Undergraduate Admission Blog

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March 23, 2016

GUEST BLOG: The wait is (almost) over!

Moments ago, we bid adieu to a truck full of admission decisions. They are officially mailed today! So exciting! To keep with our USC Admission Blog tradition, Dean of Admission Tim Brunold was kind enough to write a guest blog again this year. Read more as he reflects over the file review season and provides some data about our recently admitted first-year class.



All of our freshman admission decisions are in the mail and most applicants should receive an information packet or letter from us within the next 48-72 hours.

I am very proud of the admission team’s accomplishments. They have worked tirelessly for months doing all the things required to recruit USC’s class of 2020: they spent much of last year traveling the world, getting countless high school seniors excited about USC; they hosted tens of thousands of campus visitors, showing them all aspects of our vibrant campus; and they spent more than 30,000 staff hours (the equivalent of fifteen years of full-time work for one person) reading and deciding the outcome of the largest applicant pool in USC’s history.

We read our first application on October 24th and just finished final committee discussions yesterday. Although we are thrilled to have identified the most impressive admitted class in USC’s history, we are also dismayed that so many incredible students were turned away. We are seeking a first-year class of 2,800 students, so there just wasn’t enough room for everyone.

None of us takes joy or pride in disappointing students. We are, however, consoled by the fact that our applicants have myriad options for higher education. Past experience shows us that everyone will find a college that is right for them, even if that college is not USC.

A few facts about this fall’s admitted freshman class:

  • More than 54,000 first-year applicants
  • 16.5% admission rate
  • Nearly 3,300 different high schools represented, from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and 73 other countries
  • 42% from California
  • Outside California, the most represented U.S. states are Texas, New York, Illinois, Florida, Washington, and New Jersey
  • 15% are international students. The most represented places of origin are China, India, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Mexico
  • 1-in-8 will be the first in their family to attend college
  • 65% are African American, Latino, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander or of multiple ethnicities
  • The average un-weighted GPA, on a 4-point scale, is 3.84.
  • 31% of admits have perfect un-weighted GPAs of 4.0; another 7% only earned one B in high school.
  • 51% enrolled in 8 or more AP courses
  • 78% had standardized test scores in the 95th percentile or higher. More than 3,600 (41%) had standardized test scores in the 99th percentile.

Why don’t we just notify students online?

We are often asked why we send admission decisions through snail mail. The answer’s simple: we believe that you should receive this private news at home, have a chance to experience it with your family, and have the space to decide who else knows the outcome. Whether it’s positive or negative, we would much rather you learn the outcome through reading our letter than just find out “yes” or “no” on your phone at school.

We also understand that waiting is really difficult and not all postal mail arrives in a timely fashion. Because of this, we will post an electronic version of your decision letter online, via our applicant portal, https://you.usc.edu. Your online letter will be made available Saturday morning, March 26th.

So what’s next?

If you are admitted and have applied for need-based financial aid, you’ll be hearing about that very soon. We are committed to getting this information to you quickly, since only 39 days remain until you must commit to enroll.

We will be hosting 48(!) events for admitted students, both on- and off-campus, during April. Check your admission packet or our website for further details – we can’t wait to meet you and your parents. And, if you haven’t visited campus yet, now’s the time to do so.

Nearly three decades have passed since I first helped recruit a class of entering USC students. A lot has changed here since then, but something has remained constant: the deep pride and satisfaction that our students, faculty, staff and alumni experience as being members of the Trojan Family.

Thanks for taking this journey with us. Best wishes to you, and remember, FIGHT ON!

Timothy Brunold
Dean of Admission


  1. Tonya says:

    Wow! This was an amazing, informative and emotional letter giving insight into the Class of 2020 for USC! As a parent of an applicant, I thank you. I was caught off guard by how emotional this made me because I have my first child heading off to college. As you stated, the wait is long and, as parents that applied to college ourselves 26 years ago, we saw there are enormous changes to the process! We gave our daughter the independence to complete her own applications, essays, etc. It’s exciting to be a part of hearing the results! Congratulations on all of the admissions committee’s hard work. It sounds like you have a superb class coming in the fall!!!

  2. Patricia says:

    I commend USC for having such a spirit of excellence — from the Campus tours, to the Info sessions to the Financial aid process, to your website and admission packets, everything is done with such excellence and passion! As a TROJAN Mom, I am proud of USC. I sent my son off to USC and a year later, he’s gone from being a teenage boy to a man, with deep insights, ambitions and resources to boot. Congratulations USC staff … you should all be proud for the work you do! I know that the class of 2020 will truly be a talented group of kids! Bravo!!!

  3. parent says:

    yes, excellent, human touch. can you give more definition to “Saturday morning”? Mail brought nothing today, applicant daughter will be away tomorrow (Saturday). Thanks

  4. Jennifer Bantle says:

    If the online letter is not showing online today does that mean we aren’t accepted or is there a delay in posting it?

  5. Albert Tischler says:

    Have not received the letter in the US Mail yet so was hoping to look at the letter on-line. Don’t see the on-line version of the letter and it is Saturday evening. Have all been posted? Thanks.

  6. Tracy says:

    Applying as a biology major for fall 2016:
    1. What are the housing options for transfer students? Could you list the best housing choices in order, in your personal opinion?
    2. How open/accepting are sororities to transfer students rushing? Would I be less likely to get into a house because I’m older than the incoming freshman?
    3. When are transfer students to get their admissions letter from USC? Will it be before June 1st, which is the UC system’s deadline for SIR’s?

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Tracy, Housing is a personal choice. I recommend checking out the floor plans on the housing website to decide what the best option for you is. Anyone is allowed to go through recruitment to join a sorority. Transfer students will hear from us by June 1st with either a decision or a request for spring grades.

  7. James gooden says:

    I would like to come Tuesday for the admissions and tour this upcoming week. my e-mail is jamesgooden90013@gmail.com

  8. Felipe says:

    is there more competition from one major to another? Male and female?
    Also how many students from each school do you accept?

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Felipe, Different programs will look for different things depending on the major. I recommend checking out the website for each admission office at the different colleges within USC. You will more information about specific programs there.

  9. Carolyn Kantz says:

    This is so exciting! Fast forward one year to 2017, and we are awaiting word from USC! Thank you for writing this last year so we have a general idea when letters will be mailed! I LOVE that you do it via “snail mail”, so that you for that as well. Fight on!

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