Ohio State has received more undergraduate applications earlier this year because of a new early action deadline.
The new deadline, Nov. 1, allowed students to receive a nonbinding decision that does not require them to enroll at OSU by mid-December. Previously, that early action deadline was Dec. 1.
Applicants submitting by the deadline also were able to have priority consideration for merit scholarships and OSU’s Honors and Scholars programs, which some OSU officials said made students want to apply sooner.
“Because there was an earlier deadline tied not only to admission decisions, but also priority consideration for honors, scholars and merit scholarships, it created an incentive for them to apply early,” said Vern Granger, OSU vice president of enrollment services and director of admissions.
About 35,000 applications for Fall 2014 have been received as of Tuesday, Granger said.
“This year we have a goal of about 38,000 applications, so we’re definitely on pace to reach the goal that we had,” Granger said.
The new early action deadline was announced at the beginning of Autumn Semester in a newsletter from OSU Undergraduate Admissions. The regular deadline for applications is still Feb. 1.
A Nov. 1 early action deadline is already in place at some universities, such as Case Western Reserve University and University of Michigan.
Last year, OSU received a record-high 35,475 application by the regular deadline and admitted more than 17,000, about 7,000 of whom enrolled. This year, OSU plans to enroll about the same number, 7,000 to 7,100, Granger said.
OSU’s freshmen classes have also been setting records every year since 2005 for their academic strength, with this year’s current freshman class having an average 28.5 composite ACT score and average SAT score of 1,256. Fifty-eight percent of applicants were also in the top 10 percent of their class.
Granger said since OSU just began admitting students in mid-December, it’s hard to make a judgment yet on the quality on this year’s class.
“In general terms, I’m very optimistic with how the applicant pool is looking,” Granger said.
Natalie Brooks, a senior from London High School in London, Ohio, said she took advantage of the new early action deadline.
“My acceptance came two weeks ago. It was a relief to get my letter, and not worry about going to college at a certain place or having to make decisions at the end of the school year,” Brooks said.
This year is OSU’s second using the Common Application, an online college application that services more than 500 schools and enables students to apply to multiple schools with one form.
In the Autumn 2013 newsletter from Undergraduate Admissions, Granger said there was a nearly 25 percent increase in applications from 2012 to 2013, which he attributed in part to the transition to the Common App.
Granger told The Lantern he is seeing similar trends to those he saw in the first year, including having more students apply from out of state.
Some current OSU students said OSU using the Common App has various pros and cons.
“On one hand, it allows for a greater pool of people, but on the other hand it may contradict the founding ideal of OSU being a land-grant institution,” said Derek Spinell, a second-year in communication technology. “More applications, (but) less Ohio students that get into the main campus.”
A land-grant institution is one that was designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The original intent was for the schools to teach agriculture, military tactics and mechanics, as well as classical studies.
Rick LeMaster, a fifth-year in Japanese, was not surprised by the quality of incoming applications from the Common App.
“OSU has been one of the largest schools in the country for a while now, and if it’s attracting smarter students, then that’s a sign that things are being run fairly well,” LeMaster said.
An update to the Common App in August caused problems for students submitting documents and for OSU in downloading them, but Granger said that isn’t an issue anymore.
“At this point, most of the issues with the Common Application have been resolved, and so we’re going through the normal processing cycle,” Granger said.
Brooks said she had no problems with the Common App when submitting her application.
Jerry Kovacich, a senior at Howland High School in Howland, Ohio, was taken off guard by something else when he applied early action with the Common App.
“I was surprised how short the writing prompt had to be … I was just expecting more,” Kovacich said of the personal essay, which is required to be between 250 and 650 words.
Kovacich found out later he had been accepted to OSU.
“I was definitely really happy I got in,” he said.