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St Olaf College

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I came out as transgender and I doBrightMusic Education
I came out as transgender and I do not feel I was accommodated well enough. Olaf used to only have gendered floors in every dorm--you also have to apply to live off campus--but now they have a couple mixed gender floors that were taken right away by upperclassmen in room draw. I was offered a single on a male floor, but that still made me sort of uncomfortable to live on a floor with only cis males, who I might have never met before. You also have to pay an extra $1000 for a single. When I emailed the dean of students back saying that I was considering transferring, instead of trying to help me find a better solution or talk me into staying, she seemed pretty happy to just let me go. Also there are only a few gender neutral bathrooms on all of campus.
1st Year Male -- Class 2019
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Surrounding City: C
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This school sucks.Quite BrightUndecided
This school sucks. Honestly it sucks. It is beautiful and the other students are amazing, but it still sucks. The administration and professors are honestly so terrible its unreal. Registration doesn't allow students to get into any of the classes that they need to for their majors. Administration is far more worried about alcohol on campus than they are making sure students can actually take the classes that they came here to take. Professors are very arrogant despite actually not being very good. In one class a 20+% grade on a test ensured a B.... how does that help anyone. Save yourself $30,000 and go to a better school.
2nd Year Male -- Class 2016
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Education Quality: F
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I honestly have mixed feelings about attending St.Quite BrightComputer Science
I honestly have mixed feelings about attending St. Olaf. I did two years of PSEO (which included living in dorms, and the whole college life) at a state college before I came here, with mixed results. Academically I faltered at my last school for personal reasons and lack of ambition. That was not a problem here. The quality of academics at St. Olaf is top notch. Even the worst teachers here are better than the teachers that I had at my previous college. I have no complaints about the faculty here.


However the thing that caught me off guard at St. Olaf was the snooty culture. It really shouldn't have, given that literally every review of this school mentions it in one form or another, but to be honest I didn't research schools as much as I should have when I applied. In any case, the fact of the matter is that while 99% of people here are well intentioned, a lot of students here are sheltered and kind of clueless when it comes to diversity. This is despite the fact that pretty much every student here has visited another country at some point in their life (The first week I heard about so many "life changing mission trips" I wanted to gag). Even the school I went to before (which was smaller than St. Olaf!) had more of a cultural landscape than here. I'm a Minnesota native, so the "Minnesota Nice" thing didn't throw me off, but it is something to be aware of. Passive aggressiveness paired with clueless rich people can paint a pretty gruesome picture for some. The worst part is most students have no clue that they're doing it.

There are some perks to being a weirdo attending a school as homogeneous as St. Olaf though. You stand out in a good way. Professors are more likely to remember you and talk to you outside of class. People find you interesting and want to know about your life and ideas. If you don't mind being judged every now and again I would say that it is worth the perks of standing out. It's a lot harder to fall through the cracks. That was a huge factor in my decision to come here. As far as life outside of school is concerned, I've personally never been much of a partier, though I can see how the intense focus on academics paired with the small town culture makes people stir crazy. It can actually be a pleasant experience if you're like me. I was looking for a community that allowed me to get my life back on track, and St. Olaf has been a perfect environment for that. If you are looking for a chance to "escape reality" while still remaining ambitious and studious, this is the school for you.

1st Year Female -- Class 2018
Faculty Accessibility: A+, Social Life: B
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