Expanding Horizons, Expanding Opportunities

Ian Gacheru was one of the first St. Olaf students to benefit from a NSF supported S-STEM scholarship.

Ian Gacheru was one of the first St. Olaf students to benefit from a NSF supported S-STEM scholarship.

“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.

Precollegiate Programs

  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.

Cultural Programming

  • The Office of Multicultural Affairs provides services and assistance to Asian American, African American, Hispanic/Latino American, and Native American Students by providing academic, financial, personal, career, social counseling and support as needed. The office organizes activities that promote the intellectual, social and moral development of all students on campus through the advancement and understanding of culture and heritage.