University statement of nondiscrimination
Admission requirements
Admission procedures
  Discovery program
  Home school policy
College credit for high school students
  Advanced placement
Requirements for first-year students
Three-year program
Requirements for transfer students
  Transfer articulation agreements
Requirements for special or transient students
Requirements for readmission
Requirements for international students

Admission to Bluffton University is gained through the admissions office, which acts on behalf of the faculty. Admission may be granted to first-year students, transfers, special and transient students and, on a limited basis, to current high school students through the College Credit Plus Program.

All candidates for admission to the university upon applying do agree to uphold the Standards of campus conduct.


University statement of nondiscrimination

Bluffton University admits students of any race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other status protected by law to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally made available to students at the institution. In addition, Bluffton University does not discriminate on the basis of any of these same characteristics in the administration of its educational policies, scholarship/loan programs, athletic programs and other school-administered programs.


Admission requirements

Bluffton University has a test-flexible policy for prospective students who are applying as first-year students in undergraduate degree programs. Students who are consistently on their high school honor roll can be admitted solely based on GPA.

Standardized test results will remain to be required for placement in certain majors, for class placements and for competitive academic scholarships.

To be considered for regular admission, applicants must meet one of these two criteria:

  • High school GPA of 3.0 or higher. 
  • High school GPA between 2.3 and 2.99 as well as a minimum 19
    ACT/990 SAT. In addition, class rank or College Credit Plus classes may be considered.

Students who do not meet these regular entrance requirements may be invited to apply to the Discovery Program, which requires additional application materials.

Admission procedures

Application materials are available on the university website. Application should be made after junior year or early in the senior year. Applications open on June 1, 14 months before the start of the new academic year. The application deadline for incoming first-year students is July 1 the summer before the intended first day of class. The application deadline for transfers and returning students is July 15 the summer before the intended first day of class.

After obtaining the necessary forms, the applicant should do the following:

  • complete and submit the application for admission;
  • have official high school transcrip sent to Bluffton;
  • have the ACT or SAT scores sent to Bluffton; and
  • plan to visit campus. A campus visit, though not required, is strongly encouraged.

Because Bluffton University operates on a rolling admissions plan, the admissions office will make the decision on admission and notify the applicant soon after receiving all of the above items. Students are encouraged to apply early.
More info...

Following graduation from high school, final transcripts must be sent to Bluffton prior to actual enrollment.

Acceptance is contingent on successful completion of secondary school or general education diploma (GED).

After being accepted, a student will be asked to submit a $100 enrollment deposit to secure their spot to attend Bluffton. The enrollment deposit is refundable until May 1. After submitting the enrollment deposit, students will be invited to register for an orientation where important information and forms about items such as student health insurance, medical forms and billing will be distributed.

Admissions appeal

There is the option for admittance decisions to be appealed and reconsidered. Students interested in this option can do so with one or more of the following:

  •  Submit a new set of semester grades 
  • Submit a new ACT or SAT score
  • Submit a formal appeal letter to the director of admissions

In each case, a formal, typed letter must be submitted to the director of enrollment operations requesting the appeal. The letter should state the specific reason(s) for the appeal. The letter should describe pertinent circumstances and reasons in order to determine if there is a basis for an appeal. Appeals will not be considered without an adequate amount of new information.


Conditional admittance (discovery PROgram)

The Discovery Program is designed to support students of academic promise who do not meet Bluffton University's admission requirements. The Discovery Program includes a semester of carefully planned classes to help students develop the skills necessary for post-secondary academic success. Students admitted to the university through this program must enroll in  DIS 050 (Applied College Skills) and complete it with at least a C- in order to continue at Bluffton University. Other expectations of students in this program will be outlined in the acceptance letter.


home school policy

Bluffton University welcomes applications from home school students. In addition to standardized test scores such as the ACT or SAT and a transcript of courses, a personal interview is required. A reading list and writing sample also may be requested. Contact the admissions office for more information.

College credit for high school students

Bluffton University grants transfer credit for all college credit earned at a regionally accredited college or university for college level courses with grades of C- or above. For students in the state of Ohio, this credit is generally earned through the College Credit Plus Program, a program sponsored by the state of Ohio which allows high school students to earn college and high school credits at the same time.


Bluffton University provides an opportunity for Bluffton High School students to enroll in university courses for high school and college credit through the CCP, Option A program. The intent of the program is to enrich the learning of high school students; not to replace courses offered at the high school level.

Students in Bluffton’s CCP program have full access to the many resources that Bluffton has to offer such as Musselman Library and the Technology Center.

While participating in Bluffton’s CCP program, students study and learn with college students, learn from Bluffton professors who are highly respected within their disciplines, and form lasting relationships with fellow classmates and professors.


  • Students interested in participating in CCP at Bluffton University must submit an online application for admission into the program along with a teacher’s recommendation and a transcript with ACT/SAT scores listed.
  • The deadline for new applications is May 1 for fall semester and Dec. 1 for spring semester. No exceptions. Note: Students who met the May 1 deadline DO NOT need to re-apply by Dec. 1. The December deadline is for students who missed the May deadline and wish to take courses in the spring semester.
  • Students who have previously taken CCP courses through Bluffton University DO NOT need to re-apply each year. By listing Bluffton on their letter of intent (due to the high school by April 1) and sending an updated transcript, their participation is confirmed.
  • Students must meet both the Bluffton University admission standards as well as the college readiness standards as defined by the state of Ohio. Guidance counselors have additional details.
  • CCP course registration will be early-August for fall semester and mid-December for spring semester.
  • Admission to the CCP program does not guarantee that a student will be able to enroll in any given course since the university has a primary obligation to first serve the needs of the university’s degree-seeking students.
  • Unless previously approved by the course instructor and the registrar, no more than 15 percent of the students in any course section shall be CCP students.
  • Students are responsible for consulting with their high school guidance counselor to determine if and how courses completed through CCP will be granted as credit toward high school graduation requirements.
  • All admitted students must attend a CCP orientation session held on Bluffton’s campus in August prior to course registration. 
  • Students in CCP will be limited to 30 college credit hours per academic year. Students can earn a maximum of 120 college credit hours while in the program.
  • The high school guidance counselor will monitor the total number of credit hours a student takes.
  • Registration will be based on a first-come, first-served basis, determined by the date of application submission.
  • The registrar’s office will annually compile a list of courses for which accepted CCP students will be allowed to register, based on space availability. Course selection will be limited each semester.
  • CCP students must return textbooks and any software on the last day of exams for each semester. Grades will not be released until textbooks and software are returned. (This does not apply to students continuing in classes that require the same textbook the next semester.)
  • Failure to pass, complete or properly drop a course for reasons other than those accepted by the student’s school district may result in any or all financial obligation for the course defaulting to the student or the student’s parent.
  • For students who enroll at Bluffton University after high school graduation, the credit earned will be applied toward their degree.

Advanced placement

The advanced placement program of the college entrance examination board was developed to give recognition to applicants who take college-level courses in secondary school. Thus, students may earn college credit and may be excused from certain college requirements by satisfactorily passing advanced placement examinations.

Credit and possible course waiver will be issued to applicants who earn a score of four or five on any of these examinations. Credit and/or course waiver may be issued for a score of three upon recommendation of the department concerned and/or the dean of academic affairs. More info...


Requirements for first-year students

In determining eligibility for admission, Bluffton will carefully consider whether each applicant individually has the proper background for study at a liberal arts university.

Criteria will include high school academic standing, the subjects taken, participation in co-curricular activities, moral character, purpose for college study, and possibly ACT/SAT scores. Requirements for admission to the first-year class are the following:

  • graduation from a secondary school or a general education diploma (GED);
  • satisfactory secondary school work (preference is given to students ranking in the top half of their class);
  • satisfactory amount and distribution of secondary school work. Bluffton University gives preference to students who have taken a planned program of college preparatory courses. The recommended program includes: four units of English, with emphasis on composition; three units of mathematics, at least one of which should be taken in the senior year; three units of social studies; three units of science; and three units of foreign language. These courses will provide a good foundation for the liberal arts curriculum and the major fields; and
  • scores from an aptitude test for students with a high school GPA under 3.0. Bluffton University requires either the ACT of the American College Testing Program or the SAT of The College Board. The student should take the ACT or the SAT in the spring of the junior year or fall of the senior year; scores should be sent directly to the college. Registration for ACT or SAT is made through the high school guidance counselor. 


three-year program

Bluffton’s three-year bachelor’s degree program provides high achieving students with a quality education in a condensed period of time and at a lower cost. Students in this program can still take advantage of the opportunities available to all students at Bluffton, including internships, practicums and student life activities.

By carrying a larger course load and taking classes in the summer while balancing other leadership and personal responsibilities, students will be prepared for the academic rigor of top-level graduate programs. Students accepted into the three year bachelor's degree program must declare their major before beginning classes and take approximately 18 hours per semester for three years and additional courses in the summer.
Majors offering a three-year degree include:
Students who decide to change their major, stop following the plan or for any reason decide to slow down, can easily transition into the traditional, four-year program.
  • minimum high school GPA of 3.4 and an ACT score of 24 (SAT 1110 verbal and math only);
  • attend summer orientation in May to ensure registration in needed classes.

Requirements for transfer students

A student who plans to transfer to Bluffton University from another college or university must submit the following:

  • application for admission;
  • official transcript of high school record;
  • official transcript from each post high school institution attended;
  • signed transfer recommendation from post high school institution most recently attended. 

Full credit will normally be given for all courses completed at any other regionally accredited college or university in which the applicant has earned a grade of C- or better and which are comparable in content to courses offered at Bluffton.

Admission preference is given to applicants who have maintained a C average or better in all college-level work. Students who have been dismissed from another college or university for academic or disciplinary reasons are not eligible for admission to Bluffton University until they are also eligible for admission to the previous institution. Applicants must have met all financial obligations at the former institution.

An accepted applicant who has graduated from an accredited two-year institution of higher learning with an associate in arts degree will be admitted with first-term junior standing.


transfer articulation agreements

Bluffton University has articulation agreements with Central Ohio Technical College, Clark State Community College,Columbus State Community College, Cuyahoga Community College,  Edison Community College, Hesston College, James A. Rhodes State College, Lakeland Community College, Lorain Community College, Northwest State Community College, Owens Community College, Rosedale Bible College, Sinclair Community College, Stark State College and Terra Community College whereby students with  associate degrees in appropriate majors can finish baccalaureate degrees. Students will normally need the equivalent of two additional years to complete the bachelor of arts degree. Hesston College students with associate of arts or associate of science degrees are assured junior standing and have met all lower level general education requirements. Rosedale Bible College students with an associate of arts degree are assured of meeting all lower level general education requirements with the exception of science. All students interested in transferring are encouraged to contact the transfer coordinator in the admissions office for a full transfer evaluation.

Requirements for special or transient students

Individuals who are not candidates for a degree may be admitted as special or unclassified students and allowed to take courses on a part-time or full-time basis. Applications may be requested from the admissions office.

Requirements for readmission

Bluffton University students who have not been enrolled for one or more registration periods must apply for readmission to the university. The application form is available from the admissions office. A new medical form is required of students not enrolled for more than two years prior to readmission.

The factors considered in readmission include those used in the initial admission decision. The decision will be made by the admissions office, which may consult the administrative officers.

Students who have outstanding bills will not be readmitted until those obligations are met.

Requirements for international students

A student who plans to apply as an undergraduate international student to Bluffton University must submit the following:

  • Application for admission
  • Results of the TOEFL or SAT (critical reading and math only) or approved equivalent assessment
  • Transcripts and/or national exam results
  • Declaration of finances form
  • Financial aid application
  • Two teacher recommendations

On occasion, international students may be asked to submit additional information to establish English proficiency (i.e. writing sample).

July 2024