Each application deadline has a single notification date associated with it; that is the date when we notify those applicants, all at the same time. Early Decision 1 applicants are notified on (or before) December 15; Early Action applicants are notified around January 15; Early Decision 2 applicants are notified on or before February 1; and Regular Decision applicants are notified on or before March 15.
Early Decision and Early Action are the two ways students can apply to St. Olaf early. Early Decision is binding, so you should only choose Early Decision if you’re prepared to commit to St. Olaf. You’ll sign the Early Decision Agreement which details the binding conditions of Early Decision. We offer two Early Decision deadlines: November 15 and January 15.
Early Action is non-binding. If you’re ready to apply by November 15, submit your application by that date. You may still apply to other colleges. We’ll notify you of your admission around January 15, but you do not need to decide which college to attend until May 1.
Yes, Early Decision is binding. If you apply Early Decision, you have made your college decision and you are prepared to enroll if you are admitted. If you apply for need-based financial aid, we will give you a projected financial aid award — as well as any merit scholarships you may have qualified for — before we require your official commitment, so you can be confident about how it works for your family.
You may only apply to one college under the binding Early Decision deadline, but you may have Early Action or Regular Decision applications submitted at other schools if you are denied admission or deferred to Regular Decision. By signing the Early Decision Agreement, you agree to withdraw applications at other schools once you commit to St. Olaf upon Early Decision admission.
Since Early Decision is a big commitment, some students aren’t ready to commit by November 15. The January 15 deadline offers a little more time for you to consider if St. Olaf is right for you and if you’re ready to commit.
Because the application pool is smaller than our Regular Decision pool, we are technically able to admit more students from Early Decision. If you know Early Decision is right for you and you’re ready to finish your college search early, we encourage you to apply.
Not for need-based financial aid. Regardless of when you apply, need-based financial aid is awarded the same across the board. Additionally, all applicants are automatically considered for our merit scholarships and service leadership scholarships during the application review process and will be notified accordingly upon admission. We do award an automatic minimum $20,000 St. Olaf Scholarship to all students who apply and are admitted Early Decision as part of our Early Decision Commitment.
Applications for the music major and/or fine arts scholarships are due the same day as your application for admission.
If you receive notification that we have reviewed your application and it has been deferred to Regular Decision, this means we aren’t able to offer you admission via Early Decision, have released you of your binding Early Decision Agreement, and you are free to apply to other colleges. It is not a denial, however; often, we need more information from the applicant to further bolster the application (i.e. midyear grades, updates on academic performance, another writing sample) before we can be confident offering admission.
Yes! Our Early Decision Commitment means that any student who applies and is admitted through Early Decision will receive a minimum of a $20,000 St. Olaf Scholarship.
St. Olaf is test-optional for domestic applicants. If you wish to submit your test scores, we accept the SAT and/or the ACT. We require the TOEFL or IELTS for international applicants.
We encourage homeschooled students and students with narrative transcripts to submit test scores.
Yes, we will accept self-reported test scores. Should you choose to enroll at St. Olaf, you will need to provide official test score reports from College Board, ACT, or on your official high school transcript. You will receive more information about submitting official test scores in May. You may self-report your test scores via emailed score reports or screenshots from you or your counselor; on your Common Application/Coalition Application; or by filling out this quick form.
Yes. If you submit more than one ACT or SAT test, we will add together the highest subject scores from each test date and consider the composite score.
We do not prefer one test over the other. Some students perform better on the SAT than the ACT, and vice versa.
We do not have minimum requirements for admission.
The average unweighted GPA is a 3.69. The average SAT composite score is 1310, and the average ACT score is a 29. Please keep in mind that though these are averages, we consider a wide range of factors when we read applications (see Process section) and no admission decisions are made solely on the basis of these numbers.
Unless you intend to major in music or nursing, you are not required (or able) to apply to an intended major. Most students at St. Olaf don’t officially declare their major until the end of their sophomore year, which gives students the ability to explore academically and see what major is the best fit for them.
No. We review everyone’s application according to the deadline for which they apply. Applying early can often alleviate stress on the part of the applicant, but we don’t give special consideration for students who apply months prior to the deadline.
Yes. After you commit to St. Olaf by submitting your enrollment deposit, you may request your gap year by writing an email that details your plans for the year to our Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid Chris George. The gap year request letter is generally due by May 15.
St. Olaf reviews applications in a holistic manner, which means we consider a variety of factors during the reading and committee process — not just test score and GPA. Our goal is to enroll a class of diverse students from a variety of backgrounds who demonstrate academic preparation and their value of, and contributions to, the community around them. We consider academic preparation and activities outside of the classroom when we review applications.
Your application will be read by your admissions officer, and likely by a second admissions officer before consideration by a variety of committees. Every student has an assigned admissions officer, based on the state where you attend high school. Minnesota is assigned by region, and the Twin Cities area is assigned based on high school or metro area location. It’s best to reach out to your admissions officer with any questions or updates throughout the process — we love getting to know you!
We receive applications from hundreds of high schools, ranging from public, rural, urban, religiously-affiliated, and independent. We evaluate every applicant in context of the high school they attended and what academic/extracurricular opportunities are provided to them. We receive a secondary school report from every high school, so we familiarize ourselves with the college-going culture, the setting, the academic offerings, and the average performance of the student body.
A teacher you’ve had in class in a core academic subject who can speak to who you are as a person and in the high school community, not just the grade you received.
We do admit students to a wait list who apply via Regular Decision. Depending on the year, we may not go to the wait list or we may admit a number of students from the wait list. If you’re on the wait list, we suggest you indicate you wish to remain active and you reach out to your admissions officer with any updates or written expression of continued interest in St. Olaf.
We consider commitment to extracurricular activities, leadership, demonstrated initiative, and some variety in activities based on what’s available to students within their high school setting. We also consider activities and engagement outside of the high school setting, as well as paid employment and family responsibilities, as significant. Remember to be as detailed as possible when filling out the Activities section!
St. Olaf is an academically rigorous place, and we want to be sure the students we admit are prepared to not just survive, but thrive. We like to see a reasonable amount of rigor — depending on what is provided at your high school — on your transcript. If there are rigorous courses provided at your high school and you have taken none of them, that will give us pause when we consider your application.
We suggest all applicants take a minimum of two years of foreign language in high school. We require the equivalent of four semesters of language at St. Olaf, so the better you’re prepared, the higher level you can test into as an incoming student (thus finishing the requirement earlier). If you want to start a different language than what you’ve taken in high school, great!
The faculty and Registrar’s Office determines that in general, scores of 4 or 5 on the AP tests and 6 or 7 on the IB HL tests could be accepted for some credit (depending on what the specific academic department will accept). Pre-college PSEO or DE courses can be accepted for credit if the course is similar to academic courses offered at St. Olaf. We accept no more than six AP/IB test credits and no more than four college transfer credits.
For more detailed information, please review the Registrar’s website or reach out to them with specific questions at email@example.com.
We understand that many of our applicants have experienced financial hardship, moving states or high schools, learning differences, health issues, and/or family situations that have negatively impacted their transcript. If you have a dip in grades — or a particular trend you’d like to address — we appreciate any explanation detailed in the Additional Information section of the Common Application. A simple, straightforward paragraph will suffice; we don’t need an additional essay. You may also reach out via email (in writing) to your admissions officer or set up a phone interview or conversation — whatever is most comfortable for you.
When you begin your application, you will receive an automatic email from our office that will contain your unique PIN and information on how to access the applicant status page. You must use this PIN, as well as your name and birth date, to activate your log in to the status page. This page will show the materials we have received and what we still need from you. It is also where you can apply to a Conversation program and direct-entry admission to the nursing program. Please keep in mind that application materials take time to process on our end; give us at least 36 hours to process materials before reaching out to ask if we’ve received them.
Double-check your emails to be sure you didn’t receive it. Then, email your admissions officer and we can help you from there.
You may continue to update us throughout the process. If you want to change/update any part of your application, please email your admissions officer with the added elements attached in a Word document so we can upload it to your application.
Please email your updated information to firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate in the subject line that you’re sending us updated contact information.
It can take up to a few weeks for the test agencies to send/update test scores — unfortunately, it is not an overnight process. If you notice on your applicant status page that we don’t have your test scores yet, please wait one week before inquiring with your admissions officer. And remember, you can self-report your test scores which only speeds up the process!