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Ohio’s Best Public Universities

Miami University

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In 1985, Richard Moll wrote a book about America’s premier public universities where he describes Miami as one of America’s original eight “Public Ivies.” Today, Miami lives up to its reputation as one of the premier public undergraduate-focused universities in the country. Direct entry as a freshman is quite competitive, however similar to OSU, “back door” entry is possible at lower GPA levels for transfer students.

Since Miami offers relatively few graduate programs, they focus on undergraduate education and do it well. At Miami, over 90% of all students are undergraduates. All classes are taught by professors, not teaching assistants. There is a strong commitment to the liberal arts and, akin to Ohio’s Big 5 Liberal Arts colleges, many majors are interdisciplinary by design. While there are also many professional programs, all are undergirded by a strong commitment to the liberal arts.

Miami offers over 100 undergraduate major options, with particularly strong programs in Business, Political Science, Nutrition, Physics, and in the Humanities.  The three largest majors are all in business and include Finance, Accounting, and Marketing. Kinesiology, Public Relations, Zoology, and Early Childhood Education are also large majors.

In addition to strong academics, Miami offers students over 500 student organization with options including a vibrant Greek system (35% of students involved), NCAA Division I athletics, including one of the most exciting Hockey teams in Ohio, over 50 Club Sports, and another 30 intramural sport offerings. Study Abroad is popular at Miami with over 45% of students participating before graduation. Winter break extends over 6 weeks and includes a 3-week “January Term” that many students use to study abroad. All-in-all, it’s doubtful anyone is ever bored in the quaint village of Oxford, Ohio!

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA); a Columbus Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 15 “fit factors.” College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas.

In order to purchase a more extensive proprietary “Campus Field Report” on any Ohio college discussed for only $10, click here: https://collegeboundadvantage.com/campus-field-report-access/

Kent State University

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KSU was established in 1910 as a teacher-training school. Since that time, it has grown into one of the largest public universities in Ohio with nearly 30,000 students involved in over 300 degree programs offered on its main campus. Known nationally for its famous “Fashion School,” KSU offers one of only five Fashion Design majors in Ohio as well as a solid Fashion Merchandising program (see our prior blog on Fashion majors). Rockwell Hall is the home of  KSU’s Fashion Museum – check it out.  KSU also has one of the largest undergraduate Nursing programs in the country with a number of graduate Nursing program options including Nurse Practitioner. Other signature programs include Aeronautics, Aerospace Engineering, Accounting (and other AACSB accredited business majors), Construction Management, Architecture, Computer Science, and others.

In May, 1970, students protesting the bombing of Cambodia by United States military forces clashed with the Ohio National Guard on the KSU campus. When the Guardsmembers shot and killed four students on May 4, the Kent State shootings became the focal point of a nation deeply divided by the Vietnam War. Today visitors to campus can tour a museum dedicated to this piece of our collective history. Students can even choose to major in their nationally recognized Applied Conflict Management program housed in the Center for Applied Conflict Management dedicated to the events of 1970.

Beyond academics, KSU offers students over 400 student organizations and a wide variety of activities across the academic year. KSU has a two-year residence requirement for entering freshmen (unless their families live close). Today over 80% of freshmen live on campus. There are over 20 dining options on campus and KSU is know for its great food! Division I NCAA athletics (the Golden Flashes you know) as well as plenty of Club Sports and Intramural sports are also available. If you haven’t seen KSU lately, it’s worth a visit – you’ll be impressed.

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA); a Columbus Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 15 “fit factors.” College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas.

In order to purchase a more extensive proprietary “Campus Field Report” on any Ohio college discussed for only $10, click here: https://collegeboundadvantage.com/campus-field-report-access/

Wright State University

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Wright State University, located in Dayton, began in 1964 as a branch campus of Miami University and The Ohio state University. Much of the land WSU sits on was donated by the United States Air Force from excess acreage of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. In 1967, following a period of substantial growth, the Ohio Board of Regents transformed the campus into today’s Wright State University. The name was chosen in honor of the Wright brothers, Dayton residents who are credited with the invention of the world’s first successful airplane.

Today, WSU enjoys an undergraduate enrollment of 12,000 (3,000 in campus housing and another 5,000 living in adjacent apartment housing) and a graduate enrollment of 4,000. Admission requirements are doable for most and remedial courses are readily available if needed. Students separately apply when they are ready for entry to academic majors which have varying requirements. Strong programs include Business (AACSB accredited business school), Engineering, Nursing, Education, and Theatre. A wide variety of major and minor options, relatively small class sizes, and modern facilities support student learning and success.

The WSU campus is ranked 3rd nationally in terms of “physical disability friendly.” This designation is, in part, a result of their more modern facilities and the accessible tunnel system that links academic buildings underground. No need to walk out in the snow storm at WSU!

We were impressed with so many things about WSU and also appreciated their low tuition (3rd lowest in Ohio). Check ’em out!

Campus Video: Check out our video compilation of photos from our most recent visit to Wright State University:

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA); a Columbus Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 15 “fit factors.” College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas.

In order to purchase a more extensive proprietary “Campus Field Report” on any Ohio college discussed for only $10, click here: https://collegeboundadvantage.com/campus-field-report-access/

Ohio University

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Ohio University is one of America’s oldest universities. It’s charter was proposed in 1787, approved in 1804, and opened for students in 1809. Considered by many, including us, to be one of the most beautiful campuses in America, OU is nestled in the rolling hills of southern Ohio in the quaint town of Athens.

OU is known for its strong academic programs in Communication, Engineering, Business, and Health Sciences. Beyond rigorous academics they also offer students over 450 organization options, an active Greek system, NCAA Division I varsity athletics, a multitude of club sport and intramural teams, a world class recreation center, and a residential campus that is as active on the weekends as during the week.

The university’s marching band, The “Ohio University Marching 110,” nicknamed “The Most Exciting Band In The Land,” is nationally recognized and plays at major venues around the country.

In 1975, OU established a medical school, known as the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. Heritage is the only medical college in the state to award the D.O. degree. In 2011, the college received the largest private donation ever to be given to a medical college in the U.S.

We could go on, but just know that OU has a rich history and lots of exciting things going on – you should check it out!

Campus Video: Check out our video compilation of photos from our most recent visit to Ohio University:

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA); a Columbus Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 15 “fit factors.” College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas.

In order to purchase a more extensive proprietary “Campus Field Report” on any Ohio college discussed for only $10, click here: https://collegeboundadvantage.com/campus-field-report-access/

University of Toledo

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Founded in 1872, the University of Toledo offers a beautiful, historic campus that feels like a small college. Many of the buildings have a “Harry Potter” look to them, but facilities are state-of-the-art. With a total of 16,000 undergraduate students hailing from 49 states and 131 countries, the student population is diverse.

UT is known for its strong academic programs in Engineering, Business, Education, Art, Pharmacy, Medicine, and Health Sciences. Additionally, UT has a vibrant campus life, with nearly 300 student organizations. Its athletic teams, the Rockets, are members of the Mid-American Conference.

The university also operates a 450-acre Health Science campus, which includes the University of Toledo Medical Center; the Center for the Visual Arts is located in downtown Toledo at the Toledo Museum of Art; and a research and education facility, known as the Lake Erie Center, is at the Maumee Bay State Park.

If you haven’t visited the University of Toledo – check it out. You will be impressed. We were!

Campus Video: Check out our video compilation of photos from our last visit to Bowling Green State University:

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA); a Columbus Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 15 “fit factors.” College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas.

In order to purchase a more extensive proprietary “Campus Field Report” on any Ohio college discussed for only $10, click here: https://collegeboundadvantage.com/campus-field-report-access/

University of Akron

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The University of Akron is a public research university located on the edge of downtown Akron, Ohio. Known nationally for its world-class work in Polymer Engineering, UA offers an extensive menu of over 200 undergraduate majors to 20,000 undergraduate students. With a AACSB accredited Business School, wide set of STEM offerings including an excellent College of Engineering, not to mention the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education and College of Health Professions, UA has a nearly unlimited set of excellent major offerings. Did we mention their excellent Art program?

When we first visited campus, we were surprised to see so many new and beautiful buildings and experience the feel of an academic enclave belying its urban location.  Campus design and street configuration creates the sense of a rural campus. UA’s nationally rated Student Recreation and Wellness Center offers gym space, pool, workout space, weights, rock climbing, and even a lazy river. The new student center offers a variety of food options including Panda Express, Qdoba, Chik-Fil-A, Einstein Bagels, as well as the traditional cafeteria style options.

UA’s NCAA Division I varsity teams are know as the “Zips” (it’s a long story) and Zippy the Kangaroo is the mascot. The 2000 student strong “AK Rowdies” paint-up and enjoy special seating at all athletic events as they raise the roof!

We loved UA! There’s a good chance you will too!

Campus Video: Check out our video compilation of photos from our last visit to the University of Akron:

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA); a Columbus Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 15 “fit factors.” College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas.

In order to purchase a more extensive proprietary “Campus Field Report” on any Ohio college discussed, click here: https://collegeboundadvantage.com/campus-field-report-access/

Bowling Green State University

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Each year Bowling Green State University enrolls over 14,000 undergraduate students on their main campus. With over 200 academic programs and 325 student organizations, there is a lot going on at BGSU. Established in 1910 as a teacher-training institution, BGSU still has one of the best education programs in the state – but that’s not all. Today, strong programs abound, including those in Music, Forensic Science, Accounting, Digital Arts, Apparel Merchandising & Product Development, Popular Culture, Sport Management, Aviation, Architecture, and others.

Additionally, BGSU is one of only a few institutions in Ohio (and the only public university) that offer an intensive, individualized academic support program for students with learning challenges including ADD and ADHD. Their new “FLY Program” (Falcon Learning Your Way) matches students to a full-time learning specialist, assigned tutor, and a writing consultant for each enrolled course. An Academic Coach is also assigned to help students improve time management skills and study strategies. The FLY Program is a specialized service offered for an additional charge.

At BGSU, over 6,000 students live on campus in 14 residence halls and 19 learning and theme communities. In 2016 BGSU opened a new Greek Village complete with townhome-style residences in 10 buildings with individual units for 33 chapters. Dining facilities are first-rate, and options are plentiful.

It’s clear that there is a lot to be proud of at BGSU!

Campus Video: Check out our video compilation of photos from our last visit to Bowling Green State University:

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA); a Columbus Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 15 “fit factors.” College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas.

In order to purchase a more extensive proprietary “Campus Field Report” on any Ohio college discussed for only $10, click here: https://collegeboundadvantage.com/campus-field-report-access/

Ohio’s Best Public Universities

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Ohio is blessed with an abundance of reasonably priced public universities. All-in-all there are 14 of them, not to mention another 24 branch/regional campuses, and 23 community and technical colleges. These institutions provide a wide variety of pathways for students to achieve their higher education goals.

In recent years, Ohio has taken steps to simplify student transfer between public colleges. Academic calendars have been aligned. Additionally, articulation agreements and the “Ohio Transfer to Degree Guarantee” have made it easy for students to transfer credits from one public institution to another. Finally, many more students are earning college credits while still in high school through AP courses or College Credit Plus. These programs may significantly reduce the costs of college and time-to-degree for participating students.

In comparison to most of their private college competitors, public universities offer more curricular and co-curricular options and a lower price as a tradeoff for the smaller classes, teaching-focused faculty, and the more intimate, developmental (versus competitive) educational experience offered on private college campuses. Different strokes for different folks!

So far, we have focused on private colleges in Ohio. Let’s wander down the trail and take a look at a few of Ohio’s finest public institutions!

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA); a Columbus Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 15 “fit factors.” College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas.

In order to purchase a more extensive proprietary “Campus Field Report” on any Ohio college discussed, click here: https://collegeboundadvantage.com/campus-field-report-access/

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