St. Olaf College is a small, liberal arts college in Northfield, MN, a rural college town that is home to St. Olaf and Carleton College. Founded in 1874, St. Olaf was the brainchild of Norwegian-American immigrants and Lutheran pastors, with classes originally taught in English and Norwegian. Today, St. Olaf is still affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and its campus is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places; it’s also been named one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation. Named for Norway’s beloved patron saint, St. Olaf College is a place as unique as the region it calls home.
Academic ProgramsRanked in the top 10 nationally for undergraduate teaching quality by U.S. News & World Report, St. Olaf College’s curriculum is based in the traditional liberal arts, with students taking an intensive set of foundational courses in science, arts, humanities, religion, and other classic studies. St. Olaf makes ample use of interdisciplinary courses, helping students develop transferrable skills and a strong intellectual grounding for their future professions. Study abroad is also a key consideration, with more than two-thirds of St. Olaf students taking the time to learn with one of the college’s foreign partners.
All of St. Olaf’s carefully considered, well-designed programs pay off in big ways. For its size, St. Olaf has an uncommonly large proportion of students earn Fulbright scholarships, Rhodes scholarships, and Goldwater scholarships, some of the most prestigious awards in the world for academic excellence. St. Olaf is also one of the national leaders in the percentage of students who go on to doctoral degrees, with numerous programs (including mathematics, theology, and engineering) ranking in the top 10. St. Olaf’s students are prime for success.
Student LifeAround 3000 students call St. Olaf College their academic home, with women outnumbering men by a solid 12%. Being in Minnesota, the student body is largely white, but a surprising number of Hispanic, Asian, and international students also answer to the “Oles” name. St. Olaf students are busy and ambitious, with over 250 on-campus, student-led organizations and clubs, including an improv comedy troupe with the delightful name Scared Scriptless. St. Olaf also publishes the world’s only existential philosophy journal edited and published by undergraduate students.
With its Lutheran heritage, St. Olaf is also deeply engaged with the community of Northfield and the surrounding region. That commitment means not only offering world-class arts, performing arts, and cultural events for the people of the area, but taking part in programs such as Upward Bound, the Posse Foundation, and the Center for Multicultural and International Engagement.