A St. Olaf Education is a substantial investment with a real return.

A great education leads you somewhere and gets you there ready to succeed. Beginning early in your St. Olaf career, the Piper Center for Vocation and Career will help you identify your interests and abilities and shape your education around your career aspirations.

St. Olaf alumni stand ready to open doors and help you make connections across the country and around the world


 of 2018 graduates are employed, in graduate school, or engaged in full-time service work


of students participate in experiential learning opportunities that include internships, research or community-based work study

First Destination: Class of 2018

View summary of results.

St. Olaf College has one of the best first-year to sophomore retention rates among its peers. High retention after the first year reflects student satisfaction with the college choice they made and the education they are receiving. High retention, as carried through four years of college, is also a strong predictor of graduation.

Learn more about our retention and graduation rates


1st and 2nd year retention rate


of graduating Oles do so in 4 years or less

Sudip Bhandari ’14

“What St. Olaf does really is to push you to think beyond the classroom.”

John Kronlokken ’16

“Having a liberal arts education coupled with a vigorous music experience is super valuable.”

Mariah DuBose ’16

“At St. Olaf you are taught to be a life long learner.”


One of the most powerful ways to learn is by working directly with faculty mentors. Student-faculty research is a collaboration that takes many forms in labs, studios, and libraries. Through St. Olaf’s Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) program, students in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences explore questions that make real contributions to their disciplines. The result: publications, conference presentations, and the kinds of hands-on experience that strengthens graduate school and job applications.

St Olaf career exploration event


Beyond the classrooms and labs, you’ll work through the Piper Center to create internships or volunteer projects tied directly to your academic interests, gaining real-world experience and building your network. Internships can be part of your schedule at any time of the year — fall or spring semesters, Interim, or summer — and can be domestic or international. The Piper Center has funding to subsidize unpaid or underpaid internships, so you can take full advantage of the opportunities you create.



St. Olaf students have a stellar track record in the competitions for Fulbright, Goldwater, Beckman, and other prestigious fellowships. We’ve even had five Rhodes scholars over the past 15 years. The key element is active faculty involvement and support in the preparation of fellowship and scholarship applications. Promoting their students is something our faculty truly enjoys.