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The University of South Carolina’s popularity is growing, even beyond the borders of the Palmetto State. Drawing 43% of its students from out of state to South Carolina’s capital city, USC has a lot to offer, and a more accessible admission profile than its extremely competitive North Carolinian counterpart. Last week, admissions counselor Wintress Ross met with the Galin counseling team to share information about USC and the aspects that make it special. Here are some highlights!

 Breaking news: USC announced Aug. 1, 2023 that all South Carolina students ranked among the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class will be guaranteed admission to USC’s flagship campus starting with the Fall 2024 application cycle. The move “reaffirms USC’s commitment to remain accessible to all South Carolina students who excel in high school,” according to the college.

Urban, historic campus: USC is in the heart of South Carolina’s capital city of Columbia, which was built around the university. The city is the seat of state politics and is known for a thriving arts scene. The greater metro area has a population over 800k and offers big-city culture, entertainment and plenty of opportunities for students to intern and work. Ross says the urban, walkable campus boasts abundant green space and several buildings are on the National Registry of Historic Places. USC students are just steps from the South Carolina State House, and even the state fairgrounds are part of the USC campus! 

Honors College: USC offers one of the oldest and most robust honors colleges in the nation. It is popular with out-of-state students and also highly competitive: Honors students are typically in the top 5% of their high-school classes. Beginning with 2023-24 admissions, the Honors College will have a separate application, requiring one letter of recommendation, as well as completion of a “thinking essay,” about what sparks a student’s intellectual curiosity, a “doing essay,” about an extracurricular activity’s impact, and an essay asking why a student wants to be part of the honors program. Ross says sending a resume is highly recommended for honors applicants as well. Students must be part of the honors college to apply to accelerated programs such as those in pharmacy, law and the BS/MD.

International Business: USC’s program has been ranked No. 1 by U.S. News for 24 years straight and is praised for its comprehensive global curriculum. It requires a second functional major in business, mastery of a second language and at least one semester of study abroad.

First-Year Experience: USC has also earned accolades for its First-Year Experience Program and is recognized as a national pioneer in creating programs to support the first-year transition. “Many other institutions have tried to duplicate our program,” Ross notes. In the required University 101 course, all students learn about campus rand local resources, university traditions, time management and study skills, and with small class size, they can easily get to know other students. 

USC offers some type of financial aid to 98% of its students, and another fun fact for our Badger State students is that the acceptance rate of Wisconsin applicants was 65% last year, higher than the university average!


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