Ohio State (College of Arts and Sciences) vs. Ohio University (Honors Tutorial College)

I was accepted to both colleges and cannot decide. I plan to study History with a minor in Creative Writing. I prefer the OSU campus to OU’s. Both have given me full tuition, but the price tag is overall more expensive at Ohio state, by almost 4,000 dollars.
OU offered me a very selective position within their HTC college, which gives me one-on-one time with my department heads
I am closer to OSU and like it more, but I plan to go to have three more years of schooling afterward, which will be expensive.
Can anyone help me make a decision?

OSU, no question. It has an excellent history program, and has a strong creative writing program as well. Although you do want to save money, if you plan on attending graduate school, most graduate schools prefer students from the more well known and prestigious programs.

Moreover, because it is such a power house, OSU will provide all sorts of extra benefits, like access to better internships.

The only case in which I would recommend OU is if you want to do an education degree and become a teacher. In that case, the benefits of prestige are minimal, compared to the benefits of a few more thousand dollars in your pocket.

Since you plan to attend graduate school & since you have an interest in writing, Ohio University Honors Tutorial College seems to be the better option.

OU-HTC is somewhat like being in graduate school.

There could be a huge difference in the quality of education that you experience; if so, then OU-HTC is clearly the better choice–especially if you want to develop advanced writing skills.

Truthfully, I see your options as being in two different leagues academically.

P.S. I assume that you were not offered honors at Ohio State University.

P.P.S. Also, it is rare for one with an ACT score of 30 to be offered such an outstanding opportunity as a tutorial program. Obviously, OU was impressed by your perfect GPA.

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Thank you for the quick responses! They were extremely helpful. I’ve done some digging (I was never able to officially visit OU due to covid-19) and OU does not offer a CW minor. So if I attended, I’d have to double major. Obviously, that will impact my decision, but I may try to speak to some current students from both colleges to get my answer.

From your major and your plans for a three-year grad program, I’m guessing you want to go to law school. I graduated from HTC a few years ago and went straight from there to a top-14 law school. One of my HTC classmates and I ended up at the same school, actually, so it’s definitely possible to do that, if that’s the goal. I do think the availability of recommenders who have worked with you personally is a great feature of HTC for law school applicants.

A few things to keep in mind as you think about a double major:

  • doing two HTC majors tends to work very well, although you do have to complete a thesis for each major. It’s possible to do one thesis that counts for both, if they overlap, and that seems possible for CW and history.
  • doing an HTC major plus a non-HTC major means you have to take all the general education requirements for your non-HTC major. That’s not a terrible thing, by any means. They can be a nice way to pad your schedule so that you don’t end up with five killer classes every semester.
  • HTC’s early-registration privilege applies to all of your classes, so that’s a big perk. General education classes, at least the good ones, can fill up really quickly.

@AthensAlum Oh my gosh thank you so, so much. Your comment answered so many of my questions and, yes, you are right! Law school is the current plan for me. I was planning to do a major outside of HTC. I have heard bad things about double majoring in HTC; I attended a webinar today and one of the seniors told me not to do it.
Would it be okay if I personally messaged you some questions about HTC? I need to decide by the 1st and I’m really running out of time.
If not, again, thank you. I really appreciate your input!

I have experience with both schools. There are benefits and drawbacks to both.

Ohio State is an R1 university. It has the reputation for being the “better school” with the name recognition and the national/international clout. It definitely has a renowned history department (and the creative writing program is also well-regarded). However, as a random student in the A&S college, you will literally be “just a number” at Ohio State. And ngl, it can be difficult to get access to those “rock star” professors. (They have their own research to write and PhD students to mentor. Undergrads are very, very low on the list of priorities. I cannot stress this enough.)

As a result, I don’t know if the better reputation justifies the extra money. You will literally be one of many in large history lecture classes.

Ohio U. is an R2 school. It doesn’t have as good a reputation. (It’s lost ground in the rankings for the last several years.) The other students there won’t be as smart, which can hurt your overall learning experience. HOWEVER, as part of the HTC, you will indeed be surrounded by smarter people, and you’ll have direct access to solid professors. You’ll also save money that you can then use for graduate school.

Ohio University might not have a creative writing minor, but it does have a very well-respected creative writing program. It’s actually one of the oldest creative writing programs in the country, and it’s one of the few schools to offer a PhD in creative writing. So you won’t go without access to creative writing classes.

It basically comes down to what’s more important to you–the school that has the better reputation but is bigger, more impersonal, and more expensive; or the school that is less renowned but cheaper for you and also more invested in your overall success.

If your ultimate goal is graduate school (rather than employment right out of college): Neither OSU nor OU’s reputation will get you into graduate school automatically. (Neither school has the “name value” of a Swarthmore or Penn or Cornell or anything like that.) So ultimately you have to think about which school will put you in the better position to field a strong application to grad school in terms of writing sample, letters of rec, and overall preparation.

@MarcusOSU thank you so much for your input! In the end, I’ve determined that forming those relationships with my professors will be important for my letters of recs. I also determined that the finances matter a lot for me, a low income student, and I’m really going to look forward to having one on one and graduate level classes!
OU HTC seems like a challenge and I’m ready to try it!
Thank you to everyone who gave me advice. It was long and painful, but I’m going to go with my gut.
Stay safe out there, everybody, and happy commitment day!

Just tuning back in (finally) to say congrats and good luck at OU!! I’ll remember to check my messages eventually, so feel free to send me a message if you have questions about getting started at OU or want to talk pre-law opportunities there. Cheers!

Just checking in with an update for anyone who’s curious. I’m so so happy I followed my gut and picked OU HTC. It’s such an amazing program; I’m taking a senior level literature course with the req. waiver and it’s amazing! My tutorial is super rigorous and I actually really love the challenge!

Also I’m starting to get into archival work and it’s the best!!! While it’s kinda a bummer that I’m online this fall, I love paying nothing for this semester while still learning a lot. I’ve visted OSU a few times with friends this fall and I honestly can’t even see myself there anymore, when once it was my dream school.

So, yeah. Thanks for all the advice guys :slight_smile:

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Congratulations on making a wise & mature decision !

Congratulations!!! My daughter has had a few interviews with HTC so far and she LOVES it and it has rocketed to her first choice school. Are most/all of the HTC students in honors also? She was invited to apply for honors after HTC and from reading the website it seems like 2 different programs within the University is that correct? Should she do both?

@absehamom Hi! Out of curiosity, what major is she looking at? Honestly, I can’t recommend the program enough. It’s rigorous, and I’m absolutely in love. So, yes, all HTC students will graduate with the honors degree and can take honors classes. Although, I haven’t taken any honors classes so far since I’m doing a Honors Tutorial Major, Creative Writing Minor, and LJC Certificate. My schedule is a bit full at the moment.

You are correct. Honors and Honors Tutorial College are two different colleges! In HTC, you have very, very few requirements for your actual degree. There is so much freedom! I don’t have to take any math, science, or arts classes. Just History, and a few English classes. With the Honors college, you still have to take all the university requirements as well as honors classes. It’s like the generic honors college you’d see at OSU or Kent. So, yeah, I’d recommend HTC over that simply because you get to dive right into material you’re interested in.

There is no need to do both. She will get an honors distinction on her diploma. Just without all the extra gen-ed requirements, ya feel?

Feel free to shoot me any more questions! Even online, I’ve learned so much this semester!


Wow! Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! I love your name mine also describes herself as a huge “History nerd” lol. HTC seems like such an amazing fit for my daughter! She is a writer, actress, and filmmaker. I think she will be officially “Film/HTC” but working across departments? She left traditional high school in her junior year and tested into an accelerated college program so she’s in community college (earning her high school equivalency concurrently). She loves rigor! She wanted to find a college program where she could write, study film production, and still take acting and theater classes and was frustrated that most schools seem to discourage crossover (except Ohio U HTC). She literally lit up and was bouncing up and down when she found out this could be a possibility since she is already very self directed. She is not on College Confidential but her website is www.mirahsteuer.com if you are willing to talk to her I am sure she would so love to hear your experience! She was just accepted to Ohio U proper today so she hopes she will be invited for an official HTC interview sometime soon?

Sorry about the late reply! Congratulations! That sounds amazing! She sounds very passionate, and if there’s one thing the program likes, it’s passion. If she’s looking to take a diverse selection of classes, she picked the right place! The program allows you to skip pre-reqs, so she could literally take whatever she wanted. If she would like more information/advice, I’d most certainly be willing to help another student out!
I received my acceptance into the Honors program around late December/Early January, and was offered an interview around the same time. I interviewed very early February, and was notified less than two weeks later! It was a wonderful process. Just let me know!

I know she would absolutely love that. She isn’t on College confidential but if you are on instagram she is @mirahsteuer. I told her about you so she will answer your dm. Thank you for being willing to talk to her it is her true dream program!

No problem! I’ll send her a request soon.

What is your instagram name so she can look out for it? She keeps hers private and doesn’t accept requests from people she doesn’t know. She gets a lot of creepy requests lol.

I sent you a message with it! Let me know if it doesn’t come through

Thank you again for your kindness! She just was notified that she is accepted into HTC and is so excited about potentially becoming a Bobcat next year!