Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about New Student Orientation or your St. Olaf experience?

Select a category and review some of the common questions that we receive from incoming Oles. Can’t find the answers you are looking for? No worries. Send us a note at newstudents@stolaf.edu and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

We understand there are a number of questions regarding returning to campus this fall. If you cannot find an answer to your question in the below FAQs, please review the information on our COVID-19 website that references moving to campus.

COVID-19 FAQs

New Student Orientation
Is there anything I need to do over the summer for New Student Orientation?

Yes! We have three summer modules that incoming Oles take part in!

What will New Student Orientation look like in the fall?

New Student Orientation will be faciliatated virtually this year. A schedule is available online.

What is an Ole card for and when will I get mine?

Your Ole Card is an all-purpose card that can be used to access your meal plan, check out books from the library, and gain access to your residence hall. It also is a debit card that can be used at the St. Olaf Bookstore, Print Center, Post Office, and the Lion’s Pause. You will submit your photo online before you arrive to campus and receive your Ole Card when you check-in to your residence hall!

Where can I find directions to campus?

We can’t wait to welcome you to campus! We have resources available for you online!

Residence Life
What will my residence hall look like? How do I find a roommate?

St. Olaf guarantees housing to all students for all four years. We have some great videos that show off our residence halls to give you a glimpse inside. Everything you need to know about your housing options and the roommate selection process can be found online!

Are there rules about what I can or cannot bring to my dorm room?

Yes. These stipulations and more common questions can be found on the Residence Life website.

I accidentally submitted my Roommate Preference Form before I finished it. How can I reopen it?

No worries. Please send an email to reslife@stolaf.edu and we will work to reset it for you!

Co-Curricular Involvement
What student organizations exist on campus?

We have over 200 student organizations that Oles can join to get involved on campus!
Learn more

What is College Ministry?

College Ministry is both the home of the St. Olaf College Student Congregation and the hub of inter-religious life. In addition, College Pastors Matthew Marohl and Katherine Fick talk frequently with students about all matters of college life.

Academic Advising
Who is my academic advisor and when will we meet?

Your academic (or faculty) advisor is a professor who may or may not be in your major interest area or field of study. You will meet with your faculty advisor when you get to campus as part of New Student Orientation. Your faculty advisor will check in with you each semester and can help with future course planning, assist with degree completion plans, identify opportunities in your major interest area, or explore new ideas. If/when you wish to change your major, it is also recommended that you request a new advisor in that academic department. You should reach out to your advisor with any questions. Don’t wait – you can go to them!

How and when will I declare my major/concentration?

As a first-year student, it is an exciting time to explore different academic paths that match your interests and passions and it is OK to be undecided! At St. Olaf, you must declare a major by March 15 of your second year. If you’d like, you can declare a major now by using the Request to Declare or Drop A Major, Concentration or Emphasis form found on the Student Information System. You can change your major at any time!

Registration
If I’m undecided about my major, what will my fall semester schedule look like?

If you are undecided about a major, fall semester is a wonderful opportunity to explore. Each first-year student will take a First-Year Writing course (WRIT 111) or a Religion course (REL 121) in the fall. Many students will also opt to continue the foreign language they studied in high school or start a new language. Since the most common schedule is 4.0-4.5 total credits, you can select two (or three or even four courses if you don’t take a language course or have completed your FYW course through transfer credit) additional courses that pique your interest. The General Education curriculum includes a group of courses all students take within the liberal arts as part of the St. Olaf degree requirements. First semester is a great opportunity to take a GE course or two, especially if you are exploring different majors.

A word of advice: Don’t worry about declaring a major right away if you are not ready! The liberal arts and the General Education curriculum are designed to help you find the best major for you. Most students switch their majors within the first year or two of college, and you are not required to declare one until March of your second year at St. Olaf.

When will I register for my classes?

Registration will begin on Monday, July 27, 2020 at 8:30 AM. Keep an eye on your St. Olaf email account for more information as we get closer!

How can I see which courses are offered in the fall?

Once you have deposited and activated your stolaf.edu email account, log into the Student Information System (SIS). On the left, you will see Class and Lab Schedule. Click on that to see course offerings for the Fall. You can search by department, major area of interest, or even by general education requirements!

How do I decide which courses to take?

This summer you will be able to watch online informational videos from each Department as a part of the New Student Orientation summer modules. There will also be a First-Year Registration Guide with sample first-year schedules for each major, concentration, and pre-professional program in which you are interested.

How likely is it that I will get into the classes I want?

We plan accordingly for course offerings that are specific to first-year students to ensure there is room, but as always, you’ll want to have alternate options in case your first choices are full.

How many classes/credits will I take in my first semester?

At St. Olaf, one full-semester course usually equals 1.0 credit and full-time status is 3.0-4.5 credits per semester. Most students take 4 courses for a total of 4.0 credits each semester. Taking fewer than 4.0 credits each semester may require additional semesters, summer courses, or overloading (unless a student has transferred in credits). Music ensembles are worth 0 credits and are billed separately. Music lessons are .25 credits each and count within your tuition.

Can I test out of the language requirement?

St. Olaf requires either the equivalent of the third or fourth semester in a language as one of the General Education (GE) curriculum requirements. Chinese, Greek, Latin, Norwegian, Japanese, and Russian require completion of the third-semester equivalent while Spanish, French, and German require completion of the fourth-semester equivalent.

  • If you will earn credit for one of the above languages with your AP or IB scores according to the charts provided by the Registrar’s Office, your placement is determined by your score and you do not need to take the placement survey. Reminder: you must request AP/IB scores to be sent to St. Olaf. We usually don’t receive them until mid-July.
  • If you have studied one of the above languages previously, will continue with that language at St. Olaf, and do not have AP/IB credit for it, you must take the placement survey. Students who place above the fourth semester may have the option to take a proficiency exam to complete the language requirement.
  • If you wish to take a language not previously mentioned or your native language is one other than English, please contact the Registrar’s Office to discuss your options.
How do I transfer my pre-college credits?

To transfer AP/IB scores, have them sent directly from College Board/IB to St. Olaf. To transfer credits from other colleges/universities, have a final, official transcript from the previous institution sent directly to St.Olaf for evaluation. A final, official transcript must come directly from the awarding institution and is defined as one available via secure link to a PDF or in a sealed envelope. For more information, visit the Registrar’s Office website.

Financial Aid

How do I know if all of my financial aid documents are in?

You can check the status of missing financial aid forms by logging into Financial Aid Online.

How do I submit my financial aid documents?

Copies of missing forms to complete can be found online. You can submit any missing documents to Financial Aid through our secure data exchange link.

Where do I complete my loan applications?

Federal Student Loans require a Master Promissory Note and Loan Entrance Counseling and can both be done online.
 
Private loans are completed through various student loan lenders.
 
Federal Parent Plus loan pre-approval and the loan application process can be completed online as well.

How do I notify St. Olaf about outside scholarships I am receiving?

You will need to complete the Outside Scholarship Form under Menu > Forms on your Financial Aid Online account. If you learn of an outside scholarship after the form due date has passed, please email finaid@stolaf.edu.

How do I contact the financial aid office?

You can schedule an appointment with a Financial Aid Counselor online or send us an email at finaid@stolaf.edu!

Student Employment

When and to whom are financial statements generated? When are payments due?

There are two ways to get a job on campus. You can apply competitively for a job by viewing the online student employment job board or you can sign up for a guaranteed position working with Bon Appetit, our food service vendor on campus.
Learn more

Should I apply for a job or sign up to work with Bon Appetit?

Applying for a job is very competitive in your first year at St. Olaf. Many first-year students prefer the security of signing up for a guaranteed position and then applying for different positions in subsequent years if they would like. We have also heard working for Bon Appetit is a great way to meet new people on campus in your first year!

Can I work on campus if I do not have a work award?

St. Olaf prioritizes students with work awards for all jobs on campus. Some positions may require specific skill sets that may necessitate hiring a student without a work award. Please specify when applying if you do not have a work award. If hired, Financial Aid will create a non-need based work award to account for the earnings. Students may also be able to work directly through Bon Appetit, our food service vendor, or Barnes and Noble, our bookstore vendor.

When will I find out if I got a job I applied for?

If you choose to apply competitively for a job, then the posting should have information on the hiring timeline. Most offices will begin the hiring process once students have registered for classes or right away in the fall once students are on campus.
 
If you choose to sign up for a guaranteed position, Bon Appetit will send a welcome email to students throughout the summer to let them know the next steps for orientation and signing up for shifts.

Student Accounts

What are my meal plan options?

Students are automatically signed up for a 17 Meal Plan per week. Other meal plan options can be reviewed online. The deadline to make meal plan changes is Monday, September 14, 2020. To make a change to your meal plan: Select Meal Plan Options, choose Financials, and then select Meal/Board Pan from the drop-down menu.

When and to whom are financial statements generated? When are payments due?

Financial statements are generated electronically and students will receive an email to their St Olaf email address when statements are ready to view. Authorized users will only receive a statement notification if access has been granted by the student. Fall statements are billed in early July and due August 1. Spring statements are billed in early January and due February 1.

How do I grant financial access to someone other than myself?

Per Federal guidelines, students must grant others access to their student financial account. Once the student grants access, the authorized user will be notified via email and can view and make payments to the account. Parent/authorized user access must be granted before we can discuss details fo a student’s account with anyone other than the student. Instructions on how to add authorized users who can receive statement notifications, view and make payments to my financial account can be found online.
Learn more

Where and how can payments be made to a student’s account?

From mail to 529 to online payment plans, there are a number of ways to make payments on a student’s account.
Learn more

I have been billed for health insurance, but I am under my parent’s plan. What do I need to do?

You must complete an online waiver showing you have comparable coverage every academic year. Please visit the Student Account’s Health Insurance Overview for information on how to waive St Olaf Insurance and have the charge removed. Waivers must be submitted no later than Wednesday, September 23, 2020.

I don’t have health insurance, what are my options?

All students attending St Olaf College must have health insurance. If you don’t have insurance, you must enroll in the St. Olaf Health Insurance. Enrollment will be available beginning in June.

My Account Detail/Current Balance does not match my what is listed as due under Bills/Amount Due. Which one is accurate?

On the financials main page in SIS you might see two different balances: one under Account Details/Current Balance and another under Bills/Amount Due. The balance under “Bills” shows the amount you owed at the time that the bill was generated. The most up-to-date charge is the one under Account Details because it will show if there were any charges that were added to your student account after the last bill was generated.

Why doesn’t my financial aid appear on my bill?

If you receive your bill and some or all of your financial aid is not showing on the bill, this means your award has not been finalized or there may be additional steps you need to take. Contact the Financial Aid Office or access Financial Aid Online to find out what might be missing from your file.