Apply: Dates and Deadlines

First-Year Application Deadlines 

You are considered a first-year applicant if you are still in high school, or if you have not enrolled in college since leaving high school.  

Early Action vs. Regular Decision
Applying by the Early Action (EA) deadline enables you to plan for college earlier, should you be accepted during this round of application reviews. It also ensures that you will be considered for USC Merit Scholarships. Early Action (EA) is non-binding, non-restrictive, and is not available for majors requiring a portfolio or audition.*

Students choosing to apply under USC’s Early Action (EA) plan will need to submit their application materials earlier in the process but will receive an admission decision (or deferral to Regular Decision) sooner than Regular Decision applicants.

We recommend this option for those who have thoroughly researched their college options and have settled on USC as their top choice. We estimate that 20-25 percent of our admission spaces will be granted during the EA round.

USC’s Regular Decision (RD) plan follows a more traditional timeline: If you submit your application by December 1 or January 15, depending upon major, you will receive a decision by April 1.

Students who wish to have more time to fill out their application, or those who wish to have their records for the fall semester of their senior year included as part of their application, may wish to wait until the Regular Decision (RD) deadline.

*The following programs do not participate in Early Action.

Iovine and Young Academy
Kaufman School of Dance
Roski School of Art & Design
School of Architecture
School of Cinematic Arts
School of Dramatic Arts
Thornton School of Music

Students applying to these majors must submit their application materials by December 1 to be considered for admission and USC Merit Scholarships. Please refer to the Regular Decision deadlines for more information.

Early Action
Applicants selecting Early Action will be notified of their admission or deferral to Regular Decision in mid- to late January 2023.

Application Deadline: November 1, 2022

Early Action (EA) is non-binding, non-restrictive, and is not available for majors requiring a portfolio or audition. Students must apply EA in order to be considered for USC Merit Scholarships, unless their intended major does not participate in Early Action.

Students applying to majors requiring a portfolio or audition (see below) will be considered for USC Merit Scholarships as part of their Regular Decision process.

Regular Decision
Applicants selecting or deferring to Regular Decision will be notified of a decision by April 1, 2023.

For majors requiring a portfolio or audition
Application Deadline: December 1, 2022

This is the final deadline for students applying to majors in the following schools:

Iovine and Young Academy
Kaufman School of Dance
Roski School of Art & Design
School of Architecture
School of Cinematic Arts
School of Dramatic Arts
Thornton School of Music

See Additional Major Requirements for information about your intended program.

Regular Decision candidates applying to these programs by December 1 will be considered for USC Merit Scholarships.

All other majors
Application Deadline: January 15, 2023

Financial Aid
Early Application Deadline:
January 9, 2023
Regular Decision Deadline: February 10, 2023

Applicants who want to be considered for need-based financial aid must submit the FAFSA* and CSS Profile applications by the appropriate deadline.
*Undocumented or DACA students should submit their 2020 tax return and third-party letter confirming undocumented status instead of the FAFSA.

Cal Grant Application Deadline: March 2, 2023
California residents should apply for Cal Grants by this date.

Visit our Financial Aid page for more information. To check on the status of your financial aid application, visit the FAST page in your applicant portal.

Extensions of application deadlines are considered on a case-by-case basis. Students who are unable to meet the published deadlines may contact an admission counselor to be considered for an extension.

Transfer Application Deadlines 

You are considered a transfer applicant if you have enrolled in college since leaving high school.  

Regular Decision
Transfer candidates will receive either an admission decision or a request for spring grades by May 31. If you receive a request for spring grades, you will be notified of an admission decision by mid-July.

For some majors requiring a portfolio or audition
Application Deadline:
December 1, 2022

This is the final deadline for transfer students applying to the following programs:

Iovine and Young Academy
Kaufman School of Dance
School of Cinematic Arts – BFA programs only
School of Dramatic Arts – BFA programs only
Thornton School of Music

See Additional Major Requirements for information about your intended program.

All other majors
Application Deadline:
February 15, 2023

Financial Aid
Priority Application Deadline: March 2, 2023
Applicants who want to be considered for need-based financial aid must submit the FAFSA* and CSS Profile applications by this date.

California residents should also apply for Cal Grants by this date.
*Undocumented or DACA students should submit their 2020 tax return and third-party letter confirming undocumented status instead of the FAFSA.

Visit our Financial Aid page for more information. To check on the status of your financial aid application, visit the FAST page in your applicant portal.

Extensions of application deadlines are considered on a case-by-case basis. Students who are unable to meet the published deadlines may contact an admission counselor to be considered for an extension.

FAQs

Early Action Deadline FAQ

What is the difference between Early Action (EA) and Regular Decision (RD)?
Early Action applicants apply earlier and may be informed of their admission to USC in January. Early Action is required for most students wishing to be considered for merit scholarships. It might also be an attractive option for those with particularly strong records who consider USC one of their top choices. Regular Decision applicants follow a more traditional timeline, with later deadlines and a decision notification date of April 1. Neither plan requires admitted students to enroll at USC.

Do I have to apply Early Action (EA) to be considered for a USC Merit Scholarship?
Yes, unless your intended major does not participate in Early Action. Early Action is not available if you are applying to the Iovine and Young Academy or majors in Architecture, Art and Design, Cinematic Arts, Dance, Dramatic Arts or Music. Applicants to these majors should apply by December 1 to be considered for both admission and scholarships.

Other scholarships offered through USC-affiliated organizations are available but require a separate application. Visit our Scholarships page for more information. USC also offers a robust need-based financial aid program. More information is available at the USC Financial Aid website.

Will my senior-year fall grades be considered if I apply Early Action (EA)?
No, we cannot guarantee that fall grades will be considered if you apply Early Action.

What percentage of the class will be admitted Early Action (EA)?
We anticipate that about 20-25 percent of the class will be admitted early. Early Action applicants who are not admitted in January will be able to defer their application to the Regular Decision round.

If I am admitted Early Action (EA) will I also receive a merit scholarship?
Not all early admits will be selected to continue in USC’s merit scholarship process. Students who are selected as scholarship finalists will be notified of their next steps in February after receiving their admission decision.

If I am admitted Early Action (EA), do I have to attend USC?
No, Early Action admission is non-binding and does not require enrollment at USC.

Will students receive denial letters in the Early Action (EA) round?
No, no one will receive a denial letter in January. Students who are not admitted early will be given the chance to defer their application for consideration in the Regular Decision round. We expect that 75-80 percent of the class will be admitted Regular Decision.

Do admitted Early Action (EA) applicants receive their financial aid earlier than Regular Decision (RD) applicants?
Most admitted students will receive their financial aid summaries around the same time. EA applicants should apply for need-based financial aid by January 9, 2023 and RD applicants should apply by February 10 to be considered for all types of financial aid for which you may be eligible.

Is Early Action (EA) admission offered to transfer students?
No, but transfer applicants interested in the Iovine and Young Academy, Dance, Music, and BFA majors in Cinematic Arts and Dramatic Arts must apply by December 1. The admission and scholarship application deadline for all other transfer applicants is February 15.