Everyone’s favorite thing and maybe some people’s biggest worry when it comes to college: Food. This can be a big worry for many incoming freshman because they have no idea what to expect. Will the food be edible? Will the dining hall be miles away? What if the meal plan isn’t enough? What about grocery shopping? Hopefully this guide to Ohio State University dining will answer all of your questions and more! Keep reading for the ultimate guide to eating on campus at Ohio State University!
Meal Plans at Ohio State University
For starters, I’m going to talk about meal plans. The best way to decide what meal plan is best for you is to try it out for your first week on campus. You can change your meal plan in the first two weeks of the semester, and if you decide midway through first semester that you don’t like your plan, you can always change it for second semester.
The Ohio State University Dining Process (Break Down)
This chart can be found on Ohio State’s website here, but before you rush to check it out-I’m going to break it down a little further for you here.
Weekly traditional visits are your “swipes” that you get each week to use at one of the 3 main dining halls where you can eat as much as you want. There is a dining hall on all 3 ends of campus (some are better than others, but I’ll get into that later), so food is never far from your dorm. Next, the traditional visit exchange can be used at places like Sloopys or Marketplace or the RPAC and more. With this exchange, you would use one of your 10 or 14 swipes to get a main meal, a fruit, and a drink. This is extremely convenient if you start to get bored of the 3 main dining halls! Plus, bonus, if you don’t use all of your swipes with the Gray 10 or Scarlet 14, you can go to a C-store and buy food like poptarts, Ben and Jerrys, lunchables, and more. The downside is that the C-store is expensive and each swipe is only worth $5 when you exchange it.
Next up is dining dollars which can be used to purchase food or coffee or pretty much anything on campus that you want to eat. For me, I use these mostly for the occasional coffee shop stop or small food items if I’m running low on swipes. These roll over until you graduate so if you don’t use them all, they won’t expire at the end of the week like your swipes do. BuckID cash can also be used to buy food, but it can also be used at most places surrounding campus like Canes, Panera, Buckeye Donuts, pretty much any place you can think of (but not Starbucks on High Street, just to warn you now!).
What meal plan should I choose?
As far as what plan you should choose, I wouldn’t recommend unlimited unless you’re okay with being limited to the 3 dining halls. It can also be frustrating when your friends want to go eat at other places on campus and you have to use up your dining dollars each time while they use visit exchanges. Meanwhile, the Scarlet 14 is great for someone who is used to having 2 set meals in a day. The Gray 10 is what I had which is good for someone who likes to have 1-2 meals a day. Between snacking and always having leftovers from visit exchanges, I never went hungry. Keep in mind that it can be tough to find the motivation to get up early for breakfast in college, and you’ll probably end up bringing at least a little bit of food from home to keep in your room.
Dining Halls at Ohio State University
So here are those 3 main dining halls that I mentioned before. There’s Morrill, Kennedy, and Scott. If you get the unlimited plan, you’ll be spending a lot of time eating in one of these places.
Morrill is located in Morrill Tower, super convenient because it’s in the building that many students live in (and west campus can be a bit of a walk to get anywhere else, especially in the winter). Despite the fact that it is not the best food on campus, you won’t starve!
Kennedy will be popular among south campus residents, especially because anyone living in Mack, Canfield, Morrison, Siebert, and Bradley-Patterson can get there without ever going outside. Although the main station doesn’t change a whole lot, there’s always a breakfast station and there is an action station that changes every week. Plus, can’t forget about the desserts, cereal, and ice cream.
Scott is a much bigger and better version of Kennedy. There’s even a Mongolian Grill upstairs, although it is not always open. There are more than enough food options for even the pickiest of eaters. Although it is located on North campus, you’ll definitely find some of your South and West campus friends here because it is the biggest dining hall on campus and it is definitely worth the walk. Kennedy and Scott also both have To-Go boxes now that you can get if you don’t want to stay and eat.
The downside to every dining hall:
There is one downside to all of these dining halls: they close at 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays. You’ll run into this problem at least once, but keep in mind that Sloopys is always open late! So moving on to the other places to eat…
Other Places To Eat Around The Ohio State University Campus
Sloopy’s is wonderful, and it’s open until midnight on weekdays and 3am on weekends. It is located on South campus inside the Union. They have the biggest pancakes on campus and some really good milkshakes. While the menu includes pretty much any food you can think of, not everything works out with the Visit Exchange so you might end up using dining dollars. There can also be a long wait if you come around dinner time or when everything else on campus is closed. It’s definitely a great place to go and sit down with your friends, and sometimes it will be your only option for food.
Located inside the RPAC on West campus, Courtside Café is definitely worth the walk to West campus! They have the best pasta and cheese tortellini and you don’t want to miss out. Many people will never even realize that the RPAC has food, and that it is arguably some of the best food on campus. It works out great with the Visit Exchange too. You won’t want to miss out on a good workout and a good dinner all in one place. (Plus for all of you living in the Towers, it’ll be a good change from Morrill!)
Marketplace and Union Market
If you’re in the mood for pasta, but your friend is in the mood for Chinese food, what do you do? Go to Marketplace or the Union Market! Both are located on South campus, the Union Market is in the Union and Marketplace is located on Neil right past Res on 10th. Each have a variety of food stations so you and your friends can get the food that you want. Most people think that Marketplace is better, and the General Tso’s definitely can’t be beat, but the Union Market arguably has the better paninis!
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Last words of advice…
You’ll be on campus soon enough and you’ll have the chance to try all of the food for yourself, and believe me, Ohio State University has some pretty good food compared to other colleges! Try something new everywhere you go, you might just find your new favorite food. Just be sure to limit yourself when it comes to the unlimited ice cream and desserts in the dining halls because that freshman 15 will hit fast!
What are some other things every student at Ohio State University should know about eating on campus? Comment below and share this article with friends!