University of South Florida Admissions

Learn About USF and the GPA and SAT/ACT Scores You'll Need

Marshall Student Center at the University of South Florida
Marshall Student Center at the University of South Florida. Allen Grove

Those interested in the University of South Florida will need to submit an application that includes high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores. The university uses its own online application, and the process does not require an essay. USF is selective with a 45 percent acceptance rate, and successful applicants tend to have grades and test scores that are above average.

Why the University of South Florida?

  • Location: Tampa, Florida
  • Campus Features: Located just a few miles from downtown Tampa, USF offers something for city lovers with a campus that has plenty of green spaces and its own beach and golf course.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 22:1
  • Athletics: The USF Bulls compete in the NCAA Division I American Athletic Conference.
  • Highlights: USF is regularly included in Princeton Review's The Best Colleges, and the school wins high marks for Criminology, Health Services, Psychology, and Marketing. USF is one of the top Florida colleges.

University of South Florida Admissions Statistics 2017-18

In the 2017-18 admissions cycle, the USF acceptance rate was 45%. Below you'll find the standardized test scores of admitted students organized by score percentile.

SAT Score Percentiles

Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 580 650
Math 570 660
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

Average SAT scores for each of the subsections are roughly 540 for the Evidence-Based Reading exam and 530 for the Math exam. Most students who attend USF have scores that are measurably above average. If you compare SAT score data for all public universities in Florida, you'll find that USF's typical scores rank in the middle.

ACT Score Percentiles

Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 23 30
Math 23 27
Composite 24 29

The average ACT score is a 21, so as with the SAT, the great majority of enrolled students at USF scores above average on the ACT exam.

University of South Florida GPA, SAT Score, and ACT Score Graph

University of South Florida GPA, SAT, and ACT Data for Admission.
University of South Florida GPA, SAT, and ACT Data for Admission.  Data courtesy of Cappex.

The GPA and test score information in the graph above was self-reported by applicants to USF, so it has not been manipulated by the university. Grades are unweighted. To see how you measure up at USF, you can see the real-time graph and calculate your chances of getting in with a free account at Cappex.

Discussion of USF's Admissions Standards

Less than half of all applicants to the University of South Florida are admitted. Successful applicants will need solid standardized test scores and grades. In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. You can see that the majority of students who got in had high school averages of "B" or higher, combined SAT scores of about 1000 or better (RW+M), and ACT composite scores of 20 or higher. Your chances of being admitted improve significantly with a combined SAT score above 1100 and grades in the "A-" range or higher.

If the data for accepted students is stripped away, you can see that there are quite a few red dots (rejected students) and yellow dots (waitlisted students) hidden behind the green and blue in the center of the graph.

Rejection and Waitlist Data for USF.
Rejection and Waitlist Data for USF.  Data Courtesy of Cappex

This graph reveals that many students with grades and test scores that seemed to be on target for USF did not get in. It's also worth noting that some students were accepted with test scores and grades a little bit below the norm. This is because USF looks at more than numbers. The admissions folks want to see that you have taken sufficient college-preparatory classes. The rigor of your high school courses matters, not just your grades. AP and IB classes, extra math and language classes, and strong scores on the writing component of the SAT and ACT are all positive predictors of your success at USF. The university also looks at your grade trend. If your grades are improving junior and senior years, that's far preferable to a decline.

That said, the admissions process is only marginally holistic. Extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and essays will not play a meaningful role for most applicants. A successful application is going to depend primarily upon grades and SAT/ACT scores.

More University of South Florida Information

USF represents an excellent educational value, especially for Florida residents. Florida has managed to keep their state tuition lower than many states, and roughly 4 out 5 admitted students get some form of grant aid as well. Be aware of possible hidden costs such as the fact that about half of students don't graduate in four years, and loan debt can be significant for some students.

Enrollment (2017)

  • Total Enrollment: 43,540 (31,772 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 46 percent male / 54 percent female
  • 78 percent full-time

Costs (2017 - 18)

  • Tuition and Fees: $6,410 (in-state); $17,324 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $1,200
  • Room and Board: $9,700
  • Other Expenses: $4,100
  • Total Cost: $21,410 (in-state); $32,324 (out-of-state)

USF Financial Aid (2016 - 17)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 89 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 79 percent
    • Loans: 40 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $7,937
    • Loans: $8,898

Academic Programs

Transfer, Graduation and Retention Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 90 percent
  • Transfer Out Rate: 6 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 51 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 71 percent

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

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

If You Like USF, You May Also Like These Schools

Applicants to the University of South Florida tend to consider other public universities in the southeastern United States. Popular options include Florida International University, University of Central Florida, University of West Florida, University of Alabama, and University of Georgia. Keep in mind that the admissions standards for these schools vary considerably.

If you're open to considering private universities, be sure to take a look at Stetson University, Rollins College, and Flagler College. The price will be higher, but the difference may be negligible if you qualify for financial aid.

Data Source: Graphs courtesy of; all other data from the National Center for Education Statistics