Two criteria guarantee in-state student acceptance
USC Columbia accepted every in-state applicant for Fall 2010 with at least a 3.0 GPA and a 1,000 SAT, according to USC Provost Michael Amiridis and the university’s website.
USC also gave every in-state student who didn’t qualify a chance to get in by transferring from a system campus or from the technical college Bridge Program.
Out-of-state students have a much tougher time getting in, as evidenced by a 64 percent overall admission rate for Fall 2010 applicants, according to The Princeton Review.
This fact runs counter to state lawmakers’ claims that USC is favoring out-of-state students at the expense of South Carolinians. But the guaranteed shot USC offers for an in-state student to study at its most prestigious campus has some students questioning the value of their acceptance letters.
“I think that’s pretty low standards, I think the University of South Carolina is a prestigious enough university where it doesn’t have to resort to accepting 3.0 GPA and 1000 SAT,” said Drew Dupre, a third-year in-state mathematics student. “Hearing that is a little disturbing, we can raise the bar, we’ve got kids from all over the country and we don’t need to lower our standards.”
In an e-mail response provided by USC spokeswoman Margaret Lamb, Assistant Vice Provost Scott Verzyl said “the university gives priority to in-state students, and we want to admit all qualified South Carolina residents who meet our minimum criteria. As the state’s flagship institution that bears the name of the state, we take very seriously our mission to serve the citizens of South Carolina.”
Verzyl added: “We also take as many out-of-state students as we can to fill the class, but that percentage varies depending on the quality of the applicant pool.”
Verzyl said admission to USC is competitive, and that it is an honor to be a member of the University of South Carolina student body.
“The value is not in an acceptance letter, but in a degree,” Verzyl said. “That value is realized when one becomes a productive citizen.”
USC Columbia is not the only nationally respected campus in South Carolina where in-state students have a far better chance at acceptance than out-of-state competitors. Clemson Provost Dori Helms said her university offers “87 percent of in-state applicants either August or January admission or the Bridge to Clemson program.”
Clemson’s overall admission rate is 58 percent. Also, the student capacity of Clemson, rather than its academic pickiness, may contribute to why it doesn’t accept an even larger percentage of in-state applicants. Clemson has no perimeter campuses and only partners with one technical college for its bridge program, while USC partners with 16.
“The bridge program is very different from other bridge programs around the state. Students who accept the bridge program are actually living in housing together and have access to Clemson facilities,” Helms said. “We have advising with Tri-County (Technical College) and we do a number of things to make sure that they feel linked to the university.”
The Princeton Review gave Clemson a selectivity rating of 91 out of 100. USC received a 87 rating.