June 7, 2024

How I got accepted to St. Olaf College as an international student from Ukraine

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Anna from Ukraine πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦

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How I got accepted to St. Olaf College as an international student from Ukraine

Hello! My name is Ania and I come from Ukraine! I got into St. Olaf through Early Action and I will be part of St. Olaf Class of 2028.

My background

I'm from a small town in Ukraine, where I attended high school. It was considered a Polish high school. I'm from the cohort that had an 11th-grade educational system, which has now changed in Ukraine. During my high school years, I noticed how the level of education was getting lower and lower, and I started to seek education abroad. Then I found out about UWC, and I decided that it was a perfect opportunity for me, so I applied to the national committee of UWC Ukraine, and I was awarded a place at UWC Dilijan.

At UWC Dilijan, I'm realizing the IB program. Initially, my IB subjects were Math AASL, German ab initio SL, English Language and Literature SL, Biology HL, Global Politics HL, and Visual Arts HL. However, in the second year, I dropped Biology to SL, and I started taking English Language and Literature as HL because I realized I had become more defined in my career pathway. I realized that having English as an HL would be a better solution for me as a person who aims for diplomacy and the international relations field for my career path.

Academic Stats

I applied test optional with predicted IB grades of 31 out of 42. Because I took Language and Literature HL I didn’t have to submit any English language exam to St. Olaf.


In my second term at UWC, I created a Ukrainian Language class that functioned as a CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) in my school. There was both a beginner and an advanced group, and it was a service component for me. I also wrote about my creativity as a part of my IB CAS component. I did creative writing and greenhouse CAS activities. My activity was girls' gym, which I took for 2 years.

Because of the war in Ukraine, as soon as the war began, my parents sent me to Poland because I spoke a little Polish. They assumed that nothing bad would happen to me there. It was my first experience living abroad without my parents. I attended a high school (Polish Liceum) named after Domeiko in Poland as a free listener for two and a half months. I also volunteered at the same high school as a translator for Ukrainian, Polish, and English since these were the languages that refugees were speaking, and the staff was speaking too. It was something that drastically shifted my personality and helped me understand that I actually like helping people unconditionally and that I probably want to make helping people my career path. So I decided that if I go into diplomacy, I can improve the lives of people, not only a few, but thousands and thousands of people.

I was also a journalist for United Youth Media, which was a youth media platform created to promote peace and explore different topics important for youth. For example, we discussed protests in Russia. We also wrote about Ukrainian refugees and how they impact the European Union. Additionally, I specifically wrote an article about the pink tax and how it promotes inequality, which was another valuable experience.

I was selected to participate in the Dzerzhinsky Conference, the biggest political forum for youth in Ukraine. I was a selected participant in this forum, where I had the opportunity to talk to diplomats, politicians, and some businessmen. For example, I even had an interview with the head of the Ukrainian National Post System, and I talked to a leader of the biggest environmental organization in Ukraine.

My essays

I decided to show that I am educated about the area of knowledge I will study at university. I wanted to focus on the insights which I gained from my experiences.

I wrote about how I've never experienced peace in my life. However, it didn't inhibit the development of my mind; it was something that conversely promoted my development. I also wrote about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which says that without peace, you cannot achieve higher levels of self-actualization, and if you don't have peace, for example, it's hard for you to build social connections or think about transcendental things. And I debunked this idea in my essay. So I spoke about my experience when the war in eastern Ukraine just began, how I was trying to help my parents, and then how I was sent to Poland and how I found my way there. What also helped strengthen my essay, I think, is that I had a specific structure. There was the beginning with my points of view, the middle part where I wrote about my insights, and then the closing part where I showed what I learned and how I want to progress. I showed that I want to help people, and I want to help thousands and thousands of people. Hence my decision to study diplomacy.

Why St. Olaf College

I had three criteria when applying to college. The first criterion was the availability of good financial aid because I do not come from a wealthy background. I'm coming from a background where sometimes we needed to save on candies to have every necessity in life. And I didn't want that to happen to me. I wanted to have a scholarship that would not only assure my parents they don't need to pay for me but also ensure that, for example, I can earn money at the university by working.

Another criterion was the flexibility of the curriculum and the availability of international exchange programs. I value adapting my classes to my schedule, making time for other activities and work. I truly want to explore the world, and as soon as I started traveling, I developed a huge desire to explore different countries and study in a different country. I'm excited about the study abroad programs that St. Olaf provides.

The third criterion was the location. I didn't want to be in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to be close to a big city, and St. Olaf is 40 minutes away from Minneapolis, which is part of the Twin Cities area and has around 4 million inhabitants. The accessibility of the city was one of the most important factors for me. Also, if it's a big city in the US, there is a Ukrainian diaspora with which I can bond, which is important for me.

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from Ukraine πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦

Duration of Study

Aug 2024 β€” May 2028


Political Science and Government

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St. Olaf College

Northfield, USπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ


✍️ Interview by


Patryk from Poland πŸ‡΅πŸ‡±

UWC Dilijan student & politics passionate

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  1. πŸ˜€


    2 days ago

    Do you have a full-ride there?