St. Olaf College Paracollege

From 1969-2000 the Paracollege provided an alternative program of study toward the B.A. degree at St. Olaf College. The program was committed to student-centered learning and characterized by innovation, individualization, and integration.  Much of students’ academic work took place in student initiated tutorials or in interdisciplinary seminars within the Paracollege, though all the academic resources of St. Olaf were available to them. Fulfillment of competency-based graduation requirements was tracked through the Paracollege in place of the college’s general education system. Rather than fulfilling requirements for a standard major, Paracollege students designed and implemented their own senior concentrations.

The concentration, most often interdisciplinary in character, served as a focus of the undergraduate career. The student worked with a committee of faculty examiners to develop a series of comprehensive examinations and an independent senior project that demonstrated both breadth and depth of knowledge. The comprehensive exam and senior project each received a written evaluation and grade that are the third page of the student’s transcript. These grades are not included in the student’s St. Olaf GPA.

The following are items unique to Paracollege students’ transcripts:

  • “Paracollege Full-Time” appears on students’ permanent transcripts for each semester they were enrolled in the Paracollege, unless they were also participating in an off-campus study program.
  • All Paracollege work – tutorials, seminars, workshops, and colloquia – received a narrative evaluation; narratives are often accompanied by an indication of pass (P) or no credit (N). However, Paracollege seminars that fulfilled general education requirements received a grade (A-F) and a narrative evaluation.  Paracollege work, as stated above, receives one St. Olaf credit (4 semesters credits) each unless otherwise indicated on the Paracollege page of the transcript.
  • Narrative evaluations are included in a student’s permanent academic record as a part of their St. Olaf transcript. (if requested by the student)
  • Unfortunately, Paracollege Evaluations are no longer available for a number of students in the 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1975 graduating classes. Their evaluations were destroyed during an office move in the 1980s.  We apologize for this loss.

Paracollege graded work is not included in the St. Olaf GPA; The GPA is calculated only on the basis of courses taken in the general college. Nor did the Paracollege grant honors to its students.

If you have questions regarding Paracollege please email, or call (507)-786-3015.