Apply: Test Optional FAQ

Applicants to the 2021-2022 Academic Year

Although SAT/ACT scores are optional, may they still be submitted, and if so, will they be considered?

Under this policy, the applicant decides if they’d like their SAT or ACT scores to be considered. When students apply to USC for fall 2021, they will be asked to indicate whether they plan to submit scores; if they do, we will wait to receive them. Applicants will not be penalized or put at a disadvantage if they choose not to submit SAT or ACT scores. USC’s student selection process has always been holistic, and we are confident in our ability to identify student potential using the totality of what’s presented to us.

Does this apply to international students?

International applicants will not be required to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their 2021 USC application. However, those whose native language is not English will still be required to submit test results from the TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo English Test or PTE Academic English proficiency examinations.

Please note that students who submit results from the Duolingo English Test will still be required to take the International Student Exam. See our webpage for more details about English Proficiency Criteria.

Does this apply to home-schooled applicants?

Yes, the application process will be test-optional for home-schooled applicants as well. However, we find it helpful to have work that is externally graded or examined, so we recommend submitting either SAT/ACT results, SAT subject exam results, AP exam results, transcripts from college courses or other accredited online schooling programs if possible.

How will this impact USC’s merit scholarship process?

Like with admissions, USC’s merit scholarship selection process is holistic. Our scholarships are awarded based on all-around excellence, and we have never awarded merit aid based on formulas or test score/GPA cut-offs. All students who apply by our December 1 scholarship application deadline will be considered.

What about students who will be applying to USC for the fall of 2022 and beyond?

The extraordinary circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted us to adopt a test-optional policy for one year. Next spring, we will review how things went and decide at that point whether this policy will be extended, made permanent or whether we will return to requiring the SAT/ACT.