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What Meal Plan Should I Get?

 Written by    March 6, 2017

One of the most difficult parts of the housing selection process for me last year was choosing which meal plan to get. As an incoming freshman who knew a total of five people going to Ohio State, I did not have many people to ask. After changing my meal plan five times during that first week of school, I thought I would offer some advice to any incoming students who are struggling to pick a meal plan.

Let me first explain how the meal plans work. Each week, students are allotted a certain number of “swipes.”  Swipes will get you into any of the three dining halls on campus where you can eat as much as you want. For some meal plans, swipes can be transferred into $8 worth of dining dollars at cafes and markets on campus. They can be transferred into $5 worth of dining dollars at C-Stores, where you can do some grocery shopping. Each week on Monday your swipe count will start over.


Your first option is to get the “Gray Ten” meal plan. This plan costs $1,895 and comes with ten swipes a week. On this specific meal plan, you can use a swipe at a dining hall, an on-campus restaurant, and a C-Store. It also comes with 200 dining dollars, which you can use anywhere on campus, and 150 dollars’ worth of BuckID Cash, which you can use anywhere on campus along high street. I would recommend this dining plan for those students who often do not eat a full breakfast. Many people worry that they will not have enough food during the week. However, I usually go through only one swipe a day and use dining dollars on cheaper lunch items. This makes it easy to get through all seven days of the week with plenty of food.



Your next option is to get the “Scarlet Fourteen.”  This plan costs $2,258 and comes with fourteen swipes a week. While this meal plan is ideal for the college student, it is expensive. You can use your swipes at dining halls, on-campus eateries, and C-Stores. It comes with 200 dining dollars and 150 BuckID Cash. The great part about this plan is that, usually, students have enough swipes left over at the end of the week to go shopping at the C-Store for food to keep in their rooms. However, most students end up with swipes that go unused.



Your third option is to get an “Unlimited” meal plan. This plan gives you seven swipes per day into a dining hall. You must wait forty minutes between visits but, other than that, the dining halls are your domain.  Unfortunately, these swipes do not transfer into dining dollars at other on-campus locations. It comes with 100 dining dollars and an option to add BuckID Cash onto the plan. This plan is great, and the cheapest, at only $1,850. The drawbacks to this plan is that there are only three dining halls on campus and the swipes can’t be used anywhere except dining halls.


I, personally, have been surviving on the Gray Ten.  Although we need to plan out our meals, most of my female friends and I have this plan. Most of my male friends will either get the Unlimited or Scarlet Fourteen because they are college boys and, for some strange reason, are constantly hungry.  In the end, talk to your friends and try to coordinate meal plans, they’ll be who you are eating with each meal!

Here is the detailed link to help you make your final decisions!




Advice, Campus Life, Dining, Food, Student Life

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