Students taking a picture outside library

First-Year Applicants

First-Year admission to USF is competitive, and the admission process takes into account a range of factors. In addition to your school transcripts and test scores*, we consider your involvement outside the classroom, recommendations from those who know you best, and your interests and personality through your essay and answers to our short questions.

Options to Apply

Consider your options for applying to USF and select the one that is best for you.

  • In the Early Decision option, you show us that USF is your first choice. Early decision is binding, which means that if you are admitted to USF, you agree to enroll and to withdraw all other college applications.
  • The Early Action option is great if you are confident that your grades and test scores, as they stand at the start of your senior year, best represent your academic history.
  • The Regular Action option includes your grades from the first semester of your senior year, so you have more time to submit strong academic credentials.

Common Application

Submit a completed Common Application along with the non-refundable application fee by the application deadline.

You may apply as soon as you begin your last year of secondary school, even before you take the required standardized tests. Applications for admission are available beginning in August of the year prior to the year in which you would enter USF.

Supplemental Materials

Have all supplementary materials sent directly by your high school or testing agency. A completed application includes each of the items below submitted by the application deadline:

  • High School Transcript: Showing grades from 9th through 11th grade.
  • Fall Senior Grades:  Required of any Early Decision or Early Action applicant who is deferred. Highly recommended for students applying Regular Action.
  • Early Decision Agreement: Required only for Early Decision applicants. You must invite your parent and counselor to affirm the Early Decision Agreement.
  • School Report 
  • Academic Recommendation: One recommendation from your school counselor or a teacher in a core academic subject.
  • SAT or ACT: Required of all first-year/freshman applicants.* Beginning in 2018, USF will consider unofficial test scores for the purposes of admission. You may self-report scores on the Common Application, email a screenshot of your test scores (your name, test date, scores and subscores must be visible), or have your counselor email us with score reports. You may also send official test scores from the testing service directly. If self-reported/unofficial scores are used for admission purposes, you are expected to provide official test scores if you decide to attend USF.

    For the SAT, we only require the Evidential Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math (M) sections. The writing sections of the SAT are not used in the evaluation process. USF will continue to superscore both the SAT and ACT. If you submit both scores for our review, we will use the highest score available for our admission review.
  • English Proficiency: If English is not your native language, you are required to submit official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).

*Beginning with applicants for fall 2020 admission: USF will make submitting standardized test scores optional for undergraduate admission. Applicants will be able to decide how they want to present the most accurate view of their academic ability. If you believe your ACT or SAT scores do not represent your accomplishments and potential, you can choose to be considered for admission without them. You’ll get the same consideration for admission and merit scholarships as a student who does submit scores.

(One important note: If you are admitted to USF and decide to attend, you’ll still need to provide your ACT or SAT scores when you enroll, so you can be appropriately placed in first-year courses.)

Jorden Linquist

"My Best USF memory was meeting friends in my freshman residence hall and sharing great memories!"

Jorden Lindquist '17