The Undergraduate Academic Journey

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher and writer.

Academic Journey

The journey to an undergraduate degree at Ohio State is unique to each undergraduate student. Every student has a unique story, goal and triumphs. And each will face their own challenges and tough choices. The Office of Undergraduate Education is here to support and guide students throughout the stages of their academic journey.

Planning For Your Journey

There are a lot of questions that come up while planning for your college experience. Ohio State has offices spread out across six campuses that provide resources. If you haven't already, make sure to visit Undergraduate Admissions, which will help you start to put the pieces into place to build a solid plan.

There are some opportunities at Ohio State that you can sign up for before starting on campus. Most people are aware of the Honors program and its benefits, but the Scholars programs offer a unique and diverse range of opportunities that can make a big university feel more personal. And the ROTC programs at Ohio State are first class and make college more affordable. Did you know that Ohio State has Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC? We're one of only 50 or so universities and colleges who have all three programs.

And starting at Ohio State doesn't just mean here in Columbus. We have students starting their journey at campuses across the state. Our regional campuses offer the same world-class education and amazing faculty, but with a lower barrier for entry. The students in Lima, Newark, Mansfield, Marion, and Wooster love their campuses and are proud to be Buckeyes. They graduate with the same university name on their diploma as students who graduate from the Columbus campus. Plus, should you decide to transfer and work toward a degree that is only available at the Columbus campus, the campus change process smooths the way, recognizing the fact that students from regional campuses have been Buckeyes since day one.

Taking Off

The path that brings a student to Ohio State is unique to each individual. The typical image of an undergraduate student is an 18-22-year-old, who starts right after graduating from high school. But that is only a portion of our undergraduate student population. Students transfer to Ohio State from other schools across the state, nation, and world. We have students who are starting or returning after taking time to start a career or a family. We're proud to welcome our veterans and active duty military and their families.

Ohio State has an amazing orientation program, which will walk you and your family through the necessary steps to get started, and a First Year Experience program, which provides support throughout your first year as a Buckeye. Our campuses in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and the Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster offer their own orientation programs specifically tailored for their campuses.

At orientation, one of the people you'll meet with is an advisor. Think of an advisor as your college navigation system. They can provide the information and options that help you plan the best path to your destination, and warn you of potential hazards along the way. Make sure you set your preferences with them so they offer the best advice for you. Are you okay with taking the scenic route if it offers a better journey? Do you want to avoid certain paths? Are you looking for the quickest way to your destination?

Another resource to be aware of is University Exploration, which has advisors who are trained to help you figure out what you want to be when you grow up. Or help you discover a new plan if you find that the what you decided to be in middle school doesn't fit you any more. Contrary to popular belief, it's okay to come to college as undecided, and these are the people who help you make that work without wasting time and money.

Keep it Moving

Progress toward a degree is a journey that requires careful planning and attention. Even the best laid plans may encounter unexpected delays or require detours. Keep checking in with your advisor. Your navigation system is only any good if you pay attention to it. You need to make sure that you're getting up-to-date information. Those individuals who stay on top of their degree planning find the smoothest path through to degree completion.

Make the most out of your coursework at Ohio State. Your coursework will fit into three buckets: General Education (GE) courses, your major coursework, and electives. GEs are the backbone of your education. They teach you how to think critically, communicate effectively, and become a life-long learner. Your major coursework gives you expertise in your field of study. In addition to preparing you for the workforce, this also gives you theoritical foundation to advance beyond that first job. And electives allow you to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge made available at Ohio State. It lets you keep singing even if you don't plan to major in vocal performance and let's the future electrical engineer learn more about military history.

And keep your eyes open, as new opportunities are everywhere. Did you know that as an undergraduate you can work on research projects? It's great experience for your resume, let's you connect with faculty and graduate students outside of the classroom environment, and opens you up to fields of interest you never knew you wanted to pursue. How about extending your learning outside of the classroom? Try a service-learning course, which combines the best of active learning and citizenship by connecting course content with service projects that help the community. It is a powerful way of understanding course material by learning from experience. Look for a course that has an "S" after the number to find one. Take advantage of the Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP). During fall semester, STEP participants meet with their STEP faculty mentor to set personal goals and participate in activities designed to help them grow life skills, prepare for a career, and make the most out of their time at Ohio State, while during spring semester, students work to create a STEP Signature Project.

Change of Direction

Did you find on you journey that your destination has changed? Did the road you were travelling come to an unexpected stop? Or maybe you know that you don't want to keep going in your planned direction, but don't know which way to go. It's normal. It doesn't have to de-rail your journey. You can still arrive at graduation on time, but only if you are proactive about changing course. Talk to your advisor(s). Talk to faculty members. Talk to your fellow students. Gather information and make decisions. If you need help finding a direction, University Exploration has advisors who are trained to help you make the switch with as few bumps as possible.

An advisor offers advice, not orders. You're free to take a different road or a shortcut you hear about. If you find yourself lost or having made a wrong turn, your advisor can help you find your way back on track, but only if you think to ask. And the earlier you ask, the more options you'll find available to you. Even better, check in before committing to a turn. Your advisor has experience and resources that can identify issues that you might not see coming.

Arriving at Your Destination

Check your degree audit regularly. Print it out and bring it with you to your advising appointments along the way. Make sure the courses you need are going to be available when you need it. Make sure the classes you've signed up for will satisfy the requirements before it's too late in the semester to make a change.

As you approach your destination, remember there are forms that need to be completed and signed, instructions that need to be given, and deadlines that need to be met. Don't find out that you've missed the deadline to submit your intent to graduate. And remember, everyone else will be working on the same deadline, so make your advising appointments early.

With your degree in hand, you join a family over over 550,000 living alumni of The Ohio State Univeristy! The Ohio State Alumni Association has ways to help you remember your journey and offer advice to those who will follow the trails you have blazed. They offer special services for young alumni, from resume writting help to networking events, and help you find ways to continue to stay connected to the university. One of the best things about Ohio State is that you never stop being a Buckeye.

Your Academic Advisor

All students will have an academic advisor. When you log into your Buckeye Link, your advisor will be listed on the right side under the Advisor heading, along with their contact information (click on details for that information to appear).

You can end up with multiple advisors depending upon the programs you are involved in. Additional advisors may be assigned to you based on the structure of the program you are studying (such as a college office advisor, departmental advisor, faculty advisor, major advisor, minor advisor) or for additional programs or services that you qualify for (athlete advisor, honors advisor, scholars advisor, Office of Disability Services advisor, career services advisor, military and veterans advisor, ROTC advisor).

For information on which advisor to conact Visit the Academic Advising website