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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 academic achievements, 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

USF offers three admission options: Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision.

  • Applying Early Decision shows us that USF is your first choice and you feel confident where your academic record stands at the start of your senior year. Early Decision is binding, which means that if you are admitted to USF, you agree to enroll and to withdraw all other college applications.
  • Consider Early Action if you’re enthusiastic about USF and you feel confident about where your academic record stands at the start of senior year, but you'd like more time to weigh other admission offers before you decide.
  • If you apply Regular Decision, you can include your grades from your first semester senior year, so you have more time to prepare a stronger application.

Learn more about USF's options for applying

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 high school. Applications for admission are available beginning in August of your senior year.

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.
  • 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). Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements, including how to waive these requirements.
  • (Optional) SAT or ACT scores: Beginning with students who apply for fall 2020 admission, USF will no longer require students to submit standardized test scores when applying for undergraduate admission. Learn more about our Test Optional policy.

    If you do choose to submit your scores, you may have them sent directly from the testing agency, or you may send unofficial (self-reported) scores. You can send a screenshot of your test scores (name, test date, scores, and subscores must be visible), or have your counselor email us your score reports or an updated transcript with your scores to If unofficial/self-reported scores are used for admission purposes, you are expected to provide official scores if you decide to enroll at USF so that we can help place you in appropriate first-year classes.

    If you include SAT scores, 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.