International Student Admissions

St. Olaf College is a private college of the liberal arts and sciences. We have an excellent track record preparing students for top graduate and professional schools, with particularly strong programs in mathematics, computer science, and statistics, the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), the fine arts (art, dance, music, and theater), and the humanities (philosophy, religion, and theology). Some of the most popular majors among international students include economics, political science, sociology/anthropology, and environmental studies. International students are encouraged to work with the college’s Piper Center for Vocation and Career to find student-faculty research projects and internships that strengthen career preparation.

Located in a small town only 65 km (40 miles) from the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, St. Olaf offers a secure community in which to pursue your education. More than 250 International students from 81 countries are an important part of the campus community. The college’s emphasis on languages, international study, and a global perspective make this an excellent place for international students to live and learn. You will find the college small enough to be a caring community, yet large enough to offer a wide variety of beliefs, perspectives, and experiences.

General Information

At St. Olaf an international student is defined as someone who requires a student visa (F-1, J-1, etc.) to study in the U.S. Jenny Howenstine (write to her at works with international students as well as with American citizens living outside of the United States. Once you arrive at St. Olaf, you can look forward to working with an international student advisor and be involved with an active International Student Organization. To learn more about International Student Services, see the International Student Life site.

The information below is intended to help answer some of the questions you may have about applying to St. Olaf. Detailed information about majors, courses, and requirements may be found in the Academic Catalog.

For general information about studying in the U.S., visit the nearest EducationUSA office in your area.


International students may apply under the Early Decision (application deadlines November 15 or January 8) or Regular Decision (application deadline January 15) processes. Applicants should have completed secondary education before enrolling at St. Olaf, and should have successfully completed any national examinations normally required at the end of secondary study for university admission in their home countries.

Financial Aid

Degree-seeking students may apply for financial aid and scholarships. While the average award is approximately one-half of tuition, the range of financial aid awards is based upon family resources and can be up to the full comprehensive fee.  Scholarships, grants, on-campus employment, and loans are awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need.

To apply for need-based financial aid, applicants should complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE. The International Student Financial Aid Application may be submitted instead of the CSS PROFILE, if necessary.

While most financial assistance for international students is based on financial need, applicants are welcome to apply for non-need merit scholarships. You can find information about how to apply here.

For student visa purposes, all applicants are required to complete the International Student Certification of Finances form to prove adequate financial support for the first and subsequent years of studies. If you are applying for financial aid, this requirement can be waived until you decide to enroll.

For the 2016-17 academic year, estimated I-20/DS-2019 visa certification expenses are $59,060 ($44,180 for tuition, $10,080 for room and board, and an allowance of $4,800 for health insurance, books, and personal expenses). Costs are expected to increase annually.

International Application Requirements

Unless noted, the following items are required for admission.

  1. The Common Application or Coalition Application
  2. TOEFL (minimum score 90) or Academic IELTS (minimum band 6.5) for non-native English speakers.
  3. SAT or ACT scores.
  4. One teacher evaluation from an academic subject area and one additional recommendation (from another teacher, pastor, employer, coach, etc)
  5. Secondary school transcripts or reports with progress grades (the last 3-4 years of schooling)
  6. Official college/university transcripts (if applicable)
  7. Official external examination results and/or diploma (if applicable)
  8. International Student Certification of Finances form (required for student visa certification)
  9. CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE is required if you are applying for need-based financial aid. While we encourage you to submit the CSS PROFILE if possible, you are welcome to use the International Student Financial Aid Application instead of the CSS PROFILE if necessary. Only students with U.S. citizenship must file the FAFSA form as well.

English Proficiency Requirement

International students are required to submit official results of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). If English is not your native language the TOEFL or IELTS is required.

Minimum TOEFL score is 90 (IBT). Scores must be sent directly to St. Olaf College from ETS; the code assigned to St. Olaf is 6638. Academic IELTS minimum band is 6.5. Visit or for testing information.

The SAT-I (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT (American College Test) should be taken no later than January and you should request that the results be mailed directly to St. Olaf. St. Olaf’s SAT code is 6638 and ACT code is 2150. In all cases, test scores are not the sole determinant for admission. The Admissions Committee evaluates both academic records and test scores. Information regarding these tests as well as educational advising may be obtained at the nearest EducationUSA office, the U.S. Department of State’s Educational Advising Center.

Educational Testing Service
Princeton, NJ 08540
TEL: +1-609-771-7600 or

P.O. Box 168
Iowa City , Iowa 52243
TEL: +1-319-337-1270 or


Official transcripts (and diploma, if you have finished secondary schooling) from at least the past four years of your studies must be submitted for evaluation before an admissions decision can be made. If admitted, international students who have completed up to two years of university study may apply for credit for previously completed work, if such work is equivalent to courses offered at St. Olaf. The St. Olaf College Registrar will evaluate academic work completed elsewhere, and the decisions of the Registrar to accept or deny transfer credit is final.

Transcripts must comply with all of the following criteria to be considered as official documentation of previous academic work:

  • Transcripts must be written in the language used for instruction.
  • An English translation must accompany all transcripts not in English. If the school does not provide an official English translation, you may prepare the translation yourself, but someone who is fluent in both languages, such as an English teacher or a certified translator, must certify it.
  • Transcripts must have an original and legible seal or stamp of the school that issued the document. A photocopy of the seal or stamp is not acceptable.
  • If you have taken an external examination (O-levels, A-levels, ICSE, HSC, ISC, I.B. exams, etc.), the authorities administering the examination, e.g., The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations or Hong Kong Examination Authority, must certify your exam results.

Note: If you have only one original copy of your transcript(s), you may send a certified photocopy of the original document. The school that issued the original transcript must certify the photocopy.

High School Credits Applied to College

St. Olaf College accepts credit earned through the College Board Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate exams, and Cambridge A Levels upon receipt of official documentation. With certain restrictions, students who score 4-5 on their AP exams or 5-7 on their Higher Level IB exams may receive credit and/or advanced placement. You can find more information here.

Special Notes:

Additional information for students who will graduate from one of the 16 United World Colleges around the world.

Additional information for Americans living abroad who hold a U.S. passport.

Additional information for Norwegian citizens.

Additional information for applicants from Mainland China.

Additional information for graduates of all British-patterned educational systems: Applicants should present the General Certificate of Education, Ordinary (O) Level, Advanced (A) Level, or the Higher Education Certificate.


Application materials can be sent to:

St. Olaf College
Office of Admissions
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057-1098
TEL: +1-507-786-3025
FAX: +1-507-786-3832

Please address admissions-related questions to Jenny Howenstine, Director of International Recruitment at

Request more information

Submit this online form to let us know that you are interested in St. Olaf College.