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Admissions more than test scores

Ohio State’s freshman class is the “smartest” OSU has ever seen, according to ACT and SAT scores, but tests scores alone do not guarantee acceptance.

OSU selected this year’s class from 29,247 applicants for Autumn Quarter, 10 percent more than last year, according the Mabel Freeman, assistant vice president for Undergraduate Admissions and First-Year Experience.

Of the nearly 30,000 applicants, only 6,904 students were accepted to main campus.

Judy Tung, a first-year in international business and Spanish, said she had a few friends that did not get into main campus.

“I had friends who have scored higher on the ACT and weren’t in, and some whose were lower and did get in,” Tung said. “It was probably because of their extracurricular activities … (OSU) actually does look at everything.”

Tung said she expected getting into main campus to be difficult, so she made sure her GPA was high enough throughout high school.

Although the freshman class has an average ACT score of 28.03 compared to last year’s of 27.75, Freeman said that being in the top 10 percent, coming in with college credit and a student’s involvement are also factors they consider.

“We want to bring in students who are prepared to be successful at a university with faculty whose standards are pretty high,” Freeman said.

Admissions will continue to raise expectations and standards, Freeman said. They hope to accept more students from the top 10 percent of their high school class, as well as raise SAT and ACT scores a bit.

Compared to other universities and colleges, OSU’s requirements were a lot higher, said Amy Li, a first-year in international studies.

“When I look at some of the requirements for the incoming class, it seemed like it was different from when I was enrolling,” Li said.

A look at retention rates around 1995-1996 showed graduation rates at OSU to be low, Freeman said.

The admissions staff then began looking more at overall preparedness of students that they felt could succeed in their four years at the Columbus campus.

Freeman said first-year retention in the mid-1990’s was closer to 80 percent. Freeman said this year’s retention— last year’s freshmen— is 93 percent.

The biggest drive for these “smarter” students to come to OSU is most likely word-of-mouth, Freeman said.

“I actually believe smarter students talk to other smart students,” Freeman said.

When other students share their experiences as students at OSU, she said it often compels students at the same academic level as their peers to consider applying.

Aside from students, Freeman said by having President E. Gordon Gee and other university leaders travel nationwide and globally, the interest of OSU reaches a much bigger community of people.

She also said the economy might have helped admissions numbers increase.

“Students in earlier years might have chosen to go to a private college or university,” Freeman said.

After comparing, students often realize they can get a public education at universities for much less.

Admissions data from Autumn 2011 show that SAT scores, ACT scores, percentage of students in the top 10 percent and total new freshmen have been steadily increasing over the last 15 years.

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