Undergraduate Admissions

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What We Look For in an Applicant

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In keeping with our mission of valuing each individual, we take a very holistic approach to evaluating our applicants. The following items are required for consideration:

Grades/Official Transcripts

USD seeks serious students, and those applying as first-year students are expected to present a well-balanced secondary school program of college preparatory courses. The applicant should have completed at least four or five academic subjects each year throughout high school.

We recommend the following:

English 4 years
Mathematics 3 or 4 years
Science (2 years with lab) 3 or 4 years
Foreign Language 3 or 4 years
Social Studies 2 or more years

When evaluating transcripts we calculate a weighted GPA giving students credit for any honors, AP, or IB classes. The average GPA for Fall 2014 admitted first-year students was 3.97.

We require transcripts of all attempted high school and college work. In addition, please submit any transcripts of work in progress as soon as it is completed. We will need a final official high school transcript showing proof of graduation from all enrolling students.

Test Results

Applicants are required to submit the official results of the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT with writing. There are no minimum or required test scores. For the Fall 2014 admitted class, the average SAT was 1890 and average ACT score was 28. USD does not require any SAT Subject Tests.

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities are an enhancement to the academic components of the application.  We consider any leadership, talents, and community service involvements from a student’s high school career. A separate resume of activities can be submitted, but is neither expected nor required.


We require only one academic recommendation, preferably from the student’s school counselor or a teacher from an academic class.


The essay is an opportunity for students to give us a glimpse of how their experiences have shaped their lives.