Preferred Name

The Ohio State University has adopted a new policy that allows students to select a preferred name, instead of their legal name, for certain uses at Ohio State. Your primary name is your legal name and official name of record for your transcripts, Statement of Account, BuckID, diploma, payroll, etc.

A preferred name is the name you are called in day to day life. For example, perhaps you have always gone by your middle name, a nickname, a name that is easier to pronounce, or for transgender students, you may self-identify by one name but have not opted to make that change legally.

Ohio State has accepted preferred names for several years, but now that name will be used in more places. With this being a recommendation of the No Place for Hate Task Force as a way to encourage a more open and welcoming campus community, several key partners worked together to implement this new system.

How do you change your PREFERRED first name?:

  1. Log in to your via
  2. On the left-hand side, click on My OSU Identity Information.
  3. You can add, change, or delete the value in the Preferred First Name field.
  4. This change in your will then update to Buckeye Link.

Once saved, your preferred first name will sync to lots of systems, including:, Student and/or Applicant Center, Employee Self Service, email (preferred name in parentheses), Carmen, and class rosters. Additional preferred name system enhancements will be coming later in the summer, including email and Find People. We appreciate your patience as your preferred name synchronizes throughout connected systems.


  • Where will my preferred name be used?
  • The preferred name will show up on class rosters, advising reports for advisors, and Carmen - basically any day to day record. It will not show up on degree audit reports, diplomas, transcripts, or official enrollment or degree verifications.

  • Can I use my preferred name on my BuckID?
  • Yes. Simply tell the BuckID customer service representative that you want to use your preferred name on your BuckID. Your preferred name must be designated in Buckeye Link before BuckID can use it.

  • Can my BuckID with my preferred name be used as proof of identity?
  • Not in all circumstances. In some places, especially off-campus, an ID with your legal name, such as a driver's license, may be required.

  • What about the regional campuses?
  • The system used for Columbus campus is the same for those attending regional campuses.

  • What about student employees?
  • Everything student related would follow the preferred name model, and everything employee related would not. A student would show up in Carmen under their preferred name, and their legal (primary) name would show up on their paycheck.

  • Where did this idea come from?
  • The new system was initiated by the Office of Student Life and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and developed by the University Registrar and Office of the CIO based on the recommendation of the No Place for Hate Task Force.

  • How do I change my primary (legal) name?
  • Your primary name is your legal name and official name of record. If you need to change your primary name due to a legal name change or any other reason, complete the Change of Record form based on your affiliation: for Students or Faculty/Staff.

Is Ohio State encouraging and/or endorsing an LGBTQ culture?

The university is dedicated to ensuring a welcoming and safe environment for all students.  By including sexual orientation and gender identification questions in the admissions application, Ohio State is indicating an acceptance and understanding of the needs of these students from their very first interaction with the university.

How will identifying an applicant’s sexual orientation and gender identity affect his or her opportunities for admission?

Choosing to answer or ignore these optional identification questions does not impact admissions decisions.  This information is gathered strictly for the purpose of understanding the scope of these populations, and to share university resources with those groups.

Who will be able to access this data?

An individual’s data is protected by FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).  Similar to disability data, this information is considered restricted within university systems.  Data is only available to an extremely limited number of staff. All others seeking aggregate data must submit a request for this information, including a specific need, to be either approved or denied by the gatekeeping offices (University Registrar and the Multicultural Center).

Students should note, however, that parents or guardians may access this information if they have the log in credentials to review a student’s Common Application or student account.

How will this data be used?

By collecting aggregate data on our applicants’ sexual orientation and gender identity, Ohio State will be able to analyze the success of the university’s efforts related to the recruitment, enrollment, retention and academic success of the LGBTQ demographic. This, in turn, will help us better understand the needs of this population and to provide the data needed to inform the creation or expansion of beneficial resources and services for this demographic.

What if these questions deter students from applying or cause others anxiety and stress?

Previous application questions directed toward race/ethnicity have not deterred students from applying.  These questions are optional, which allows students to answer only if they are comfortable sharing this information.  Students who choose not to disclose sexual orientation and gender identity will not be penalized in any way.

What if students change their sexual orientation and/or gender identity after applying?

Students may visit the Student Information System (SIS) to adjust this information during their time as an Ohio State student.  The university recognizes that students continually experience growth in their identity, and they may wish to edit this information later.