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Planning Your Path to OHIO

At Ohio University we know choosing a college is a big deal. And we know making sure a college is the right fit is an even bigger deal. Believe it or not, the time to apply will be here before you know it. To help you along in your college search journey, we've outlined some helpful milestones and tips so you know exactly how to plan your search and application process. Why? Because we believe preparing for college should be exciting, not stressful!

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Getting Started

Starting out on your path involves exploring your options and deciding what you want from your college experience. This will supply you with the information to make the right college choice! The information below is designed to help you plan ahead for admission to OHIO.

In need of some extra help along the way? Reach out to us at or contact one of our friendly admissions advisors.

Grade 9

We know it feels super early to be planning for college, but putting the work in now will lead to much smoother junior and senior years! Build up your grade point average by concentrating on your studies and taking courses that build a college-prep curriculum foundation. At OHIO, we recommend that you take the following courses before graduation:

  • 4 units of college prep English
  • 4 units of math (including Algebra II or higher)
  • 3 units of science (including 1 unit of physical sciences, 1 unit of life sciences and 1 advanced study)
  • 3 units of social studies (including .5 unit of American history and .5 unit of American government)
  • 2 units of foreign language (3 units required to earn an honors diploma)
  • 1 unit of visual or performing arts
  • 4 units of other electives

Grade 10

Sophomore year is a great time to start thinking about what type of college experience you want. Not sure where to even begin thinking about college? We're listed some helpful prompts and tasks below to get you started! These tips will help you feel prepared as the college search process really heats up during your junior year.

  • Start thinking about what you want in YOUR college experience. In-state or out-of-state? Large city or small town? Large class sizes or smaller? Asking yourself these important questions now can save you headaches down the road.
  • Jot down what interests you. You don't need to have a major picked right now but knowing what interests you can help narrow your search.
  • Get to know your school counselor. Your counselor is your closest resource for information on colleges and universities that fit your strengths and interests. Meeting with your college counselor now can make applying to colleges later much easier and enjoyable!
  • Register for the PSAT or PreACT. These practice exams help you prepare for taking the SAT and/or ACT. While OHIO has adopted a permanent test-optional pathway for admissions, many colleges will require you take either the SAT or ACT to be considered for admission.

Grade 11

This is when the college search process kicks into full gear! To help you stay on your college admissions path, we've organized the important junior year tasks and milestones by time-of-year.

September - March

  • Explore your college choices! As you begin to visit colleges, it's helpful to think about the major you want to study or classes you're interested in taking. If you have no idea about what you want to study in college, that's okay too. OHIO offers incoming students several undecided majors that will allow you to take a variety of classes so you can explore your options before you decide.

March - August

  • Consider taking the ACT and SAT. Many colleges will require you to take either the ACT or SAT tests to be considered for admission, but OHIO has adopted a test-optional pathway for admission. Your school counselor can provide you with registration information for you to take the ACT and SAT tests. We recommend taking at least one test during the summer of your junior year. Taking a test now will ensure that your scores will be available when you start applying to colleges in the fall of your senior year. If you are not satisfied with your score, you will have plenty of time to take the test again.
  • Research scholarships. Begin researching scholarship opportunities in mid-summer. You may want to check with the companies where you or your parents or family members are employed. Look around your community and neighborhood such as your church, civic and charitable organizations. OHIO's Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships provides information on Ohio University scholarships and the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. If you are interested in other sources of funding visit Fastweb.
  • Connect with your admissions advisor. Your OHIO admissions advisor is your go-to resource for all things related to the college search process. Your advisor is prepared to answer your questions and guide you through the admissions process before you ever step foot on campus.
  • Visit college campuses. Now is the time to make a list of qualities you want in a college. Characteristics you may want to consider include:
    • Academic reputation
    • Admission requirements
    • Campus diversity
    • Location
    • Residence hall living
    • Tuition, financial aid and scholarships
  • To prepare for your campus visit you should:
    • Call or register online early to make an appointment. Visit on a weekday, if possible, for a more personal visit and to see the campus while classes are in session. OHIO offers a variety of visit options, including daily in-person visits and a thorough virtual tour.
    • Allow at least three hours for a campus visit to include an information session or interview, a campus tour and a meeting with a faculty member in your area of academic interest.
    • Make sure you have good directions to the campus and allow adequate travel time.
    • Prepare a list of questions for the admissions staff and your tour guide.
    • Be on time.

Grade 12

This is it! The last leg of your journey! You've done the research, made the visits and went on the tours, kept your grades up and had lots of conversations with friends and family. Great work! Below is a timeline to help guide you through the application process.

August - January

  • Consider applying for admission. Ohio University Undergraduate Admissions operates on a holistic, selective review and looks for evidence of academic preparation in a strong college-preparatory curriculum when reviewing applications for admission. Admissions decisions are based on several criteria including your college prep curriculum, performance in curriculum, class rank, overall high school GPA, and ACT and/or SAT scores (if provided).

    The early action application deadline for fall admission is November 15. Complete applications submitted by the deadline will receive priority consideration for direct entry to academic programs, merit scholarship programs and University honors experiences. Apply Today!

October- February

  • Research financial aid opportunities. The responsibility of paying for your college education will rest mainly with you and your family, but there are many types of financial assistance for those who qualify. Make sure you meet all deadlines when applying for financial aid. You should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which allows you to be considered for various financial aid programs. The FAFSA is available online at, or from your school counselor starting in December 2023, and should be completed by February 15, 2024 for priority consideration.


  • Finalize your decision. Review your financial aid opportunities from all colleges and universities to which you have applied. Make visits to your top choices to help you solidify your decision and be sure to confirm your intent to enroll at your final college choice by May 1. At Ohio University you can confirm your intent to enroll by submitting your housing contract with deposit or commuter application.
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