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Undergrad Profile

The Smartest Way to Learn

Yes. Choosing a college is all about finding the right fit. And while many of those “fit” factors focus on finding the place where you feel most at home, another critical factor is determining which university you believe will do the best job in helping you get ready for life after school. 

At Otterbein being ready means our students have a start on a great career path; they have the life skills, knowledge, and experiences that will translate into success in work and in life; and, ultimately, they are prepared to lead lives of purpose. (You will, of course, have fun and make great friends too!)

Academic reputation matters. In fact, in a national survey* students like you all across the country said it was the most important factor in making their college choice.

So if you’ve ever asked yourself, “Does how I learn matter?” the answer is, “Yes!” It does. And here’s why Otterbein students enjoy the smartest way to learn.

It starts with your major...
You’ll go in-depth with your studies at Otterbein, guided by professors whose mission goes beyond just teaching you. They’re invested in you and the individual you have the potential to become.

Otterbein’s enviable 11:1 student-faculty ratio makes “personal” the rule. Professors know your name. But they also know your goals, your talents, your weaknesses, and how to get you from where you are to where you need to be so you can succeed.
Dan Steinberg, instructor of Communication, approaches opportunities for his students by considering the individual. “I spend time with students to understand what each has to offer and needs to learn,” Steinberg said. “I capitalize on those attributes and tailor internship and networking experiences to the students’ interests. I work very hard to get the right experience to the right student.”

Josh Plichta, a junior in Public Relations and one of Steinberg’s advisees, can attest to the importance of personal attention. He has already secured impressive internships with Steinberg’s help, including the chance to work with “The Big Play,” an initiative headed by NFL star Will Allen and his foundation. “Dan and other Otterbein professors truly want to help students pursue their interests. I don’t think you find that at other schools as much,” Plichta said.

Otterbein’s perfect proximity to Columbus, the country’s 15th-largest city, means incredible internships like these are plentiful! That’s a major difference for your studies at Otterbein. It really is personal here.

Otterbein offers more than 70 majors and 40 minors. And if you’re still exploring the major you might choose to pursue—don’t worry. You’re not alone. Otterbein’s Center for Student Success will keep you on track for graduation while you explore what courses of study best align with your talents and goals. 

Next, Otterbein’s curriculum...
Some schools call their curriculum “general education” requirements. Otterbein’s academic curriculum is anything but general. 

In fact, the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the nation’s authority on undergraduate education, has described Otterbein’s Integrative Studies (IS) curriculum as the model they wish other schools would follow.

The entire purpose of Otterbein’s IS curriculum is to prepare you for a rapidly shifting marketplace and world. It’s not enough anymore to be an expert at simply one thing. According to Wendy Sherman Heckler, Otterbein’s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of University Programs, to really be competitive and relevant, you have to know how it all works together. “A truly well-rounded education is necessary in an age when students could change careers multiple times,” Sherman Heckler explained.

Otterbein alumni say the IS courses provide a broader world-view that has made all the difference in their careers. “I’ve had more challenging experiences in my career than I ever could have expected,” said Julie Longstreth Moore, a 1995 Otterbein alumna and 25-year direct sales veteran. “I’ve had to think big. The IS courses and seeing how life and business connected really paved the way.”

It’s the Otterbein experience...
Otterbein is nationally recognized for its expertise and commitment to hands-on learning—our “Five Cardinal Experiences.” It comes down to making sure you have experiences in the field, applying what you’ve learned in the classroom to real-world situations.

Otterbein believes in connecting students to life-changing experiences as unique as each one of our 2,400 undergraduate students—experiences that mean the research you conduct with your faculty mentor gets published in a national scientific journal, like Bobby Geiger did as a sophomore. Or maybe you will go on a service trip to Uganda to help improve educational facilities, like Meghan Davis did as a freshman. Or it could mean that you land an exclusive internship with Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Director Emeritus Jack Hanna or gain professional insight from a one-on-one conversation with a national network news anchor.

Leading a life of purpose...
What makes Otterbein the smartest way to learn?

It’s the way an Otterbein education prepares you for how things work in the real world. We’re not only an academic model; our graduates possess the experience, knowledge, and attributes that the nation’s employers said they most desire in new hires from college too.**

Otterbein will prepare you to lead a life of purpose. You’ll graduate from Otterbein with more than a career—you’ll leave with a calling. When you join our model community, you’ll find Otterbein graduates are leaders in their professions and communities who care about serving the common good.

Our 25,181 alumni around the world are shining examples ready to mentor your next steps.

Ready to learn more? Hear from Otterbein students and take a virtual tour at You can call Admission at 614-823-1500 or plan your visit online at

“The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2012,” CIRP Freshman Survey, 2012
* “It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student
Success,” an online survey conducted on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities by Hart Research Associates


Otterbein is a private, coeducational, comprehensive liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Otterbein has welcomed all learners since 1847 and is one of the first universities in the nation to have included women as faculty and students since its founding.
• Located in Westerville, Ohio,
a suburb of Columbus
• Ranked as the fifth-friendliest town by Forbes magazine in 2012
• Ranked in the top 10% among the 149 schools in its category in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report guide to “America’s Best Colleges”
• Recognized by Washington Monthly as a top school for contributions to the public good
• Recognized by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its commitment to community service and service learning
• 2,900 students (2,400
undergraduate, 500 graduate)
• More than 35% of the incoming freshman class are student-athletes.
• 21 men’s and women’s
athletic teams
• 100+ student organizations to join
• 11:1 student-faculty ratio
• 18–20 average class size
• More than 70 majors and 40 minors
• Distinctive programs: Allied Health; Equine Science; Theatre and Dance; Zoo and Conservation Science; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
• Popular programs: Systems Engineering, Business, Education, Nursing, Biology, Psychology, Communication
• New programs: Mechanical Engineering*, Environmental Health and Safety Engineering*, Engineering Physics*
• 96% of respondents from a survey of the Class of 2015 were either employed or continuing their education in graduate school within six months of graduation.
• Use Otterbein’s affordability estimator to predict the type of aid you might receive:
• 99% of Otterbein freshmen receive some form of merit and/or need-based aid:

* pending final approval by state and regional accrediting bodies