What We Look For

We're honored that you're interested in being part of the USF community. Although there is no precise formula for the ideal application, there are a few components that we'll explain below.

Ultimately, we want your application to showcase how you took advantage of the opportunities available to you, who you are in your community, and how you've grown from the choices you've made. We know that may seem like a lot to ask, but it's intentional. USF students are out to change the world from here, and it starts with knowing who you are and what you stand for.

We do not require students to submit standardized test scores when applying for undergraduate admission. Read more about our test optional policy.

A Note About COVID-19

We recognize that students around the world have experienced many challenges and uncertainties this year. More than anything, we want you to know that we care about you, and we understand the obstacles you may have faced. Your application to USF will not be penalized because of a change of extracurricular commitments, your school's decisions about classes or grades, the lack of access to AP or IB tests, the inability to visit campus, or any other changes that were caused by the pandemic.

In your application, we encourage you to mention anything else that may have shaped your experience (e.g. lack of access to the internet, no quiet place to study, family responsibilities, etc.). As we're reviewing your application, including the elements below, these details will help us understand how you've navigated this difficult time.

Academic Excellence

A strong academic record of college prep courses shows us that you're motivated and that you care to put forth your best work. In general, we expect that you will have taken:

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of mathematics
    • Engineering applicants are required to have completed precalculus
  • 3 years of social sciences
  • 2 years of laboratory science
    • Nursing applicants are required to take chemistry and either physics or biology
  • 2 years of a foreign language

Extracurricular Activities

Tell us how you're involved in your community. Remember, "community" doesn't have to mean your physical town or neighborhood. It can also mean the people you identify with, or groups (formal or informal) you've become a part of throughout your life. When you think about "making the world a better place," what does that mean to you, and what is your role in it?

Describe what you do outside of academics. We want to learn how you will contribute to our Jesuit mission of social responsibility and being people for others. We encourage you to focus on a few activities that you care deeply about, or activities where you've grown and learned the most. This can certainly include pursuits that you do on your own — painting, poetry, writing music — so don't forget to include those if they are important to you. Some students have deep involvement with only one or two extracurricular activities, and that's fine. Don't feel pressured to include activities to fill space or make your list longer.

If your responsibilities outside of school included commitments to your family (like taking care of a sibling or relative) or work (such as a part-time job), please do also include those in your application. These are important aspects of your story, and we'd like to know about them.

Letter of Recommendation

We recognize it may be difficult for you to procure a letter from a teacher or counselor this year. For students applying for the spring 2021 and fall 2021 term, we will not require a letter of recommendation. You may still submit one if you’d like, but we will consider all applications with or without a letter of recommendation equally.

A letter of recommendation helps us get a broader sense of who you are, and where you've been. Choose someone (it can be a teacher or a counselor) who will advocate for you and believes in your future as a college student. It will help their letter be more authentic.

Short Answer Question

In addition to your personal statement, we'll look at your response to our short answer question. How do you see yourself becoming a part of our Jesuit mission? This is your opportunity to speak to us in your own voice and share details that grades and scores cannot. Most important, try your hardest to be your true self. The best responses are genuine and idiosyncratic, telling us a story only you can tell.