My daughter is a junior looking for a LAC. From MA and not really interested in the New England LAC’s as she wants something different. She will ribably go in Undeclared but is considering possibly majoring in psychology or English. Her unweighted GPA is 3.7. She doesn’t have much for EC’s as she’s been battling an illnesss since freshman year. she just took the PSAT’s and haven’t gotten her scores yet.
Seems like a lot I read about St Olaf focuses on music. Also, a lot of the students seem to be from the Midwest. Would an east coast new englander be able to fit in? Especially one with no musical talents? She’s definitely not preppy and has lots of friends involved in theatre and music.
Also, what do students do on weekends? I understand it is a dry campus but are there things to do besides study?
We are from the East Coast, and like your D, our child wanted a different experience from the New England LACs. St Olaf has been a great experience — although most students are from the Midwest and West Coast, other East Coasters attend, and 12% of the class is made up of international students. My D thinks it has quite a diverse feel, and she definitely feels she fits in with the rest of the class. She’s not a music major, and although many students on campus are involved in music or theater, her experience is that friend groups on campus are made up of students from varied majors and extracurricular interests.
As far as weekends go, St Olaf has a student group (St Olaf After Dark) that plans concerts, parties, dances, movies and other events on campus. Non-first years in the off-campus “honors houses” hold parties too, and plays and musical performances are also well attended. My D is social (although not a big partier), but she has never been bored at St Olaf.
Our daughter is a non-music freshman at St. Olaf this year, and she loves the school. There are many things for the students to do, and our daughter is exploring areas that we didn’t expect. It is really nice to see how she is growing and maturing. There are definitely more things to do than she has time for.
At 3,000 students, St. Olaf is large for a LAC. This is an advantage when it comes to course and major offerings, but also helps with respect to extra-curricular activities and the ability to find friends that share interests.
My DD is a junior at St. Olaf and not involved in any music. I’d suggest you read the student newspaper online (Manitou Messenger) regarding many activities on campus. Movies. Music. Comedians etc. My DD rarely goes into Northfield but there are many things on campus.
Old thread but wanted to chime in that we are DC area and our S who is a sophomore there loves it. He is non musical, on the quiet side, he has enjoyed the outdoor club and it is gaining steam. Math major, stats and Norwegian language concentrations.
There is a bus service that picks up students right in front of the commons building and takes them to the MSP airport (and other spots in the twin cities). It is only $15, and it has been reliable for our daughter.
Regarding culture shock, it doesn’t take long to realize “Minnesota nice” is a real thing…
No culture shock that I know of, and he appreciates the fact that most of the students are pretty serious about their studies, which is not to say there are not some who are “enjoying the party scene”;).
Agree with dadof2d regarding the shuttle. Airfare has been around 300 - 350 from Reagan.
Other students may be going into MN but our S is happy hanging around on campus (so far) although he is applying to live in the Norwegian house next year. The classic’s club went into SPMN for a Lebanese dinner this weekend;. There are plenty of things to do on campus and with the classes he is taking a lot of the weekend is spent on homework/studying.
If your D does attend strongly recommend she do the Great Conversations program, it is what sold me as a parent on the school and my son has enjoyed the classes: https://wp.stolaf.edu/great-conversation
For those of you with kids there - @BillW13 and @dadof2d and others – do you think those shuttles get used a lot for non-airport purposes? My D19 (accepted at St. O, and, currently, at Macalester), all else being equal, wants an urban experience, and I’m curious whether she’d be the exception, or if it’s a reasonably popular option.
I should note that:
a) I went to grad school in Minneapolis (and have visited Northfield), so I’m definitely aware of what’s available to do in the Twin Cities vis-a-vis a small town like Northfield, and
b) I think the urban requirement is overrated because I think most kids primarily hang out inside their college bubble wherever that may be. I’m not going to tell my D19 that, but that’s my perspective.
I think St. Olaf is great (she plans to participate in music programs, albeit as a physics major), but I suspect the rural location is less than positive from her perspective.
My daughter is a current Junior at St. Olaf. The shuttles do not care where you get on or off as long as it is on their route so going into the city and NOT the airport is perfectly fine. One thing to note is that you may need to plan your airport flights by the bus schedule because while the shuttles run several times a day, you also don’t really want to sit for hours waiting for one at the airport to take you back to campus.
Yes, sometimes it is hard to plan flights and students do have to wait at MSP airport for an hour, or two. Also need to remember to book Northfield Lines Shuttle a bit in advance during the busy times of student breaks. For those who take Southwest Airlines, they use Terminal 2 at MSP Airport. So students need to take the light rail to Terminal 1 for Northfield Lines Shuttle pickup.
The light rail in the Twin Cities is very easy to use. So a student can take the shuttle to the Airport, Mall of America, or downtown and use the lightrail to get around the Twin Cities. They can then catch the Northfield Lines shuttle back to campus at one of its stops.