The Daily Gamecock

Freshman class breaks record average SAT score

Lower acceptance rate keeps class size in check

While data on USC’s freshman class is not yet official, it looks like the average SAT score will be above 1200 for the first time in the school’s history. The average is for the estimated 4,640 students in the class of 2016, 1.5 percent more than the class of 2015.


The number of incoming transfer students also isn’t set yet, but the number has been increasing in recent years. This year’s group should be about the same size as last year’s, said Scott Verzyl, executive director of undergraduate admissions. USC expects about 1,350 transfer students to enroll.

An estimated 53 percent of the freshman class hails from South Carolina. They’ll be met with students from 11 countries, 41 states, one U.S. territory and the District of Columbia, according to a university release.

Among them are 23 sets of twins, 65 valedictorians, 614 Capstone Scholars and 356 Honors College students.

They come from the group of over 14,000 who were admitted to the university, Verzyl said.

That brings this year’s acceptance rate to 60.8 percent, down more than two points from 2011, when 63.1 percent of applicants were offered spots.

The decreasing acceptance rate coincides with efforts by university officials to raise USC’s academic reputation to the level of public universities such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia.

USC hasn’t achieved that goal, but the higher SAT scores and lower acceptance rate suggest that it is zeroing in on peer schools in the Southeastern Conference, like the University of Georgia and University of Tennessee.