FAQs: Admission Process

When will I hear if I've been admitted?

All first-year applicants will be informed of our admission decisions by April 1st. Transfer applicants will be mailed either an admission decision or a request for their spring-term grades by May 31st.

What are USC's admission deadlines?

Current application deadlines are listed on our Dates and Deadlines page. All materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (in your current time zone) on the appropriate date, unless otherwise stated by the department to which you are applying.

How do the grades I earn during my senior year of high school factor into USC's admission decision?

Generally, for the purposes of admission into USC, we review an applicant's coursework from grade 9 through the first term of his or her senior year. Students need to use the Mid-Year Report Form included in the Common Application or visit www.usc.edu/midyeargrades to submit their fall grades as soon as they become available.

Once admitted, all students are required to submit an official copy of their high school transcripts to verify their graduation dates. Students' transcripts will also be reviewed to ensure that they have maintained a continued level of academic achievement. A serious downturn in a student's senior year could result in the rescinding of an admission offer.

What do you look for in an applicant?

Please visit our Admission Process page for detailed information.

What AP tests do you accept for credit? How does USC treat Advanced Placement (AP) exams? Are AP scores factored into admission decisions?

We encourage students to take advantage of the most rigorous curriculum available to them, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses, if offered at their school. We recognize the rigor of AP and IB curricula and take this into consideration when evaluating admission applications.

You will receive 4 elective units for each score of 4 or higher on AP exams. For exams taken in spring 2008 or earlier, credit is awarded for scores of 3 or higher, except for Computer Science.

General Education credits can be earned with a score of 4 or higher on the following exams:

GE-A: Arts

Art History

GE-D: Life Sciences


GE-E: Physical Sciences

Physics 1
Physics 2
Physics B
Physics (C- Electricity/Magnetism)
Physics (C- Mechanics)

GE-F: Quantitative Reasoning

Calculus AB
Calculus BC

GE-H: Traditions and Historical Foundations

European History
US History
World History

  • Third-semester Foreign Language requirement: Any foreign language AP exam (except Latin).

In some cases, credit may be given for program prerequisites or degree requirements.
To receive USC credit as outlined above, official AP exam results must be sent from the College Board to USC. We will not grant credit for AP scores reported on high school transcripts or on student test reports. Please visit arr.usc.edu for more information.

Does USC offer early decision or early action admission?

USC does not offer early decision or early action admission programs. All students who apply to the university by the appropriate deadline are given equal consideration in the application review process. Please visit the First-Year Dates and Deadlines page or the Transfer Dates and Deadlines page for more information.

Does USC maintain admission wait-lists?

No, USC does not maintain wait-lists. However, a small number of fall applicants may be offered spaces in the spring semester.

Does USC accept first-year and transfer applications for the spring semester?

USC does not accept first-year or transfer applications for spring admission. However, a small number of fall applicants will be offered spaces in the spring semester.

Does USC allow students who have only a GED to transfer?

Yes, it is possible for students who completed high school with a GED to be admitted to USC. However, such students will still need to meet all other transfer requirements (at least 30 transferable semester college units, strong academic record, etc.) and must also provide official transcripts of all high school coursework they attempted, in addition to providing an official copy of their GED. They may also provide a letter of explanation along with their GED or completion certificate.

Can I check my final admission decision online?

Admission decisions will be made available online at you.usc.edu. If you would like to speak with a counselor about your application, you may call us at (213) 740-1111 (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time) or email us.

What is the last SAT or ACT sitting that USC will accept for fall applicants?

We suggest that first-year applicants take all SAT and/or ACT exams by December of their senior year. Although we will accept scores from later sittings, we cannot guarantee that your results will reach us in time to be considered by our admission committee.

Does the USC Office of Admission require interviews for prospective students?

No, admission interviews are completely optional. With over 57,000 applicants, we are not able to meet with everyone. Our experience has shown no appreciable difference in admission rates between those who do and those who do not interview.

An interview is just one of the many opportunities we provide for students to have contact with the university and the admission office.

How do I reserve an interview?

Spaces are limited and fill quickly, so if you are interested in an interview, we urge you to reserve a time as soon as possible at the Admission Interviews page.

Is it possible to delay or defer my admission to a future term?

Students who have been formally admitted to USC but who wish to delay all undergraduate studies for one year should submit a USC Admission Deferral Request Form to the Admission Office. A deferral may be requested within one year of the original semester of application. (Example: You originally applied for the fall 2014 semester, and you wish to have your admission deferred to the fall 2015 semester.) Longer gaps required for religious reasons, or for compulsory military service, will also be considered.

Once you have been admitted, complete, sign and date the Admission Deferral Request Form and submit it to our office as soon as possible. Only students who have been formally admitted to USC may request a deferral.