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Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Information about the Redesigned SAT

In March 2016, the College Board launched a redesigned version of the SAT, which we are referring to as the rSAT.  The College Board provides an overview of changes for the rSAT as well as free tools to help students prepare for taking this test. Please note, students must send all scores from all test attempts.

Many students and parents have contacted us about the redesigned SAT (rSAT) as it relates to admissions at the University of South Carolina. We have attempted to answer the most frequent questions below and will update this site periodically with information about the rSAT as it becomes available.


Q: How will I know how my rSAT compares with the previous version of SAT? What's a competitive score for admission?

A: College Board has provided concordance tables which we will consider while making admissions and scholarship determinations. These tables show what the value of the new rSAT scores are compared to those of the previous version of the SAT and to the ACT composite score. Because we do not know who will apply and how many students will submit redesigned test scores for the fall 2017 freshman application cycle, it’s hard for us to provide guidance on which rSAT scores are likely to be competitive for admission. We expect that the profile of the fall 2017 entering class will be closely aligned with the concordances provided by the College Board. For example, if the average SAT of the entering freshman class is roughly 1210 on the SAT, we expect that the average for a class with similar characteristics to post a rSAT average close to 1280. Actual score average may be slightly lower or higher depending on the number and quality of score reports sent to USC. 


Q:  What if I decide to take the rSAT and I do considerably better based on the concordance tables? Can my decision change? Can I get a scholarship?

 A: For fall 2016 admission, we will not consider rSAT for admission. For spring, summer and fall 2017 entry terms, we will use the score that offers the greatest advantage in the admissions decision. Beginning with the fall 2018 entering class, we will only consider rSAT scores for admission and scholarship purposes. Scores received by our credentials deadline will be considered for admissions and scholarship purposes.    


Q:  I am a South Carolina resident. How will the rSAT impact my eligibility for LIFE and Palmetto Fellows awards?

A: For the summer/fall 2017 application cycle only, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) will allow students to use the combination of the best scores between the SAT and rSAT to qualify for LIFE and Palmetto Fellows. USC will follow this guidance when posting awards for the state's lottery-funded scholarships. However, this method is different from how USC will consider test scores for admission and USC merit awards. After the fall 2017 entry term, CHE will only consider rSAT and ACT scores for LIFE and Palmetto Fellows eligibility. 


Q: How will test scores be used for admission and scholarship purposes?

A: USC will use the test score that provides the greatest advantage in the admissions and scholarship process. When evaluating SAT scores we will consider either the best combination for critical reading and math sections from the SAT or the best combination of the evidence-based reading/writing and math sections from the rSAT. We will not "super duper" score across score types.

It's best to think of the rSAT as an entirely new kind of test. There are three kinds of tests which can be considered for admission, "old" SAT, rSAT, or ACT. Even if you submit scores from all three test types, we will use the score that offers the greatest advantage in the admissions and scholarship process, provided they are submitted by stated deadlines.


Q: Since the test is so new, should I avoid the rSAT and take the ACT instead? Is this sound advice?

A: This is not a good reason to skip the rSAT or a justification to take the ACT. You will not know how you’ll do unless you take the test. We will still require scores of all test attempts and we will use the score that gives you the best advantage in the admissions process for spring 2017 and beyond—whichever score that may be.


Q: Do I have to take the writing section?

A: The rSAT will include an optional essay section.  For the spring 2017 term and beyond, USC does not recommend or require the writing section.