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University of Southern California -- #22 (tied) National University (US News & World Report)

University of Southern California is a private institution that was founded in 1880. When USC first opened its doors to 53 students and 10 teachers in 1880, the “city” still lacked paved streets, electric lights, telephones and a reliable fire alarm system. Today, USC is home to more than 44,000 students and over 4,800 full-time faculty, and is located in the heart of one of the biggest metropolises in the world, Los Angeles.

The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for the arts, technology and international business, USC’s diverse curricular offerings provide extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary study and collaboration with leading researchers in highly advanced learning environments. USC seeks talented students from around the world who want to pursue their studies across traditional disciplines, explore the world and challenge the status quo.

Admissions Requirements

Application Fee

Standardized Tests
SAT or ACT, essay not required. SAT may be superscored. ACT is not, look at composite score of each test.

SAT Subject Tests
Not required. Home-Schooled applicants must also submit: 1) Results from 3 SAT Subject tests, including 1in math; and 2) answers to the home-school questions on the Common App Secondary School Report.

AP and IB exams
You may self-report

Supplement Questions/Essays
(found in the Writing Supplement section in My Colleges tab on the Common Application- Questions are updated August of every year.)
2 required questions, 1 optional question. Certain majors have additional writing questions. Refer to the Common App.

One letter from school counselor or teacher. Two teacher recommendations are optional. Applicants to the School of Cinematic Arts must submit three letters of recommendation.

From Your High School
School Report, Transcript, Mid-Year Report, Final Report

Not offered

Required for applicants to the College of Art. Portfolios are strongly encouraged for the College of Architecture. Performance majors may also require auditions.

International Students
SAT or ACT scores; AND
TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic scores, if the native language is not English.

Early Plan
None offered. In order to be considered for Merit Scholarships, you must apply by December 1.

Regular Decision
January 15, decision by April 1

Academic Parameters

When applying to an institution, it is important to look at the academic information of previous applicants. This includes the SAT/ACT test scores, SAT Subject test scores (if available), GPA ranges, or class ranking. By looking at these data points, you may assess where you fall and how likely is your admission into this college. Please note, there are students who do fall below the middle range and are still admitted, but then their application has one or more factors that boosts their application, such as a special talent, a recruitable athlete, legacy, racial or socioeconomic minority. Use the chart below to see where you fall and if you may raise your test scores and grades to keep your application in the running.

Testing/GPA Guidelines

SAT Range (25th to 75th percentiles)
Composite Score: 1350-1530
Math: 690-790
ERW: 660-740

ACT Range (25th to 75th percentiles)
Composite Score: 30-34
Math: 28-34
English: 32-35

90% of Students in Top 10% of their class

GPA Range (unweighted)
70% of Students of GPA of 3.75 and higher

IvyBound Consulting featured University of Southern California on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter from August 12 - August 16, 2019

Day 1 • University of Southern California

According to US News & World Report, University of Southern California is ranked #22 in National Universities, tied with UC Berkeley and Georgetown. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence. Please check their website to read up on these indicators. We are using US News for its popularity, but by no means should they be the only source in determining your “best fit” college. Your best fit colleges should be determined by your academic goals, your personality fit, and financial considerations.  

University of Southern California:
Private, total undergraduate enrollment of 19,170, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 226 acres.

Founded in 1880


Tuition & Fees:
Its tuition and fees are $56,225 (2018-19).

Living on campus puts you close to your classes, USC libraries, and the student organizations and events that make campus life rewarding.
USC’s freshman housing is designed to create communities where students live and study together, socialize over meals in our residential dining facilities and adjust to college life. Numerous programs and activities keep residents involved, help them expand their academic and leadership skills, provide ways to relax and have fun, and help them make friends.

Admit Rate:
Highly competitive.

University of Southern California combines elements of racial, geographic, age and gender diversity to come up with a total diversity ranking for every school. USC is thought to be highly diverse across all factors, and is ranked #24 nationwide. Many college students value the ability to meet and learn from different racial and ethnic groups, which is more likely to happen at a diverse school such as this one of 13% Hispanic/Latino students, 5% African American students, 39% White students, 21% Asian students, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 6% Multi-Racial students.

Religious Affiliation:

Other Awards by US News:
#22 (tie) in National Universities, #5 in Best Colleges for Veterans, #56 (tie) in Best Undergraduate Teaching.

Day 2 • School Mission, Mascot, Sports

Traveler, the noble white horse that appears at all USC home football games with a regal Trojan warrior astride, is one of the most famous college mascots.

Pure White.

The USC Trojans are the athletic teams that represent the University of Southern California (USC), located in Los Angeles, California. While the men’s teams are nicknamed the Trojans, the women’s athletic teams are referred to as either the Trojans or Women of Troy (the university officially approves both terms). The program participates in the Pac-12 Conference and has won 130 team national championships, 107 of which are National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) national championships. USC’s official colors are cardinal and gold. The Trojans have a cross-town rivalry with UCLA.

Day 3 • Academics/Top Undergraduate Majors/Student Life

USC is a member of the Association of American Universities, joining in 1969. The University of Southern California houses professional schools offering a number of varying disciplines among which include communication, law, dentistry, medicine, business, engineering, journalism, public policy, music, architecture, and cinematic arts. USC’s academic departments fall either under the general liberal arts and sciences of the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences for undergraduates, the Graduate School for graduates, or the university’s 17 professional schools.

Academic Calendar:
Semester system.

Top Undergraduate Majors:
Undergraduate programs at University of Southern California includes Accounting, Advertising, Anthropology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biological Sciences, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering.

Highly-ranked Graduate programs:
USC’s graduate and professional programs include the highly ranked USC School of Architecture, Leventhal School of Accounting, Roski School of Art & Design, Marshall School of Business, USC School of Cinematic Arts and Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. 

Student Life:
University of Southern California has a total undergraduate enrollment of 19,170, with a gender distribution of 48% male students and 52% female students. At this school, 30 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated or -affiliated housing and 70 percent of students live off campus. In sports, University of Southern California is part of the NCAA I.

Day 4 • Notable Alumni

Some distinguished alumni include Forest Whitaker toured England with the Cal Poly Chamber Singers in 1980. June Bacon-Bercey, M.P.A 1979 – television meteorologist, first African American and first woman to be awarded American Meteorological Society‘s Seal of Approval. Buster Crabbe (B.A. 1931). Susan Straight (B.A. 1981). Sidney Eisenshtat (B.Arch. 1935). Elad Lassry (M.F.A. 2007). Karol J. Bobko (1970, M.S. Aerospace Engineering). Jim Barr (B.S. B.A. 1970). Scott Simpson (B.S. B.A. 1978) – professional golfer. David T. Hon (Ph.D. 1971) . Robert Sarzo (B.S. 2004). Alan Chang (B.M. 2002). Above listed are some of the Notable Alumni of the University of Southern California.

Day 5 • Applying to University of Southern California? Be Collegebound with IvyBound.

Looking at first-time, Freshman Applicants: 

Admission Rate: 
12.96% (including early applicants)

Total Applicants:



Yield Rate:
40.78%- Number of students who actually attended or matriculated once admitted. 

Early Option:
USC does not have an Early plan. In order to be considered for Merit Scholarships, you must apply by December 1.

Regular Deadline:
January 15.

Admission Requirements:
See table above

Admissions into this prestigious University of Southern California is highly competitive as the acceptance rate is decreasing each year. With the increase of sheer number of applicants, how do you stand out and get admitted? If USC  is one of the colleges on your list, use this invaluable worksheet to plan and prepare when applying. 


IvyBound Consulting offers personalized college admissions services to help you create winning college applications that surely gets you admitted. Choose from one-on-one counseling services, college admissions online course- Applications That Get You Admitted!, private Facebook group membership, and essay review and editing services. 


Next week, I will cover, US News Week’s #25 Nationally Ranked University, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Stay Tuned.

Be Collegebound with IvyBound!

* Sources used: the college website, common data set, college factual, US World News, other websites.

Hey guys, welcome to the episodes Be Collegebound with IvyBound! I’m your host, Ruchi S. Kothari. I’m super excited that you’ve joined me.

Listen to my most recent podcast or watch my video to pick up admissions tips, tricks, and secrets that I provide to get admitted into the college of your dreams, and create a future that you would love. Do you want to get into your dream school? Of course, you do. 


Then, stay tuned…

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