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. First time Freshmen are only reviewed for admission for a fall semester start.

Fall semester: December 1
Spring semester: June 1

On this page:

Admission & Program Information

Application, Requirements, & Admission


Application Requirements

The following items are required in order for international students to be considered for freshman 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.
  • 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.

International Transfer Students

The following items are required in order for international students to be considered for transfer admission to Otterbein University:

  • Transfer application, including essay
  • Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary attended. Send all official transcripts directly from previously attended to Otterbein. Otterbein prefers to receive all official transcripts electronically.
  • Note: Transfer students only need to submit an official high school transcript if they have earned less than 30 semester hours or less than 45 quarter hours of college credit after high school.

    Additional Materials and Important Notes

    Upon acceptance, all international students will be asked to submit additional documents of support such as:

    • Official Bank Statements
    • Financial Affidavit
    • Copy of passport and current visa (if applicable).

    In addition, please note the following:

    • All test scores must be reported directly from the testing center.
    • 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

    Non-native speakers of English must demonstrate English proficiency by submitting official test scores of one of the following tests.

    • 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.
    • 681 or higher on the TOEIC.

    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 $34,424
    • On-campus room and board $12,768
    • Other living expenses (fees, books, supplies, insurance) $5,562
    • Total $52,604

    International Undergraduate Scholarships ($12,000 – $18,000)

    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.

    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
    • $150 Enrollment fee
    • Official University Transcripts
    • English Proficiency Requirements
    • Official bank statement and Sponsor Guarantee form
    • Passport copy

    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 >

    Senior 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