Think One Person Can Change The World? So Do We.
Oberlin College, located in northeast Ohio, is a liberal arts college of intense energy and creativity, built on a foundation of academic, artistic, and musical excellence. The only institution in the United States where a top-ranked liberal arts college and a world-renowned conservatory of music share a seamless student culture and campus, Oberlin also boasts an art museum that is known as one of the best in the country. Noted for its sustainability initiatives and achievements, Oberlin has been recognized as one of the ‘greenest’ institutions in the USA and continues to challenge itself and its students to find better and more efficient ways to be environmentally responsible. Oberlin provides a world-class education to its 2900 students, the majority of whom continue on to prestigious fellowships and PhD programs. With its longstanding commitments to access, diversity, and inclusion, Oberlin is the ideal laboratory in which to study and design the world we want.
Academic and Musical Excellence
Oberlin is a community of thinkers, scholars, scientists, artists, musicians, and activists. An emphasis on creativity, risk-taking, and innovation pervades the college and the conservatory, inside and outside the classroom.
We do not have a core curriculum, but we ensure that breadth is achieved by requiring students to complete courses in each of the three curricular areas: arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and natural sciences and mathematics. We also require students to complete courses in quantitative reasoning and writing in multiple contexts, as well as courses that focus on cultures and languages other than their own.
Our faculty are eagerly invested in both their students and the broader campus community. Whether they are acting as advisors to student organizations or leading classes in discussion, Oberlin professors are devoted to teaching undergraduates. All courses at Oberlin are taught by faculty members - not by graduate students. In recent years, Oberlin has been ranked consistently in the top three for excellence in undergraduate teaching, based on a survey of its peers.
The Oberlin Conservatory of Music is the only major music school in the country devoted primarily to undergraduate education. It offers the essential components of world-class musical training; an outstanding faculty of teacher-performers, the best facilities available, a dynamic curriculum, and a vibrant cultural life.
Oberlin’s Double Degree program – the first of its kind – lets students pursue dual bachelor’s degrees: a BM in the Conservatory and a BA in the College of Arts and Sciences in five years or less. The program offers a unique opportunity to students who want to combine rigorous pre-professional music training with a broad liberal arts education.
Commitment to Sustainability
Our Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, which opened in 2000 and helped to launch the green building movement of the 21st century, inspires us to think about the human role in nature. To create an enduring ecological and human community, we shape our college to be responsive and responsible to the local, regional, and global environment. We monitor energy use in our buildings using technology developed by our students and faculty, eat foods grown locally, reuse and recycle materials, and work diligently toward our 2025 carbon neutrality goal. Sustainability is integral to the way we learn and live.
Residential and Extracurricular Life
Oberlin believes that having students living and dining together fosters community, discourse, and debate. Oberlin students choose from a variety of housing styles: traditional residence halls, program houses organized around language or cultural affinities, and co-op houses in which students manage the house and share meal prep.
Whichever housing option you choose, the best way to decorate your room is to participate in Oberlin’s one-of-a-kind art rental program. Artwork by the masters – Monet, Picasso, and Warhol among them – are loaned to students for $5. To garner your top pick you may have to camp out overnight!
Music is part of Oberlin’s DNA. On campus, we enjoy hundreds of concerts, recitals, and performances put on each year by the conservatory’s students, faculty, and staff, as well as the Artist Recital Series, which brings great performers here from around the world. The Arts & Sciences Orchestra welcomes non-music majors who love symphonic repertoire.
In addition to music, there are over 175 student organizations that support students’ various academic, cultural, religious, political, and social interests. Oberlin fields 21 varsity athletic teams, and close to one-third of Oberlin students participate in intramural sports and club programs. There are several film series, national speakers, and about 40 theater and dance productions. In Oberlin, everything is within walking distance.
Our community also believes in giving back. 63% of Oberlin students take part in community service activities each year. At Oberlin, you’ll find that you truly have the power to make a difference.
Applying to Oberlin College
College of Arts and Sciences
Early Decision I
- Application due: November 15
- Notification: December 15
- Student reply due: January 2
Early Decision II
- Application due: January 2
- Notification: February 1
- Student reply due: February 15
- Application due: January 15
- Notification: April 1
- Student reply due: May 1
Transfer (via Common Application only)
- Spring Semester due: November 15
- Fall Semester due: March 15
Conservatory of Music
The Conservatory of Music uses the Common Application only, and will not use the Coalition Application due to audition requirements. Learn more about application dates and requirements for the Conservatory of Music.
Applicants interesting in pursuing both College and Conservatory degrees must submit two separate applications, one for each division, and meet each division’s distinct deadlines and requirements.
Required Application Materials
College of Arts and Sciences
- Common Application or Coalition Application
- High School Transcript
- Secondary School Report
- Two teacher recommendations
- Standardized test results (SAT or ACT; international students must also submit either the TOEFL or IELTS)
- Financial Aid Application
- Arts Supplement
First-year applicants may apply using either the Coalition Application or the Common Application. Transfer students must apply via the Common Application.
Investing in education equates to an investment in human potential. At Oberlin College, our financial aid policies reflect a historic commitment to inclusion and academic excellence. Oberlin is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of every admitted student. This past year, Oberlin committed more than $60 million to assist students with the cost of their education.
Oberlin is privileged to be one of the few American colleges and universities able to offer substantial financial assistance to international students. As an institution committed to ethnic, experiential, and economic diversity, Oberlin provides grants, scholarships, loans, and on-campus employment to enable international students to meet all demonstrated financial need. More than 80 percent of our international students receive institutional financial aid, with the average aid package covering about three-quarters of the cost of attendance.
In addition to offering need-based financial aid, the college and conservatory both award merit-based scholarships, which require no separate or additional application forms.
Oberlin’s Net Price Calculator offers assistance to families seeking an estimate of their need-based financial award.
- Students on financial aid: 75%
- Comprehensive costs (2015-16): $64,266
- Average financial aid award: $37,500 with about 75% of that coming as scholarship grants directly from the college
Details of the application process and downloads of all the forms you will need are available at go.oberlinedu/financialaid.
See for yourself what Oberlin is all about! We encourage you and your family to experience the academic, cultural, and social life of one of the top-rated liberal arts colleges in the nation.
We offer several different ways for you to spend time on campus exploring our classrooms, facilities, and living and dining spaces. Spend several hours with us or stay overnight. Check out our campus visit page to learn more about tour times, interviews, information sessions, visit programs, and more. Some programs, like the Multicultural Visit Program, include funds to cover the cost of your visit to campus. Also, feel free to browse our campus event calendar to plan your visit around some of the many concerts, lectures, performances, and happenings on campus.