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Requirements & Decisions

Admission Requirements & Decisions

The primary factor in OU's first-year admission decisions is demonstrated academic achievement. The academic review focuses on three criteria:

  • Grade point average (GPA) in core academic courses
  • Rigor of course selection, and
  • ACT and/or SAT scores (encouraged)

All applications also are reviewed for college preparatory courses in English, mathematics, science, social studies and foreign language.

OU's Admissions Committee and Office of Admissions staff have identified a number of additional factors that may be considered in admission decisions or merit scholarship awards.

These include:

  • Excellence in academic achievement, intellectual pursuits and creative endeavors
  • An understanding of and respect for intellectual, social and cultural diversity
  • Commitment to citizenship through public service, community involvement, school activities, leadership and/or family
  • Integrity and maturity, and
  • Recognition of benefits of a culturally and intellectually diverse academic community.

Additional Factors in Admission Decisions

The University's goal is to build a first-year class of highly qualified, intellectually curious and actively involved students who have demonstrated high levels of integrity, maturity and commitment to serving their communities.

OU's Admission Committee appreciates the importance of considering other factors beyond academic achievement to discern an applicant's overall abilities. Therefore, a more comprehensive review of a student's entire application file will occur after the initial academic review. The University will consider information gathered from many sources beyond a first-year applicant's transcript and test scores including, but not limited to:

  • Application essay and short answers
  • School and community activities, leadership positions and awards, and
  • Participation in athletics and work experience, summer activities and special circumstances.

More than any other single factor, high school grades play the most important role in determining a student's ability to compete for admission to OU. Because of the wide variety of grading scales and weighting methods, a student's GPA will be measured against GPAs earned by 1) all applicants for admission to OU and 2) all applicants for admission to OU from the student's high school.

High School Curricular Core Requirements for First-time Freshman

4 Units of English

Taken from grammar, composition and literature only

3 Units of College Prep Math (4 Recommended)

Taken from algebra I, algebra II, geometry, trigonometry, math analysis, calculus, or Advanced Placement (AP) Statistics

3 Units of Laboratory Science (4 Recommended)

(Does not include general science, with or without a lab) one year of principles of technology may substitute for one of the lab science courses, provided that the student also completes a traditional lab science course

3 Units of History and Citizenship

To include one unit of American history and two additional units from the subjects of history, economics, geography, government, non-western culture

2 Additional Units

From any of the subjects previously listed or computer science or foreign language. Two years of the same foreign language will satisfy the University's foreign language general education requirement. Any AP course not already used to satisfy the curricular units mentioned previously may be used to satisfy the two additional units except AP courses in Studio Art or International English

Coursework in music, art, drama or speech is also recommended

For direct from high school freshman admission and scholarship consideration, OU recommends that applicants submit an official ACT or SAT score. OU will also superscore ACT/SAT scores and allow students to self report scores for admission and scholarship purposes. For students applying for the fall 2021 through fall 2025 semesters, OU will practice a test-optional admissions process when reviewing applications. 

We highly encourage students to submit their test scores for the most scholarship money and the fastest notification of an award. In some cases it could also improve a student's opportunity to gain admission.

Self-reported scores must be verified at the time of enrollment. Verified test scores must come directly from the testing agency or be listed on the official high school transcript. 

OU does not have a preference of scores between the ACT or SAT. When sending scores electronically, use the following school codes: SAT - 6879. ACT - 3442. 

As with rigor of curriculum, a high test score will not compensate for a noncompetitive GPA. Your record of three or more years' worth of rigorous academic work in the classroom will be the primary focus of any admission decision.

SAT Redesign

In March 2016, the College Board launched a redesigned SAT. Applicants may submit SAT scores from administrations of the SAT that occurred before March 2016. OU will utilize concordance tables, provided by the College Board, to translate these scores to the redesigned format scoring. This will ensure that any scores from the old SAT format are viewed equitably during the review process. If a student submits scores from both the old and redesigned SAT, OU will utilize the score that is higher, after concordance. Using this process, neither score is advantaged over the other.

The level of academic rigor in a student's high school course selection is the second of the three major factors influencing chances for admission to OU.

To be most competitive, students should pursue the most rigorous high school courses available that the student and his/her family and guidance counselor deem appropriate to the student's level of ability. The rigor of those courses will be considered in the admission process.

PLEASE NOTE: A challenging schedule will not compensate for a non-competitive GPA. Grades remain the single most important factor for admission. Any grades of D or F on your transcript, particularly during the junior or senior year, would be cause for concern by the OU Admissions Committee and should be addressed in the student's application.

We admit only the number of students that OU has the capacity to teach and serve effectively. Our standards ensure that the students we admit are prepared to excel in our highly competitive academic environment.

The Admissions Committee reviews all information submitted by and on behalf of each applicant. There are several outcomes determined by the Committee.

  • The applicant may be admitted.
  • The applicant may be offered admission based on terms outlined in an admissions agreement.
  • The applicant may be placed on a waitlist. Applicants on the waitlist will be admitted on a space-available basis, with preference given to the most academically qualified applicants in the pool. We understand that the "wait" may be challenging for many students and their parents. Students who are waitlisted should accept their spot on the waitlist and submit updated transcripts and test scores. Click here to learn more about OU's waitlist. 
  • The applicant may be denied admission. 

If you would like to appeal your admission decision, click here to see if you qualify.

All transcripts, test scores, correspondence or other materials submitted in conjunction with an application for admission become the permanent property of the University and will not be returned. Should you need copies of your transcripts for other purposes, you must obtain them from the originating institution(s).