University of South Carolina Admissions Statistics

Learn About the University of South Carolina and What It Takes to Get In

Residence Hall at the University of South Carolina
Residence Hall at the University of South Carolina. Florencebballer / Wikimedia Commons

With an acceptance rate of 72 percent, the University of South Carolina is a moderately selective university. The majority of admitted students have a grade point average of a 3.0 (a "B") or better and standardized test scores that are above average. Grades and test scores play the largest role in the admissions process. Applicants to the university's Honors Program will need to submit letters of recommendation in addition to the standard application.​

Why You Might Choose the University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina, located in the state capital of Columbia, is the flagship campus of the South Carolina university system. With 350 bachelor, master's and doctoral programs, the University of South Carolina offers wide-ranging academic opportunities to students. USC is nationally known for its pioneering work with first-year college students. In athletics, the USC Gamecocks compete in the NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference.

The university has a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences, and it is also home to one of the country's top honors colleges for high-achieving undergraduates. The school is among the top South Carolina colleges and top southeastern colleges.

USC GPA, SAT and ACT Graph

University of South Carolina GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission
University of South Carolina GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission. See the real-time graph and calculate your chances of getting in with this free tool from Cappex. Data courtesy of Cappex.

Discussion of USC's Admissions Standards

Over a quarter of applicants to the University of South Carolina don't get in. The great majority of successful applicants will need grades and standardized test scores that are at least a little above average. In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. Most students who got in had high school averages of "B" or better, combined SAT scores of 1100 or higher (RW+M), and ACT composite scores of 22 or better. The higher those numbers are, the better your chances of getting an acceptance letter. Very few students with "A" averages and strong test scores were rejected.

Note that there are some red dots (rejected students) and yellow dots (waitlisted students) hidden behind the green and blue in the middle of the graph. This means that some students with grades and test scores that were on target for USC did not get accepted. Note also that quite a few students were accepted with test scores and grades a bit below the norm. This is because the University of South Carolina's admissions process is not about simple numbers. The university takes into consideration the rigor of your high school courses, and in some cases the school will consider your personal circimstances, special talents, extracurricular activities, and evidence of leadership ability.

Admissions Data (2017)

  • USC - Columbia Acceptance Rate: 72%

Test Scores—25th / 75th Percentile

  • SAT Critical Reading: 590 / 660
  • SAT Math: 580 / 670
  • ACT Composite: 25 / 30
  • ACT English: 24 / 31
  • ACT Math: 24 / 28

More University of South Carolina Information

Be sure to consider factors such as cost, financial aid, and academic programs as you create your college wish list. USC generally represents a good value for in-state applicants while the out-of-state cost is over $20,000 more. Also realize that USC financial aid packages tend to include more loans than grants, so you'll want to be careful to avoid excessive student debt.

Enrollment (2017)

  • Total Enrollment: 34,731 (26,362 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 46% Male / 54% Female
  • 96% Full-time

Costs (2017 - 18)

  • Tuition and Fees: $11,862 (in-state); $31,962 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $1,044 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $10,008
  • Other Expenses: $4,148
  • Total Cost: $27,062 (in-state); $47,162 (out-of-state)

University of South Carolina Financial Aid (2016 - 17)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 91%
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
  • Grants: 85%
  • Loans: 47%
  • Average Amount of Aid
  • Grants: $5,792
  • Loans: $8,355

Academic Programs

  • Most Popular Majors: Accounting, Biology, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, English, Experimental Psychology, Finance, History, Hospitality Administration, Kinesiology, Marketing, Nursing, Political Science, Psychology, Public Relations, Retailing, Sport, and Fitness Administration
  • What major is right for you? Sign up to take the free "My Careers and Majors Quiz" at Cappex.

Graduation, Retention and Transfer Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 88%
  • Transfer Out Rate: 9%
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 58%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 74%

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

  • Men's Sports: Football, Track and Field, Baseball, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Basketball, Golf 
  • Women's Sports: Track and Field, Swimming, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball, Tennis, Basketball, Golf

Like the University of South Carolina? You May Also Like These Schools

Applicants to USC's main campus in Columbia tend to be interested in public universities in the southeastern United States. Popular choices include the University of Georgia, Auburn University, and Clemson University

For some slightly less selective options, you may also want to check out the University of South Carolina-Upstate and South Carolina State University.

Finally, if you're also considering private institutions, be sure to check out Furman University and Winthrop University

Data Source: Graph courtesy of; all other data from the National Center for Educational Statistics.