Oregon State Admissions Essay


Oregon State University is a spirited, science-driven school, says a bioengineering major. Students at OSU enjoy the "exceptional 'green living' education" on campus. Even the exercise machines at the recreation center help power the university's grid. "My school is about creating a sustainable environment in which people from all different backgrounds can excel," says a construction engineering major. Known for its excellent reputation in "diversity and sustainability" many students are drawn to OSU's outstanding engineering, forestry, biology, and geoscience programs. Professors are admired for their "expertise" and "great knowledge." One earth science major states, "The geosciences department is full of incredible professors who have shaped my future career as an academic. They have stimulated, pushed, and only occasionally bored me." With the growing student body, classes are "larger than desirable, making academic experience the sole responsibility of the student." Beware classes taught by graduate students, is one student's caveat, but overall undergrads appreciate the diversity and depth brought to the curriculum. Study abroad programs garner high praise.

Student Body

Globally aware is how one mechanical engineering student describes fellow students. "Inquisitive and friendly," observes another. With OSU's growing student population the face of typical undergrad is difficult to define. "There is no typical student," says one student. "An impressive array of older-than-average, international, younger-than-average, brilliant, idiotic, motivated, stoner, cowboy, hipster" is how one undergrad sums up the indefinable student demographic. Some are prone to wearing "OSU gear or North Face jackets" while some are simply "motivated academically and like to have fun and get involved." Another student adds, "There are older students, younger students, those who live on and off campus, those involved in athletics, and Greek life." Basically, one student summarizes, "there is a corner on campus for everyone!"

Campus Life

Oregon State is located in Corvallis, which is considered to be "super safe." While some undergrads feel that "Corvallis does not have a lot to do at night" it seems to suit the "unique hippie" population just fine. With "cool restaurants and bars" Corvallis provides a perfect "college town" feel to the surrounding campus. For students at OSU "life doesn't entirely revolve around school;" there are plenty of diversions from parties to "sports games on the weekends." Other students appreciate the usage of Dixon Recreation Center, which includes a "huge rock [climbing] wall," and find that using the gym is a welcome change from hitting the books. Overall, the population is more concerned with studying than hardcore partying; some students even invite professors to come and hangout with them to bolster more meaningful discussions. "My week is usually devoted to school and studying," says an industrious biology major. We have "a great, huge library and tons of social opportunities," says another student. "Campus has great resources for someone outdoorsy and active like myself." Students can also take advantage of "humanitarian trips to Central America" or "study abroad in South America." With its "big, beautiful campus" and proximity the natural beauty Oregon has to offer, most students find their school life enriching and fulfilling.

SAT and/or ACT

OSU-Cascades requires students graduating high school in the year 2011 and beyond to submit SAT or ACT scores.  Applicants for Fall 2016 should submit an ACT or an SAT that includes the essay portion (currently required as part of the test). 

Students applying to OSU-Cascades for terms after Fall 2016 can submit an ACT score, or either of the SAT tests - the current version that includes the mandatory essay portion, or the new 2016 version in which the essay will be an optional portion of the test.  OSU-Cascades prefers, but does not require the essay portion of the new SAT test that began being administered in March 2016.

Note: Only scores sent electronically from College Board (SAT) and/or ACT will be considered official and used for admission purposes. There is not an advantage to pay extra for "rush" scores from the testing agency, and in some cases may add to the time it will take to process the scores within our office.

The SAT college code for Oregon State University-Cascades is 4586.
The ACT college code for Oregon State University-Cascades is 6409.

SAT subject tests

OSU-Cascades requires students graduating from non-regionally accredited high schools and home-schooled students to provide scores from two SAT subject tests (Math I or II, and a second exam of the student’s choice).

Students who have 12 or more completed college credits in core subject areas (Math, Writing/English, Science) while pursuing their high school diploma will be considered as an alternative to the two SAT subject tests.

Insight Resume

OSU-Cascades seeks to look beyond grades and test scores to determine if applicants bring the necessary skills and abilities to be successful here.  Your answers to the Insight Resume, which is part of the OSU-Cascades application for admission, provides us with:

  • Understanding of you as a unique, contributing individual.

  • Your accomplishments, perspectives, experiences, and talents.

  • Your achievements within the context of your social and personal circumstances.

  • Participation in activities that develop academic, intellectual, and leadership abilities.

Additional Factors

  • Oregon State- University-Cascades is also looking for students who will lend educational and cultural diversity to our campus.  We are looking for students who go above and beyond the minimum whether in talent, academic ability or potential.  Combined with academic strengths, evidence of these characteristics may be considered in our review of applicants for admission.

  • Applicants who are ineligible to re-enroll at any college or university that they attended within the last seven years for student conduct reasons will be automatically declined admission at OSU-Cascades.  Applicants who are unable to re-enroll at a previous college or university for academic reasons will be considered for admission only if they meet OSU-Cascade’s minimum academic requirements.

Please note that academic performance is not the sole criterion for admission to the university. The university may evaluate a person's behavior and background to determine their ability to maintain the standards of academic and professional conduct expected at the university. An evaluation may take into consideration current behavior and performance as well as past experiences and actions.

GED Students

GED students will be considered for admission if they achieve an average GED score of at least:

  • 58, if taken prior to January 2002, with no subtest score less than 41

  • 580, if taken between January 2002 and December 2013, with no subtest score less than 410

  • 680 (total from 4 subject tests), if taken in January 2014 or later, with no subtest score less than 150

Students who take the GED test in the 1996-97 school year and later must pass two years of the same foreign language prior to admission. Foreign language taken at an unaccredited high school does not qualify. Additional ways to meet OSU-Cascade's foreign language requirement.

Non-cognitive skills and abilities demonstrated via a GED applicant’s Insight Resume (see above) are also considered in making admission decisions.

Applicants admitted on the basis of GED scores are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores, but scores may be considered if available.


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