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Application Options and Deadlines

St. Olaf offers three application deadlines and admission decision cycles:

  • Early Decision 1 (November 15 deadline, mid-December decision)
  • Early Decision 2 (January 8 deadline, February 1 decision)
  • Regular Admission (January 15 deadline, mid-March decision)

When to Apply

Applications in all three cycles receive equally thorough and thoughtful review, but the Early Decision applications give you the fastest decision. See our Early Decision page for the details.

Our admission process is highly personal and highly selective. We conduct a comprehensive review of every application, including assessments of a student’s coursework, grades, extracurricular leadership, letters of recommendation, and student essays. You can learn more about the kinds of students we look for on our What We Look For in an Application page.

Important Application Items

To receive full consideration for admission, scholarships, and other financial aid, all of the items on the list below must be submitted by the appropriate deadline of the application cycle in which you are applying. Your St. Olaf application will include:

  1. The Common Application or the Coalition Application:. Students intending to major in music, or be considered for music scholarships, must complete an additional application, which is due no later than December 15th, regardless of which application cycle you select.
  2. ACT and/or SAT scores: If your ACT and/or SAT scores are on your official high school transcript (sent from your high school), they will be considered official. If they are not on your transcript, you must request the testing service send the score(s) directly to St. Olaf.  We accept, but do not use the writing components from either the ACT or SAT in our admission decisions.
  3. Official high school transcript: Request that your high school counselor send the School Report  and your high school transcript to St. Olaf by the application deadline.
  4. Teacher recommendation: One letter of recommendation must be from a teacher, preferably from a class taught in grades 10–12 in English, a foreign language, history, social studies, mathematics, or the natural sciences. Invite your teacher to submit this letter of recommendation through the Common Application.
  5. The Early Decision agreement form (only required if you are applying Early Decision)To apply Early Decision, submit the Early Decision Agreement form by November 15 (ED 1) or January 8 (ED 2).
  6. Additional application materials (not required)
    • Additional recommendations: students are welcome to submit additional letters from a guidance counselor, teacher (including music,  pastors or other worship leaders, coaches, employers, or others who know them well.
    • Admissions interview
    • Resume


Students who have submitted a complete application to St. Olaf in the prior two academic years may reactivate their admissions application by submitting this form.  If you have attended a two- or four-year college or university as a degree-seeking student, visit our transfer page for details on re-applying.

Financial Aid and Merit Scholarship Applications

Students applying for need-based financial aid must complete two separate financial aid applications:

1)  The CSS Financial Aid PROFILE, which can be completed in the fall of your senior year. The suggested deadlines for filing the CSS PROFILE are November 15 for Early Decision 1 applicants, January 1 for Early Decision 2 applicants, and February 1 for Regular Decision applicants.

2)  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is typically available after January 1, with a priority deadline of March 1. Early Decision applicants who received a preliminary financial aid award with the offer of admission must still complete the FAFSA by March 1.

To be considered for ANY merit scholarships at St. Olaf (including music and fine arts scholarships), you must indicate your interest by checking the appropriate box in the “Future Plans” section of the Common Application. Please note that the deadline for submitting applications for Fine Arts scholarships falls before the Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision admission application deadlines. Scholarship applicants should still check the appropriate box indicating interest on the Common Application.

We’re Here To Help
Applying for admission and financial aid can feel complicated and even stressful. We’re here to help. We encourage you to contact your admissions officer with questions about your application, as well as about the college.

Already applied?
Great! You can check your application status online. Be sure to use the email address you provided on your Part One or Common Application to expedite the login process. Please be patient during busy times, particularly around application deadlines.