Olivet Nazarene University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Olivet Nazarene University
Olivet Nazarene University is a place where top-tier academic instruction, social connection and spiritual...

Olivet Nazarene University

Bourbonnais, Illinois

Faith is at the heart of superior academics, nationally competitive athletics, thriving social atmosphere, and countless ministry opportunities.



Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
3,389 undergraduate students
90% of undergrad students are full time
40% male 60% female
43% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
136 full-time faculty
306 part-time faculty
17 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
92% of first year students live on campus
70% of all students live on campus

School Location

Olivet’s 275-acre main campus is located 50 miles south of Chicago, in the historic village of Bourbonnais, Illinois. The area offers shopping, restaurants, entertainment and outdoor recreation through the Kankakee River State Park system. Students benefit from ONU’s proximity to Chicago’s cultural, sports and entertainment attractions. Plentiful professional internships and employment opportunities are additional advantages.
Other ONU locations include Rolling Meadows and Oak Brook, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Grand Rapids and Grand Ledge, Michigan; and Hong Kong.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences x
Common Intellectual Experiences x
Learning Communities  
Writing-Intensive Courses  
Collaborative Assignments and Projects  
Undergraduate Research x
Diversity/Global Learning x
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning  
Internships/Coops/Practicums x
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience x

Retention Fall 2015

77% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2014

61% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Black or African American 8%
White 79%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


ONU competes in 21 intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC).

Approximately 80 percent of the student body participates in Olivet’s vibrant intramural program, which includes Basketball; Dodge ball; Euchre; Flag football (men’s and women’s); Homecoming 5K run; Pool (billiards); Racquetball; Soccer (indoor and outdoor); Softball; Volleyball (indoor and sand); Table tennis; Tennis; and Ultimate Frisbee.

Mascot: Tigers
Colors: Purple and gold

Other Information

Olivet Nazarene University is a Christian, liberal arts university, a service to the Church of the Nazarene, founded in 1907.

More Distinctions

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

  • Accredited by the American Dietetics Association

  • Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education

  • Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music

  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

  • Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education

  • Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs

At Olivet, students don’t sit passively listening to lectures. Olivet offers a dynamic, engaging, interactive experience designed to empower students to achieve their life goals — getting into an elite graduate or medical school, being offered a dream job, and more.


Olivet students prepare for graduate school and future careers through numerous opportunities for expanded scholarship and research. Math and science students, for example, work closely with faculty members on visionary, 10-week research projects through the Pence-Boyce Research Program and Fellowships and Olivet Research Associates Program. Students even receive stipends so they can work full-time on their projects.

During Scholar Week, students from all academic disciplines — along with faculty and other guests — are invited to present results of their academic research projects during a week-long series of lectures and discussions.


Service to the local and global community is a central theme in many Olivet academic programs. Social work students organize an annual Christmas party and toy drive for children of jail inmates. Business students have created integrated marketing plans for small businesses in Swaziland and Haiti and raised thousands of dollars in disaster relief for Haiti. Senior engineering students have traveled to South America and installed water purification systems they designed themselves, to provide clean drinking water for impoverished, remote villages. Physical science students conduct interactive astronomy shows in Olivet’s all-digital planetarium for hundreds of elementary students every year.

Study Abroad

Each semester, ONU offers off-campus study programs. The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities BestSemester programs include:

  • The American Studies Program in Washington, D.C.
  • Australia Studies Centre
  • China Studies Program
  • Contemporary Music Center
  • India Studies Program
  • Latin American Studies Program
  • Los Angeles Film Studies Center
  • Middle East Studies Program
  • Oxford Summer Programme
  • Scholar’s Semester in Oxford
  • Uganda Studies Program
  • AuSable Institute
  • International Business Institute
  • ISA Spain (Barcelona)
  • Nazarene International Language Institute
  • Oxford Summer Program
  • Quetzal Education Research Center (QERC)
  • Environmental Studies (Costa Rica)
  • Tokyo Christian University


Costs are usually comparable to a semester at Olivet, and students earn academic credit for these programs. Some financial aid is available. Numerous educational and mission-oriented, short-term trips are available to ONU students during the Christmas, spring and summer breaks. Hundreds of Olivet students participate in mission trips each year.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries x
Choral groups x
Concert band x
Drama/theater x
International Student Organization  
Jazz band x
Literary magazine x
Marching band x
Model UN  
Music ensembles x
Musical theater  
Opera x
Pep band x
Radio station x
Student government x
Student newspaper x
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra x
Television station  
Yearbook x

Olivet offers more than 120 undergraduate areas of study and holds the accreditation of the Higher Learning Commission and other top accrediting associations. Seasoned faculty members challenge each student, believing that Christians can increase their impact on the world through excellence in scholarship, thought, and communication.

Olivet students study in small classes with a student-faculty ratio of just 17:1, learning exclusively from professors, not teaching assistants. They actively participate in learning and collaborate in groups.

Honors Program

Olivet’s Honors Program encourages and nurtures academically gifted students, preparing them to become the Christian scholars and servant leaders they were meant to be. Honors Program highlights include one-on-one mentored research with a professor of choice, with funding provided; or study-abroad opportunities during junior year; a presentation of research at an Honors Research Symposium; and numerous community service and cultural event opportunities.

University Distinctives

In fine arts, Olivet’s School of Music earned the Apple Distinguished Program designation for 2014 through 2016 for its iLearn@Olivet initiative, which provides an iPad to every member of the Tiger marching band and all music majors, as well as faculty and staff members.

Students have the opportunity to thrive in an environment that prepares them for technology-driven industries. The Reed Hall of Science features a three-story wing dedicated to studying technology and innovation, and the Walker School of Engineering is equipped with state-of-the-art engineering design labs.

State-of-the-art academic facilities include Benner Library and Resource Center, information hub for digital and print research and communication; and Strickler Planetarium, one of the Midwest’s few all-digital planetariums, renovated in 2008 with the same technology in Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.

4+1 Programs

Students have the opportunity to accelerate their work toward a graduate degree with Olivet’s 4+1 programs. In just five years, students can earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in either business administration or organizational leadership. An accelerated program in engineering offers a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in engineering management.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts x
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) x
Foreign languages  
History x
Humanities x
Mathematics x
Sciences (biological or physical) x
Social science x

Life Outside the Classroom

Olivet is about more than just classrooms and books, offering countless opportunities for spiritual and personal growth. When they are not at one of the University’s coffeehouses, campus events, in Chicago or working out in the state-of-the-art fitness center, Olivetians can be found doing …. just about everything!

Outside the classroom, Olivet students participate in more than 80 clubs and organizations, including 30 intramural sports, the 195-member marching band, two orchestras, 28 musical ensembles, theatre groups, clubs and ministries.

Among these organizations are nearly 20 student-led ministries, through which students serve the community and the world in hundreds of ways. Olivetians can be found leading worship at summer camps for junior high students, playing checkers with veterans at a nursing home or building the next “Habitat for Humanity” house. During spring and summer breaks, Missions In Action groups travel in the U.S. and abroad to extend the love of Christ.

Campus Ministry

Weekly chapel services, student-led Party with Jesus, and local churches offer students, faculty and staff the opportunity to worship and grow together. Chapel services, held in the 3,046-seat Centennial Chapel, regularly feature renowned spiritual, business, political and other leaders who offer instruction and inspiration for the ONU community.


Coed dorms  
Men’s dorms x
Women’s dorms x
Apartments for married students x
Apartments for single students  
Special housing for disabled students x
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing  
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

Student Success

No matter their destination after graduation, Olivet graduates find success — in every sense of the word. Olivet has a worldwide network of more than 37,000 alumni, living in all 50 U.S. states and 30 countries. As educators, medical professionals, musicians, engineers, pastors, lawyers, missionaries and business professionals, Olivetians are living out the “Olivet difference” in their homes, workplaces, churches and communities.

The Davld L. Elwood Center for Student Success, a cooperative effort among faculty and staff, helps foster a campus-wide culture of success. Its services are aimed at helping students develop their full potential during their college years and beyond. The center seeks to foster a balanced Christian worldview that results in students embracing lifelong learning, personal integrity, and commitment to God and His Church.

Upon graduation, Olivetians are often sought by top companies and admitted into prestigious graduate degree programs. For more information about where Olivet students have continued their excellence, please visit www.olivet.edu/academics.


Admissions Fall 2015

4,133 Total Applicants
3,165 Total Admissions
734 Total Freshmen Enrollment

76.58% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling Admission? Yes

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Application Essay
Character/personal qualities
Religious affiliation/commitment
Level of applicant’s interest

Rigor of secondary school record
Class rank
Extracurricular activities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Geographical residence
State residency
Volunteer work

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 460 580
SAT Math 470 570
SAT Writing 430 562.5
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 20 27
ACT Math 19 26
ACT English 20 27
ACT Writing 7 8


Net Price Calculator



Tuition $31,950
Fees $840
Total $32,970
Room and Board (on campus) $7,900
Room Only $3,950
Board Only $3,950
Estimated Total On Campus $39,889


Average Financial Aid Packages 2015-16 ESTIMATED

$25,886 First year students
$25,369 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2015-16 ESTIMATED

80% on average, the percentage of need that was met
25% of financial need students that had need fully met

$20,623 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$3,203 Average need-based loan