Undergraduate Admissions

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Freshman admission

Our application review process

Applicants to The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus are considered for admission on a competitive basis. Each year, our most important charge in Undergraduate Admissions is to select from all applicants a freshman class that exemplifies the best characteristics of The Ohio State University.

Who we’re looking for

Yes, we definitely seek individuals whose application proves to us that they are prepared for the academic rigor of the Ohio State classroom. But that’s not all we’re looking for. We’re looking for people who show evidence that they are not only smart but willing to lead; who see strength in diversity of people and ideas; who seek collaboration when solving problems; and who make use of all opportunities to figure out what kind of impact they want to have in the world.

How we evaluate applications

So how do we take those lofty ideals and turn them into criteria by which to judge an admission application?

  1. We evaluate each applicant in terms of 10 criteria, listed below, which are meant to measure the merit of academic achievement as well as personal interests, talents, accomplishments and challenges.
  2. We review each application thoroughly. To arrive at the most appropriate admission decision, each application is reviewed by at least two members of the admission committee.
  3. We evaluate each applicant holistically. We don’t select applicants based on any single criterion. All criteria are considered as part of our review of the whole person.

Selectivity and building the class

The challenge is that we receive applications from far more applicants than we can admit, and we must make difficult decisions. In building the class, then, our admission committee must also evaluate each applicant against all applicants in that year’s pool.

The committee’s judgment, and the holistic and comprehensive process described here, allow Undergraduate Admissions and the university to bring in an exceptional and diverse incoming class that will be successful at The Ohio State University, contribute to our campus, and make the most of what the university has to offer.

The 10 criteria of our holistic review (in no particular order)

  1. Successful completion of the minimum college prep requirements (see Table 1)
  2. High school performance (class rank and GPA), including participation in accelerated programs like Honors, AP and IB
  3. ACT/SAT scores, with writing (see "Important information about test scores," below)
  4. Ability and desire to contribute to and engage with a diverse campus community
  5. Leadership, co-curricular and work experiences
  6. Status as a first-generation college student
  7. Demonstration of outstanding talent in a particular area
  8. Academic competitiveness of the high school
  9. High school performance if adversely affected by physical, mental or learning environment factors
  10. Eligibility for and likelihood of benefiting from organized support services at Ohio State
Table 1: Minimum college prep requirements
Recommended Additional
English 4 units    
Math 3 units 4 units X
Natural science (with significant lab experience) 3 units   X
Social science 2 units 3 units  
Foreign language 2 units of
same language
3 units X
Visual or performing arts 1 unit    
Plus 1 additional unit in any of the above subjects
Understanding this table
  • Minimum required: Be aware that most admitted students well exceed these minimums. See “How last year’s admitted class shaped up academically,” below.
  • Recommended: For these subjects, we find that students who have completed additional units are better prepared for college-level course work.
  • Additional consideration: Success in these areas is a strong indicator of one’s potential to succeed in college. Therefore, students exceeding the minimum curriculum in these subjects are given additional consideration.

Additional requirements

Ohio State requires that you receive a diploma from a chartered high school or GED to enroll. Students attending Ohio State regional campuses must meet campus-change requirements to enroll at the Columbus campus. For information, please contact your academic advisor.

How last year’s admitted class shaped up academically

Most exceeded our minimum college prep requirements.

  • 90 percent exceeded foreign language requirements
  • 98 percent exceeded math requirements
  • 89 percent exceeded natural science requirements
  • 99 percent exceeded social science requirements

Most ranked in the top of their high school classes:

  • 96 percent ranked in the top quarter of their high school classes.
  • 65 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

Most performed very well on standardized tests:

  • The ACT composite score range, middle 50 percent, was 27–32.

    In other words:
    50 percent of students scored between 27 and 32
    25 percent scored below a 27
    25 percent scored above a 32

  • The SAT score range (Critical Reading and Math only), middle 50 percent, was 1220–1370.

    In other words:
    50 percent of students scored between 1220 and 1370
    25 percent scored below a 1220
    25 percent scored above a 1370

Submit a complete application by November 1

Meet Ohio State’s November 1 early action deadline (non-binding) to receive an admission decision by mid-January.

  • You must apply by November 1 if you wish to be considered for most university merit scholarships.
  • We highly recommend applying by November 1 if you wish to be considered for the Morrill Scholarship Program and Honors and Scholars Programs.
  • We highly recommend applying by November 1 if you wish to be considered for majors within the College of Engineering. After Nov. 1, applications are considered on a space-available basis.

Learn about early action and all deadlines and requirements at apply.osu.edu.

Important information about test scores

At Ohio State, we believe in the fundamental importance of effective writing. Strong writing skills are critical to success in college and beyond. We require that all applicants submit at least one ACT and/or SAT score set with writing exam scores. The writing score is used as part of a holistic review when considering admission applications. Writing scores do not factor into criteria for merit scholarships or selection for specific academic programs.

  • When considering students for admission, scholarships or Honors/Scholars selection, we consider the best official composite/combined score from a single test administration. Ohio State does not mix sub-scores from multiple tests or adjust scholarship values for higher test scores submitted after the scholarship’s published deadline (for most, this is November 1).
  • We must receive official scores, sent directly from the testing agency. Scores from transcripts will not be considered.
  • Ohio State’s college codes: ACT = 3312, SAT = 1592
  • We must receive test scores by the appropriate application and/or scholarship deadline. Students should plan to test at least six weeks prior to deadlines to allow sufficient time for scores to be sent to Ohio State.

What about the new SAT?

You may have heard about a new SAT exam coming in March 2016.

If you're currently a senior, you don't have to worry about the new exam and should continue to follow our current admissions requirements.

If you're applying for the autumn 2017, summer 2017 or spring 2018 term, Ohio State will accept scores from either the current or new SAT. The essay for either version will not be required.

Applying for the Morrill Scholarship Program 

To be considered for the Morrill Scholarship Program:

  1. We highly recommend that you submit the Common Application and all required materials (test scores, transcripts, application fee) by November 1.
  2. On the Common Application, indicate interest in MSP and respond to the MSP essay prompt.
  3. Be sure to include leadership and diversity involvement on the Activity List.

Applying for Honors and Scholars Programs 

To be considered for Honors and Scholars Programs:

  1. We highly recommend that you submit the Common Application and all required materials (test scores, transcripts, application fee) by November 1.
  2. On the Common Application, indicate interest in H&S, select Honors or Scholars as your first choice program, and respond to the H&S essay prompt.

After you’ve applied