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Office of Undergraduate Admissions


Honors Residence Hall

South Carolina Honors College

The Best of Both Worlds

The South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina has been ranked the nation's top public honors college since 2012. At the Honors College, you'll thrive in an environment that combines the best of a small, liberal arts college with the resources of a major research university. If you love learning, discovery, and exploration, you'll be right at home at the Honors College.

Why study at the South Carolina Honors College?

There are so many reasons to study at the South Carolina Honors College. Here are just a few of them:

  • More than 600 Honors-only classes available each year, from Honors versions of Biology and English, to boutique classes like the Psychology of the Zombie Apocalypse and study abroad courses like Global Health in Belize or the Art and Culture of Japan
  • Personalized attention, including your own Honors Advisor, in addition to your major advisor
  • Research opportunities available only to Honors College students, available beginning your freshman year
  • Average class size of just 16 students
  • The BARSC degree awarded by the Honors College, which is a program where you can design your own major
  • Special early admission pre-med and pre-law programs
What are typical tests scores and grades for admitted South Carolina Honors College students?

In 2016, the middle 50 percent of students in the South Carolina Honors College had an SAT score between 1450-1520, or an ACT composite score between 31-33. On average, students admitted to the Honors College were in the top four percent of their high school class and had an average weighted GPA of 4.65.

How do I apply to the Honors College?

There are two ways to formally apply to the University of South Carolina: USC Application and Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. Both applications capture the same core information needed to evaluate you for Honors College admissions; pick the one you prefer.

  1. For full consideration for general admission, admission to the South Carolina Honors College and the Top Scholars Award program, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions requires the following items. 
    • Fully completed general USC admissions application, preferably by the October 15, 2017 Early Answer Deadline.
    • Fully completed Honors College/Top Scholars application (available as a supplement after you submit your general admissions application). The Honors/Top Scholars application asks for two additional essays of 500-1,000 words each.
    • All SAT and/or ACT test scores from all test dates sent directly from College Board or ACT
    • Two letters of recommendation (submitted online as part of the Honors/Top Scholars application)
    • Resume (optional, but highly recommended) 

2. Please make contact with the two individuals who will write your letters of recommendation to ensure they received the electronic letter of recommendation form that USC emailed to them when you submitted their information on your application. Electronic letters of recommendation are strongly recommended. Please encourage them to complete the recommendation form online on or before November 15. As a last resort, if your recommender would prefer to mail the letter, please ask them to send it to the address below:

USC Undergraduate Admissions
902 Sumter Street Access - Lieber College
Columbia, SC 29208
ATTN: Honors College Processing

 

3. If you are taking the December 2017 SAT or ACT, please make sure you submit the official scores to USC-Columbia. While we only use scores submitted by November 15, 2017 for consideration for the Honors College and Top Scholars awards, we will use all scores we have on file by February 1, 2018 when evaluating your candidacy for other scholarships (if you are not named a Top Scholar Candidate).

4. The first round of Honors College admissions notifications will be mailed in late December. If you do not receive a decision at that time, you will receive one in mid-February. All students will receive a final Honors College admissions decision by mid-February. Official notifications are sent via email, using the address from your admissions application.

5. If you are named a Top Scholar Candidate, you will be invited to participate in a mandatory interview weekend. Please make sure to note the dates below on your calendar. Notifications for these awards will be mailed in late January.

    • Top Scholar Candidate Weekend for In-State Students (Stamps, Carolina, and Hamilton Scholars): February 24-26, 2018
    • Top Scholar Candidate Weekend for Out-of-State Students (Stamps, McNair and Horseshoe Scholars): March 3-5, 2018

6. Merit scholarships awarded through the Admissions Office will be released by early March of 2018. Scholarship decisions cannot be relayed via telephone.

7. We consider it the student's responsibility to ensure that all credentials are received by stated deadlines. For more information about credentials deadlines, please visit our website.

We want to hear from you if you have questions or concerns. Email us at admhonor@mailbox.sc.edu or call 803-777-7700. 

 

Can I apply as a transfer student?

Students can transfer into the Honors College from within the University of South Carolina or from other colleges and schools. Admissions is very competitive. Students who have completed no more than 45 credit hours while enrolled at an institution of higher education and have a minimum 3.6 GPA in all college work attempted may apply for transfer admission to the Honors College. The 45 credit hour limit does not include AP and/or IB credit hours or hours earned for college courses taken while enrolled in high school.

Will I receive honors credit for my AP/IB and dual-enrollment courses?

Many of our students earn college credit before graduating high school. Credits earned by AP/IB exams are not by themselves transferable "Honors" level credits in the SCHC curriculum. However, in some cases, credits from AP/IB and dual-enrollment courses may be counted toward the total number of Honors credits required with honors. Discuss your credits with your Honors advisor.

Can I visit the Honors College before making my decision?

All tours are arranged through the university Visitor Center, but we hope you'll attend one of our information sessions while you are here. If you can't come to campus, we encourage you to talk with one of our Honors Ambassadors, student leaders who can answer many of your questions and tell you more about the experience of attending Honors College.

As an Honors Student, where do I live?

All incoming freshmen will be placed in honors housing, which includes locations such as Honors Residence Hall, Woodrow, and 650 Lincoln.

Is an Honors Thesis required?

A senior thesis is required to graduate with Honors from the Honors College. We encourage students to think about the thesis as something more than just a research paper. It should be the opportunity to examine your passion through an academic lens. We've had students travel across the US, researching the meaning of success, and submitting a documentary as their thesis work. Others have explored art, written original music and authored novels. Many students gain funding specifically for the thesis, and are often able to present their work at national conferences.

What are the requirements to graduate "With Honors from the South Carolina Honors College"?

To graduate "With Honors," students must 1) take at least 45 credit hours of honors courses, or about one third of their total academic courses; 2) engage in at least one "Beyond the Classroom" experience (study abroad, internship, research, or service learning); and 3) complete a senior thesis. Most students in fact take significantly more honors courses than required. To graduate "With Honors," students must also maintain a sliding GPA, which goes from 3.0 as a freshman to 3.3 at graduation. (The average GPA in the Honors College last year was above 3.8.) Students who fail to maintain the minimum GPA or who do not make satisfactory progress toward graduating "With Honors" are placed on probation and given guidance toward improving their grades.

The Honors College also offers its own degree, the Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae degree, usually called the BARSC, which allows students to design their own degree and requires 69 honors credits.

Does the Honors College have its own admissions office?

No. To apply to the Honors College, you'll need to complete a supplement application to the general application you submit through the University of South Carolina Office of Undergraduate Admissions.