Preferred name header

Managing Your Personal Identity

Ohio State recognizes that your personal information on record does not always align with how you identify. The university provides tools to manage your personal identity.  

Primary Name

Primary Name is the official name on the student record. It is used on official documents like transcripts, diplomas, enrollment and degree verifications, payroll and tax forms. Currently enrolled students must submit a Change of Record form to request a Primary Name change. Learn about other types of change of record requests on the Forms (student) webpage.

Preferred name

What it is 

The Ohio State University allows students to select a preferred name for certain uses at Ohio State.  

A preferred first name (nickname) field and the preferred last name field are available for you to specify a name, other than your legal first name, that you are known by. 

The university recognizes that many of its students and employees use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. Inappropriate use of preferred names, including but not limited to misrepresentation, may be cause for revoking/denying the request.  Preferred name changes are not a substitution for legal name changes. 

How it is used: 

The university uses the preferred first name to assign usernames (name.#) in correspondence with students (email and physical mailings), login credentials, online student directory, class rosters, grade rosters, administrative reports, student information system screens that are visible to advisors or instructors, and for class interactions, including Carmen. If no preferred first name is provided, a student’s legal first name will be used. 

If a student chooses to change a preferred last name, they will receive a new Ohio State name.#. 

How to make a change to your preferred name 

  1. Log in to My OSU. 
  2. On the left-hand side, select My OSU Identity Information. 
  3. Follow the instructions for changing your preferred first name or preferred last name.  

Preferred name on BuckID 

You can request a new BuckID with your preferred name free of cost.


What they are 

Pronouns are used to refer to individuals in the third person. Examples include she/her, he/him, ze/zir, they/them. Pronouns are chosen by an individual and may differ from their legal sex. 

How they are used

Student-identified pronouns appear in class and advising rosters and student information system screens that are visible to advisors, instructors and staff. Employee-identified pronouns may appear in employment documents.  

The purpose of selecting your personal pronouns is to notify faculty and staff of your preference when engaging in conversations with you and others.  

How to request a change 

  1. Log in to 
  2. On the left-hand side, select My OSU Identity Information. 
  3. Follow the instructions for changing your pronouns. 

Pronouns can also be changed in the following systems:  

Legal sex

What it is 

For required reporting, legal sex is defined as the sex indicated on government documents (e.g., state photo identification). Legal sex may differ from sex assigned at birth, gender identity and/or gender expression. 

How it is used

The university is required to collect Legal Sex Designation data in certain systems and business processes, including student and employee official records that are reported to federal and state governmental agencies (e.g., the federal Departments of Education and Labor). The university makes every effort to limit reporting of either legal sex designation to instances where such data is required by law, and primarily uses this information in aggregate to make informed, data-driven decisions related to strategic resources and student and employee support. In addition, regulations require the university to ask employees to self-disclose this information on legal sex at the time of application and the time of hire, and if not disclosed voluntarily during onboarding the university is required by law to make this designation. 

How to request a change 

  • Current students can submit a Change of Record request to change their legal sex.  
  • Applicants and admitted students can contact Admissions to change their legal sex.  
  • Faculty and staff can change their legal sex in Workday 

How the university protects your personal identification information

Laws and regulations apply to personal identification information for students and employees.  

For students and student employees

Personal identification information is protected by FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (pdf), and with limited exceptions, access to it is restricted to faculty and staff who have a legitimate educational interest and have completed student data privacy training. 

For employees

Personal identification information is appropriately protected to prevent misuse or identity theft. However, some personal identification information may be subject to release under the Ohio Public Records Act, and the university has strong policies and processes designed to ensure that we keep information secure and protected. 

How to raise a question or concern about your personal identification information

If you believe your personal identification information is being accessed or used inappropriately, and/or if you have suggestions for appropriate use, please report your concerns or recommendations to the following office(s) as appropriate: