Who gets in?

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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Ohio State's minimum college prep requirements (see table below)

  2. High school performance (class rank or GPA), including participation in accelerated programs like Honors, AP and IB; Ohio State does not have minimum requirements for class rank or GPA

  3. Standardized test score (ACT or SAT); Ohio State does not have minimum requirements for ACT or SAT scores

  4. Ability and desire to contribute to and engage with a diverse campus community

  5. Experiences that demonstrate leadership or engaged involvement (e.g., co-curricular activities, work experiences or military service)

  6. Status as a first-generation college student

  7. Demonstration of outstanding talent in a particular area

  8. Academic competitiveness of the high school, understanding that different high schools provide different levels of opportunity

  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

Minimum college prep requirements

Minimum required Recommended Additional consideration
English4 units
Math3 units4 unitsX
Natural science (with significant lab experience)3 unitsX
Social science2 units3 units
Foreign language2 units of same language3 unitsX
Visual or performing arts1 unit
Plus 1 additional unit in any of the above subjects

Understanding this table

  • Minimum required: Be aware that most admitted students exceed these minimums. See “Student profile” 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.

Enrollment in your intended major

Once it is determined that you are admissible, you will be considered for enrollment in the college of your intended major. Read about enrollment criteria.

A snapshot of last year’s admitted class

Most exceeded minimum college prep requirements

89% exceeded foreign language requirements
99% exceeded math requirements
91% exceeded natural science requirements

Most ranked in the top of their high school classes

96% ranked in the top quarter
67% ranked in the top 10%

Most performed very well on standardized tests

ACT composite

50% of admitted students scored between 28 and 32
25% scored below 28
25% scored above 32

SAT (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing + Math) 

50% of admitted students scored between 1310 and 1430
25% scored below 1310
25% scored above 1430