Why attend Admitted Student Day?

Maybe you think, “Well, I’ve been to campus, why should I come to one of these Admitted Student Days?” or “I’ve already deposited… should I still come?” or possibly “Why should I spend a weekend of my valuable time visiting St. Olaf?” Good questions! Below, I’ve highlighted a few reasons why Admitted Student Days are particularly special. From an admissions perspective, my colleagues and I — who will be wearing matching blue shirts, by the way — love the energy and enthusiasm of these days. We finally get to meet students with whom we’ve worked for months (and sometimes years). Whether or not it’s your first time meeting us, we have gotten to know you by reading your application, emailing with you, and talking with you on the phone. It’s fun for us to see the next class of future Oles explore campus with the knowledge that they could actually be students here in a few months.

Here are a few reasons (of many) to attend Admitted Student Day:

1. Meet your future classmates… and roommates… and teammates…

From informally meeting during registration, to the students-only lunch in the Pause, you’ll meet the students who will become part of the community in the fall. Around 30% of the students who attend Admitted Student Days have already decided on St. Olaf (how to tell? see #5).

2. Learn about the beginning of your beginning here: Week One!

From Move In Day to the first day of class, Week One is a time of transition. From socializing, adjusting to dorm life to registering for classes and finding level 3 1/2 in the library, there is a lot to do. Learn about the support systems in place to ensure your arrival and adjustment to college life at St. Olaf goes smoothly.


3. Hear from faculty in every academic discipline about what makes the St. Olaf experience unique.

There will be breakout sessions from faculty in Humanities, Fine Arts, Social Sciences, Natural Science & Mathematics, and Interdisciplinary & General Studies. One – or a few – of these professors may soon have you as an advisee, lead your study abroad program, or teach you in the classroom. Get a sense for who will be teaching you during your four years on the Hill.


4. Taste the food. Make sure it still suits your palate. And, take a free St. Olaf Cookie for the road.

Breakfast in the Caf, lunch in the Pause, and a St. Olaf cookie to go — you will be well-fed and get a true sense for the culinary atmosphere at St. Olaf. Princeton Review recently ranked us #5 for Best Campus food, but you should see – and taste – for yourself.

5. Get your “I’m an Ole!” button.

Committed students who have given us their enrollment deposit will receive this button upon check-in to wear during the day’s events. Attach it to your shirt and let everyone know you’re official. If you get to the end of the day and decide you’re ready to become an Ole, you can deposit and we’ll bestow this valued trinket upon you. Also, we have buttons for your parents, as well.

6. Update your Ole gear: the Bookstore will provide a 15% discount.

Wear your name tag into the Bookstore, and grab the St. Olaf signature sweatshirt, black and gold sweatpants, and a pennant to hang in your future dorm room. These guys below definitely took advantage of the discount…

7. Mingle with current Oles and start planning what clubs and organizations you’ll join.

Over 20 student-led clubs will be present for the Co-Curricular Fair during the student lunch. Volunteer organizations, special-interest groups, intramural sports, multicultural and religious organizations — a sampling of our 250+ clubs and organizations will be present. You’ll be able to walk from table to table and meet current students who can tell you about their groups. You’ll even be able to sign up for the clubs that look interesting to you and get a head-start for next fall. Check out the full listing of current student organizations!

8. Learn about resources for mapping out life after St. Olaf.

We are proud to have the Piper Center for Vocation & Career on campus to advise and connect Oles to their future jobs and vocations. Attend the informative presentation from the Piper Center staff, and hear from current Oles’ experiences at St. Olaf and how the Piper Center’s support has helped prepare them for the future. Your college career is imminent, but it’s important to know what St. Olaf can do to prepare you for life after your four years here.

9. Scope out a residence hall.

Check out a residence hall tour. As part of the continuing effort to provide an even better residential experience than we already have, you’ll be able to see one of our newly renovated first-year residence halls. Start to plan your room decoration theme, packing list, and how you’ll move into your new shared living space.

10. Get the answer to your question: “What are the Conversations programs, anyway?” 

Now is your chance to learn more about the interdisciplinary Conversations and Learning Communities directly from the professors who teach in these unique-to-St. Olaf programs. There are two application deadlines for the first-year programs – April 14 and May 12 – so it’s good to get all your questions answered before you apply.

11. Take a stroll around our hometown, Northfield.

We’re located about 45 minutes south of Minneapolis St. Paul, but there are a lot of special reasons why our students choose our town of 20,000. Walk down historic Division Street, grab a coffee or tea at Goodbye Blue Monday, try a cupcake at Cakewalk, peruse the shoes at the Rare Pair, and learn about the town’s unique history at the Northfield Historical Society. The community of Northfield employs St. Olaf students as interns, babysitters, baristas, servers, and much more – discover it for yourself.

12. Discover your favorite spot on campus.

The official tours will show you the key places on the Hill; feel free to use that time — or time to wander on your own — to see where your new study place, meet-up spot, or meditation location will be. You can — and probably will — have more than one favorite place. I encourage you to take time to investigate the nooks and crannies of campus, from an outdoor spot in the Natural Lands, to the space under the Memorial Chime Tower, to a study corner of Regents Hall.



In addition to the highlights above, there will be a luncheon for parents, various information sessions about life on campus, such as study abroad, fine arts, and athletics, and lots of time to hear from current students and faculty. The basic schedule is on the registration page; you’ll receive a complete and detailed schedule upon check-in at Buntrock Commons. We look forward to welcoming you — see you soon!

Northfield Farm Bike Tour

This past weekend, St. Olaf students joined Carleton students and local residents to celebrate the sustainable food agriculture in and around Northfield. Participants biked from either campus to local farms to get a tour of their land and take part in different activities. The twenty mile bike route showcased efforts to grow local, organic food that supports our community.

St. Olaf prides itself as a campus that supports various green initiatives, including a recent student-driven project that put new compost bins in residence halls and provided information to first-year students about how to live sustainably. Many students took a study break this weekend to bike around Northfield and learn more about the sustainable food movement. The free event ended with a completely compostable meal, which was a delicious ending to a day focused on food.

Rows of bikes parked at one of the local farms
St. Olaf and Carleton students at a craft activity

Even though Northfield is a small town, events like these offer students an opportunity to learn about and explore the surrounding area.

Enjoy the fall weather!


Best Food in the Nation!

A couple weeks ago, the Daily Beast ranked St. Olaf’s food the best in the nation.  We’re a little biased, but we whole-heartedly agree.  I often say that I ate better here than I ever did before or probably ever will again–and while food shouldn’t be your only factor in choosing a college, it is something that you eat two to three (or more) times a day, and it’s something that actually impacts your daily existence.  Not only does St. Olaf focus on making sure there’s a huge variety of food (there are thirteen stations that range from “home” to “grains” to “bowls” to “pizza”), but it focuses on the health, well-being, tastes, and needs of the student body.  Our foodservice director is also keenly aware of the relationship between food and the environment, and has initiated local food days, the use of a composter, and the purchasing of organic produce from an on-campus, student-run farm.  I asked some students to describe a meal they ate this weekend, and here’s what they said:

Josh Woolfolk '13 and his meal

Josh Woolfolk ’13: My favorite thing about the Caf is the variety of fresh, organic and locally grown options it has.  I’m not even a vegetarian, but I love the veggie stuff at the Caf so much I eat vegetarian there all the time!  This meal is made up of some of my favorite Caf creations.  The tacos have black beans, rice, cheese and a pico de gallo salsa that was fresh made that day right there in the kitchen, mostly from vegetables that were either grown locally on small-business farms, or St. Olaf’s own private student-run farm, STOGROW, which sells 100% of its substantial produce to Bon Appetit, the college’s food service provider.  Next to my delicious veggie tacos, I have a bowl of what’s easily one of my top 5 favorite Caf foods: an Indian style Chickpea Dahl (or stew) over wild rice.  It comes from the Grains line, the one line in the Caf that’s 100% vegetarian all the time, and always has at least one vegan and one gluten-free option.   Throw in some raw carrots and celery and organic peanut butter on the side and you’re pretty much in sustainable food heaven!

Patrick Faunillan '13 and his meal

Patrick Faunillan ’13: Here’s a typical meal for me at St. Olaf’s Stav Hall, lovingly known as The Caf! On the blue plate we have one vegetable egg roll, three chicken wings, and fried rice, all of which came from “bowls” (once you’re an Ole you refer to the different food stations by one identifying word). The bowls line typically has oriental food that changes at every meal. Whether it’s chow mein, white rice, or curry, you’ll find it on my tray. I always go with a salad – lettuce, spinach, and eggs topped with some french dressing – yum. My beverage is always water with either orange juice or milk. I guess I was in the mood for orange juice this time. And I never get a meal without dessert! The simple rice krispie bar or the classic seven layer bar are my favorites–the baked goods are insane and dangerous and amazing. To top it all off, I get fruit–this time its an apple–to take back with me to the dorm or library for a late night study snack. Bon Appétit!

Nikita Shah '14 and her meal


Nikita Shah ’14: Tonight for dinner, I had the pasta bake from the pasta line along with a side salad I made in the salad bar. I always ask for a little extra marina on my pasta because its delicious!  The grains line, also had a delicious chocolate chip cake – IT WAS SO YUMMY!!  It was much better than I was expecting. I topped off my meal with peaches, watermelon, and apple juice! Um Yah Yah!

We hope you’ll visit and try the food yourself as you start or continue your college search!


The Big Decision.

For college-bound high school seniors, the month of April brings a lot of excitement: there are papers to be written, prom themes to decide, final athletic practices to attend — and a college decision to be made. It’s a big decision, and we understand and know how much work you have put into it. For some of you, this process has been years in the making. You have researched, applied, visited, discussed finances, and chatted with your admissions officer at sometimes a number of schools. At some points, it has probably felt like a full-time job; hopefully, though, it has been fun! All your work will pay off, come May 1 — you will have chosen a college. We look forward to hearing you shout “Um! Yah! Yah!” come September!

One of the best parts about being an admissions officer is how well we get to know our students. We have read your applications, met you in person, and feel connected to you — we care about your final decision. While we hope it’s St. Olaf, we want to know if you plan to head elsewhere, so keep us posted either way!  You have until May 1 to make your deposit, and if you need until then, know that it’s your full right to take that time, and that no college should make you deposit before then if you applied Regular Decision. However, if you have whittled down your college search and are looking to enthusiastically send in your $300 deposit to secure your place in the Class of 2015, it’s okay to do it now — you don’t have to wait if you don’t want to! Here are some important FAQs about depositing:

1. May 1 is on a Sunday this year! Is it still THE deadline?!

We hope you won’t wait until the last minute to mail, but if you need that extra day, we will acknowledge May 2 as the deposit deadline this year.

Also, keep in mind it is a postmarked-by deadline. It’s okay if we don’t have the deposit on May 2.

2. I have finally made up my mind, and I’m so pumped to deposit at St. Olaf! How?

First, congratulations! You will look great in black and gold. Secondly, there are two ways to get us your deposit. You may mail in your check with the acceptance card and envelope included in your admitted student package; you may mail in a check on its own, even if you’ve lost the card; you may also do it the newfangled way online! Through your admitted student page, you are able to enter in your checking account and routing numbers and pay the $300. (Note: it still pays with your checking account; it is not a credit card charge.)

3. How do I accept my financial aid award?

You may do this in two ways: sign and mail in the acceptance forms, or go online and accept them through the link on the admitted student page. Our financial aid department recommends accepting your financial aid award online to get used to that practice — as a student, you will accept your award online for each returning year.

4. I’ve sent in my first deposit and I’m excited. What’s next?

We’ll make sure you stay updated. Fill out your Roommate Preference Form on your admitted student page, apply for the Great Conversation, and start researching the clubs and organizations that excite you.

You’ll be receiving your “Destination St. Olaf” binder in late May — inside will be a ton of useful information (auditions, procedures, Week One preparation, immunizations, placement tests, etc.) so you can start preparing yourself for the fall.  It will also be available online.

We know that you’re all in varying stages of the decision-making process, and we wish you the best of luck as you decide where you want to be for the next four years!  If you need more information over the next week or need to talk things over with your admissions officer, please do — that’s what we’re here for.  Keep us in the loop as your decision-making process unfolds — we’ve worked with some of you for years, and we want to know how the story ends (and of course, as biased entities and St. Olaf grads ourselves, we hope it’s here because we love this place!).  If you’re reading this from afar and want more information, you can check out the resources listed in this post, watch the Admitted Student Days welcome from our Vice President and Dean of Enrollment Michael Kyle in case you missed it, or watch this video about why St. Olaf students think you should enroll here:

So be in touch, visit, explore online, and talk to anyone and everyone here — students, admissions officers, financial aid, coaches — about your decision during this next week.  We’d love to have you here as an Ole this fall!