How to Get Into Ohio State University: Acceptance Rate & Strategies

August 16, 2022

In autumn of 1995, Ohio State University welcomed a typical freshman class of 5,794 individuals to campus. Ninety percent of this Buckeye cohort were Ohio residents and they carried an average SAT score of 1074 and a mean ACT just shy of 23. Over 25 years later, 8,398 freshmen strutted onto campus with roughly 25% having traveled from another state or foreign country, boasting an average SAT score of 1300+ and a mean ACT of 29. This brief statistical comparison succinctly captures the story of Ohio State since the turn of the millennium—tremendous growth in size, selectivity, and non-resident population. However, the good news is that the Ohio State acceptance rate is still over 50%.

Given this increased desirability and selectivity at OSU, the intent of this article is to give those considering applying to the university and understanding of the following:

  • Ohio State’s Class of 2025 acceptance rate
  • SAT, GPA, and class rank of accepted OSU applicants
  • Admissions trends
  • Ohio State-Columbus’ system for rating applicants
  • Where is Ohio State?
  • A look at the demographics of current Ohio State undergraduates
  • The percent of accepted students that attend Ohio State (yield rate)
  • Tips for applying to Ohio State University
  • How to assess whether applying to Ohio State is even worth the $60 application fee (for you)

Many students applying to OSU may also find the following blogs to be of interest:

How to Get Into:

Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.

Ohio State Acceptance Rate – Class of 2025

The Class of 2025 was selected from 58,180 applications; 33,269 were admitted. This makes the Ohio State acceptance rate 57%, far lower than the previous year (68%). Yet, this figure does not fully capture just how selective OSU-Columbus has become.  Unlike many other flagship state schools, the admission standards for residents and out-of-staters are actually quite comparable.  In-state applicants to the university are admitted at nearly identical rates. The in-state rate was two points higher for the Class of 2024.

Ohio State Admissions – SAT, GPA, and Class Rank

For the Class of 2025, the mid-50% SAT range for enrolled freshmen was 1260-1420; the ACT range was 26-32. Only 21% of applicants submitted an SAT score while 64% included an ACT result in their application. Among enrolled first-year students, 64% hailed from the top 10%, while 94% earned a place in the top 25%.

Admissions Trends & Notes 

  • The university has adopted a test-optional policy.
  • However, they still list test scores as “very important “to the admissions process.
  • 86% exceeded the required two foreign language courses.
  • 99% of enrolled students took a fourth year of math.
  • 88% took a fourth year of science.

How Ohio State Rates Applicants

OSU  considers four factors as “very important” to the admissions process: rigor of high school course load, class rank, academic GPA, and standardized test scores. Items that are “important” as part of the admissions process are: essays, extracurricular activities, talent/ability, first-generation status, and work/volunteer experience. “Considered” factors are: recommendations, character/personal qualities, geographic residence, state residency, and racial/ethnic status.

The admissions staff reads every application carefully and, in their own words, “We seek students whose application demonstrates that they are prepared for the academic rigor of the Ohio State classroom; who are willing to lead; who see strength in diversity of people and ideas; who seek collaboration when solving problems; and who make use of all opportunities to figure out what kind of impact they want to have in the world.”

It is also worth highlighting that recruited athletes enjoy a huge edge. This is because Ohio State takes great pride in their 37 NCAA Division I sports teams. Overall, 1,000+ student-athletes are presently attending the university.

For advice about how to stand out on the extracurricular front, check out our previous blog entitled How Many Extracurricular Activities Do I Need for College?

Where is Ohio State?

Ohio State University’s main campus is located in Columbus, Ohio. The state capital city is the most populous in Ohio. Columbus has been home to OSU for almost 150 years.

Who Gets Into Ohio State?

Let’s look at the demographics of current undergraduates.

  • In-State: 76%
  • Out-of-State: 19%
  • International: 7%

The greatest number of Class of 2025 members hailed from the following states:

  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Michigan
  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Texas
  • California

Among non-residents, competition is stiffest among those hailing from states with endless streams of qualified applicants. If you are from a state in the Deep South like Alabama or Mississippi or a less-populated state like Wyoming or South Dakota, your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances at Ohio State.

Within the state of Ohio, the counties producing the most Class of 2025 members were:

  • Franklin
  • Cuyahoga
  • Delaware
  • Hamilton
  • Summit
  • Warren
  • Lorian
  • Montgomery
  • Stark

Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of the undergraduate student body is as follows:

  • Caucasian/White: 66%
  • Asian American: 8%
  • Hispanic: 5%
  • African American: 7%
  • International: 7%

Current international students are citizens of the following countries:

  1. China
  2. India
  3. Korea
  4. Malaysia
  5. Canada

Looking at the gender breakdown, the university presently enrolls a similar number of both men and women.

  • Men: 51%
  • Women: 49%

Yield Rate

Ohio State’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted is 25%. This figure is lower than other powerhouse state universities like the University of Michigan (45%), UVA (40%), and UCLA (44%), but higher than Penn State University (19%).

Tips for Applying to Ohio State

If you plan on joining the 58,000+ Buckeye hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • You can apply by submitting the Common Application by Nov 1 for Early Action or Feb 1 for Regular Decision.
  • This university does not use interviews as part of their evaluation process.
  • Ohio State does not consider “demonstrated interest” so you will not be judged on whether or not you made a campus visit, contacted an admissions officer, etc.
  • We recommend submitting 1-2 recommendations from your counselor/teachers although none are technically required.
  • In the 2022-23 cycle, Ohio State did not offer any supplemental essay prompts. Therefore, the primary Common App essay takes on an even greater level of important when applying to the university.

CT Advice: With only one essay to complete for Ohio State University, applicants need to channel their efforts into the Common App essay of their choice. For more on the prompts themselves, which might be best to select, and how to begin brainstorming, visit our blog covering the 2022-23 Common App Essay Prompts.

Should I Apply to Ohio State?

Those with SAT/ACT scores within the mid-50% range for Ohio State who are also in the top 10% of their respective high school class are absolutely viable candidates to Ohio State. Those in the top 25% of their class who have other strong credentials will also present as competitive applicants. Residents and non-residents encounter similar admissions standards and odds of acceptance. Of course, it goes without saying that most teens applying to OSU also need to also have a proper mix of “target” and “safety” schools on their college list. Ohio State would only be an appropriate “safety” for students at the very top of their high school class with standardized test scores in the 95th percentile.  More on creating a balanced college list can be found here.