission in the fall term.

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 Early Action or 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 15. 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.