COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The University of South Carolina has announced a new admissions policy starting with the Fall 2024 application cycle.

All South Carolina students who are ranked in the top 10% of their high school graduating class will be guaranteed admission to the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus. The application for Fall 2024 admission opened on August 1st.

USC officials say this policy reaffirms USC’s commitment to remain accessible to all South Carolina students who excel in high school.

“Across every corner of our state, talented students who aspire to a college degree can count on finding a home and a future at the University of South Carolina,” President Michael Amiridis said. “By welcoming the top 10% of our state’s high school graduates, we are reinforcing our commitment to access and excellence in education for South Carolina citizens.”

Students ranked in the top 10% of their class who will graduate from a public high school in South Carolina or residents who will graduate from an independent school with a graduating class of 20 or more will be admitted regardless of test scores, provided they complete the required college preparatory high school course curriculum and are otherwise eligible for admission.

“As our state’s flagship university, USC has an obligation to be accessible to South Carolinians. The University’s announcement today is consistent with our mission and sends a strong message that the USC System is committed to educating South Carolinians, which is what our state’s citizens and elected leaders should expect from us when they invest in higher education,” said USC Board of Trustee Chair Thad Westbrook.

Studies consistently show that high school grades and class rank are better predictors of freshman year success than standardized tests, said Scott Verzyl, USC’s vice president for enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admissions. “Students with strong high school GPAs, who are South Carolina residents, and who have a high class rank are prepared for college and are more likely to be successful, regardless of their SAT or ACT scores.”

More than half of South Carolina residents ranked in the top 10% of their high school class already apply to USC, Verzyl said.

“Despite their high rank in high school, a significant number of the remaining students may not believe they will be accepted at USC. We want them to know they are competitive, and we welcome them to the state’s flagship university,” Verzyl said.

The four-year comprehensive universities of the USC System —USC Aiken, USC Beaufort and USC Upstate – will also guarantee admission to all South Carolina students who ranked in the top 20% of their graduating class and who are otherwise eligible for admission.