What We Look For

The College of Charleston admissions committee will look at more than just test scores. But often, applicants and their parents want to know what the average freshman who enrolls at the College looks like.

Undergraduate Application

Students who will be applying to the College of Charleston for admission in fall 2021, can choose whether or not they want to use test scores as part of the application-evaluation process. Applicants to the Honors College will not be required to submit test scores.

There are, however, factors you will need to consider before you make your decision. Check out the answers we have prepared to some frequently asked questions about this change to our admission policy. 

So, here's what the middle 50 percent of freshmen accepted look like:

  • scored between 1110 and 1280 (in-state), and 1170 and 1320 (out-of-state) on the SAT.
  • scored between 23 and 29 (in-state), and 26 and 30 (out-of-state) on the ACT.
  • had consistent academic achievement in the A/B range.

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.

Optional Application Material

Standardized Test Scores

If you chose to have your test scores reviewed with your application, we can accept either official or unofficial test scores to make an admission decision and award merit scholarships. However, state scholarships will be awarded based on official test scores only.

If you falsify your test scores, even accidentally, we may have to revoke your admission decision and scholarship award.

We’ll accept unofficial test scores from:

  • high school transcripts,
  • high school counselors kindly forwarding your results from the testing agency, or
  • testing agency websites (via screenshot, PDF, or jpg).

All results must include your name, test date, all sub-scores, as well as one other means of determining you’re you (e.g. birth date, email, or mailing address).

By self-reporting your unofficial test scores, understand that your application file, if complete, will go under review immediately (based upon the test scores you’ve provided). We reserve the right to request your official test results at any point during the review process.

You must provide your official test results (by June 1 for fall entrance or January 1 for spring entrance). It may take up to three weeks for your test scores to process. You’ll be unable to register for courses without your official test scores on file.  

Go To The Application

Freshman applicants should take a rigorous high school curriculum. The following curriculum shows the best preparation for your enrollment at the College of Charleston. This curriculum will also ensure that students are in compliance with the course requirements from the SC Commission on Higher Education for entry into S.C. four year colleges.

  • FOUR UNITS OF ENGLISH: All four units must have strong reading (including works of fiction and non-fiction), writing, communicating, and researching components.
  • FOUR UNITS OF MATHEMATICS: These units must include Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. A fourth higher-level mathematics unit should be taken before or during the senior year.
  • THREE UNITS OF LABORATORY SCIENCE, FOUR RECOMMENDED: Two units must be taken in two different fields of the physical, earth, or life sciences and selected from among biology, chemistry, physics, or earth science. The third unit may be from the same field as one of the first two units (biology, chemistry, physics, or earth science) or from any laboratory science for which biology, chemistry, physics and/or earth science is a prerequisite. Courses in general or introductory science for which one of these four units is not a prerequisite will not meet this requirement.
  • TWO UNITS OF WORLD LANGUAGE: At least two years must be from the same language. It is strongly recommended that students complete at least three years of foreign language in high school.
  • THREE UNITS OF SOCIAL SCIENCE: One unit of U.S. History, a half unit of Economics, and a half unit of Government are recommended.
  • ONE UNIT OF FINE ARTS: One unit in appreciation of, history of, or performance in one of the fine arts.
  • TWO UNITS OF ELECTIVES: Two units must be taken as electives. A college preparatory course in Computer Science (programming content, not keyboarding) is recommended. Other acceptable electives include college preparatory courses in English; fine arts; foreign languages; social science; humanities; mathematics; physical education; and laboratory science.

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 freshman 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 2021 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 three 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.