Gianna Cifredo 6 min read Applying to College, College Lists

What Does it Take to Get into Ohio State University–Columbus?

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The Ohio State University–Columbus accepts 52% of applicants. What does it take to get in?


With the main campus located in Columbus, OH, The Ohio State University is ranked #17 for the top public universities in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report. It’s also one of the few universities in the nation with a land grant, offering students unique research opportunities, especially in medical and cancer research. Outside of academics, OSU students take great pride in their athletics, encouraging the infectious school spirit around sporting events and other types of competitions.


Ohio State has separate admissions processes for the main campus in Columbus and their regional campuses, so for the purpose of this post we’re going to focus on what you need to be admitted to the Columbus campus. Keep reading to learn more about the tips that have helped CollegeVine’s students get into the school that’s perfect for them.


Applying to Ohio State University–Columbus: A Quick Review


Apply to OSU using either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Although we generally recommend the Common App because more schools use it, ultimately you should choose the application format that you’re comfortable with. We’ve written an extensive guide on both of these applications, so be sure to check out The Common App: Everything You Need to Know and The Coalition App: Everything You Need to Know.


Students apply by November 1 Early Action deadline or the February 1 Regular Decision deadline. Students who apply by November 1 have greater chances of being considered for the honors and special scholarship programs, but you’ll have less time to craft a strong application. If you’re unsure about whether you should apply early, check out our post Early Action vs. Early Decision vs. Restricted Early Action.


To apply, be sure to send in all of the following:


  • A complete application via the Common App or Coalition App
  • An essay responding to one of the Common App prompts or Coalition App prompts
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • An official high school transcript, and college transcripts if applicable
  • $60 application fee or fee waiver
  • Optional: One academic recommendation, from either a counselor or teacher


For international students: If English is not your first language, you’ll need to demonstrate your proficiency through one of the following options:


  • SAT Reading test score of 27 or higher
  • ACT English section score of 21 or higher
  • TOEFL score of 79 or higher
  • IELTS score of 6.5


Ohio State University–Columbus Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


Last year, the acceptance rate  for Ohio State University–Columbus was 52%. OSU received 48,077 applications last year and admitted 24,988 students. Of those, 7,944 students actually enrolled, making it similarly selective to schools like the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia.


While there’s a good chance you’ll be admitted, you should still take the application process seriously and make sure that every part of your application is as strong as possible. One way to increase your chances is to get help from people who have been through the process before, such as current students, alumni, or working with a company like CollegeVine. Connecting with someone who has successfully gained admission to a school like OSU can make the difference between rejection and acceptance.

So, How Does One Get Into Ohio State University–Columbus?


OSU uses a holistic review process with an emphasis on academic excellence to select a diverse freshman class. Use your application to highlight your strengths in the following areas.


Academics. Ohio State takes your academic preparation seriously, although they consider your performance against factors that may have adversely affected you. To give you an idea of what to aim for, the middle 50% of incoming freshman had a weighted GPAs between 3.75 and 4.19, earned SAT scores between 1300 and 1450 or ACT scores between 28 and 32. The admissions counselors also take into account the rigor of your classes, including AP, IB, or dual enrollment.


Extracurriculars. OSU doesn’t care what activities you were involved in throughout high school, but they do want to see that you pursued something you were interested in with passion and excellence. This could mean taking a leadership position at your school, starting a new organization or initiative, or being recognized for your talents through awards. Whatever you do, show why those activities were meaningful to you and how you went above and beyond in following them.


Character. It’s important that you give the OSU admissions officers insight into who you are and what your strengths are. Write a compelling essay that focuses on an accomplishment or strength that you are proud of, and choose a recommender who can highlight strengths beyond what you could cover in your essay alone.


Contribution to Community. OSU is explicitly looking for students who will bring a vibrant presence to campus and who will become dedicated alumni. Show how your strengths and experiences will enrich the student body and how you’ll engage with the campus and the surrounding community. They are explicitly looking for students who have a desire to participate in a diverse college campus and will benefit from organized support services, so reference organizations that you are genuinely interested in getting involved with once you become a Buckeye.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Every application is different, but over the years we’ve seen these strategies give our clients applications that are three times more likely to gain favorable admissions results.


Tell your story. The Ohio State University–Columbus wants to know who you are; they give special consideration to first-generation college students, and they want to know what you’re passionate about and what has impacted your life. Whatever you don’t include in your application, they won’t know about, so make sure you highlight your strengths, your values, and your passion throughout your application.


Include the optional recommendation form. Although it’s optional, the recommendation form can give the admissions officers additional perspective on who you are and what you bring to their school. If you decide to do this, be sure to pick a recommender who knows you well and can write a compelling letter for you. Talk to them about why you’ve chosen them as a recommender or how you want them to complement your essay.


Enhance the themes of your completed application. A seasoned admissions counselor will review your entire application in about nine minutes and evaluate it. If you want them to remember something positive about you, then you’ll need to mention it throughout your application, not just once and hope that they remember.


Try this strategy—finish your application at least a week early and leave it alone for a few days. When you return to it, read the whole application in nine minutes. What stood out to you? What wasn’t clear or could be improved on? Then make those improvements.


What If You Get Rejected?


The Ohio State University–Columbus receives applications from more qualified applicants than they can accept. If you find yourself facing a no-thank-you at the end of the admissions process, don’t be too hard on yourself. Bright, motivated, resourceful students will find success, or create it, anywhere they go.


If you are an Ohio resident, you may have the option to start your college career at one of OSU’s regional campuses and then transition to the Columbus campus. If you are offered this choice, it’s a great option to still graduate with an OSU degree with a seamless transcript.


Ohio State does not accept admissions appeals due to their holistic review and transfer process. We do not recommend petitioning your decision.


A high percentage of transfer applicants are accepted each year—around 84%. You will need to review the enrollment criteria of your intended major to make sure that you meet the minimum GPA and course requirements, as each degree program is different. If you have completed less than a year of college coursework, you’ll need to supply your high school transcripts and official SAT or ACT scores.


You can reapply after taking a gap year, but this path is riskier than simply committing to another school and requesting to take a gap year there. To see if a gap year is right for you, visit our posts, What Are the Pros of Taking a Gap Year? and What You Need To Know When Applying to Colleges After a Gap Year.


By far, we recommend looking at another great school and making the most of your time there. Consider applying for other Midwest schools like the University of Wisconsin-Madison or the University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign. For advice on adjusting to a different college path, check out our post Envisioning a New Future: Preparing for Life at Your Second-Choice (or Third, or Fourth) School.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to OSU? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!


Check out some of our other posts about great schools in the Midwest:


What are the Big 10 Schools?

Top 10 Most Underrated Midwest Colleges

What is the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP)? Which Schools Participate?

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Gianna Cifredo
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.