Test Optional FAQ

USC’s Test Optional Policy

Can SAT/ACT scores still be submitted even though they’re optional, 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 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 admission 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 USC application. However, those whose native language is not English will still be required to demonstrate English proficiency and may wish to include their exam scores to do so. Should you wish to use an SAT EBRW or ACT English score to satisfy the English proficiency requirement, you must submit your score(s) as part of your admission application. SAT and ACT scores will become part of our overall review. Alternatively, you may submit results from the TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo English Test or PTE Academic examinations.

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, AP exam results, transcripts from college courses or other accredited online schooling programs, if possible.

How will this impact USC’s merit scholarship process?

As with admission, 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. To be considered, students should apply by our Early Action deadline of November 1, or by December 1 if applying to a major that requires a portfolio or audition. Please refer to the Dates and Deadlines page to learn more about which deadline applies to you.