Although Oberlin has no specific entrance requirements, candidates for admission generally present a minimum of 15 academic units, including courses in English, foreign language, mathematics, laboratory science, and social science. An academic unit is equivalent to one year of study in a particular subject area.
Candidates should provide evidence of successful completion of diploma requirements at an accredited secondary school or acceptable evidence of the equivalent of a high school education.
It is generally true that candidates who show great promise as musicians have also performed at a high level in academic courses in secondary school. On occasion, however, the demands on a talented musician are so great as to affect performance in the classroom. This should not be of great concern to applicants, since musical talent, as demonstrated in an audition, is more important than academic achievement in determining admission to the conservatory.
Domestic and English as a primary language applicants: Oberlin College and Conservatory has moved to a test-optional model starting with the 2020-2021 admissions cycle and continuing as a pilot program through the 2022-2023 application year. SAT and ACT score submissions will still be accepted, but will no longer be required. If desired, you may submit results from SAT II subject exams.
SAT Code: 1587
ACT Code: 3304
On the Common Application, you also have the opportunity to provide a self-reported score for the exam taken, or the date on which you expect to take the exam.
Note: If you would like to submit one of the exams and it is not possible to take one or more of the exams where you live, you may contact us for a waiver. Be aware, however, that applicants who provide a standardized test score may be considered more favorably.
International applicants (in which English is not the primary language of instruction): Applicants whose first language is not English must submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). There is no absolute minimum score on any test for Oberlin; students scoring lower than 60 on the Internet-based TOEFL, however, are less likely to be competitive applicants. Scores between 60 and 80 are considered favorably, though all students with scores below 80 may be asked to complete additional assessment of their English proficiency during the audition process. Scores must be sent directly to Oberlin by the testing service. See more information about the TOEFL at www.ets.org/toefl/. See more information about the IELTS at www.ielts.org.
TOEFL Code: 1587
Theory Test Requirements
As part of the application and audition evaluation process, the admissions committee considers your music theory knowledge. Your Applicant Portal will contain a link to complete the online Music Theory Exam. This test will also serve as a basic placement test for the Division of Music Theory should you be admitted to Oberlin and choose to enroll. Students who achieve a high score will be invited to take additional tests in theory during the summer for possible placement in a more advanced class.
Theory Test Deadline: February 15 at midnight
Homeschooled applicants to the conservatory should submit an academic portfolio, with a detailed syllabus 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. In addition, test scores from either the SAT I or ACT are required.