The University of Southern California is a world-renowned private research institution located in the heart of Los Angeles. Its prestige has led to much popularity amongst high school students, making the USC admissions statistics quite impressive. USC admissions is highly selective and highly competitive. Understanding the USC requirements and admissions process is key when it comes to successfully completing the USC application and planning how to get into USC.
USC Admissions – What do I need to apply?
Here are the USC admissions requirements that hopeful students must submit:
- Common App
- USC Supplemental Essays
- Letter of Recommendation (1 required, 2 required for School of Cinematic Arts)
- Portfolio, resume, and/or writing samples (depending on your intended major)
- Senior year fall grades (submitted via Common App or USC admissions portal)
- Application affirmation (completed once the USC application is completed)
You may note that the University of Southern California admissions does not list standardized test scores as one of the USC requirements. This is because the USC admissions process is holistic, and students who choose not to submit test scores will not be penalized by USC admissions in the evaluation process. However, if you have high test scores, submitting them would be a wise decision as part of your “how to get into USC” plan. Check out some FAQ on the test optional policy.
USC requirements and deadlines may be different based on the major that you declare. Be sure to check the first-year student application requirements for specific schools when applying.
What is the USC admissions rate?
The USC admissions rate for the 2023 University of Southern California admissions cycle was its lowest to date at 9.9%. The most recent USC admissions rate is the lowest it’s been in years. Out of 80,790 applications, the USC admissions office admitted only 8,032 students.
With a highly selective USC admissions rate, it may be no surprise that USC is high-ranking nationally. U.S. News ranked USC as #25 on their National Universities list for 2022-2023. While high national rankings and international prestige aren’t the only factors when it comes to choosing a university, they certainly do create lower acceptance rates, as is the case for the USC acceptance rate.
Is USC hard to get into?
The low USC acceptance rate tells us that the University of Southern California admissions is highly selective. The University of Southern California admissions team is looking for more from applicants than simply meeting the USC requirements; applicants need to stand out amongst a large pool of students.
The 2022-23 admitted applicants had an average GPA of 3.90 unweighted. So, we can assume unofficial USC GPA requirements that are high. When evaluating applicants, USC admissions notes that academic achievement (meeting the assumed USC GPA requirements) is one of their top criteria. Applicants hoping to meet or exceed the USC admissions requirements should prepare early on in their high school career by taking a rigorous academic course load.
The USC admissions office will take a holistic approach when evaluating prospective students. There is much more taken into consideration in the USC admissions process than just meeting the USC admissions requirements and the USC GPA requirements. Importance is placed on all parts of the USC application: academics, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and supplemental essays.
Check out this “How to Get Into USC” guide in order to stand out amongst the many USC applicants.
Is UCLA or USC more prestigious?
Determining which school is more prestigious will likely depend on who you talk to. Ultimately, when deciding the best school for you, think less about prestige and more about how you feel on campus. Your intended area of study should also play an important role in the selection process.
Both UCLA and USC are prestigious universities. If we compare the UCLA acceptance rate to the USC acceptance rate, USC is slightly more selective. The USC admissions rate is just under 10%, while the UCLA admissions rate is 11%.
But, UCLA ranks higher on the U.S. News National Universities list, coming in at #20, while USC comes in at #25. Both universities rank highly and have very competitive acceptance rates, thus making them both nationally reputable institutions.
Is USC rolling admission?
The USC admissions deadline for students applying Early Action is November 1st. Students will receive their decisions by mid-January. The deadline to submit the USC admissions requirements for regular decision is December 1st, and students will be notified of USC admissions decisions by April 1st. About 20-25% of applicants are accepted Early Action. If interested in applying to universities’ Early Action deadlines, learn how to best prepare.
While the University of Southern California admissions team doesn’t officially state they have rolling admission, students don’t all receive their decisions on the same date. Once a USC application is completed, the team at the USC admissions office reviews it and sends out a decision. Students can check their application status on the USC admission portal.
Does USC prefer ACT or SAT?
The University of Southern California admissions currently has a test-optional policy. This means that students aren’t required to submit standardized test scores. However, if students choose to submit their scores, USC admissions has no preference between the ACT and SAT.
In previous years, the USC admissions statistics showed that the average range for the SAT was 1410-1540 and for the ACT it was 32-35. With the USC acceptance rate at its lowest, students should only submit high standardized test scores that make their application more competitive.
USC admissions: More statistics and contact info
The USC admissions statistics are impressive. When making USC admissions decisions, the team at the USC admissions office considers every application as a whole. They want to learn more about your personal narrative, which can be emphasized with well-written essays.
Here are some USC admissions statistics from a recent fall admissions cycle:
- 80,790 applicants
- USC admissions rate: 9.9%
- 23% of admitted students identified as first-generation college students
- Undergraduate USC enrollment is about 20,000
For any additional questions about the USC admissions portal, USC requirements, USC application, or USC enrollment, reach out to USC admissions. The USC admissions contact page provides everything from contacting an admissions counselor to scheduling a virtual tour. And remember, final USC admissions decisions can be found via the USC admissions portal.
Additional information can be found on the USC admissions page, but for specific questions, use the USC admissions contact page to get in touch with the USC admissions office.
USC admissions – Final thoughts
USC admissions is highly selective. Understanding how admissions officers in the USC admissions office evaluate applicants is helpful when starting the application process.
While the numbers may seem intimidating, if you are choosing to apply to USC, take it one step at a time. Make sure to show academic achievement, write impressive essays, obtain a letter of recommendation, and meet (or ideally exceed) all of the USC admissions requirements.