Applying Early Decision

Is Early Decision right for you?

Early Decision is designed for students who know St. Olaf is their best choice, and who understand enough about the college’s financial aid policies to feel confident St. Olaf is an affordable option. It’s a great way to lock in your college choice.

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If you know, apply Early Decision!

Early Decision is a two-way commitment between St. Olaf and you.  We pledge to give you thorough and thoughtful consideration, an early admission decision, a need-based financial aid award and the same academic and service-leadership merit scholarship consideration that we give all of our regular decision applicants.  In return, you make a commitment to St. Olaf that if you are offered admission and an affordable financial aid award, you will withdraw all pending applications to other schools and you will not initiate any new applications.

We know that many students are concerned about the binding commitment involved with an Early Decision application.  So here are a few reasons that keep students from applying Early Decision and how St. Olaf addresses those concerns.

  • I’m not sure I can afford St. Olaf: Last year, 90% of the students who applied Early Decision and also applied for financial aid were able to enroll. When we say we meet the demonstrated need of ALL admitted students, we mean it. We share families’ concerns about student loans. To help students graduate with manageable debt, we have increased grants and reduced the loans used to meet demonstrated need. Use our Net Price Calculator to get a good estimate of the financial aid you may receive.
  • Early Decision is too much of a commitment:If your heart tells you St. Olaf is the best fit, listen to it and apply Early Decision. You’ll be able to enjoy the rest of your senior year knowing you’ve made your college decision.  Last year, nearly 25% of the first-year class choose to enroll through early decision at St. Olaf.
  • I haven’t visited St. Olaf College:Because of cost, distance, and time, many students can’t visit in advance. Some wait and make their first trip to campus on Admitted Student Day in April. Others arrive to start classes without ever visiting. Whether you are able to visit or not, you will make a great choice in coming to St. Olaf. We have campus tours, videos, and photos on our website, plus we stream lectures, concerts, athletic events, and lots of other content to help you see what goes on here
  • I won’t receive the same consideration for academic, fine arts, or service-leadership scholarships: We follow the same process and apply the same holistic review criteria to students applying through either the early decision or regular decision process.