All eyes were on Ohio State after the Buckeyes’ 42-20 win over the University of Oregon in the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship, but the team’s success on the field does not necessarily mean that more applications will roll in for the next academic year.
Vern Granger, vice president of enrollment services and director of admissions, stated in an email that “it is hard to determine whether (OSU) will receive a bump in applications due to the national championship in football.”
He added, however, that OSU has been continuing the trend of receiving more applications for next school year.
“Throughout this current admission cycle, the Columbus campus has been tracking ahead of the number of applications received last year, as we have over the past several years,” Granger said. “Prior to the start of the current admission cycle, we made additional investments in application readers and training in anticipation of an increase in applications.”
In fall 2013, OSU’s Columbus campus received 35,474 new first-year student applications total. In fall 2014, OSU received 42,791 applications total, according to Admissions Comparison and Summary Reports.
Granger was unable to comment on whether an increase in applications would make getting into OSU more competitive, if admissions qualifications would change or if the university expects more admitted students to accept and attend OSU.
“We are still in the middle of our admission review cycle, so it is hard to say at this point,” he said.
Looking back to the last time the Buckeyes won the national championship after the 2002-03 season, there was actually a slight decrease in new first-year student applications from fall 2002 to fall 2003.
In fall 2002, OSU’s Columbus campus received 20,599 applications total, and in fall 2003, OSU received 20,270 according to Admissions Comparison and Summary Reports.
In an interview with The Lantern on Jan. 26, President Michael Drake said that although he enjoyed watching the Buckeyes win the national championship, he thinks other factors besides the football team’s win influence prospective students’ decisions to attend the university.
“I think the real attractive force for students and the real attractive force for our philanthropy is the quality of our programs,” he said. “It is wonderful to bathe in the light of a championship performance. The benefit, the boost we get from that is the ‘who we are and how well we do things and how well we work together’ part of it, rather than the fact that we happened to score more points than another team in a game.”
Drake said he thinks the national championship might have an impact on high school football recruits, though.
“I think the national championship, if it is to have an effect that is measurable, the effect that I expect would be recruiting for the football program, that the very best players want to be in the very best programs. And to that extent, you are the first-ever official very best program,” he said. “That is a positive recruiting thing and I am hoping that we will see that this spring.”
Garrett Park, a third-year in sport industry and communication, said he thinks that the national championship could have both a positive and negative effect on how prospective students view OSU.
“It’s definitely going to help increase applications and enrollment, but at the same time I think that it’s also going to hurt,” Park said. “When you see teams that are successful, a lot of students kind of get a bad view of them (out of jealousy). I think Ohio State could be on their way to a dynasty in which it would actually hurt out-of-state applications.”
Some students said they think that the Buckeyes’ national championship win will have a positive impact on the university.
“We’re an amazing academic institution, and I think when students see that and see the pride of the Buckeyes and how big of a school we are, it kind of gives them an incentive to want to be a part of the greatness as well,” Rose said.