University of South Carolina


General Freshmen Requirements

Freshman admission to the University of South Carolina is primarily based on high school courses and grades, along with SAT or ACT scores. Specific course requirements are listed below.

More than 75% of admitted 2014 freshmen scored an 1150 or higher on the SAT (critical reading and math sections combined) or a 25 or higher on the ACT composite. Seventy-five percent of admitted 2014 freshmen earned a weighted core GPA of at least a 3.64. Students who complete the required 18 high school academic units with at least a 3.5 HS GPA and earn scores as mentioned above are usually competitive for admission. Additional factors may be taken into consideration, such as extraordinary personal circumstances, special talents, outstanding extracurricular activities, and evidence of leadership.

*Note: High-school graduates who take summer school courses in between graduation and the fall semester that immediately follows are not considered transfer students.

Required credentials

All freshman applicants must submit the following items:

  • Freshman application with $65 application fee ($100 if international)
  • Official SAT or ACT scores, including at least one official writing score

Please do not send an official high-school transcript to the admissions office. On the freshman application, you are required to self-report your academic work and upload a copy of your unofficial high-school transcript in JPG, PDF, or Word document format. If we need an additional copy for evaluation purposes, we will notify you.

Recommended, not required: Guidance counselor evaluation form. This form is automatically emailed to your counselor when you enter his or her contact information on your application. Secondary school report forms or counselor evaluation letters sent via Parchment/Naviance or US Mail are acceptable alternatives. US mail is least preferred since it slows processing time. This is a recommended but not required component of your application.

Please note: Letters of recommendation ARE NOT REQUIRED for general university admissions consideration. Please do not send letters of recommendation unless you are applying to South Carolina Honors College.

Courses required for the 2015-16 academic year

Students entering USC in the summer or fall of 2015 are expected to complete the following minimum high-school core course curriculum:

English - 4 units: At least two units must have strong grammar and composition components, at least one must be in English literature, and at least one must be in American literature. Completion of college preparatory English I, II, III, and IV will meet this criterion.

Mathematics - 4 units: These include Algebra I (for which Applied Mathematics I and II may count together as a substitute, if a student successfully completes Algebra II), Algebra II, and geometry. A fourth higher-level math course should be selected from among Algebra III/trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, statistics, or discrete mathematics or a capstone math course.

Laboratory science - 3 units: Two units must be taken in two different fields and selected from among biology, chemistry or physics. The third unit may be from the same field as one of the first two units (biology, chemistry, or physics) or from any laboratory science for which biology and/or chemistry is a prerequisite. Courses in earth science, general physical science, or introductory or general environmental science for which biology and/or chemistry is not a prerequisite will not meet this requirement. It is strongly recommended that students take physical science (taught as a laboratory science) as a prerequisite to the three required units of laboratory science outlined in this section. Also, it is strongly recommended that students desiring careers in science, math, engineering, or technology take one course in each of the three fields.

Social studies - 3 units: Must include one unit of US history. One-half unit of economics and one-half unit of government are strongly recommended.

Foreign language - 2 units: Both units must be in the same language.

Fine arts - 1 unit: One unit in appreciation of, history of, or performance in one of the fine arts

Academic electives - 1 unit: A college prep course in computer science (i.e., one involving significant programming content, not simply keyboarding) is strongly recommended. Other acceptable electives include college preparatory courses in English, fine arts, foreign languages, social science, humanities, laboratory science (excluding those for which biology and/or chemistry is not a prerequisite), or math above the level of Algebra II.

Physical education - 1 unit: or ROTC is required.

Dual enrollment, honors, AP, and IB courses

We encourage all students to challenge themselves in the classroom. Taking challenging courses in high school prepares a student for the rigors of college classes and also helps develop consistent study habits. We know that some students have many options for AP/IB courses due to the size of their high school. We also know that not all students are able to fill their schedules with AP and/or IB courses due to a number of factors, including school size, personal interests, and scheduling issues. There is no "set" number of advanced courses that we're looking for. Rather, we want to see that the student has succeeded in their own academic environment. When a student applies, we evaluate his or her academic record solely on performance in courses that we require. We do weight honors, AP, IB, and dual enrollment courses separately.

USC Undergraduates

Freshmen are required to live on campus, and many upperclassmen choose the convenience of life on campus, too.

USC Scholarships


Based on merit, need and resident status, the state of South Carolina, the University and many of our academic colleges and departments offer scholarship opportunities.

...non-resident awards
...SC resident awards
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