How to Write the Ohio State University Essays 2020-2021

Located in Columbus, Ohio, The Ohio State University (OSU) is the state’s top public university. It is ranked #17 among all public schools in the U.S. News and World Report’s most recent “America’s Best Colleges” list. The school has grants for land, sea, and space, meaning it places heavy emphasis on research. 

 

A large majority (89%) of admitted applicants to OSU were in the top quarter of their high school class. The middle 50% of enrolled applicants scored 1270-1420 on their SAT, or between a 27-32 on their ACT.

 

With over 200 majors and nearly 500 specializations ranging from aviation management to veterinary technology, students have copious academic pathways to choose from. Outside of the classroom, students can attend Division 1 athletic games and join over 1,400 student organizations. On weekends, they can explore the city and visit hotspots like the Arena District or go on a food tour through Columbus Food Adventures.

 

Though OSU has no supplemental essays for regular applicants, the honors and scholars program applicants are required to answer one prompt. If you are interested in being a Buckeye and enrolling in the honors program, read on to learn how to best tackle this essay prompt.

 

Want to know your chances at OSU? Calculate your chances for free right now.

 

Want to learn what OSU will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering OSU needs to know.

 

Honors and Scholars Program Applicants

To what fictional character do you most relate, and why? You may select a character from animation, art, film, literature, television, theater or any other medium. (350-500 words)

This prompt is purposefully open-ended, and it can feel overwhelming to choose one character out of all the available options. However, bear in mind that the character you choose is not as important as how you draw connections to yourself. Relating yourself to a fictional character serves to draw out parts of yourself that may not be apparent in other areas of your application. Admissions officers want to hear less about the character and more about you and your life. 

 

To brainstorm, you should list a few facets of your personality and lived experience that you want to highlight. Then, think of characters that embody these bullet points and see to which one you can draw the strongest connections.

 

A common pitfall with this type of prompt is that students try to come up with an “ideal” answer, such as a morally righteous or perfect character. Or, they feel the need to choose a character from an “intellectual” source, such as a book they read for class. Trying to market an idealized version of yourself can come across as inauthentic and cliché. Unless you actually relate to that character and genuinely enjoyed consuming the media they came from, it is not a good idea to try this. Admissions offers are trained to sift genuine reflections of the self from answers that are just aiming to please. 

 

It is important to be true to yourself and select a character that you legitimately relate to in some way. For example, if you relate to Katara in Avatar because of your patience and passion for teaching, then you can definitely write about her! Just make sure that you are choosing a character with enough depth to draw a few meaningful connections.

 

When writing about your character, try not to draw superficial comparisons or just state them at face value. For example, instead of making a generic comment like “[Character] and I both come from big families,” explain how and why that might be relevant to who you are as a person. A response that does that might look something like this:

 

“Like [Character], I have a large family and our meals always seem to occur in the midst of chaos. Watching his mother bustle around the kitchen on the big screen reminded me of our weekend brunches; while my parents cooked our favorite dishes, I made sure my twin brothers felt that they got equal amounts of bacon and that my younger sister knew to eat her vegetables before she had to leave for Sunday school. Multitasking with others has taught me the value of communication and time management, and like [Character], I often play multiple roles in my family at once. Learning to work cohesively in a group while making sure everyone’s individual needs are met has gone a long way in facilitating successful groupwork.”

 

Here, the applicant makes brief mention of the character in question and sets a vivid scene using his own experiences. Using specific details, such as the type of food and specific sibling interactions, goes a long way in helping readers to visualize the scene. This technique helps grab admissions officers’ attention and adds a layer of authenticity to your essay. The applicant also mentions tasks and skills, like time management, that would help them succeed in a college environment. They show concrete examples of their skills in actions so that the reader does not doubt the claims they make about their character.

 

The most important thing to remember about this essay is that you should genuinely enjoy writing it. Using more of a conversational tone and even inserting some humor can really boost your essay. As long as your essay content remains professional and effectively answers the prompt, feel free to let your voice shine through. Finding creative ways to link yourself to a character can help you show off some of your quirks that would never have surfaced elsewhere in your common applications. The more unique and vulnerable you are in your essay, the more admissions officers can learn about you, and the more your application will stand out.

 

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