Planning to apply to Oberlin as a first-year student? You’ve come to the right place! Here you will find information about our application requirements and deadlines.

Additional Information

What We Look For

Oberlin is a highly selective liberal arts college, and we admit about a third of our applicants each year. When making our admissions decisions, we draw upon a holistic review process. The holistic review allows us to get a sense of not only the applicant's academic qualifications, but also of what the applicant is like as a person, and what they will contribute to the Oberlin community. We seek an incoming class that represents a variety of talents, viewpoints, and achievements, and we employ a rigorous review process to ensure that each application receives careful consideration.

When evaluating your academic qualifications, we will spend the most time with your high school transcript, looking at the classes you have taken, the grades you received, and the overall rigor of your course selection. We don't have any minimum requirements for admission, but we expect to see a high school record demonstrating proficiency equivalent to four years of English, four years of mathematics, three years of the same foreign language, three years of laboratory sciences, and three years of social studies. We require you to submit standardized test scores to assist us in our evaluation of your academic abilities, but we believe your classroom performance is a greater indicator of your likelihood of success in the academic environment at Oberlin. 

The holistic review process means that no one element of an application will ever guarantee a student's acceptance or rejection, and we encourage you to give careful attention to each and every aspect of your application.

Application Deadlines

You may choose to apply to Oberlin College under one of two decision plans: Regular Decision or Early Decision. We accept applications for early decision at two different times of the year; applications for regular decision are accepted only once a year. An early decision application is a binding commitment to enroll if accepted and should be submitted only after careful consideration. If you are considering applying early decision, please refer to the early decision page for more information.

Steps Regular Decision Early Decision I Early Decision II
Application Deadline January 15 November 15 January 2
Notification April 1 December 15 February 1
Reply/Deposit Due* May 1 January 2 February 15

All application materials should be postmarked or submitted online by the application deadline. Please be sure to request letters of recommendation well in advance of the deadline.

*A $300 matriculation deposit is required to secure your place in the incoming class. This deposit must be submitted via check or online payment along with your intent-to-enroll card. Failure to submit your deposit by the reply deadline may prevent you from enrolling at Oberlin. Payment plans are available for those experiencing financial hardship.

Requirements

For students in the United States applying to the College of Arts and Sciences as high school seniors. Separate application requirements apply to homeschooled students and to international students. If you are considering applying as a high school junior, please refer to Early Admission in the next section. The College of Arts & Sciences does not require an application fee.

Application Part I

We encourage you to let us know of your interest in applying to Oberlin as early as possible, so that we may follow up with you regarding important dates and requirements. To declare your intention to apply to Oberlin prior to your submission of the Common Application, complete the optional Application Part I

Required Items

We cannot begin reviewing your application until we have received all required components.

Common Application

To be completed online at the Common App website. The Common Application also includes a personal essay. Check out our best essay tips.

Although Oberlin is a member of the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, we will not be accepting the Coalition Application for the 2017-2018 application year. Students applying to Oberlin in fall 2018 will have the option of submitting either the Coalition Application or the Common Application.

Writing Supplement to the Common Application

The required Oberlin writing supplement asks for a response to the prompt: How did your interest in Oberlin develop and what aspects of our college community most excite you? We recommend submitting the Writing Supplement as soon as possible after submission of the Common App. The Writing Supplement has a 250 word limit and should be submitted through the Common App website.

Secondary School Report and High School Transcript

To be completed and sent by your guidance counselor. Available for online completion through the Common App website.

SAT or ACT Score Results

Beginning with applicants planning to enter college in 2017, we will accept scores from the old SAT, the redesigned SAT, or the ACT. Optional essay sections will not be required for either the SAT or ACT. We require either an official score report from the testing agency or the inclusion of your test scores on your official high school transcript.

When assessing SAT results, we will consider on your highest individual old or new scores from all test dates. For example, if you took the old SAT twice, we will look at your highest Critical Reading and Math scores individually. If you took the new SAT twice, we will look at your highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math scores individually. If you took both types of SAT, we will treat them separately and review the best scores on each test.  When assessing ACT results, we will consider on your highest ACT Composite score from all test dates.

Teacher Evaluation (2)

We require two academic teacher evaluations. Forms are available for online completion through the Common App website.


Unless otherwise noted, all materials may be submitted online through the Common App website, mailed to the Office of Admissions, 101 N. Professor St., Oberlin, OH 44074, or faxed to 440-775-6905.

More Materials

Recommended Items

We recommend the following items as valuable ways for you to share more information about yourself and your academic qualifications. We encourage you to complete these items, but will give your application equal consideration without them.

Interview

Interviews allow us to learn more about you, and provide you with the opportunity to learn more about Oberlin. They are available on and off campus. For more information, please visit the interview page.

Optional Items

If you would like to include additional materials to supplement your application, we will accept the following items.

Additional Recommendations

Two recommendations are usually sufficient, but you are welcome to submit an additional letter of recommendation if it will provide relevant information not found in your academic teacher recommendations.

Arts Supplements

Supplemental materials are not sent to faculty members for review, but you are welcome to submit them to highlight for the admissions committee a special accomplishment, talent, or interest. Please review the Submission Guidelines. Materials not submitted in accordance with the guidelines will not be reviewed.

Early Decision Agreement

Required for all students applying Early Decision. Must include parent and guidance counselor signatures. Available for online completion through the Common App website.

SAT II Subject Test Score Results

If you take any SAT II subject exams, you may send us your scores. However, Oberlin does not require SAT II subject tests.

Science Research

If you have been involved in significant scientific research, you are welcome to submit a research abstract or resume to highlight your accomplishments. If you participated in mentored research, you are encouraged to request an additional recommendation letter from a research mentor who has been personally involved in your work.

Non-traditional Applicant Details

Homeschooled Applicants

Oberlin College has a rich diversity of students who bring educational experiences from both conventional and alternative schooling, and we welcome applications from home schooled students. When evaluating applications for admission, the Admissions Committee seeks evidence of academic preparation and proficiency comparable to:

  • 4 years of English
  • 4 years of mathematics
  • 3 years of the same foreign language
  • 3 years of laboratory sciences
  • 3 years of social studies including history

Application

To properly evaluate the academic background of home schooled applicants, Oberlin College has separate application requirements for admission. All of the following are required unless otherwise noted. The College of Arts & Sciences does not require an application fee.

Application Part I

We encourage you to let us know of your interest in applying to Oberlin as early as possible, so that we may follow up with you regarding important dates and requirements. To declare your intention to apply to Oberlin prior to your submission of the Common Application, complete the optional Application Part I

Common Application

To be completed online at the Common App website. The Common Application also includes a personal essay. Check out our best essay tips.

Although Oberlin is a member of the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, we will not be accepting the Coalition Application for the 2017-2018 application year. Students applying to Oberlin in fall 2018 will have the option of submitting either the Coalition Application or the Common Application.

Writing Supplement to the Common Application

The required Oberlin writing supplement asks for a response to the prompt: How did your interest in Oberlin develop and what aspects of our college community most excite you? We recommend submitting the Writing Supplement as soon as possible after submission of the Common App. The Writing Supplement has a 250 word limit and should be submitted through the Common App website.

Academic Portfolio

A detailed syllabus is required that lists the subjects studied each year, the dates each subject was studied, a description of each course of study, major texts used or literature read, and evidence of science laboratory experiences. The Academic Portfolio is to be uploaded in PDF format to Oberlin’s Common App Writing Supplement.

Test Scores

Official score reports from one of the following: ACT, SAT, or new SAT. Optional essay sections are not required. If you do not send us ACT scores, you must submit scores from the SAT (old or new) and from two SAT II subject exams.

Recommendations (2)

Two recommendations from non-parent adults who can provide a meaningful evaluation of your academic and personal characteristics. Non-parent adults include private instructors, coaches, religious leaders, mentors, employers, or sponsors of an extracurricular activity. A parent may submit an additional teacher recommendation if s/he was the primary instructor.

Academic Paper

Provide a copy of a recently written academic paper. Papers do not need to be lengthy, but should be a typical example of your written work. Graded copies are preferred. A recent scientific laboratory report is welcome as an example of an academic paper. The Academic Paper is to be uploaded in PDF format to Oberlin’s Common App Writing Supplement.

Optional Items

If you would like to include additional materials to supplement your application, we will accept the following items.

Additional Recommendations

While the two required non-parent recommendations are often sufficient, you are welcome to submit additional letters of recommendation if they will provide further insight into your academic abilities or experiences. Recommendations from parents may be appropriate if the parent is a primary instructor.

Arts Supplements

Supplemental materials are not sent to faculty members for review, but you are welcome to submit them to highlight for the admissions committee a special accomplishment, talent, or interest. Please review the Submission Guidelines. Materials not submitted in accordance with the guidelines will not be reviewed.

Early Decision Agreement

Required for all students applying Early Decision. Must include parent and guidance counselor signatures. Available for online completion through the Common App website.

Interview

Interviews are not required for admission. In certain cases, however, an interview may be requested by the Office of Admissions. To schedule an interview, please visit the interview page.

Science Research

If you have been involved in significant scientific research, you are welcome to submit a research abstract or resume to highlight your accomplishments. If you participated in mentored research, you are encouraged to request an additional recommendation letter from a research mentor who has been personally involved in your work.

Unless otherwise noted, all materials may be submitted online through the Common App website, mailed to the Office of Admissions, 101 N. Professor St, Oberlin, OH 44074, or faxed to 440-775-6905.


Financial Aid

We meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all admitted students. However, your status as a home schooled student may affect your eligibility for Federal financial aid. Home schooled applicants are eligible to receive Federal Student Aid funds if their secondary school education was in a home school that state law treats as a home or private school. Some states issue a secondary school completion credential to home schoolers. If this is the case in the state where the student was home schooled, they must obtain this credential in order to be eligible for Federal Student Aid funds. For further assistance please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 1-800-693-3173.

Undocumented Applicants

Oberlin College considers undocumented students living in the United States as domestic candidates for admission. Students who qualify for “deferred action,” and have achieved DACA status (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), are particularly encouraged to apply.


Questions and Answers:

Must I have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status to apply to Oberlin?

No, all undocumented students regardless of status may apply for admission.

As an undocumented student will I be considered for financial aid?

An undocumented student must indicate an interest in applying for need-based and/or merit-based financial aid on the Common Application.  If admitted, Oberlin College will meet 100% of every student’s demonstrated need with institutional financial aid.  These funds may include need or merit-based scholarship, campus employment and if appropriate, a loan.

What steps should I take as an undocumented student to apply for financial aid?

We recognize that undocumented students are ineligible to apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All applicants are required to submit the College Board PROFILE form. Please contact the financial aid office by email at financial.aid@oberlin.edu or call 800-693-3173 or 440-775-8142 with any questions. 

What will happen to my financial aid status if I become a US citizen or permanent resident following the initial application process and enrollment?

If an undocumented student becomes a US citizen or permanent resident after completing the application process and enrollment, the student will be eligible to apply for, and receive, other forms of need-based financial aid.

Can an undocumented student apply for need or merit-based financial aid following enrollment if the student did not indicate their intention to apply for need-based financial aid when the application for admission was submitted?

If an undocumented student does not indicate their intention to apply for need or merit-based financial aid on the application for admission and is admitted, they will not be eligible to receive need-based financial aid while enrolled at Oberlin.

QuestBridge Applicants

Since our founding in 1833, Oberlin has been at the forefront of social change. Our history includes being the first college in the United States to admit students regardless of race (1835) and to grant degrees to women in a coeducational program (1837). Today, Oberlin remains committed to access and to forging a diverse and inclusive community. As part of this mission, Oberlin is a proud partner of QuestBridge National College Match.

About QuestBridge

QuestBridge is a national nonprofit founded in 1994 that connects bright, motivated, low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities. Working with highly selective colleges and universities, QuestBridge aims to increase the percentage of talented low-income students attending top colleges and to support them through their college journeys and beyond.

The QuestBridge National College Match is a college and scholarship application process open to academically outstanding high school seniors from low-income families.  Students selected for College Match Scholarships receive loan-free scholarships that cover the full cost of tuition, room, and board.

About Oberlin and QuestBridge

The College of Arts and Sciences partners with QuestBridge and participates in the National College Match program. Students may apply to Oberlin through the QuestBridge Match process, and non-matched students may use their QuestBridge application in lieu of the Common Application. Additional information about how to apply to Oberlin via the QuestBridge application can be found on the QuestBridge website. Students may not apply to the Conservatory of Music through QuestBridge.

Learn More

If you have additional questions about Oberlin and QuestBridge, please email college.admissions@oberlin.edu

Early Admission

Oberlin has no formal program of Early Admission, but for many years we have considered candidates who wish to enter college before completing the customary four years of high school – with or without a secondary school diploma. 

Early Admission candidates compete for admission with all other applicants, and once they enroll they are treated in exactly the same way as are all other students. Consequently, early applicants must be intellectually able and both emotionally and socially mature.  They must also present valid and convincing reasons for early entrance into college.  It must be clear that the student is moving toward a future goal rather than merely seeking to escape from an unhappy situation at home, at school, or in the community. We will give careful consideration to the recommendations of teachers and counselors concerning the applicant's readiness for college. It is of utmost importance that the candidate has taken full advantage of the high school curriculum and has taken a courseload that compares well with that of our senior applicants.

Interviews are not required for admission. In certain cases, however, an interview may be requested by the Office of Admissions. To schedule an interview, please visit the interview page.

Despite the cautionary tone of some of the above statements, it should be emphasized that any mature and capable student who applies to Oberlin for early admission may be sure of careful consideration by the Admissions Committee. Just as we have recognized the principle of variable progress toward the degree in permitting students to accelerate through Oberlin in less than four years, so we believe that students should be admitted to Oberlin when they are ready for it, whenever that may be.

Financial Aid

Oberlin’s financial aid policy is simple: We meet the full demonstrated financial need of every admitted student through a combination of grants, loans, and money earned through student employment. Each year, more than two-thirds of Oberlin students receive some form of need-based financial assistance. Our three-part award package typically includes grants from the college, low-interest students loans, and work-study jobs. We commit more than $59 million annually to provide grant aid directly to students. This makes Oberlin affordable to many talented students who otherwise might not be able to pursue an education at Oberlin.

When you complete a financial aid application, Oberlin automatically considers you for need-based College grants and merit-based scholarships, in addition to any state and federal grants, loans, or work-study programs for which you may qualify.

Applying for Financial Aid

Last year, more than two-thirds of Oberlin students demonstrated financial need and received aid with an average award of more than $37,500—a total of about $60 million. Our Office of Financial Aid analyzes the information you provide on your College Scholarship Service (CSS) PROFILE and establishes a "family contribution" amount for you. This amount will include contributions from both you and your parents. Your demonstrated need is the difference between this family contribution and the cost of attending Oberlin.

Tuition & Fees

The chart below details the expenses involved in an Oberlin education for the current academic year. A number of payment plans and options are available to help make college affordable. See the Office of Student Accounts for details.

Oberlin College Costs 2017-18
for First-year Students
Estimated Expenses
Tuition $52,762 Books $930
Multi-Occupancy Room $7,872 Personal Expenses $978
Board $7,990 Travel varies
Fees* $748    
       
Total $69,372    

Student health insurance is available for purchase at a cost of $1,626 per academic year, billed in the fall semester. Students who have other adequate coverage are not required to purchase this insurance. The deadline to waive the health insurance is August 31, 2017.

*Fees includes a refundable "Green Fee". Students may waive this fee if they do not wish to support the Green Edge Fund.

Scholarships

Students admitted to Oberlin College are automatically considered for the following types of scholarships. You may receive a merit-based award even if you don't qualify for aid based on financial need.

Oberlin College National Merit Scholarships and National Achievement Scholarships
We sponsor a number of National Merit and National Achievement Scholarships in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. If you are a finalist in the National Merit or National Achievement Scholarship competition, you are eligible for consideration for these Oberlin-sponsored scholarships if you:

  • Declare Oberlin as your first-choice college
  • Have filed an application for admission to Oberlin College
  • Have not been selected as a winner of other National Merit or Corporate National Merit Scholarships

College of Arts and Sciences 

A limited number of merit-based scholarships are available for students in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Office of Admissions makes the awards based on academic achievement and notifies students selected to receive merit awards at the time of admission.

Yellow Ribbon Project

Oberlin College participates in the Yellow Ribbon Project for post-9/11 veterans and their children. Additional financial aid funds are available to veterans and their children. Please visit the Financial Aid website for additional information. 

Conservatory Dean's Awards
These scholarships are awarded on the basis of audition ratings and ensemble needs. The Office of Conservatory Admissions notifies selected students at the time of admission.

Restricted Scholarship Programs
Oberlin College offers special scholarships for graduates of Oberlin High School and for children of Oberlin College employees. Contact us for more information about Restricted Scholarship Programs.

See the Financial Aid website for more information on scholarship policies.

Loans

Many students must borrow money to meet the costs of their college education. Loans can be extremely useful, but understanding their terms and conditions may be confusing. We have centralized loan information to help you find answers to your questions about the loan process. This information is for students who have never borrowed funds before.

If you cannot find what you need here, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Student Employment

Oberlin participates in the Federal Work-Study Program. Most financial aid packages include on-campus employment during the academic year. Students typically work up to 20 hours per week in dining halls, the library, computing center, and academic and administrative departments.

Jobs and information are posted on the Student Employment web page.

Apply

Required Items

  • Common application
  • Writing supplement to the common application
  • Secondary school report and high school transcript
  • SAT or ACT score results
  • Teacher evaluation (2)

Recommended Item

  • Interview

Optional Item

  • Additional recommendations
  • Arts supplements
  • Early decision agreement (required for all students applying Early Decision)
  • SAT II Subject Test score results
  • Science Research

Begin your application