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Orientation prepares Ohio State’s students of tomorrow

This month and next, the future of The Ohio State University will be wandering around the Columbus campus. Freshman orientation is underway and new students and their families, armed with comfortable shoes and red folders brimming with critical information, are navigating the tests, tours and activities offered during the two-day sessions.

Dylan Ratliff traveled with his parents from his home in Powhatan, Virginia, for orientation. The Buckeyes attracted him to Ohio State.

“I knew about the school because of its athletics but then I looked it up and found out it’s a top-notch academic institution,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff plans to major in political science. He was attracted to Ohio State because of the range of classes offered and the proximity to the state capital. Affordability sealed the deal.

“It will be cheaper than some in-state schools,” he said.

His father, Joe Ratliff, agreed. His son was awarded several scholarships, including one from the Politics, Society and Law Scholars Program.

“The program they offered him and the scholarship money, it’s just a perfect fit,” Joe Ratliff said.

Buckeye Nation wasn’t exactly a perfect fit for Eric Newlon, father of incoming freshman Olivia.

“I went to Michigan so this is a big deal for us. But it’s a great school, beautiful campus and has a great reputation,” he said.

President Drake speaks to potential students and their families

A Cleveland native, Olivia Newlon said the setting and the big campus won her over. Financial aid made a difference, too.

“I applied to quite a few schools and none of them gave me as much,” she said.

The Ratliff and Newlon families joined hundreds of others at the Drake Performance and Event Center to start their two-day orientation. Sessions continue into late July for the entering class of an estimated 7,000 or so new first-year students.

President Michael V. Drake addressed the new students and told them not to worry if they had not settled on a course or career path.

“Whether you are the first or the 10th person in your family to go to college, that is entirely normal and appropriate at this stage to be unsure of what you want to do,” he said.

He also encouraged them to make good choices and seek help when they needed it. Drake asked them to get to know their teachers.

“Professors are regular, normal people who love students and love teaching. You will get great value out of getting to know them. And you get to know them by speaking to them as though they are people. So I suggest you do that,” he said.

Drake said he looked forward to seeing many of them again in four years at commencement, and issued a challenge: “Go out there in the world and be our leaders of tomorrow.”