We are innovative, inclusive, international.

International Student Admissions at Otterbein University

It’s the best way to describe Otterbein’s history, present and future. Founded in 1847, Otterbein University is a comprehensive, private, liberal arts institution that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a doctor of nursing practice degree. Otterbein is home to approximately 3,000 students located in Westerville, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. Nationally recognized for its innovative curriculum, Otterbein is one of only six schools in the U.S. to serve as a site for the Association of American Colleges and Universities project on experiential learning.

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Application Deadlines

The application for admission and all required materials must be received or postmarked by the deadlines listed. Any applications completed after the deadline will be reviewed on a space-available basis and only if there is sufficient time for obtaining a visa.

Fall semester: December 1
Spring semester: October 1

On this page:

Spotlight Stories

International Grad
Live and learn with fellow U.S. students in The Otterbein Semester, a truly immersive program with courses that will transfer back to your home institution (including English as a Second Language) and an Otterbein host family (non-residential) to provide a “home” away from campus.

Begin academic courses in the U.S. while you improve your language skills with our Pathway program, offering English as a Second Language (ESL) courses together with academic courses that will count toward your Otterbein degree. Sample courses include Journalism, U.S. Politics, Grammar, Reading, Pronunciation, and even Marginalized Voices in American Literature!

International Student In Cafeteria

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Coming to Otterbein was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Otterbein gave me a platform to showcase my talent, to improve my leadership skills, to demonstrate my individuality, and to broaden my global perspective. At Otterbein, there’s never a dull moment for me.

Chen Wang

International Students Association

For more than 120 years, Otterbein has enrolled international students into its academic programs and we continue to foster global partnerships to expand our international admissions offerings.


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My time at Otterbein was one of the best memories in my life. Learning from lifelong teachers and best friends, connecting with people who really care about you and help you grow…If I had another chance to attend a university, I would choose Otterbein again without any hesitation. There’s no other place like Otterbein. There’s no replaceable moment at Otterbein.

Richard Ji

Master in Business Administration (M.B.A)

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Admission & Program Information

Application, Requirements, & Admission


Application Requirements

The following items are required in order for international students to be considered for freshman or transfer admission to Otterbein University. Once all your application materials have been submitted, we can typically send you an application decision within 2-4 weeks.  Our application review is holistic, meaning it takes into consideration many factors such as your test scores, essay, and involvement outside of the classroom.

  • Common Application, including essay.
  • $50 Application fee.
  • Official transcripts/documents for four years of high school/secondary school (grades 9-12).
    • If mailed, transcripts must be in a sealed envelope, stamped by the school. Test results must be sent by the testing agency or directly from the high school to be considered official.

Upon acceptance you must send the following to intotterb@otterbein.edu:

  • Official Bank Statement(s) and Sponsor Guarantee form.
  • Copy of passport and current visa (if applicable).

Important Notes:

  • All test scores must be reported directly from the testing center.
  • Conditional admission is available to students that meet academic requirements, but still need additional language training to be successful in a U.S. classroom. Otterbein offers an English as a Second Language program on campus to help prepare students to become full-time degree seeking candidates.
  • Foreign language documents must be translated into English by the issuing institution, a certified translator or English teacher.
  • SAT and ACT test scores and letters of recommendation are optional and may be submitted if they strengthen your application.

Credential Evaluation

If a student’s university transcript is from an institution outside the United States, a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary education must be provided by a company such as SpanTran, WES, Scholaro, or ECE.  These credential evaluators charge a nominal fee for this service, which will be reimbursed to students that enroll at Otterbein University.  To verify if your credential evaluation company will be accepted, please contact an admission counselor.

Proof of English Proficiency

  • 79 or higher on the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT).
  • 550 or higher on the paper-based TOEFL (PBT).
  • 53 or higher on the Pearson PTE
  • 6.5 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
  • 105 or higher on the Duolingo English Test.
  • 21 or higher on the English section of the ACT Test.
  • 550 or higher on the Evidence-based Reading and Writing (ERW) section on the SAT.
  • 112 Level Certificate from ELS.

Admission Criteria

Admission to Otterbein is based on a student’s overall potential for academic success. Decisions are made after a holistic review. Student will less than 30 earned semester hours or 45 quarter hours AFTER high school graduation are reviewed on final high school transcripts, including ACT or SAT scores. Students who have completed more than 30 earned semester hours or 45 quarter hours are reviewed based upon cumulative GPA of all post-secondary transcripts. Otterbein places more emphasis on the academic transcript, as we believe it is one of the best indicators of student success and college preparation. Each student is also considered for the unique talents and contributions he or she will offer the Otterbein community.

Special Enrollment

Enrollment in the Athletic Training, Education, Engineering, Honors, Nursing, Osteopathic Medicine Early Assurance and Zoo and Conservation Science programs have additional academic requirements. Details are available from the Office of Admission. Otterbein University is committed to providing a learning and working environment that is free from discrimination. Otterbein does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, genetic information, military status, or veteran status in admissions, in access to, or in treatment within its educational programs or activities, in employment, recruiting, or policy administration.


Some departments require an audition or portfolio review for admission. Theatre and Music require an audition. Art requires a portfolio review. Additional details are available from the Office of Admission. Each department coordinates the process a little differently, so read carefully and do not hesitate to call the Office of Admission at 614-823-1500, or any of the individual departments if you have questions.

Estimated Expenses & Scholarships

Costs & Assistance

Below are estimated expenses for an academic year.  Please note the room and board rates represent base amounts.  Actual charges may vary depending on your room assignment and chosen area of study and are subject to change.

  • Full-time tuition $33,674
  • On-campus room and board $11,692
  • Other living expenses (fees, books, supplies, insurance) $5,562
  • Total $50,928

International Undergraduate Scholarships ($12,000 – $15,000)

Students are automatically considered for this merit-based scholarship at the time of application. This award is based on a combination of factors including test scores and academic performance.  International students studying in the U.S. for three or more years of high school or 30 semester hours of college will be reviewed for merit scholarships using the criteria for domestic students. 

Talent & Departmental Scholarships ($500 – $4,000)

Otterbein recognizes individual talents, experiences and passions through special interest awards in art, dance, music, theatre, community service, student leadership, and other talents. These awards are given on the basis of demonstrated involvement as determined by holistic review of the application.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Scholarships ($1,000 – $5,000)

Awarded to recognize participation in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme. Students taking at least two courses are eligible. Award amount is determined by level of achievement and on an individual basis.

The Otterbein Semester

Visiting Students

Otterbein University is known for its commitment to educating the whole person and hands-on learning.At Otterbein, students experience small classes (average class size is 18-20) taught by faculty who know and care about their students. Your academic experience will be individually crafted alongside your academic adviser.

The Resident Experience

We offer an integrated learning environment with U.S. students and offer English language support when needed. You will stay on track to graduate as Otterbein faculty and staff help you select courses that will transfer back to your home institution.

Otterbein Semester students live and eat on campus with their fellow U.S. students, so it is truly an immersive experience. Students are also matched to Otterbein (non-residential) host families to provide students a “home” away from campus.

How to Apply

  • Online Application, including essay
  • $50 Application fee
  • $150 Enrollment fee
  • Official University Transcripts
  • English language assessment.  Students who do not meet our English proficiency requirements may need to select courses from Otterbein’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program. See the Proof of English Proficiency portion of this guide, above for more information.
  • Official bank statement and Sponsor Guarantee form
  • Passport copy

Tuition & Benefits

Tuition and fees are $6,120 USD per semester. Students are eligible to participate for up to two consecutive semesters. A traditional room (double) and board (150 meals/semester) average $5,054 per semester. Students who are not covered by their parent’s health insurance are required to purchase health insurance while attending Otterbein University at a cost of approximately $114 per month. Students should plan on having access to $1,500 – $2,000 for miscellaneous expenses each semester.

Tuition includes access to:

  • Otterbein library
  • Computer labs, technology and free printing
  • Gymnasium and Weight training center
  • Coin-free laundry facilities (if living in campus housing)
  • On-campus events and activities such as theatre and arts, athletics and student organizations
  • Otterbike, bike share program

English as a Second Language Program

ESL Students
  • Otterbein’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program accepts students from the high-beginner to advanced levels. 
  • All classes are taught by professional faculty, and class sizes average 5-10 students to ensure one on one attention.
  • Once students complete the ESL program, they are eligible to transition fully into their academic program

Helpful resources:

Frequently Asked Questions for International Students


Is there any type of financial assistance at your institution?
Yes, Otterbein offers merit-based financial assistance. Please see our scholarships information, above, to learn more about our offerings.

May I work?
International students studying on an F-1 visa are permitted to work on campus up to 20 hours per week.

Will you help me with applying for a student visa?
We will give you advice on how to apply for a student visa, but it will be your own responsibility to apply for the visa, and to make sure you will have all the necessary documents for its process.

After I submit my documents, how long will it take for me to receive notification of my admission status?
Assuming we have all your documents, it generally takes 2-4 weeks for us to process your application. Generally, it takes about a month or so before you receive your acceptance letter and I-20 (after you submit all your documents). It could take months if you do not have all the necessary documents. So make sure you submit all the necessary documents. Keep in mind we do not accept copies or unofficial academic records.

Does Otterbein provide rooms for international students?
Yes, room and board are guaranteed for all undergraduate and off semester students who want to live on campus. ESL students have the option to live on campus so long as there is space available.

Can international students stay in their rooms during holidays or long breaks?
During winter and summer break, international students may request to live on campus and will be assigned to a different residence hall which will accommodate every student who wishes to stay on campus during those breaks.

Will someone come to pick me up at the airport when I arrive in Columbus?
Yes, we will make all the necessary arrangements so that you will be picked up and brought to the campus when you arrive.

International Student Resources

Whether you need to ask a question, raise a concern or just talk through an issue, there are people, organizations and resources on campus available to help you out.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is required at Otterbein and available to international students through GeoBlue. At the beginning of your first term, you will be automatically enrolled in this insurance plan, and the charge for this insurance will be added to your Otterbein bill.

The GeoBlue policy is excellent and is explicitly designed to meet the needs of international students.  You will be given a pamphlet describing it in detail when you arrive on campus.  The current rate is approximately US $135 per month but is subject to change.

View the GeoBlue Student Member Guide >

Helpful resources:

Associate Assistant Director, Admission

Mary Mosca

Our International Partner Universities

Duksung Womens University
Soongsil University
Tokyo Woman's Christian University
Shanghai Printing And Publishing College
Kansai Gaidai University
Aichi Prefectural University
Turiba University
Taylors College
Sunway University
University Of Roehampton London
Maastricht University
Linnaeus University
Prifysgol Aberystwyth University
National University of Tianan