What We Look For

The College of Charleston admissions committee will look at more than just test scores. This year, we are test optional. Students applying for fall 2023 can choose to submit their application with or without SAT and ACT scores. But often, applicants and their parents want to know what the average first-year student who enrolls at the College looks like. More information on Test Score Optional.

The middle 50 percent of first-year students accepted typically scored between:

  • SAT range for all students: 1140-1310.
  • ACT range for all students: 25-30.
  • GPA range for S.C. residents: 4.1 to 4.8 (SCUGS).
  • GPA range for nonresidents: 3.5 to 4.1 (4.0). 

Note: We superscore both the SAT and ACT. 

Note: These values are based on students who indicated they wanted to submit their scores to be considered in their application decision. Students who applied tested score optional (TSO) were not included in this calculation.  

Go To The Application

In support of our holistic file review process, admissions decisions will be based on the following criteria regardless of residency:

  • High school coursework (see below)
  • GPA (weighted or unweighted)
  • Test scores (if submitted)
  • Class rank
Four units (years) of English: such as literature, grammar or composition. 
Four units (years) of mathematics: in algebra 1, algebra 2, and geometry (or an equivalent of credits in integrated algebra and geometry), and 1 credit of pre-calculus, trigonometry, or calculus.
Three units (years) of laboratory science: including credits in laboratory sciences: biology, chemistry, or physics.
Two units (years) of world language: these must be from the same language.
Three units (years) of social science: in U.S. History, World history/civilization/geography. Credits in economics, government, sociology, psychology, and similar topics are acceptable.
One unit (year) of fine arts: One unit in appreciation of, history of, or performance in one of the fine arts.
Two units (years) of electives: Additional college-preparatory courses; additional mathematics credits are recommended for students intending to pursue a science degree and additional world language credits are recommended for all students.

The College of Charleston admissions committee can consider applicants who have not taken all of these courses. 

Additional information about college preparation and awareness can be found on the SC Commission on Higher Education website.

Mid-Year High School Graduates

If you're graduating from high school in December and enrolling at the College of Charleston in January, you must submit an official letter from a principal or counselor confirming the successful completion of graduation requirements. (Be sure your letter includes the date you'll receive your high school diploma.)

South Carolina residents who want to be considered for a S.C. LIFE or HOPE scholarship must complete the Early Graduation Form on the Commission of Higher Education website.

Academic scholarships are generally not available for first-year students entering in the spring semester. Visit Financial Aid for more information on federal and need-based aid.

General Educational Development test (GED)

Prior to enrolling, applicants must have earned either a high school diploma, or its equivalent—the General Educational Development Test (GED). Applicants who earned a GED must submit transcripts from the most recent semester of high school attended.

Homeschooled Students

College of Charleston welcomes applications from homeschooled students. However, we would like to recommend some ways to make sure you are adequately prepared for the challenging curriculum at the College of Charleston.

  • Home-schooled students are required to submit at least 1 SAT/ACT test score. If a student applies test-optional, the student will be contacted before review can begin.
  • Due to testing issues associated with COVID-19, students who are generally not allowed to apply as test score optional and who are applying for fall 2023 may request a review of their circumstances in order to allow for test-optional admission. Please contact admissions@cofc.edu to provide more information on your particular situation with regard to the inability to access a test this year and for additional guidance.
  • We expect you to complete a challenging college-preparatory curriculum (see our recommended high school courses above). One way to do this is to take courses — such as physics and calculus — at a local community college. We strongly recommend that students take two years of a foreign language in high school. You could take upper intermediate-level courses (201 and 202 level) at a community college as a substitute.
  • We require a transcript. It should list subjects studied (with specific course titles), and should indicate the year in which each course was completed. We would also like to see course descriptions so we can understand the content of your program, how challenging the courses (Honors, AP, etc.) were and how your grades were determined. If you have taken any dual-enrollment courses while in high school, we also recommend submitting your college transcript.
  • We do not require SAT II subject tests. But submitting these scores to us will help us to determine your proficiency in core academic subjects.
  • South Carolina homeschooled students must be registered with a fully accredited and recognized homeschool organization. If it is not, we require a GED.
  • College of Charleston will respect each state’s homeschool laws. If your state does not require an accredited homeschool curriculum, we will abide by those rules for admission consideration.

We encourage homeschooled students to contact their admissions counselor to discuss the above recommendations or any unusual circumstances regarding homeschool students.

Gap Year or Post Grad Year Applicants

First-year students are eligible for deferred enrollment or a gap period (up to one academic year). Transfer students are not eligible for deferred enrollment or a gap period.

If a student decides to take college coursework during their gap period, acceptance to the college will be voided and their status will switch to a transfer applicant. College transcripts will be required and the application will be subject to the transfer admissions requirements.

Please note: a change in status from first-year student to transfer will void any institutional scholarships. Additionally, South Carolina residents should be aware of S.C. state scholarship eligibility requirements once college coursework has begun.

Process for Requesting Deferred Enrollment or a Gap Period

Students must email admissions@cofc.edu specifying how long (one or two semesters) they wish to take, as well provide a brief summary of their intended activities during this time.

In order to confirm your deferment, you must pay the $400 enrollment deposit. This deposit will be transferred over to the future term for which you intend to enroll. Deposits paid are non-refundable. 

Requests must be submitted no later than May 1.