Apply: What We Look For

USC students represent a vast array of interests and passions. Bold, driven, curious and creative, they strive to make an impact, both in and out of the classroom.


We look for those students we believe will thrive at USC. Our application process is designed to discover your individual story, so that we might see how you would take advantage of the many opportunities available at USC. Like many highly selective universities, we conduct a comprehensive, holistic review of your application to consider academic and personal characteristics. We will review your performance in school, the rigor of your program, your writing skills and any test scores you choose to submit. We also consider personal qualities, as revealed in community involvement, leadership and achievements.

Successful USC Students

USC students pursue ambitious intellectual and professional goals by studying across disciplines and taking advantage of the diversity of programs available. They are willing to venture outside their comfort zones. They are interested in the world, in other peoples and cultures, and enjoy examining important issues from a global perspective. USC students are unafraid to speak up in class to make others think or fight for a cause. They get involved by participating in student organizations and connecting with others. They seek to grow to their fullest potential, and they work to serve others in the community along the way.

Accessibility and Financial Aid

USC is need-blind in its admission process—a student’s financial need will not influence an admission decision. In fact, nearly two-thirds of undergraduate students at USC receive financial aid.

“Remember, there’s a person on the other end of your application; we’re just trying to get to know you.”

—Becky Chassin, Assistant Dean of Admission

First-Year Student Profile

Fall 2021
New students 3,668


Application Process
Fall Applicants 71,031
Fall Admits 8,884 (12.5% admitted)
Fall Enrolls 3,668 (41.3% yield)


Race, Ethnicity & Background
White 26%
Asian / Asian American 24%
Latinx / Hispanic 20%
International (student visa holders) 13%
Black / African American 9%
Multiple Ethnicities 6%
Not reported 2%
Native American / Pacific Islander <1%
Most Represented Geographic Areas in U.S.
New York
New Jersey


Most Represented Geographic Areas Outside U.S.
United Kingdom
Hong Kong
South Korea


Financial Aid

Almost 20 percent of the 2021 entering first-year class received a merit-based scholarship from USC. Approximately two-thirds received some form of financial assistance.

Transfer Student Profile

Fall 2021
Applications 9,988
Admits 2,208
Admit Rate 22.1%
Transfer Class Size 1,353
Average College GPA 3.70 – 4.00


Our Transfer Students Come From
California Community Colleges 56%
Colleges Outside California 23%
UC or CSU 11%
California Independent Institutions 7%
Colleges Outside U.S. 3%
Preferred European Institutions 2%

“College is all about learning, most importantly about yourself as a person. Look for schools that can help you grow in all aspects of your life – inside and outside the classroom.”

—Alexander Alvendia, International Admission Officer

Undocumented-DACA-AB540 Students

Undocumented or DACA students should apply for admission following the general policies and guidelines outlined on this website. Financial assistance is available for undocumented students who meet certain criteria.  California residents may qualify for additional assistance under AB540 (the “California Dream Act”). For more information, please visit