Choosing a College for Aviation

Hello everyone,
I am a junior in high school, and I’m interested in a career as an airline pilot. I’ve decided that if I were to pursue this career after high school, I would study aviation in college. As I know from reading this forum and others, people have different views about whether or not to go this route. Although I’d be happy to discuss/receive input about it, this is not what my question is about.
I would like to know how to go about choosing a collegiate aviation program. I am going to tour Ohio State this week, which will be my first time touring a college. While my decision on which college to attend would mostly rest on whether the college is a “good fit” for me, I think I should place some weight on the qualities of the aviation program. The heart of my question is, what should I look for in a collegiate aviation program? If there are any current college aviators or graduates of college aviation programs on this forum, I would especially appreciate their input.

To give some more information, I am lucky enough to
a) come from a well-off family, so paying for tuition/flight training is not an issue
b) live in Ohio, where I can be close to, and get in-state tuition at 4 colleges with aviation programs (Bowling Green, Kent State, Ohio State, and Ohio University).

P.S., I took an introductory flight lesson at my local flight school two summers ago. I enjoyed the flight, but I wasn’t in the position to keep paying for more flight lessons. My dad, however, saw my flight and got inspired to start working on his own PPL. I’ve been in the back seat of a 172 on several of his training flights, and I’ve enjoyed reading his PPL textbook. I think I’ve been adequately exposed to aviation to know that this is a career I’d like to pursue. Now that I’m in a better position to pay for flight lessons, is it a good idea to start them, or should I hold off on flight training until college?

Thank you all so much. I appreciate what you all do on this forum to help aspiring pilots.



Some may chime in but I don’t believe you’ll get too many responses. Most of the people on this forum are looking to train with ATP and the mentors are all successful grads of the program. In short, you’re asking for advice on aviation universities from people who don’t recommend aviation universities.

I recommend you do some Googling on the schools you’re interested in. That all said of the schools you list Kent by far has the best reputation.


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As Adam mentioned, a majority of the people on this forum are pro-ATP so you probably won’t hear what you want to about aviation university programs. With that being said, I’m an instructor at the ATP Cincinnati location and you would be surprised how many intro flights, and even current students, who are or were enrolled in some of the programs you mentioned, and are not happy with the progress. We currently have one student, formerly of the Ohio State flight program, and they told him that since there is a backlog, it might not be until his junior year until he actually flies a plane. Several of my intro flight students have turned to ATP since they are just not making progress or are struggling to fly at all in their aviation programs. Based on their feedback, I’ve been told that some of the schools are having issues with lack of planes or instructor availability. I have absolutely nothing against any of these schools, and I’m sure people can and have been successful using their programs, but just be prepared that your progress might be slower in comparison to a fast paced program, such as ATP. Again, probably not the exact feedback you were looking for, but I would consider options outside of aviation university programs, as well, to see which would work best for you!