As admissions at The Ohio State University become increasingly stringent, students struggle to gain acceptance
by Hannah Benjamin
Between Saturday afternoon football games, weeknight basketball games, apparel in a majority of the local department stores and numerous family alumni members, UAHS students are saturated in the culture of Buckeye Nation.
However, making the transition to a true Buckeye at OSU has become more selective throughout the last five years. The university no longer practices an open admission policy and has increased not only its selectivity, but its academic rigor.
THEN AND NOW
Today, acceptance at The Ohio State University is exceptionally different from the past. Students must work hard throughout high school to increase the chances of their acceptance.
According to UAHS college center counselor Mark Davis, approximately 1,300 UA students have applied to OSU since 2007. Without a doubt, OSU is on many students’ college application lists due to the close proximity and great reputation the university currently possesses. In last year’s graduating class of 2011, 223 students applied to OSU and 142 of these applicants were accepted. This 64 percent acceptance rate is slightly higher than the national admission percentage for the university, which stands at 55.9 percent, according to the OSU Department of Undergraduate Admissions.
Senior Emily Duhigg is one of the 79 seniors who has been admitted to OSU so far this year. Duhigg has always believed that OSU was the college she would attend, and this dream will be fulfilled in the fall of 2012. Due to the academic standards OSU has recently implemented, Duhigg’s desire to attend heightened. In order to gain acceptance, Duhigg
has been working hard throughout
her high school career to meet admission criteria.
“I am taking two AP classes this year,” she said. “I like them, but they’re a lot harder [than regular classes]. I think that definitely looks better for college regardless of if it’s a [selective] college versus a [non-selective] college, it looks good to have an AP class on [your transcript].”
Davis said that having weighted classes on transcripts gives applicants a competitive edge. Most UAHS students who are accepted to OSU have at least one or two weighted classes on their transcripts. Ranking at the top of the class is also crucial for acceptance to OSU.
“To get into main campus, you need to be in the top 40th percentile [at UAHS]. Even though [UAHS doesn’t] rank, we do provide percentiles for students to see where they are,” Davis said. “For a GPA range, we’ve probably gone from what used to be a 3.0 to a 3.6 or better at least for admission to main campus. We’re talking test scores somewhere between an average of 25 on the ACT or better to get accepted.”
Reaching the criteria pays off. Recently, more first year Buckeyes have remained students at OSU for year two.
According to OSU’s Office of the President, Dr. Gordan Gee was president of OSU from 1990-1997 prior to returning in 2007. During the first seven years, Gee was worried about the retention rate of the university. Davis stated that approximately 40 percent of students returned for their sophomore year at OSU. Now, according to OSU’s Office of Admissions, the retention rate has climbed to 93 percent. Once Gee left OSU, the following presidents attempted to strengthen the application for Buckeye candidates.
“Lately, with the economy the way it is, students are looking for a more inexpensive college for their undergraduate work. So, they are applying to the state schools,” Davis said. “When that happens, the number of applications are going to increase, and when that happens admissions can become more selective.”
Undoubtedly, OSU is experiencing a rapid increase in applications. Davis said that in 2005, OSU received approximately 12-15,000 applications for 6,000 freshmen. Currently about 30,000 applications have been submitted for 6,600 spots. Next year, OSU is transitioning to the Common Application and is anticipating a jump to 35,000 applications.
Although this procedure seems intimidating, OSU does look at the applications in a holistic manner. Davis said that curriculum is the most important factor. With the large number of UAHS students applying to OSU, rankings amongst one another is fairly easy to determine.
“When you put that together, that’s the first part of the holistic review. Then, whether [OSU will] say it or not, good test scores can really make a difference,” Davis said. “And then, I think you are looking at your activities along with the essay prompt that is given to you.”
Duhigg claims that the application itself is not a challenging process.
“With the Family Connection [everything was set up]. All I had to do was ask my counselor for a transcript, one or two letters of recommendation from a couple of teachers and just fill out the general application form,” she said. “It really wasn’t that hard; I just filled it out, did my 300 word essay and sent it.”
While Duhigg knows becoming a true Buckeye isn’t easy, she feels confident in her choice to attend the university.
“I’ve always lived in the area,” she said. “I have always thought of OSU, I’ve never thought of any other university that I’d want to go to, it’s always been OSU.”