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South Carolina Honors College

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The Office of Undergraduate Admissions manages both general university admissions and Honors College admission processes for incoming freshmen. To transfer into the Honors College as an upperclassman, you will work with the Honors College directly.

Before You Apply

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions manages online applications to the university and provides the most comprehensive information on the application process. All Honors College applications are submitted through the admissions office. This office also provides the latest information on application deadlines and manages general University Scholarships.  

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 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 self-reported and/or official standardized test scores
    • 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 SAT or ACT, please make sure you submit the official scores to USC-Columbia. While we only use scores submitted by November 15 for consideration for the Honors College and Top Scholars awards, we will use all scores we have on file by February 1 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. Notifications for these awards will be mailed in late January.

6. Merit scholarships awarded through the Admissions Office will be released by early March. 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 admissions website.

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

In 2017, the middle 50 percent of students in the South Carolina Honors College had an SAT score between 1440-1520, or an ACT composite score between 31-34. 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 4.68.

Most of our students earn college credit before graduating from high school. Credits earned by advanced placement tests (IB, CLEP, etc.) are not counted toward honors requirements but often serve as pre-requisites for honors courses and can allow room in your course of study for higher-level honors courses. Discuss your credits with your honors advisor.

All tours are arranged through the university Visitor Center, but we hope you'll attend one of our information sessions while you're 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 the Honors College.

Students can transfer into the Honors College from within the University of South Carolina or from other colleges and schools. Admission 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. 

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

The current fee is set at $575 per semester. The fee primarily helps defray the costs of offering almost 600 Honors courses per year. It also allows the Honors College to fund student research, internships, study abroad, service learning, and senior thesis research. Other educational and social events that help to nurture the SCHC community are funded through the generosity of donors, our alumni and friends.


Interested in financial assistance? Many opportunities are available to incoming and current students offered through the Admissions office, Financial Aid, and the Honors College. There are several non-institutional scholarship opportunities offered for students who qualify based on academic merit, financial need, community service, area of study, organizational affiliation, place of residence or employment, and ethnic or religious background.

Transfer Students

Missed your opportunity to apply to the Honors College?  Students from both within the University of South Carolina and other universities are eligible to apply to transfer into the Honors College.

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