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Admission to either division of Oberlin College--the College of Arts and Sciences or the Conservatory of Music--is competitive and selective, and based on a student's prior achievement as well as future promise. Students may apply to both divisions. Separate applications, fees, transcripts and recommendation forms are required for each division. Students admitted to both divisions can choose to enroll in either the College of Arts and Sciences or the Conservatory of Music or in the five-year Double-Degree Program (leading to a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music degree). Decisions on the two applications are reached independently.

Application for Admission

Applicants should write to the appropriate Admissions Office for application forms, indicating the date they plan to graduate from high school. Application forms for high school seniors are available after August 1. High school juniors may file a preliminary request card, which is kept on file to ensure forwarding of the application at the appropriate time.

Oberlin enrolls new students in September and February.

Applications for fall semester must be postmarked by

November 15 (College of Arts and Sciences, Early Decision I);

January 2 (College of Arts and Sciences, Early Decision II);

January 15 (College of Arts and Sciences Regular Decision and

international students);

February 15 (Conservatory freshmen and transfer applicants); and

March 15 (College of Arts and Sciences transfer applicants).

All applications for spring semester must be submitted by November 15.

Early Admission

Students wishing to enter Oberlin before completing the traditional four years of high school should submit a letter outlining their educational goals and provide evidence that they are socially and emotionally ready for the challenge of college. Early Admission students are required to visit the campus for an interview.

College of Arts and Sciences


Students applying to Oberlin should present a program of studies combining breadth and depth, and are encouraged to include enriched or Advanced Placement courses when available.

The best-prepared candidates usually present the following:

four years of English (with an emphasis on writing);

three years of one foreign language;

four years of mathematics;

three years of natural science; and

three years of social studies, including history.

Applicants whose interests in college may require calculus should take as much mathematics as possible. Trigonometry and pre-calculus are especially recommended.

For students intending to major in the natural sciences, courses in biology, chemistry and physics are all highly desirable. Foreign language study beyond the third year is also highly desirable.

Students from secondary schools that do not offer all of these courses should not feel discouraged from applying to Oberlin, especially if they have strong records of achievement within their schools and are looking for an academic challenge at the college level. Oberlin seeks students who exhibit traits of leadership and significant involvement in their schools and communities, and gives careful individual attention to each application. Entry-level foundation and introductory courses are offered to help entering students of special circumstance. For example, Mastering Skills for Efficient Reading is a course designed to improve critical reading skills.

Students who have been enrolled in ungraded or innovative systems should present evidence of serious academic and intellectual effort, including detailed recommendations from a variety of academic teachers and counselors. Home-schooled students should contact the appropriate Admissions Office for information about Oberlin's Home School policy.


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Admissions Testing Program

Candidates for admission to the College of Arts and Sciences must submit the results of either the SAT I: Reasoning Test of the College Board or the admissions tests of the American College Testing (ACT) Program. Students whose native language is not English must submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the University of Michigan English Language Proficiency Examination (MELAB). Three SAT II: Subject Tests, one of which should be the Writing Test, are recommended. Although the Admissions Committee prefers that applicants take the tests early in the senior year, the results of tests taken on other dates are accepted. Details concerning application for the examination may be obtained from a high-school guidance counselor.

Admission with Advanced Placement

Incoming students may receive credit toward graduation for prior achievement in:

1. successful completion of college-level course work in secondary school, as measured by performance on the College Board Advanced Placement Program (AP) examination;

2. successful completion of approved liberal arts courses taken at a college while enrolled in high school; credit for such courses must appear on a transcript from an accredited college or university; and

3. work completed in International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.

AP credit is granted on the assumption the student does not enroll in an equivalent course at Oberlin.

Oberlin does not recognize the results of CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and other programs of credit by examination not tied to completion of specific courses leading up to the tests. Academic credit is not granted to incoming students for experiential learning programs.

Individual departments in which AP credit is being requested decide standards and credit granted. Information on those guidelines is included in each department's description of course offerings.

The following departments grant AP credit: biology, chemistry, classics (Latin), English, German, history, mathematics, computer science, music (theory only), physics, politics, psychology and romance languages (French and Spanish).

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program

Oberlin grants up to a total of 28 hours; eight semester hours of credit toward graduation for each higher-level course completed in the International Baccalaureate program with a score of 6 or 7 and four hours of credit toward graduation for each higher-level course completed with a score of 5. Oberlin students planning to take additional hours in subjects in which they have received IB credit must negotiate with the department involved. A student may have to relinquish some IB credit initially earned if the work is repeated at Oberlin.

Admission of Transfer Students

The method of selecting transfer students is essentially the same as for freshmen. In addition to the record of preparatory work, personal recommendations and SAT I, ACT or TOEFL scores, an applicant must submit an official transcript of college work completed, a list of courses being carried during the current term/semester and evidence of good academic standing. Final decisions concerning the amount of credit to be assigned are deferred until the completion of work at the previous college. Where grades are available, the strongest candidates usually have a B average or better and have provided the Admissions Committee with valid reasons for transfer. Conservatory of Music applicants should refer to that division's catalog section for information about audition requirements.

Transfer students should plan to complete the requirements for graduation in not less than four semesters. No student can graduate without four semesters of residence and the completion at Oberlin of 56 credit hours (for Arts and Sciences majors) or 62 hours (for Conservatory of Music majors) of college work.


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Conservatory of Music

The single most important criterion for admission to the Conservatory of Music is the performance audition or, in the case of composers, the compositions submitted. The audition standards are the same for all candidates regardless of intended majors. Prospective non-performance majors (e.g. music education) are scheduled for conferences with faculty members at the time of their on-campus auditions.

Admission Auditions

Conservatory of Music applicants audition in their principal performing medium (instrument or voice) unless applying for admission as a composition or electronic and computer music major. Under normal circumstances an applicant will be limited to an audition in one performing area.

Candidates are encouraged to audition in person at Oberlin. During January and February, however, regional auditions are held throughout the country. Please contact the Conservatory of Music Admissions Office for details.

Applicants may submit tape-recorded auditions only if travel to Oberlin or to a regional audition is cost-prohibitive. Transfers to Oberlin should try to audition in person. Composers are asked to submit scores of at least three recent works that demonstrate aptitude for this major.

Details on auditions are furnished with final application materials. The Conservatory of Music notifies applicants of the outcome of their applications by April 1.

Aptitude and Achievement Tests

Candidates for admission to the Conservatory of Music must submit results of either the SAT I: Reasoning Test of the College Board or the admissions tests of the American College Testing (ACT) Program. Although the Admissions Committee prefers that applicants take the test late in the junior year or early in the senior year, it accepts results from other testing dates. Details concerning application for the examination may be obtained from a high-school guidance counselor. No achievement tests are required. Transfer applicants who have successfully completed a college English composition course are not required to submit SAT or ACT results.

Expository Writing Proficiency

Students with an SAT verbal score below 580, or an ACT score below 24, or a TOEFL score below 600 must complete one course chosen from the EXWR 111-119 series.

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