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South Carolina Honors College

  • USC smokestack towering over Columbia, SC

Incoming First-Year Students

We're thrilled you're interested in becoming an Honors Gamecock. At the South Carolina Honors College, you'll find great opportunities for creative learning, personal development and incredible achievement.

Applying to the Honors College

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions oversees applications to the university and provides the most comprehensive information on the application process on their website. 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.  

You can apply for admission to the University of South Carolina through our USC Application or the Common Application. We do not prefer one format over the other. You should choose the application that works best for you.

  1. For full consideration for general admission, admission to the South Carolina Honors College and the Top Scholars program, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions requires the following items: 
    • Submitted general USC application by the October 15 early action deadline.
    • Submitted Honors College/Top Scholars application (available as a supplement after you submit your general application). This application requires completion of two essay prompts and one short-answer question.  The Honors College/Top Scholar application will be available by September 1.
    • Submit all required supplemental admission materials.
    • One letter of recommendation
    • Resume (optional, but highly recommended) 

2. One letter of recommendation is required for a complete application and must be received by December 1. Your high school counselor can submit the letter on your behalf via a secure electronic service.

3. You will have until December 1 to update your testing plan via your USC Admissions Portal. We will use all information on file by the credentials deadline of January 15 when evaluating your candidacy for scholarships (if you are not named a Top Scholar candidate).

4. Honors College admissions notifications will be issued 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 Office of Undergraduate Admissions will be released by mid-March. Scholarship decisions cannot be relayed via telephone.

7. We consider it the student's responsibility to ensure that all supplemental materials are received by stated deadlines.

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

 *Note: SAT/ACT scores are not required for South Carolina Honors college or Top Scholar admission review. 

The middle 50 percent of students in the South Carolina Honors College had an SAT score between 1430-1520, or an ACT composite score between 32-34. 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 4.5-5.1.

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 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. 

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.

The Office of Financial Aid provides the full breakdown of the estimated cost to attend


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