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 commonalities 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 learning 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.

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. Read more about our test optional policy.

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?

The best way to showcase this part of your life is through describing 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 relative) or work (such as a part-time job), please do also include those in your application, as we believe these are important aspects of your story.

Letters of Recommendation

We believe that there are important people in your life who have seen you at your best or seen you get back up after a fall. These letters help us get a broader sense of who you are, and where you've been. Choose people who you know will advocate for you and believe in your future as a college student. It will help their letters be more authentic.


In addition to your personal statement, we'll look at your response to our supplemental essay 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 can't. Most important, try your hardest to be your true self. The best essays are genuine and idiosyncratic, telling us a story only you can tell.