University of South Carolina – Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements

Located in South Carolina’s capital city of Columbia, the University of South Carolina is one of the top 60 public institutions in the country. 

In addition to having an outstanding business school, UofSC’s nursing and engineering programs have also received top accolades.

More than 30,000 students enjoy a challenging academic environment, notable athletic scene, and fun college town experience. 

Outdoor enthusiasts can visit the nearby Congaree National Park for free, sunbathe and fish at Lake Murray, or exercise at various city parks.

Museums and concert venues are abundant, as well as the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden. 

Undergraduate students often take weekend jaunts to coastal cities like Charleston and Myrtle Beach or mountain retreats like Greenville. 

Of course, the University of South Carolina has so much more to offer than a stimulating environment. Read ahead to learn about the school’s acceptance rate, admitted student statistics, admissions process, tuition, and exceptional programs.

University of South Carolina Acceptance Rate

University of South Carolina
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

The UofSC has an acceptance rate of 68%. 

Exceeding 8,000 new undergraduate students, the most recent incoming class of 2021 represented the second-largest group of new enrollments in the school’s history. 

Of this cohort, 53% came from the state of South Carolina.

University of South Carolina Out-of-State Acceptance Rate

The University of South Carolina’s most recent first-year class had an out-of-state population of over 40%

According to the S.C. Commission on Higher Education, out-of-state students only made up 19% of the UofSC student body in 1997, while in 2016, that number had reached 42%.

What makes UofSC such a welcoming choice for non-South Carolina residents? 

The institution uses a sliding scale to calculate out-of-state tuition. Some admitted students invest over $16,000 per year, while high-achieving out-of-state admits can pay at discounted rates that parallel what South Carolina residents pay.

Along with a rise in out-of-state student enrollment, UofSC has also observed an increase in the diversity of its overall student body. 

African-American enrollment has grown by 85% since 2016 and Hispanic enrollment has increased 53% in the same time frame.

For the incoming class of 2021, 75 new admits were high school valedictorians and over 16% were first-generation college students

GPA for University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina West Quad
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

UofSC’s incoming class of 2021 averaged an impressive 4.4 GPA – a record for academic excellence. 

Of this cohort, 596 students enrolled in the Honors College with an average GPA of 4.9, and 1,400 additional first-year students enrolled in the Capstone Scholars Program with a 4.55 average GPA.

While UofSC does not stipulate a minimum GPA for admittance, applicants should expect to submit a competitive GPA. 

When analyzing the middle 50% of the University of South Carolina’s recent freshmen class, admitted students maintained a GPA between 4.1 and 4.7 and ranked in the top 7 to 28% of their senior classes. 

Within that middle 50% range, Honors College students held a GPA between 4.5 and 5.0 and ranked in the top 1 to 5% of their senior classes. 

Additionally, Capstone Scholars maintained a 4.2 to 4.8 GPA and ranked among the top 4 to 18% of their graduating class groups.

SAT & ACT Requirements 

After testing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of South Carolina campus at Columbia no longer requires first-year applicants to submit their SAT or ACT scores – this policy will hold until at least the fall 2022 term. 

Still, many applicants choose to offer their standardized score results.

Let’s look first at the middle 50% of scores for South Carolina residents versus out-of-state residents. 

For the incoming class of 2021, SC admits scored between 1100 and 1300 on the SAT and 23-30 on the ACT. Nonresidents’ scores were notably higher, with an SAT window of 1250-1380 and an ACT composite score ranging between 28-32.

We can also break down SAT and ACT averages by special programs. The middle 50% of Capstone Scholars, for instance, scored between 1340 and 1420 on the SAT and a 29-32 on the ACT. 

Honors College admits within the same 50% window were the most high-achieving, with SAT Superscores between 1430 to 1520 and an ACT score of 32-34.

Other Requirements and Admission Tips

Dfscgt21, University of South Carolina, Davis College, CC BY-SA 3.0

Candidates seeking admission to the University of South Carolina are expected to meet the minimum college preparatory high school course curriculum designated by the S. C. Commission on Higher Education. 

These classes include four English units, four mathematics units, three laboratory science units, three social studies units, two foreign language units, one fine art unit, and two academic electives. 

Eligible students may then submit four components: a Common App or Coalition App (including a completed essays and activities section), a school report form (submitted by a high school guidance counselor), an unofficial high school transcript, and a $65 fee (or fee waiver).

For regular decision applicants, the application deadline is December 1, with all credentials provided by January 15. Typically, this cohort of applicants can expect to receive their admissions decisions by mid-March. 

Those interested in applying to the S. C. Honors College or Top Scholars program are advised to submit their materials by October 15, the early action deadline. 

In addition to the general application materials, these students should also complete the Honors College/Top Scholars application, which prompts the applicant to complete two essay prompts and one short-answer question (more on those in the following section). 

Additionally, these students should coordinate with their high school guidance counselor(s) to submit two letters of recommendation.

Honors College applicants should anticipate an admission decision by mid-February, while Top Scholars candidates will be invited to participate in a mandatory interview weekend (usually hosted in late January). 

Students who are awarded merit scholarships can expect to receive them around mid-March.

Essays for University of South Carolina

Applicants may submit one of three items to meet the supplemental material requirement: (1) SAT or ACT scores, (2) three alternative exam scores from a list of approved exams, or (3) a graded writing assignment. 

Those who choose to submit a writing assignment should make sure to include their full name, the date the paper was turned in, the grade received, and any available teacher comments. 

The paper should have been written during the applicant’s junior or senior year in high school, and UofSC recommends that students submit an English/social studies paper, essay exam, or research paper written in English.

Students wishing to share more information about what makes them stand out from other candidates need not despair – there is a separate essay section that affords students space to share more information about themselves. 

The Office of Admissions advises students to reflect on an experience, tell a story, and allow their personalities to shine through.

Is the University of South Carolina Right for You?

As previously mentioned, the University of South Carolina is an appealing option for SC and non-SC residents. 

Many tout their affordable tuition scale as one of their deciding facts for applying to the university.

97% of UofSC first-year students received some form of financial aid in the 2020-2021 academic year. 

The following price tags for tuition and technology fees are not necessarily set and do not take into account the financial awards that most students receive, which significantly lower their school attendance costs.

Without financial assistance, SC residents can expect to pay $12,688 per year for tuition and technology, while out-of-state residents contribute $33,928. 

When housing, meals, books, and supplies are factored in, the SC resident cost increases to $26,822 annually, while the non-resident costs jump to $48,062.

Regardless of tuition cost, the value of a University of South Carolina education seems to be worth the expense. 

UofSC has held the number 1 ranking for international business for 23 consecutive years! The most recent graduating class of the Darla Moore School of Business earned an average starting salary of $58,251 and a 90% job placement rate.

According to the U.S. News and World Report, UofSC also offers the top first-year student experience of any public college in the country. 

Indeed this guarantee of support is a decisive factor that attracts incoming students from all over the state and country. University 101 is a first-year seminar experience that is designed to help freshmen transition to college life. 

Students enrolled in University 101 experience a higher first-to-second year retention rate. Syllabus topics include fostering academic success, connecting with the university, and promoting personal development, wellbeing, and social responsibility.

The University of South Carolina is an excellent choice for students looking to attend an elite Honors program housed in a diverse, best-value school– future entrepreneurs are especially advised to look more into UofSC’s business programs.