Prospective Students FAQ | St. Lawrence University Admissions

Prospective Students FAQ



How do I apply to St. Lawrence?

You can use either the St. Lawrence application or the Common Application. Either is fine—we have no preference. 


What classes should I take? What’s the average GPA?

Successful applicants have usually taken the most challenging classes offered at their high schools (AP, IB, Honors, Advanced, and/or Dual Enrollment). We prefer to see four years of English, at least three years of all other academic subjects (math, lab science, social studies, and foreign language), and electives of interest to you. However, please know that these are guidelines, not requirements for admission. Over the past several years, the average high school GPA of our incoming first-year students has been an A-. 


What about standardized test scores?

St. Lawrence is test-optional for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. This means that you do not have to submit scores on either the SAT or ACT. Around 40% of each year’s first-year class chooses not to submit test scores. If you’re wondering whether you should submit your scores, please know that our average SAT for admitted students who submit scores is a little below 1300 and our average ACT for these students is 28. 

Our testing policy for international students is as follows:

*The SAT or ACT is no longer required. They are optional for international students who attend English-speaking schools and/or reside in an English-speaking country.

*International students who do not attend English-speaking schools must provide proof of English proficiency such as the TOEFL or IELTS. If they do not have either, they may submit the SAT or ACT instead.

*International students who do not reside in an English-speaking country and do not attend English-speaking schools must provide proof of English proficiency such as the TOEFL or IELTS. If they do not have either, they may submit the SAT or ACT instead.

SAT Subject Tests are not required for any applicant, regardless of citizenship status, language of instruction, or school location.


How many recommendation letters do I need?

We require three—one from your school counselor, and two from teachers who have taught you in academic subjects in high school. Letters from middle-school teachers, club advisors, and coaches may be used as supplemental recommendations but cannot replace any of the required letters listed here.


Do you offer Early Decision or Early Action? When are your deadlines? 

We do not offer Early Action, but we do offer multiple rounds of Early Decision for students for whom St. Lawrence is their top choice. Our ED program is binding, meaning that if you’re admitted to St. Lawrence and your aid package is sufficient for you to enroll, you must withdraw your other applications. We begin reviewing ED applications in early November, and letters are mailed every two or three weeks through late February. Regular Decision applications are not binding, and all RD letters are mailed no later than mid-March. Our application deadline for both ED and RD is February 1st





What types of financial aid does St. Lawrence offer?

We offer both merit scholarships (see below for more information) and need-based financial aid. Students can (and often do) qualify for and receive both types of assistance. 


How do I apply for need-based financial aid?

U.S. citizens and permanent residents interested in qualifying for need-based grants, loans, and/or work-study must submit the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) which is available at We do not require the CSS Profile. International students must submit the Certificate of Finance (available at 


When should I apply for need-based aid?

You should submit the FAFSA or the Certificate of Finance at the same time you submit your application for admission. This will allow us to send your financial-aid package with your acceptance letter, so you’ll have sufficient time to evaluate all of your college options. The FAFSA can be submitted as early as October 1st and should be submitted no later than February 1st.


How many St. Lawrence students receive need-based financial aid?

During the 2019-20 academic year, 57% of St. Lawrence students received need-based grants, loans, and/or work-study. 


Do I have to complete the FAFSA every year? How much might my aid package change?

Yes, you must complete the FAFSA each year to remain eligible for need-based aid. If the information in the FAFSA stays relatively stable, you can expect your aid package to remain roughly the same from year to year. 





How do I apply for merit scholarships?

Most of our merit scholarships are handled automatically, meaning that you don’t have to do anything extra. Admissions staff will evaluate your eligibility for them when we read your application for admission. However, a few of our scholarships do require additional work on your part to apply for them. More information is available at (scroll down to “Specialty Scholarships”). 


How does the Office of Admissions choose merit scholarship winners?

We consider each student’s application as a whole and not just your grades and test scores. We also consider the difficulty of the classes you’ve taken, your class rank (if your school calculates it), your essay, your extracurricular activities, and your recommendation letters. We look at your application in the context of your high school—so if your school doesn’t offer a lot of advanced classes or dozens of clubs and sports, don’t worry about it. 


If I don’t submit test scores, can I still receive a merit scholarship?

Yes! In fact, if you have strong grades but weaker test scores, you may receive a larger scholarship if you DON’T submit your scores. Please consult your admissions counselor if you’re unsure whether you should submit your scores. 


Are merit scholarships given for all four years, or just one year? 

Merit scholarships are awarded for all four years. There’s no need to reapply each year. However, you must maintain a certain GPA to keep the scholarship from year to year (the requirement will be outlined in your acceptance letter). 


How much are merit scholarships worth?

At St. Lawrence, our merit scholarships range from $20,000 per year up to a “full ride” (tuition, room, board, fees, and other expenses). 




What is the First-Year Program?

The First-Year Program (FYP) at St. Lawrence is one of the four classes you will take in your first semester. These theme-based courses, of which approximately 25-30 are offered each fall, further develop students’ reading, writing, oral presentation, and critical thinking skills and are not considered to be major-/minor- specific. The First-Year Program also includes advising and residential components, which we will touch on below. Not only will a student’s FYP professor serve as their advisor, but their FYP classmates will also be their roommates and neighbors in their residential college. Please visit: to learn more about our First-Year Program.


Will I have an advisor during my first year?

Your advisor at St. Lawrence will be one of the faculty members teaching your FYP! As you navigate your first four semesters on campus, your advisor will get to know you well: your strengths, the areas you hope to develop, and your academic and extracurricular goals. Their job is to help guide you through your first two years of college.


What are some recent FYP courses that were offered?

  • Peace, Conflict, and Community
  • Health Activism: Fighting for a Healthier Future
  • Impactful Leadership: Theory and Practice
  • Seeding Hope: Environmentalism, Sustainability, and the Reclamation of the Sacred
  • An Outdoor State of Mind
  • And many more you can learn about here!


Will my roommate be in the same FYP as me?

Yes! In fact, everyone in your FYP class will live together on the same floor of a residence hall. This is the first of many Laurentian networks you’ll experience and it will set a tone of collaboration for years to come.


What if I want to request a roommate for my first year?

We allow students to choose their own roommates, if they wish. Please note that both of you must list each other on your housing questionnaires and must list the same FYP choices.





What majors and minors are offered at St. Lawrence?

We offer 69 majors and 41 minors, ensuring that students will leave here with the tools, knowledge, and confidence they need to become much-needed agents of change. To learn more about our majors, minors, and other academic opportunities, please visit


Can I double major?

Absolutely! Approximately 30% of graduating students will have completed a double major at St. Lawrence. An even larger percentage of students complete a major and a minor during their undergraduate years.


What are the graduation requirements?

The St. Lawrence University curriculum includes certain requirements that all students must complete. These are categories rather than specific courses, so that students will broaden their perspectives while pursuing their interests. To see these categories and learn more, please visit


What is your average class size?

The average class size at St. Lawrence is 17.


Can I study abroad if I am considering pre-med/law/etc.?

Yes! Our curriculum and off-campus study programs are intentionally crafted to support and enhance students’ academic and career goals. To learn more, please visit


Can I come in undecided?

All students who apply and are admitted to St. Lawrence do so without a formally declared major. Of course, many of our students arrive on campus with plans to study a particular discipline, but the declaration of majors takes place during the second semester of the sophomore year. This does not prevent students who have yet to declare a major from enrolling in major-specific courses.




Canton is a small town. Will I be able to do an internship?

Yes! Like most residential academic communities, St. Lawrence students will pursue a variety of internship opportunities outside the academic year in order to best utilize their time in our classrooms and with our faculty.


What are some of these opportunities?

Internship components are an integral part of our study abroad programs and our Community Based Learning programs. In addition, St. Lawrence is increasing its focus on internships, including integrating career- and industry-related internships into the curriculum. Through the Career Connections Program, the University is working to assist students with articulating the professional skill development and learning that occur as part of those internships. To learn more about Career Connections, visit


Will I be able to do research as an undergraduate?

Yes! Research opportunities will begin in the spring semester of your first year at St. Lawrence, when students are required to take a First-Year Seminar course. This FYS course has a specific focus on critical inquiry and research. Each student will engage in a research project of significant depth over the course of the semester. While St. Lawrence does enjoy University status and offers a few graduate programs, we are first and foremost a residential undergraduate college. Our faculty, facilities, and funding are focused on the undergraduate experience. To learn more about FYS, please visit


What type of research opportunities are available to students?

Experiential learning in its many forms is a vital component of a St. Lawrence education, linking academic work and practical skill development while in school. St. Lawrence students can take part in independent or faculty-mentored research projects through a range of programs, including the NY6 Upstate Global Collective, Tanner Fellowships, and University Fellowships. More information is available at (scroll to Student Fellowship Programs).


What are some of the recent student outcomes of an education at St. Lawrence?

94% of recent St. Lawrence graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within a year of graduation. Our Career Services Office conducts a survey of each year’s graduating class to gather information regarding job placements, graduate school destinations, postgraduate research and internships, and volunteer opportunities. To learn more about our SOAR (Students Off and Running) results for the Class of 2019, please visit





How does athletic recruitment work at St. Lawrence?

All of our coaches are responsible for their individual team recruitment. To learn more, please visit and be sure to fill out a recruitment form located on the webpage of your particular sport.


What percentage of students participate in varsity athletics at St. Lawrence?

31% of the student population participates in a varsity sport. We offer 32 varsity programs, which span both NCAA Division I (men’s and women’s ice hockey) and Division III, in addition to a few non-divisional and non-NCAA programs.


Does SLU offer athletic scholarships?

The only athletic scholarships available at St. Lawrence are for Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey. The NCAA strictly prohibits the awarding of athletic scholarships for Division III athletes; in fact, a student’s athletic involvement and talent is not and cannot be considered when awarding merit scholarships or need-based financial aid.


Can I play a sport and study abroad?

Absolutely! Part of engaging in a St. Lawrence education includes the development of critical intercultural skills necessary to prepare students for responsible membership in our global community. That is why 65% of our students participate in some sort of off-campus learning opportunity. Our coaches and faculty work closely together to make sure that our student-athletes have the same opportunities available to them as the rest of the student body. Please visit to learn more about our study abroad opportunities.


What are intramural and club sports? Can anyone participate in them?

Sports are a huge part of many students’ lives growing up. Varsity athletes at SLU must manage their time between practices, travel, and academics. Our intramural and club programs allow students to still be active in sports without the large time commitment of varsity competition, which is probably why they’re so popular (well over half of all students participate). To read about one student’s experience as an intramural athlete, please visit