Best Colleges in Ohio

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by Staff Writers
Published on August 19, 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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As of May 2018, some of Ohio's top employment fields include healthcare, education, and business operations. Ohio residents enjoy a low 4.2% unemployment rate, which falls within the range economists call full employment, a time when the number of job seekers matches the number of open positions. In this economic environment, job seekers can find a lucrative and fulfilling career much faster than in times of high unemployment. To take advantage of Ohio's growing economy, consider earning a bachelor's or master's degree at one of the state's excellent colleges or universities.

Top 10 Colleges in Ohio

  1. Ohio State University - Columbus, OH
  2. Kenyon College - Gambier, OH
  3. Oberlin College - Oberlin, OH
  4. Denison University - Granville, OH
  5. Cedarville University - Cedarville, OH
  6. Case Western Reserve University - Cleveland, OH
  7. The College of Wooster - Wooster, OH
  8. Ohio Northern University - Ada, OH
  9. Franciscan University of Steubenville - Steubenville, OH
  10. Miami University-Oxford - Oxford, OH

Featured Online Programs

The following ranking highlights the 25 best colleges and universities in Ohio. The descriptions include essential information regarding each school's academic programs, student support services, and scholarship opportunities, among other details that will help you choose an excellent college or university. You can use the embedded links to learn more about a school or contact a school directly if you have additional questions.

Each institution possesses accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and many schools boast additional programmatic accreditation.

Best Accredited Colleges in Ohio

Ohio State University View School Profile Columbus, OH

The best public university on this ranking, the Ohio State University provides its 65,000 students with more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs. Undergraduate majors at this Ohio university cover a wide range of fields, including African American and African studies, arts management, and engineering physics. The university also boasts nearly three dozen entirely online bachelor's programs.

The University Honors Program at OSU provides academically gifted students with small class sizes, rigorous courses, and multiple study abroad experiences. Admission to the program requires an essay. Unlike in other honors programs, the student experience varies depending on which OSU college they attend.

The school requires applicants to submit GED scores or high school transcripts, as well as ACT or SAT scores. All incoming students select an intended major when enrolling. Competitive merit-based scholarships include the Eminence Fellows Program and Scholarship, which awards full tuition and a stipend to eligible freshmen.

Kenyon College View School Profile Gambier, OH

A private college affiliated with the Anglican Church, Kenyon College educates approximately 1,700 students on its Gambier campus. All undergraduates at this Ohio college complete an in-depth liberal arts curriculum that includes courses in the humanities and social sciences. Kenyon also requires one year of a foreign language. Popular majors include music, anthropology, and political science.

Outside of class, learners can select from dozens of student clubs and organizations. Hillel, Canterbury Kenyon, and other religious organizations on campus allow students to reaffirm their faith and socialize with like-minded peers. As degree-seekers approach graduation, they can visit the Career Development Office to receive resume-writing assistance and network with alumni.

Application requirements include high school transcripts, a recommendation letter from a teacher, and standardized test scores. The college recommends that applicants to arts programs submit a portfolio. Kenyon provides need-based aid to qualified students, and incoming degree-seekers do not need to submit a separate application to apply for the college's merit-based scholarship opportunities.

Oberlin College View School Profile Oberlin, OH

With over 50 undergraduate academic programs, Oberlin College attracts prospective students interested in biology, history, and political science, among other popular majors. The college's Conservatory of Music trains the next generation of classical and contemporary musicians. Additionally, both the conservatory and the College of Arts and Sciences provide degree-seekers with valuable support services, including tutoring workshops.

OC's dozens of student groups fall under eight broad categories, including politics, publications, and special interests. One of the college's most famous traditions is the art rental program, wherein students can rent pieces by famous artists, including Picasso, to display in a dorm room or common area on campus.

Prospective students can apply for the fall semester. OC prefers applicants who possess a high school diploma, and other application requirements include two teacher recommendations and standardized test scores. OC awards multiple merit-based scholarships to freshmen and transfer students, and veterans and active-duty military personnel benefit from the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Denison University View School Profile Granville, OH

Founded in 1831, Denison University is one of the oldest institutions on this ranking. This former Baptist institution awards BA, BS, and BFA degrees in nearly 50 areas, including biology, cinema, and religion. Denison also offers minors and areas of concentration in Japanese, Chinese, and financial economics, among other subjects.

Degree-seekers at Denison can enhance their academic experience by studying abroad, including through three-week trips to countries like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Other exciting extracurricular activities at this Ohio university include fraternities and sororities, club sports, and the Student Government Association. Also, five service groups allow learners to give back to the local community.

Denison accepts the Common Application and admits prospective students who possess GED scores. The university recommends, but does not require, standardized test scores or an interview. Incoming degree-seekers with an excellent high school GPA may qualify for a full-tuition scholarship. Merit-based scholarships do not require a separate application.

Cedarville University View School Profile Cedarville, OH

A Baptist college, Cedarville University boasts more than 130 academic programs, including graduate degrees and online learning options. Some undergraduate majors, including biology, marketing, and music, offer a three-year option wherein students take courses in an accelerated format. Additionally, graduate programs in business and nursing provide multiple concentration areas.

Academic support and assistance at Cedarville take many forms. Academic advisors help students select courses, declare a major, and stay on track for graduation. At the Cove, learners can participate in peer tutoring and receive disability resources, if necessary. Also, the university's writing center provides one-on-one assistance.

All prospective students should submit a statement affirming their faith in Jesus Christ. Other application requirements at this Ohio university include a Christian leader recommendation and standardized test scores. Incoming degree-seekers with a minimum 34 ACT score and 4.0 high school GPA may qualify for the President's Society Fellows Scholarship, which awards $20,000 per year.

Case Western Reserve University View School Profile Cleveland, OH

Founded in 1967, Case Western Reserve University now serves nearly 12,000 students through 10 colleges and schools. The School of Engineering enrolls the largest number of degree-seekers and features undergraduate majors in computer science, mechanical engineering, and polymer science.

Student organizations at this Ohio university include multiple honor societies and career-oriented professional groups. CWRU also hosts more than 40 fraternities and sororities. Annual on-campus events include homecoming, senior week, and graduate student appreciation week. Nearly 40% of CWRU undergraduates study abroad for periods ranging from one month to one calendar year.

CWRU admits new degree-seekers in the fall semester and accepts the Common Application. Applicants to undergraduate programs should submit a counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations. Incoming undergraduate and graduate students do not submit a separate application to apply for merit-based scholarships, some of which award up to $20,000 per year.

The College of Wooster View School Profile Wooster, OH

At the College of Wooster, undergraduates can earn a bachelor of arts, music, or music education. This Ohio college emphasizes undergraduate research, allowing even first-year students to assist professors with research projects. The school also provides funding for sophomores performing research in a foreign county. In their junior and senior years, degree-seekers work with a faculty advisor to develop and implement an independent research project. Many learners use this project as part of a graduate school application portfolio.

Outside of class, learners can explore more than 100 student clubs and organizations, as well as over a dozen fraternities and sororities. Faith-based organizations include Hillel and the Wooster Christian Fellowship. Additionally, when degree-seekers need academic support, they can visit APEX, a center that provides valuable academic and career-planning assistance.

Prospective students applying for the fall semester must submit high school transcripts, two teacher evaluations, and standardized test scores. Wooster's early application deadline is generally in early November. Merit-based scholarships at this Ohio college award up to $35,000 per year.

Ohio Northern University View School Profile Ada, OH

Ohio Northern University is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and educates approximately 3,100 students, the vast majority of whom pursue an undergraduate degree. The university's College of Arts and Sciences boasts more than 50 majors, including art education, construction management, and nursing. ONU's four graduate programs train the next generation of accountants, lawyers, and pharmacists.

The Student Success Center at ONU coordinates the university's advising and tutoring programs, as well as study abroad opportunities. Learners who visit the center can also receive career advice and hone their writing skills. Other support services at this Ohio university include first-year seminars, which instill valuable analytical, writing, and research skills.

Prospective undergraduates submit the Common Application, high school transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores. Applicants to graduate programs submit additional materials. The average ONU degree-seeker receives over $23,000 per year in financial aid. The university features a unique financial aid program wherein high school students planning to attend ONU can accumulate scholarships by earning good grades, taking a campus tour, or working a part-time job.

Franciscan University of Steubenville View School Profile Steubenville, OH

A Catholic college, Franciscan University of Steubenville offers 41 undergraduate majors and seven graduate programs. Popular undergraduate majors include British and American literature, humanities and Catholic culture, and sacred music. With a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, this Ohio university provides all students with individualized attention. Additionally, Franciscan offers two undergraduate and five undergraduate programs that degree-seekers can complete entirely online.

Chapel ministries at Franciscan play a vital role in student life. The university hosts three on-campus religious services each day, as well as special events throughout the week. The university also takes learners and faculty on pilgrimages to Austria, Rome, and Israel, among other locations important to the Christian faith.

Prospective students should possess a minimum 2.4 high school GPA and 21 ACT or 1000 SAT score. To earn transfer credit, students must have achieved a minimum 2.2 undergraduate GPA. Merit-based scholarships for incoming freshmen award $6,000-$12,000 per year and renew automatically as long as degree-seekers earn good grades. Transfer students may qualify for up to $6,000 per year in financial aid.

Miami University-Oxford View School Profile Oxford, OH

Nearly 20,000 students choose Miami University for the school's excellent undergraduate and graduate programs. Bachelor's programs include analytics, art therapy, and family science. The university's Graduate School awards master's and doctoral degrees in more than 50 subjects, including biology and social gerontology.

Academically accomplished undergraduates can enhance their degree by applying to the Presidential Fellows Program. Fellows receive a full-tuition scholarship, as well as a $5,000 stipend to support original research. This honors program uses a cohort learning model wherein a small group of students moves through the program together. However, fellowship participants can still study abroad and participate in other academic opportunities outside of the cohort.

MU generally sets an early February application deadline for the fall semester. Applicants must submit the Common Application, one recommendation letter, and ACT or SAT scores. Graduate school application requirements vary by program and may include an essay, GMAT or GRE scores, and a resume. Incoming learners with an excellent high school GPA can receive up to $32,000 per year in merit-based scholarships.

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus View School Profile Cincinnati, OH

The oldest university in Ohio, the University of Cincinnati educates approximately 46,000 students. The university's 14 schools and colleges boast undergraduate and graduate degrees in the arts and sciences, music, criminal justice, and medicine, among other fields. Online learners have more than 80 programs from which to choose. The University Honors Program provides this Ohio university's top 1,500 undergraduates the chance to perform research, volunteer in the local community, and network with peers.

Outside of class, learners can join a fraternity or sorority, participate in student government, and select from dozens of student clubs and organizations. UC is also home to many honor societies and intramural sports leagues.

Freshmen applicants must submit the Common Application, which includes an essay. UC accepts GED scores from transfer students who earned some credit at a community or two-year college. The university does not use a separate application for financial aid. The Cincinnatus Scholarship awards full tuition to incoming degree-seekers with an excellent high school GPA and exemplary standardized test scores.

University of Dayton View School Profile Dayton, OH

University of Dayton students can learn on campus, online, or at the university's satellite campus in Suzhou, China. UD boasts five schools that award undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas such as health sciences, engineering, business administration, and law. The university emphasizes service learning, wherein learners travel abroad to study and give back to the local community.

Students can choose to join more than 250 organizations and clubs. UD hosts a chapter of Habitat for Humanity, along with many other volunteering associations, including American Red Cross Club, College Mentors for Kids, and ETHOS. Additionally, learners in good academic standing can join a fraternity or sorority.

Prospective undergraduates submit the Common Application and ACT or SAT scores. UD accepts applications for the fall semester and does not require a separate form for merit-based scholarships. Merit-based scholarships award $56,000-$112,000 over four years.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University View School Profile Mount Vernon, OH

Mount Vernon Nazarene University educates over 2,200 students on its several Mount Vernon campuses, as well as online. The vast majority of degree-seekers pursue an undergraduate program, and all learners enjoy a 16-to-1 student-teacher ratio. The most popular undergraduate majors include engineering, nursing, and business. MVNU designed its graduate programs for adult learners who are working full time or raising a family.

The MVNU Honors Program accepts incoming freshmen who earned a minimum 3.5 high school GPA and 26 ACT score. The specialized honors curriculum blends religious instruction and an honors seminar. As upperclassmen, honors students create an individualized research project, the results of which they present at the university's annual research symposium.

Although MVNU maintains a high acceptance rate, prospective degree-seekers should possess a competitive high school GPA and standardized test scores. Incoming degree-seekers with a 3.5 high school GPA and 33 ACT score may qualify for the University Scholars Fellowship, which awards full tuition. Applicants to this financial aid opportunity should attend an interview on campus.

Youngstown State University View School Profile Youngstown, OH

Dating back to 1908, Youngstown State University hosts six undergraduate colleges that boast over 170 majors. Degree-seekers can customize a program by completing a minor in biomathematics, French, or gerontology, among many other subjects. Graduate students can choose from more than 50 degrees. Online programs at YSU include six undergraduate and 12 graduate degrees.

Student support services at YSU aim to help all learners achieve their academic and career goals. This begins with first-year students attending orientation, which involves networking with upperclassmen and learning about other on-campus resources. Career services at this Ohio college include resume critiques, professional photographs, and workshops on a variety of topics, including how to develop a LinkedIn profile.

YSU accepts GED scores, and applicants with a high school diploma should have a minimum 2.0 GPA. This Ohio university also uses standardized test score cutoffs. Incoming learners interested in financial aid should submit FAFSA results and the YSU Foundation scholarship application.

Mount Saint Joseph University View School Profile Cincinnati, OH

From its Delhi Township campus, Mount St. Joseph University educates approximately 2,300 students. Popular undergraduate majors at this Ohio university include communication and new media studies, early childhood education, and religious studies. Undergraduate options also include four certificates and two licenses. Nearly half the university's graduate programs help aspiring and practicing educators learn new skills and earn a license or endorsement.

The honors program at MSJ provides students with a personalized curriculum. Learners can major in any subject, and advisors help them design honors experiences for every course. Application requirements include a minimum 3.2 high school GPA and excellent standardized test scores.

MSJ accepts GED scores and uses a holistic review process when considering each application. Freshmen applicants submit standardized test scores, and the university recommends including recommendation letters. Incoming freshmen and transfer students may qualify for up to $21,000 per year in merit-based scholarships.

Walsh University View School Profile North Canton, OH

A Catholic college situated in North Canton, Walsh University features over 70 undergraduate majors and seven graduate programs. Majors include cybersecurity, legal studies, and graphic design. Graduate programs boast multiple concentration areas; for example, master's in education students can specialize in one of seven subjects. Additionally, students earning a degree online can select from 11 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs.

Experiential learning at Walsh plays a vital role in students' academic and personal growth. The university provides more than 18 study abroad opportunities each year, including optional internships. Also, all undergraduates take at least one service-learning course and complete one internship in the local community. These experiences are intended to bolster degree-seekers' resumes and impart vital skills.

Prospective undergraduates must submit high school transcripts or GED scores. Walsh requires a minimum 18 ACT or 870 SAT score. Incoming freshmen may qualify for up to $16,000 per year in merit-based scholarships. The university awards faith-based and need-based awards to eligible learners, as well.

Ashland University View School Profile Ashland, OH

Ashland University, which is affiliated with the Brethren Church, emphasizes Christian values. The university's five colleges and schools award bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in the arts and sciences, business, and education, among other subjects. Many undergraduate programs prepare degree-seekers for an Ohio teaching license, while students preparing for managerial-level careers can select from multiple business administration and management options.

AU's honors program caps courses at 20 students, meaning that all learners can receive individualized attention from a professor. Honors students live in a special dorm, participate in an exclusive study abroad experience, and complete a capstone project in their senior year. Other degree-seekers at this Ohio university can also study abroad in one of 38 countries.

Applicants must either submit qualifying GED scores or a high school diploma and transcripts with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Potential undergraduate students who graduated from high school or passed the GED exam in the three years before applying must also submit standardized test scores. Scholarships at AU typically amount to $2,000-$12,500 per year.

John Carroll University View School Profile University Heights, OH

At John Carroll University, all undergraduates complete a rigorous core curriculum that promotes students' academic, social, and spiritual development. Core courses include language study and an in-depth analysis of the Jesuit heritage. The College of Arts and Sciences features many unique majors, including child and adolescent health and wellness, cell and molecular biology, and leadership development. Many graduate-level programs help practicing teachers earn an endorsement.

JCU hosts four fraternities and five sororities. Other student clubs and organizations at this Ohio university include intramural sports and service-learning groups. JCU's student support services include pre-major and major advisors who help degree-seekers stay on track for graduation. Students may also access tutoring and career planning resources.

Prospective first-time students must submit the Common Application and standardized test scores. Transfer credit must reflect a minimum 2.5 GPA. Both freshmen and transfer students may qualify for up to $20,000 per year in university scholarships, none of which require a separate application.

Bowling Green State University View School Profile Bowling Green, OH

An excellent choice for prospective learners living in and around Bowling Green, Bowling Green State University opened in 1910 as a teacher training school. Today, the university boasts more than 200 undergraduate majors in four schools. A satellite campus in Findlay also conducts MBA courses. Additionally, degree-seekers wanting a personalized educational experience should consider BGSU's Firelands campus, which boasts an 18-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

The Honors College at BGSU features small class sizes and courses that help students hone their critical thinking and analytical skills. Honors degree-seekers should maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA to remain in good academic standing and qualify for up to five exclusive scholarship and grant opportunities.

BGSU boasts four application pathways for freshmen applicants and provides multiple on-campus and online orientation options. Both first-time and transfer students may qualify for a $1,000-$8,000 per year scholarship. Scholarships at this Ohio university renew automatically as long as recipients earn excellent grades.

Ohio Wesleyan University View School Profile Delaware, OH

Located in Delaware, Ohio, Ohio Wesleyan University is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Its 1,600 undergraduates can select from over 100 majors, including physics, religion, and zoology. Although the university does not award graduate degrees, it boasts graduate degree partnerships wherein academically gifted students can receive guaranteed admission to a top graduate program. Also, the university's honors program challenges degree-seekers to hone their research and analytical skills.

All degree-seekers at OWU live on campus, which encourages socialization and networking. Besides traditional dormitories, housing options include fraternity and sorority houses and small living units, which allow students with similar interests to live together. The university also offers many faith-based activities and groups.

OWU accepts new students in the fall semester. Applicants must submit the Common Application, high school transcripts or GED scores, and ACT or SAT scores. The university also encourages applicants to provide a recommendation letter from a teacher. Incoming degree-seekers do not submit a separate financial aid application, and scholarship opportunities provide up to $30,000 per year.

Xavier University View School Profile Cincinnati, OH

A Jesuit institution located in Cincinnati, Xavier University educates approximately 6,600 undergraduate and graduate learners. This Ohio university features more than 90 undergraduate majors, including exercise science, economics, and psychology. With a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, the university provides degree-seekers with an individualized educational experience. Prospective online students can select from nine graduate programs, such as criminal justice or Montessori education.

Outside the classroom, Xavier students commit over 80,000 hours each year to community service projects both in Ohio and around the world. Other extracurricular activities include more than 170 clubs and organizations. Additionally, students who need tutoring resources can attend free sessions at the Conaton Learning Commons.

Prospective students typically must submit the Common Application by early December. Some undergraduate programs, including nursing and occupational therapy, require additional application materials, such as a work portfolio or teacher recommendation. Merit-based scholarships at Xavier award $5,000-$20,000 per year and require a separate application.

Capital University View School Profile Columbus, OH

Situated in Bexley, Capital University is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Undergraduates can select from more than 60 majors and 50 minors. This top Ohio university offers a unique 3+3 program that confers both a bachelor's and a law degree. Master's and doctoral programs train the next generation of education, business, and nursing leaders.

Capital encourages undergraduates to perform research alongside professors. Students can select from one-on-one mentorships, industry mentorships in the Columbus area, and field research that takes learners around the world. Many degree-seekers attend the annual Undergraduate Symposium on Scholarship to present research findings.

Prospective learners with GED scores can apply. All applicants submit FAFSA results and standardized test scores. First-time and transfer students may qualify for scholarship opportunities, awards that range from $10,000 to $23,000 per year. Capital participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program to reduce tuition for active-duty service members and veterans.

The University of Findlay View School Profile Findlay, OH

At the University of Findlay, nearly 12% of the study body originates from a foreign country, making this Ohio university an excellent choice for prospective learners desiring a unique educational experience. The university's more than 80 undergraduate majors include business administration, criminal justice, and Japanese. With dozens of minors and certificates to choose from, learners can easily customize their degree. Additionally, the school's many endorsement programs allow working professionals to earn a promotion or increase their salary potential.

Findlay was one of the first universities in the Midwest to adopt online learning. Valuable resources for online learners include a digital library, 24/7 technical support, and professors who also teach courses on campus.

Prospective students do not pay an application fee, and Findlay accepts the Common Application. Applying for financial aid does not require a separate application. The university boasts more than 350 endowed scholarships, some of which award full tuition.

Malone University View School Profile Canton, OH

Affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, Malone University educates approximately 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students through its Canton campus and online programs. Popular majors at this Ohio university include integrated social studies and pastoral ministry. Malone features many notable minors, including criminal and restorative justice, editing and publishing, and gender studies. Additionally, degree-seekers can enhance their degree by studying abroad.

The honors program at Malone emphasizes both rigorous courses and spiritual growth. Honors courses feature a class size capped at 20 students, half the size of a typical class. In their final year, degree-seekers complete an honors thesis. All honors learners receive a $1,000 per year scholarship automatically.

Malone accepts the Common Application from prospective undergraduates. Each graduate program has unique application requirements. First-time students can receive up to $18,000 per year in scholarships if they possess an excellent high school GPA and outstanding standardized test scores.

Otterbein University View School Profile Westerville, OH

Nearly 2,700 learners attend Otterbein University, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. With more than 50 undergraduate majors and 40 minors, this Ohio university provides education in fields such as history, leadership studies, and nursing. Education and health professionals should consider Otterbein for the university's many certificate programs.

Otterbein provides students with many opportunities to socialize and network outside of class. On-campus community service organizations include the Global Brigades Club, Special Olympics Club, and the Children's Miracle Network. Six fraternities and six sororities comprise Otterbein's Greek life system.

Otterbein accepts GED scores and asks that all applicants without at least 30 transferable credits also submit ACT or SAT scores. The school does not require transfer students to write a personal essay. Scholarships at this Ohio university award up to $16,500 per year. Scholarships renew automatically as long as recipients maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA.

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