The Ohio State University
By Stefanie Forman
The Ohio State University is a large public university with excellent academics and is synonymous with school pride, which was felt everywhere during our time on campus. I participated in and heard animated “OH-IO!” cheers more times than I would like to admit (especially being married to a Gator), but it’s impossible to not appreciate the contagious Buckeye Spirit when touring the school. Although the university has over 60,000 students–almost 46,000 of them being undergrads–it didn’t feel overwhelming in size, and students echoed the same sentiment. The campus is green, sprawling, and beautiful, with its center being the Oval, an 11-acre quad. OSU is about 3 miles from downtown Columbus, Ohio–a growing and thriving city (the 14th largest in the US). Overall, the students we met were so excited to talk about their passion in and out of the classroom for Ohio State.
For a school the size of OSU, it is impressive that they have a 19:1 student-faculty ratio, and 87% of their classes are capped at fifty. Students can pick from over 200 majors, and there are 18 colleges and schools (including graduate programs and regional campuses). When applying, the university does not take majors into consideration, and students can always add on pre-professional programs–there is a lot of flexibility.
Another fun fact about Ohio State is that they are a top ten producer of Fulbright scholars and 6th top producer of Peace Corps volunteers.
Academic advising is split by majors and minors and specific programs like honors, etc. Each college has its own career advising and resources, and students appreciate the many career fairs–there was a huge business one at the time of our visit in September. Our tour guide, an Industrial Engineering major, said it’s easy to meet with her advisors–except for the first week of school. Additionally, she shared that if you are proactive about taking advantage of career and academic advising, they are incredible assets and was excited about many internship opportunities. Also, all freshmen are required to take OSU 101, which is a survey class that helps students acclimate to the community.
Some majors and schools require capstones like the College of Engineering. There is flexibility to transfer into different schools and majors, but it truly depends on the program and college–some are easier than others. For such a large university, students said it is easy to create rapport with professors whom they love.
Ohio State also offers a strong honors program: an applicant just has to check off a box on the application if interested, and there will be different entry points later on if still interested. Additionally, students can join the honors program after freshman year. OSU also offers a Scholars Program, which they can only join in the first semester. Instead of focusing on curriculum, it focuses on experiential learning outside of the classroom. Both programs offer themed housing and help students find community and make the school feel smaller–especially in the beginning.
We ended our visit with a student panel where one senior shared that she loves the endless possibilities and opportunities in and out of the classroom at OSU–especially since when she entered college, she was not sure of who she was or what she wanted to study. She was grateful that she was able to explore so many academic curiosities before deciding on the major. Other students mentioned that for students to be successful here, they need to be open to academic growth and trying new things.
Football is life at Ohio State. Even if students have no interest in athletics, they find themselves rallying for their Buckeyes–a consistently ranked top-ten team. Everyone we spoke to said NOTHING compares to seeing a game at Ohio Stadium–many relating it to either an emotional or religious experience.
But if football is not your thing (even though it seems to become a passion for anyone who attends the school), overall, students are very involved with over 1,400 student organizations. Still, students have to be more proactive about making the most of their experiences outside of the classroom just because of the sheer size of the student body. Ultimately, the school boasts one of the happiest student bodies, which was echoed by everyone with whom we spoke. Students also love the many OSU traditions that unite the school–and only one of them has to do with their football nemesis, Michigan.
Something that resonated with me was a conversation we had with a transfer student. At first, she was intimidated by the size of a school like Ohio State, so she went to a smaller liberal arts college after graduating from high school. Being there for a short time, she realized she wanted a large school and transferred to OSU. Because of the many orientation activities available to her, she immediately was able to connect with new friends and find community–she became involved in clubs where she met people who shared her passions, and now, can’t see herself anywhere else. What she thought would be too large of a school ended up being the right fit for her because of the endless opportunities.
All freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus, and most upperclassmen move off campus. 12% of students participate in Greek life, and those who are members of fraternities and sororities, love it. If desired, the party scene is alive and well at OSU, and there is also a thriving nightlife in Columbus.
The Ohio State University Buckeyes compete in Division I varsity athletics and are part of the Big Ten conference. Again, students rally around football games, with its historic stadium right on campus, integral to the school’s culture. Additionally, students have full access to RPAC, OSU’s recreation center, which is the second largest in the country. School spirit prevails on campus, and students have much pride in OSU–Buckeyes loved helping Buckeyes, and to no surprise, this transcends the classroom with the school having a robust and generous alumni network.
As mentioned earlier, our tour guide was an industrial engineering major from Minnesota. She loves her major, and for her capstone project, she is creating a product that will help filter bad chemicals in clothes from laundry materials. She is also very involved in many clubs and Greek life and her love for everything Ohio State was palpable. She embraces a good work/life balance and said the same of her friends. She described her peers as happy, enthusiastic, proactive, independent, and career-driven.
The undergraduate population is almost an equal ratio of female to male students, and 70% of them are Ohio residents.
OSU students feel very safe in their enclosed campus. The school offers services such as CABS On-Demand, Buckeye Block Watch, virtual guardians, discounted Lyfts, walking escorts, free personal safety alarms, alert notices, and more.
Ohio State students love Columbus and the wonderful food, culture, and nightlife it has to offer. There are so many different surrounding neighborhoods to explore, each unique with much to discover. Additionally, many major companies have homes and are even headquartered in Columbus such as Big Lots, Cardinal Health, Nationwide, Abercrombie, JP Morgan Chase, and Designer Brands, which provide wonderful job and internship opportunities for students.
Admissions and Financial Aid
OSU offers two options for the application process: early action and regular decision, with most students applying early action as it’s not binding. Admissions has become increasingly competitive.
The university must receive a completed application by 11:59 p.m. ET on November 1 if you want to be considered for most university merit scholarships (larger awards require additional steps). And while not required, they strongly recommend meeting the November 1 deadline to be considered for majors in the College of Engineering, the Morrill Scholarship Program, Honors and Scholars Programs, and the Stamps Eminence Scholarship Program.
OSU has about a 50% acceptance rate, which favors Ohio residents, making it significantly harder for out-of-state students. 70% of students graduated in the top 10% of their class. The average unweighted GPA of incoming students is 3.76. Ohio State is test optional, but they don’t superscore: the middle 50% ACT range is 27-32, and the middle 50% SAT range is 1280-1460.
Overall, around 40% of first-year students receive financial aid. The Ohio State University meets 74% of the demonstrated financial need for undergraduates. The average financial aid package for a full-time, first-year student at The Ohio State University is around $16,000 a year. Please note that in-state tuition is significantly cheaper compared to out-of-state tuition. Additionally, The Ohio State Tuition Guarantee keeps in-state tuition, mandatory fees, and housing and dining rates flat for four years for each incoming class of new first-year undergraduates on all campuses.
The Ohio State University is for students who want a large university and crave big (religious-like) sports culture with vast academic possibilities and strong work, internship, and research opportunities all enclosed in a beautiful campus in a flourishing city. The school can feel as large or as small as you want it to be, depending on what you make of your experience there.