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Rural Students

Four students walking on campus

Rural and Small Town Students

The University of Oklahoma has a representation of students from all across the country. OU is built on a foundation of students bringing different academic strengths, innovative ideas, and social and community engagement. Our small-town students provide a critical component to our campus community by contributing these elements. Students from small towns or rural surrounding areas considering a school like OU are faced with the idea of moving from a small town to a big city college. Students might be concerned about the unknown set of challenges they will face with this big transition. The University of Oklahoma has dedicated staff and faculty to guide students through the obstacles that come with making that change.


Resources and Events

Refer to the lists below to learn more about a variety of events and organizations dedicated to your success at the University of Oklahoma, both before and after you arrive on campus. This includes information about our more than 550 student organizations, details about events during which you can learn more about what life is like at OU, academic and financial resources, and more. 

On-Campus Events

  • Sower’s Day
  • TREE Conference 
  • Indigenous Preview Day
  • Latinos Without Borders 
  • McLaurin and Lewis Leadership Weekend (MLLW)
  • Sooner Saturday

Visit our website for the most up-to-date information about our on-campus events.

Meet Current Rural OU Students

Raegan Daily
Raegan Daily

"It is not as scary as you think! For me, living in a small town became a mindset. That isn't shocking since I've lived in this town my whole life. It is where I grew up, where my family and friends are, and where I feel most comfortable. Being in a new city with new people and new surroundings can most definitely be intimidating. It was for me at first. You can only grow so much in your comfort zone, so take that step out. You'll never know how life is outside of it if you don't!"

Raegan Daily
Josh Cleveland

"Find out what you want to do. In high school, parents, teachers, and friends are always giving advice and feedback and wanting to help you figure out where to go. Even with the best intentions, that gets overwhelming. Choose a place that makes you feel at home, even if your friends and family have something else in mind. It is a big decision, so feedback is nice, but it will be hard to succeed if you're going to a college and majoring in something simply because it is what your family wanted. When looking at bigger schools, start exploring organizations and groups before you move into the dorms. Often, these organizations do welcome events, and it allows you to meet people with similar interests! It is vital to have a solid group of friends."

Frequently Asked Questions

Rural/Small-Town High School Students FAQ

At the University of Oklahoma, you have the opportunity to find your home and experience growth. There are countless opportunities that come with a Big 12, public, flagship research institution, but OU is still small enough where you can have a large impact as a student and have a close-knit community. OU faculty and staff care about the success of our students.

Community is important here at the University of Oklahoma. Just like back home, we are a family. The Sooner Family is built on the foundation of relationship-building, mentorship, and accountability. OU has more than 550+ student organizations that you can choose from and find your community. OU can help you find your identity. We have several organizations and groups you can join ranging from student government, major specific groups, religious groups, Greek life, and cultural groups. 

Academics are a priority at the University of Oklahoma. We strive to give you the best education there is in higher education. There are numerous resources provided to students to succeed in the classroom. They range from professor office hours to tutoring in 90+ subjects, to our Writing Center and University Libraries. To learn more about what makes each of our academic colleges unique, review our academic top five list.

OU offers 170 degree programs with incomparable learning experiences to prepare you for success beyond college. Our state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge research opportunities, and innovative academic environment set us apart from other universities. 

Although rural students show the most interest in veterinarian medicine and agriculture programs, OU does not offer these programs. There are still plenty of opportunities for rural students through course study from the OU Health Sciences Center and Michael F. Price College of Business. OU Health Sciences Center, located in Oklahoma City, OK., has seven health professional Colleges: allied health, dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and graduate studies. For those interested in running a business or progressing a new venture creation, Price's Entrepreneurship and Venture Management program is ranked as one of the best in the nation by "The Princeton Review."

Making the move to a university can be a big task on its own. That is why OU does not require incoming freshmen to declare a major freshman year. During your freshman year, you will have an advisor to help you choose classes and find where your passions lie. 

It is common for students to pursue one major. However, students do have the option to double major. For students who want to add range or additional specialization to their degree or for those who wish to study complementary fields, picking up a minor is a great option.

Although double majors and minors are possible, it is important to note that for some programs it would be difficult to add a second major. Usually, it is easiest to double major within the same college.

No. A student may change their major after enrolling. Most students decide on a major within their first year at OU. With 170+ majors offered at OU, it can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you do not know what you want to study or pursue a career in.

At OU, we have the Center for Major Exploration. Specialists work one-on-one with students to identify their personality type and aptitude. Be sure to visit to complete an online assessment tailored to OU’s degrees and what we offer. We will list your best-fit majors based on your interests and talents.

OU has 550+ active registered student organizations. Be sure to visit the Office of Student Life (Oklahoma Memorial Union Suite 370) to meet student leaders and staff that can help you get connected.

If you do not see an organization on campus you want to be a part of, you may register your own. In order to register a student organization, you need:

At least ten (10) enrolled student members, a faculty/staff advisor who is employed full time at the University of Oklahoma, and a completed online application.

Incoming freshmen can apply one of three ways to the University of Oklahoma: through the OU Application, the Common Application, or the Coalition Application. All applications are thoroughly read by an admissions counselor and are evaluated holistically regardless of application type. When applying, please choose only one application and continue using that application throughout the entire process.

AUG. 1
Admission application opens

OCT. 1
FAFSA opens for fall

NOV. 1 
Early action admission deadline & spring application deadline

DEC. 15
Final scholarships admission deadline

FEB. 1
Final admission deadline

OU Application - apply directly to OU through our website

Common - apply to a variety of schools with one centralized application

Coalition - apply to a variety of schools with one centralized application

The University of Oklahoma welcomes all applications from different parts of the world. Freshman applicants are reviewed year to year. Applications are reviewed holistically and reviewed only within the pool of entry term the applicant has intended on the application.

We believe that there is not one measure of success for students, so we look at the whole student in our decision-making process. The four factors we look at in a student’s application include: academic rigor, engagement, essay, and letter(s) of recommendation. The OU Admissions Committee reviews all information submitted by and on behalf of each applicant. The Committee determines several outcomes.

Admit - Applicants may be admitted without additional conditions.
Contract - The applicant may be offered admission based on terms outlined in an admissions agreement.
Waitlist - The applicant may be placed on a waitlist. Applications 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. We make every effort to finalize our waitlist decisions by May 1.
Deny - An applicant may be denied admission.

It is always best to apply early to hear back sooner on admissions and scholarships. The longer you wait to apply, the longer you have to wait to hear a decision. Test scores can be updated through April 30.

We understand attending college is a big investment. Not only does OU assist students financially through scholarships and financial aid, but OU offers students flat-rate tuition. We base our tuition cost on a 15-hour scale for undergraduate students. This keeps you on track to graduate in 4 years and to have the opportunity to take 12-21 credits but only be charged for 15.

Scholarship opportunities are offered from the moment you apply to the University of Oklahoma. We have a resourceful list of scholarships for students living in rural communities. Click here for rural scholarships. Students who apply by December 15 will be considered for general freshman scholarships.

We also have a list of our automatic academic scholarships and other scholarship resources. Student who submit the OU supplemental questions (the writing supplement portion of the Common Application) by the scholarship deadline will be considered for OU leadership, community involvement, and some departmental scholarships.

Apply for financial aid! The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens October 1. Access the FAFSA online and be sure to list OU as one of the schools that should receive your information. Our federal school code is 003184.

Academic merit-based scholarships are determined on a rolling basis after admission. You will automatically be considered for any scholarships offered for the major you listed on your application to OU. Some scholarships require a FAFSA or auditions. All decisions are made by the academic department or college.

Students have the option to stay on campus or go home over the weekends after classes are done for the week. Students that decide to stay on campus for the weekend still have the amenities to study at the Bizzell Memorial Libraries, eat at one of OU’s dining establishments, and workout at the Sarkeys Fitness Center. The University of Oklahoma does observe federal holidays. Students do not have a curfew, just visitation and quiet hours designated and implemented in the residential halls they live in.

Students debate about going back home, going somewhere more rural, or going to a big/bigger city. Help from OU Career Services will assist you to take the right pathway with whatever career decision you make. OU Career Services help students and alumni with career preparation. Services include career advising, mock interviews, resume building skills, and workshops and events. From career fairs to what to do with your major and everything in-between, Career Services exists to help get you hired - sooner. OU Career Services is committed to helping students begin their academic career with their professional goals in mind.

OU has a Rural Affinity Committee and specially assigned admissions counselors for small town/rural students. Connect with your admissions counselor!

Rural/Small-Town High School Student FAQ

Rural/Small-Town High School Counselor FAQ

OU has several virtual resources for students, families, and schools, including webinars and Zoom virtual visits to some of our academic colleges. You can also virtually connect with an admissions counselor. 

We have dedicated staff who help small town students and new students make the transition to the University of Oklahoma successful. At University College, their mission for diversity, equity, and inclusion involves embracing all members of the university community and enhancing learning and academic success of undergraduate students by fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within our academic support, curriculum development, community engagement, and leadership opportunities.

First-Year Foundations are classes that help and focus on a curriculum for small town/rural students with populations less than 20,000. The class will help acclimate students from small towns to OU and larger cities like Norman and Oklahoma City. The class will also help students connect with other students in a small class environment.

For students coming from a rural high school, the adjustment of going from a small graduating class to a larger institution can be intimidating. We are the largest institution in the state of Oklahoma at approximately 22,000 undergraduate students. OU is on the smaller side within the Big 12 Conference. We believe that OU is the perfect size for you. We focus on making a big school have a small school feel.

The average class size is 32 students. Only 4% of our classes have more than 100 students. Our student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. We want our students to connect and learn from our faculty. You will also have the opportunity to visit your professors during office hours. 

We feel the best way to experience The University of Oklahoma is to visit our beautiful campus in Norman, Oklahoma. We offer free tours Monday-Friday and select Saturdays. 

All freshman students must live in freshman-designated university housing for two semesters. Students at OU live in campus housing and have full meal plans. First-year students live in the residence halls near the center of campus. Living on campus means that you are at the center of the university experience, including support, friends, and convenience. Creating a sense of family matters at OU and the residence halls will soon be your home away from home. All freshmen are guaranteed rooms and have several options from which to choose. To learn more about living on campus, visit Housing & Food's website

Connect With Us

DEP Interns 2021
Contact Diversity Enrichment Programs

OU's Diversity Enrichment Programs is here to assist you with any questions you and your family may have throughout the admissions and enrollment process. Contact us by email at, phone at 405-325-2151, or text at 405-400-1384.

Bizzell Memorial Library
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