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South Carolina Honors College

  • Honors transfer students speak with assistant dean

Transfer Applicants

The Honors College has much to offer and is an excellent option if you're looking for an enhanced college experience.  Transfer admission is highly selective and based on the current number of students in the college. Students from both within the University of South Carolina and other universities are eligible to apply.

Why Should I Apply?

There are many reasons! Students in the Honors College have access to an enhanced academic experience. We offer approximately 600 Honors College classes per year.  These classes are small, averaging 16 students, allowing for you to engage deeply with your classmates, your professor, and the course content.  Our classes are distinguished by discussions, demonstrations, debates, and much more.  Honors students get free printing, priority registration, and an Honors College advisor to help keep them on track with requirements. There are also study abroad trips, research funding, internship programs, and service learning experiences available to Honors College students.

Please note that admission to the Honors College does not carry any implication for scholarships or financial aid. There is no financial assistance that comes automatically from being a member of the Honors College. However, transfer students can apply for a limited number of Honors College departmental scholarships.

Can I Apply?

Students in their second or third semester of full-time higher education, who have a minimum 3.6 GPA, and who intend to study at UofSC for five or six additional semesters may apply for transfer admission to the Honors College.

  • It is important to be able to demonstrate a full year of academic success at the college level. Thus, we do not allow first-semester freshmen to apply.
  • The requirement for five to six future undergraduate semesters ensures that transfer applicants have adequate time to complete the Honors requirements.

There are additional steps for students in the following situations.

 Note that these deadlines may differ from the Honors College Transfer Application deadline. 

How Do I Apply?

General guidelines for consideration as a transfer applicant are as follows:
  • Minimum of a 3.6 GPA on a 4.0 scale on all college work attempted.
  • Submission of two letters of recommendation from professors.
  • Application including a written essay. (See the application form for essay topics and guidelines.)
  • Transcript of college work (staff will get this directly from the registrar for transfers within the USC system).
  • Reasonable chance of completing the requirements for graduating from the Honors College including a senior thesis. Graduation with honors requires 45 Honors College credit hours.  Please see our online handbook [pdf] for a breakdown and more information.  
Note that a student admitted to the Honors College as a new freshman who initially chose to attend another institution may enter the Honors College during a subsequent semester--up to one year after the student would have originally enrolled--without submitting a further Honors College application. The student accepting the offer of admission in these cases must have maintained a 3.5 GPA in all college course work and must apply to USC as a transfer student.

These are the primary factors considered by the Transfer Review Committee: 

  • Essays. Students respond to four prompts (three short responses and one longer essay) that deal with students’ intellectual curiosity and vigor, accomplishments and aptitude for leadership, and reasons for wanting to join.  The Honors College is looking for students who are especially eager to be challenged, who have wide-ranging and/or deep academic interests, and who will fit in well in intensely interactive classroom environments.  Not every student will benefit from being in such an environment or find it comfortable. The Honors College wants to be confident that the student realistically understands and is prepared for the rigor, engagement, and intensity of the Honors experience.

  • Transcript (GPA & coursework). The Honors College is looking not only at an applicant’s GPA, but also at the courses the student has taken.  Students who have taken more demanding courses, and who are taking more advanced courses (because they have placed out of introductory courses, for instance), are making a stronger case that they would be better served by being in the Honors College. Students who are doing well in introductory courses with the usual range of difficulty may well be placed appropriately already.  Even students with a 4.0 GPA may not be accepted.

  • Recommendations. Detailed recommendations from enthusiastic faculty in academic subjects  are especially important.

  • Ability to complete Honors. Students in the Honors College are required to complete a robust curriculum of 45 credit hours. Therefore, students who have plans to be abroad for an entire year or have other rigorous obligations in their field of study may not be best served by the addition of Honors requirements.

    All applications are read by the Transfer Review Committee, a group primarily composed of the Honors College Assistant Deans.  The committee is unable to provide details regarding individual applications.

There are two transfer deadlines:

  • Current freshmen should apply by the April 15 transfer deadline and would enter the Honors College the following fall semester.

  • Current sophomores should apply by the December 1 transfer deadline and would enter the Honors College the following spring semester.

All applications will be reviewed as a group, with no preference given to applications received early.

Our April 15 deadline has passed. The application for the December 1 deadline will be available in mid-September..

What happens after I apply?

Applications are reviewed by a committee of Honors faculty and staff. Applicants will be notified via email regarding decisions, but the committee is not able to make decisions until after the current semester grades are reported. All decisions are final.

Should an applicant be accepted, they can reject or accept the offer of admission, committing themselves to the completion of the Honors curriculum. Students will be connected with an Honors advisor who will assist them in making adjustments to their schedule to incorporate Honors classes into the semester immediately following. Generally, this looks like adding 1-3 Honors classes. 

Given the timelines that University Housing operates under, we are not able to provide Honors housing to transfer applicants. 

Students who are external applicants, coming from regional campuses or other institutions, should follow the USC Admissions guidelines in all aspects. 

Further questions regarding transfer admission into the Honors College can be answered by reviewing our Frequently Asked Questions page

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