Campus Spotlight: The Ohio State University
Campus Spotlight: The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University is a leading research institution with more than 46,000 undergraduates on its Columbus, OH campus. While many prospective students are drawn to OSU for its engineering and other STEM majors, OSU offers a wide range of disciplines, from business and nursing to music, theatre, dance, and more.
The campus is 20 minutes from the airport. Although OSU is located in the city of Columbus, which is quite large with more than 850,000 residents, the university has a college campus feel. Columbus offers a wealth of internship and job opportunities, as well as entertainment ranging from professional sports to Broadway shows. Students are required to live on campus for the first two years and cannot have a car their first year. New facilities include the new communications department building, a fine arts center for theatre and dance, as well as newly constructed or renovated residence halls.
Advising, Majors & Honors Program
All incoming students are assigned an advisor, and the university exploration program is offered to the many students who are not sure of their area of study. The first-year experience program is nationally recognized and contributes to the 98 percent retention rate (the percentage of students who return for sophomore year), which is remarkably high for a state university with students from many socioeconomic backgrounds. The program offers outdoor and leadership opportunities for incoming freshmen the summer before they arrive on campus, a robust orientation program, peer mentoring, a survey course, and workshops that help students understand the resources on campus and how to access them.
Engineering and nursing are more competitive for admission than other majors. When admitted to engineering or business, students enter a pre-major in which they take prerequisite courses and then enter the major if they meet the grade requirements. Nursing also has a pre-nursing pathway; however, a direct-entry option has recently been added for particularly strong applicants. The direct-entry nursing application can be found on the nursing department website. It is appropriate for those who only want to study nursing at Ohio State and who do not want to be considered for another major if not accepted to nursing. For students interested in more than one area of study, it is very easy to minor or double major across colleges within the university; for example, a business major can have a second major in Spanish or an art major can minor in computer science, etc.
Internal transfers between colleges and majors are generally easy and most have no admission requirements. An exception is prospective engineering students who must begin working with an engineering advisor on what courses they need to take and what GPA would be expected for a successful internal transfer.
The OSU Honors Program offers smaller classes and other benefits. Students can graduate with honors if they complete the program, and with distinction if they participate in research. They have the option to live with other honors students. The Scholars program offers academic enrichment outside of courses. Topics range from engineering and architecture to politics and more. Scholars are required to live together for the first year of the two-year program. They engage in activities such as hearing from guest speakers, traveling to other cities to meet alumni and participating in various programs. Students interested in honors or scholars should indicate that on the application; if they are admitted to the university, they will be considered.
Extracurriculars and Student Life
When it comes to campus engagement, 70 percent of students participate in an internship, co-op
program, research opportunity, and/or study abroad experience. OSU offers abroad programs on all seven continents (including Antarctica!), and students can study abroad during the summer, the May term, or for a full semester or year. Students may apply for funding to work with a faculty member on research in any discipline, which may be on campus or in another location. There are more than 1400 student organizations and many campus traditions such as Welcome Week, Homecoming Parade, and Buckeye Nation Week. TBDBITL stands for “The best damn band in the land,” and refers to OSU’s all-brass marching band. Aspiring members come early in August and compete for several weeks to make the band. Even then, there are still weekly tryouts to see who will perform on the field on a given game day. The commitment is 20 hours per week during football season and is a great experience for students.
Scholarships & Financial Aid
The university offers merit scholarships such as the Morrill Scholarship Program, which rewards students who have been active change agents in their high school working on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and who want to continue their advocacy at OSU. Prospective students must complete an essay and their activities list will be carefully reviewed. There is potential for full-tuition awards, and a few students will have their full cost of attendance met. A mentorship program and travel opportunities are also part of the program. In the next two years or so, OSU hopes to offer a debt-free education to students, which will include work opportunities to help pay for it. They are starting with a pilot program next fall with 125 students.
Regarding admission, OSU is not requiring standardized tests for Fall 2022 applicants; no further decisions have been made beyond that. Last year, half of the applicants applied test optional and the admission rate was about 45 percent (same for submitters and non-submitters). Both early action and regular decision plans are offered and there has been no difference in acceptance rates between the two plans. Admissions officers like to see rigor in a student’s course choices and list their course recommendations on the admissions website. More than 95 percent of admitted students are in the top quarter of their graduating class. The ACT middle 50 percent for admitted students is 27 – 32, and 1270 – 1420 for the SAT. Admissions officers are looking for leadership, commitment in extracurricular activities, and strong recommendations; they also take the essay into consideration when making their decision. They do not review out-of-state applications differently and the acceptance rates for out-of-state students are similar to those of in-state applicants. All applications are read by at least two admission readers. While OSU does track visits and interactions with students, they do not consider demonstrated interest (how much interaction a student has with the university) or legacy status in their admissions review.
For students seeking a traditional college experience at a large university with many opportunities, The Ohio State University may be worth exploring.