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South Carolina Honors College

Transfer Applicants

The Honors College has much to offer and is an excellent option if you're looking for an enhanced college experience.  Transfer admission is highly selective and based on the current number of students in the college. Students from both within the University of South Carolina and other universities are eligible to apply.

Can I Apply?

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 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. 


How Do I Apply?

All students interested in transferring into the Honors College will need to complete the Honors College application for transfer admission available under “Application Guidelines.”

 There are additional requirements for students in certain situations:


Application Guidelines

General guidelines for consideration as a transfer applicant are as follows:
  • Minimum of a 3.6 GPA on a 4.0 scale on all college work attempted.
  • Submission of two letters of recommendation from professors.
  • Application including a written essay. (See the application form for essay topics and guidelines.)
  • Transcript of college work (staff will get this directly from the registrar for transfers within the USC system).
  • Reasonable chance of completing the requirements for graduating from the Honors College including a senior thesis. Graduation with honors requires 45 Honors College credit hours.  Please see our online handbook [pdf] for a breakdown and more information.  
Note that a student admitted to the Honors College as a new freshman who initially chose to attend another institution may enter the Honors College during a subsequent semester--up to one year after the student would have originally enrolled--without submitting a further Honors College application. The student accepting the offer of admission in these cases must have maintained a 3.5 GPA in all college course work and must apply to USC as a transfer student.
Factors for Consideration

These are the primary factors considered by the Transfer Review Committee: 

  • Essays. Students respond to four prompts (three short responses and one longer essay) that deal with students’ intellectual curiosity and vigor, accomplishments and aptitude for leadership, and reasons for wanting to join.  The Honors College is looking for students who are especially eager to be challenged, who have wide-ranging and/or deep academic interests, and who will fit in well in intensely interactive classroom environments.  Not every student will benefit from being in such an environment or find it comfortable. The Honors College wants to be confident that the student realistically understands and is prepared for the rigor, engagement, and intensity of the Honors experience.

  • Transcript (GPA & coursework). The Honors College is looking not only at an applicant’s GPA, but also at the courses the student has taken.  Students who have taken more demanding courses, and who are taking more advanced courses (because they have placed out of introductory courses, for instance), are making a stronger case that they would be better served by being in the Honors College. Students who are doing well in introductory courses with the usual range of difficulty may well be placed appropriately already.  Even students with a 4.0 GPA may not be accepted.

  • Recommendations. Detailed recommendations from enthusiastic faculty in academic subjects  are especially important.

  • Ability to complete Honors. Students in the Honors College are required to complete a robust curriculum of 45 credit hours. Therefore, students who have plans to be abroad for an entire year or have other rigorous obligations in their field of study may not be best served by the addition of Honors requirements.

    All applications are read by the Transfer Review Committee, a group primarily composed of the Honors College Assistant Deans.  The committee is unable to provide details regarding individual applications.

There are two transfer deadlines:

  • Students who are in their first year of college should apply by the April 15 transfer deadline and would enter the Honors College the following fall semester.

  • Student who are completing the first semester of their second year should apply by the December 1 transfer deadline and would enter the Honors College the following spring semester.

In brief if you are a freshman, you should apply in April; if you are a sophomore, you should apply in December. Should the deadline fall on a weekend, applications will be due the first Monday following.

All applications will be reviewed as a group, with no preference given to applications received early.

  • The transfer application will be available here by mid-February for our April 15, 2018 deadline..

  • If you are applying from outside the University of South Carolina system, please also complete the general undergraduate application. Note that deadlines for the general admissions application differ from the Honors College application.

  • If you are applying from within the USC system, but not from the Columbia campus, please fill out a Change of Campus form.


Questions regarding transfer admission into the Honors College can often be answered by reviewing our Frequently Asked Questions page.  Any additional inquiries should be directed to Elise Porter, Recruiting Coordinator, at