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. In a rare instance, we will consider candidates who wish to enter Oberlin Conservatory before completing the customary four years of high school—with or without a secondary school diploma.
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.
Undergraduate applicants must submit the results of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT I) of the College Board or the admissions tests of the American College Testing (ACT) Program. Canadian citizens are expected to submit SAT I results as well. Oberlin College and Oberlin Conservatory have one SAT code: 1587 and one ACT code: 3304.
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.
Theory Test Requirements
As part of the application and audition evaluation process, the admissions committee considers your music theory knowledge. Once you have submitted the Oberlin Conservatory Application for Admission, you will receive an email with a link to take the theory test online. The test will run approximately 60 minutes and you are only allowed to take it once. 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 Deadlines: 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, the test scores from either SAT I, or the ACT with writing exam are required.