Virtual Update: The Ohio State University
It’s been eight years since I visited The Ohio State University. After that visit I wrote a very long profile, much longer than necessary. I also found many pictures on Pinterest that I will share again. Daytripper University also has several tips to help you plan your visit. Since my visit, Ohio State has grown to accommodate over 46,000 undergraduates in Columbus. Big is the perfect word to describe this school.
The Ohio State campus is less than half the size of Penn State or Rutgers. But the high-rise residence halls, the football stadium, a growing medical complex, and The Oval make the campus feel larger than it really is. No school uses the public space of its student union (picture above) to remind every one of university traditions better than Ohio State. From the lyrics of Carmen Ohio, the school song ringing the atrium to the statue of Brutus Buckeye seated on a park bench, to a restaurant named for legendary football coach Woody Hayes, you have no doubt where you are.
It helps to be a football fan to appreciate some, but not necessarily all, Buckeye traditions. But Ohio State is so large that anyone can find a group of friends who share similar interests, even if they extend beyond parties and football. There are more than 1,000 other student organizations on campus. Like Penn State, Ohio State also has a huge dance marathon, and it packs their main sports arena every spring. There’s a lot more school spirit at either university than I ever saw at Rutgers or Illinois. The freshmen who chose Ohio State two years ago appear to be happy. Ninety-four percent returned for their sophomore year.
It would be easy to say that Ohio State is “Penn State in a city.” In some ways I believe it. These schools charge non-residents about the same. The academic experience is going to be in large classes, quite possibly through all four years. Both schools are attracting a 3.7+ GPA/1300+ SAT/30+ ACT student. They each get 30 percent of their freshmen from out of state. But Ohio State has a larger honors community and offers more merit scholarships. Students can choose from 40 learning communities to help make a large university feel smaller. Incoming freshmen who want to get serious about their academics should consider them when they apply for housing.
Ohio State and Penn State house most of their freshmen. But Ohio State’s halls look larger, because the campus footprint is much smaller. The Lincoln and Morrill Towers, constructed in 1967, are 17 stories high. I’d hate to wait for an elevator if I lived in either hall. The newest halls in the North Residential District, however, are quite nice. Completion of the District added 3,200 beds. One thing you will find at Ohio State that you won’t see at most other schools: quad rooms where four students share bathrooms, bedrooms and study spaces. I realize that saves money, but a quad seems too cramped. Lots of apartment living options are available near campus. But it’s going to be less expensive to share a house.
Ohio State is a big school in a very big city. With nearly 900,000 residents, including students, Columbus is the second most populous city in the Midwest after Chicago.Columbus ranks 14th among American cities. It has over 200,000 more residents than Boston, often considered to be America’s College Town. Columbus might not have four major league sports, as Boston does, but Ohio State can fulfill fan interest in football, basketball, baseball and hockey on its own. The NHL has a home in Columbus. But the hometown Blue Jackets are the only team in the league that has not played in the Stanley Cup Finals.
More important, Ohio State dominates Columbus as far as matching students to internships, jobs and volunteer opportunities. It’s easier to build a resume while working and going to school in Columbus than it ever could be in Boston, and you can ride the public bus for free. The Columbus Region is home to 15 Fortune 1000 headquarters within and immediately outside the city. Being a large city and state capital, Columbus is also a great place to see politics and policy making in action.
Columbus is also the most popular home for Buckeye alumni. Over 134,000 of them are registered in LinkedIn.com. But you’ll have no problem finding enough friends for a watch party in most other US cities, even for sports other than football. Ohio State has produced successful teams in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling. Outside of football, the most famous Buckeye athletes are probably Olympian Jesse Owens and legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus. Two recreation centers on campus are named for Owens; so is a smaller stadium. Owens did not graduate, but he was awarded an honorary degree in 1972. A golf museum and a golf tournament are named for Nicklaus, but he does not have a degree.
Before the middle 1990s Ohio State was an open admissions school. If you applied from anywhere, especially Ohio, and got your materials in on time, you got in. Today admission is far from a sure thing, even for a student with excellent grades and test scores. The majority who apply do get in. But Poets and Quants reported that over 60 percent of the prospective business students were denied for the past two cycles. Architecture, engineering, nursing and pharmacy were likely to be more competitive.
Ohio State will always recruit football players with an eye on playing for a national championship. A 12-1 season is a failure, especially if the loss is to Michigan. But the university will also be looking for better students for every academic program. Ohio State is nobody’s safe school anymore, no matter where you’re from.
Listen to my talk, What Exactly Is a Good College? hosted by test-prep experts Amy Seeley and Mike Bergin on Tests And The Rest!
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