College of the Week: St. Olaf
COLLEGE OF THE WEEK
Each week, SCVi will provide insight into unique college options for students & families. Our sources include The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018; Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) by Lauren Pope; and Colleges That Create Futures by the Princeton Review.
THIS WEEK: St. Olaf College
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Acceptance Rate: 36%
DETAILS: St. Olaf provides a solid liberal arts education and plenty of opportunities to study abroad. One Ole describes her peers at St. Olaf as “Minnesota nice.”
Biology, mathematics, economics, chemistry and psychology are the most popular majors and some of the school’s best. The music department draws high praise; it offers many performance opportunities with eight school choirs and seven instrumental ensembles. The choirs perform in major venues around the nation and can be heard singing with the Minnesota Orchestra. The Center for Integrative Studies allows students to form their own majors. The Conversation Programs are interdisciplinary, team-taught programs that bring together students and faculty with a broad range of academic interests for a critical exploration of specific topics within their historical, cultural, and social contexts. Programs include the Great Conversation, American Conversations, Asian Conversations, Environmental Conversations, the Science Conversation, and the Public Affairs Conversation. These programs, which can be one to two years in length, “take care of a ton of general requirements, but they are extremely rigorous,” warns one freshman.
Faculty members are highly praised by students. “There are some fantastic professors at St. Olaf, and almost all of them are accessible,” says an English major. Fifty-four percent of classes have fewer than 20 students, and instructors reportedly have as many as 10 hours of open-office time a week. Academically, students have their work cut out for them. “I consider it very rigorous,” admits one junior. Students look forward to the annual, stress-relieving study break where professors serve them ice cream.
SOC Student Perspective: “The typical St. Olaf student is fairly outgoing, extremely involved, and interested in trying new things. Everyone loves meeting new people and supporting one another.”