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Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Honors Residence Hall

SC 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 550 Honors-only classes available each year, from Honors version courses 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 (worth up to $10,000) available only to Honors College students, available beginning your freshman year
  • Average class size of just 16 students
  • The Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae 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

How do I apply to the Honors College?

Did you know that the South Carolina Honors College received the highest overall rating from A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs when they compared the country’s public university honors colleges? We are proud of this distinction and look forward to working with you as you navigate the admissions process.

In 2015, students in the South Carolina Honors Colleges had an interquartile SAT score (critical reading and math sections only) of 1390-1470, or an ACT composite interquartile score of 31-34. For the new redesigned SAT (March 2016 and after), the interquartile range for admitted Honors College students is estimated to be 1440 to 1510. 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.

There are two ways to formally apply to the University of South Carolina: CollegeNet and Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. Both applications capture the same core information needed to evaluate your application; pick the one you prefer. We have some important information to share with you, so please pay close attention to the points below:

  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 by November 15, 2016
    • Fully completed USC admissions application (submitted online through CollegeNet or the Coalition application)
    • Fully completed Honors College/Top Scholars application (a supplement to the general admissions application found online through CollegeNet or the Coalition application). The Honors/Top Scholars application asks for two additional essays of 500-1,000 words each. Prompts can be found online through the CollegeNet or Coalition application.
    • All SAT and/or ACT test scores from all test dates taken directly from College Board or ACT
    • Two letters of recommendation (submitted online as part of the Honors/Top Scholars application)
    • Resume (optional, but recommended) 

2. Please make contact with the two individuals who will write your letters of recommendation to make sure 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. If you apply via the Coalition application, we strongly encourage you to upload your letters of recommendation to your locker so you may easily attach them to the Honors/Top Scholars application. 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 2016 SAT or ACT, please make sure you submit the official scores to USC-Columbia. While we only use scores submitted by November 15, 2016 for consideration for the Honors College and Top Scholars awards, we will use all scores we have on file by February 1, 2017 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 only sent via USPS. Decisions are not relayed via telephone or email.

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, Carolina, and Hamilton Scholars): February 18-20, 2017
    • Top Scholar Candidate Weekend for Out-of-State Students (McNair and Horseshoe Scholars): February 25 -27 2017

6. Merit scholarships awarded through the Admissions Office will be mailed via USPS by early March of 2017. Scholarship decisions cannot be relayed via email or 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 or call 803-777-7700. 


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?

Many students have heard about the required Honors Thesis. The 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, music and novels. Many students gain funding specifically for the thesis, and are often able to present their work at national conferences.