The Trojan Family: Legacy Students Applying to USC

While visiting high schools and attending college fairs, the USC admission counselors often connect with members of the Trojan Family who have a daughter or son who is considering USC. These parents may wonder, “how much does legacy status really impact a student’s application?” As part of an ongoing series on the Trojan Family, I’m here – with some help from a few colleagues – to answer that question and provide advice for legacy students.

When applying to USC through the Common Application, students will submit background information about their family members. The information within this section of the application is how we determine a student’s legacy status. Only those applicants with a parent, grandparent, or sibling who graduated from USC (or is currently enrolled) are considered a legacy for admission purposes. While we understand that there are many ways to be a part of the Trojan Family, legacy status is a technical designation, and only those relationships listed above fall into the parameters.

As most applicants and their parents likely know, the process of applying to USC has become increasingly competitive. Due in large part to the number of applications we receive every year (roughly 56,000 high school students applied last time around), the university doesn’t have the space to offer admission to every qualified student. The reality is that there will always be legacy students, known as “Scions” at USC, with very strong applications who don’t receive an offer of admission.

However, it’s important to us that our population of Scions is represented among the entering class; roughly 19 percent of the first-year students joining USC for the 2017-2018 school year are Scions. But, legacy status is, on its own, not going to be the deciding factor in the evaluation of a student’s application. There are many factors that we are considering when making our decisions, and legacy status is just one part of that.

With this in mind, I asked a few of my fellow USC admission counselors to provide their perspectives and advice.

Tyler-Rose Veguez, who works with students from California and Texas, encourages Scions to do their own research into USC. “Don’t rely upon what other people, like your family members, say about USC. Figure out your own reasons for being interested in applying,” she advised, “Use your connection to the Trojan Family to gain a deeper understanding of USC’s core values – that will put you on a road to researching the university on a deeper level, and if you can show within your application that you truly know why USC is the right fit for you, that can really help you stand out.”

Kelsey Bradshaw echoed that guidance, and advised students to make the process of choosing their future school and major their own personal journey. “Just because USC was right for your siblings or parents or friends doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right for you,” she continued, “Also, you shouldn’t just pick your major because someone you know studied that and was successful. You should find something you are passionate about!”

Finally, Hayley Camin – who counsels students from Indiana, Kansas, and California – guides Scions to not be demoralized if they aren’t admitted to USC. “There are so many schools out there that could be a good fit for you, and, if you are a Scion, you would have the opportunity to meet with an admission counselor and put together a transfer plan,” she concluded, “There’s more than just one road to USC. And we’re here to help and support all of our students – that’s what the Trojan Family really means to us.”

155 thoughts on “The Trojan Family: Legacy Students Applying to USC”

  1. If I went to USC for undergrad and I plan on applying for USC’s masters or doctorates program, will I have any sort of priority, considering I am an alumni?

    1. Fight on, Melissa! All graduate departments run their admission differently. You will need to reach out directly to them with any questions.

  2. Hello! Our oldest daughter graduated with her degree from Marshall in 2016. Our youngest daughter is applying as a freshman for Fall2020. Her SAT scores are on the lower end of averages, but she has a 4.46 gpa in college level courses as a dual enrollment student at our local community college. If she is not accepted for fall, will she automatically be offered admission via TTP?

    1. Hi, Heather! Any legacy student who applies as a first year and is not admitted is automatically offered the option to go through our TTP program. However, the Trojan Transfer Plan is NOT a guarantee of admission. It is an advising program that puts students on the right track to becoming competitive in our transfer application process.

  3. Thank you for your response!
    One last question, do TTP students go through the same application process as all other transfer applicants?
    Many thanks!

  4. Hey, my sister and her husband both went to USC, and two of their sons are currently enrolled, and I was just wondering, how far does the branch of legacy go out to in relation to me? I plan to enroll when I finish high school and I want as much of a head start to information I can get. Thank you.

  5. I am a “Scion” who was rejected and offered the TTP last spring, but I chose not to take it since I initially was set on a different university. However, I have since then had a change in mind and am set on possibly applying as a transfer student. Would the TTP still apply now?

    1. TTP is an advising session that happens in June/before a student begins college. While it is too late for this, you can email your USC counselor (based on where you currently attend school) and ask for advice on next semesters’ classes and the application process.

      1. Thank you for your reply. I have found the associated USC counselor for the institution I am currently attending on USC’s undergraduate admission website, but I am unable to find her email address so that I can contact her directly.

  6. My paternal grandparents and my father all attended and graduated from USC. My grandmother was one of the few women in her class. If my daughter applies, her grandfather’s affiliation makes her a scion. Does her great-grandparents’ alumni status have any bearing?

    1. Hi, Amy! in our process, a student is either a scion or they are not. We do not consider levels or gradations based on family history (but your grandmother sounds awesome)!

  7. Hello,

    My father is currently a professor at USC, will my application be regarded in a similar manner as someone with legacy status?

    1. Hi, Jenna! Transfer students will get a decision or a spring grade request by the end of May.

  8. Both my mom and uncle went to and graduated from USC, does that make me a legacy student, and if so does it increase my chances of being accepted?

    1. Hi, Cole! Because your mom attended USC, you are considered a legacy candidate. This is a “plus factor” in our admission process.

  9. Are spring grades requested of all transfer students applying under TTP? If a student is above the 3.6 GPA from the fall semester, why are spring grades required for a final admission decision? Thank you for your time!

  10. My sister graduated from USC. Understand I am a legacy candidate…Question is: does the legacy status put me into more competitive pool of applicants? Is it advisable to apply as a regular candidate to increase my chances for acceptance?
    Also, would like to know if legacy students are considered for merit scholarships too.

    1. Hi, Pam! There is not a separate pool for legacy candidates. They are considered with all other applicants and are eligible for merit scholarships.

  11. My grandfather and father are both graduates of USC while my brother is currently a student in the TTP program. As I apply next year for a position within the incoming freshman class I had questions regarding the TTP. Firstly I was wondering if I would be considered a Scion and what merit this has over my application and additionally are Scions offered the TTP program upon rejection of their application or are only a select few offered the TTP?

    1. Hi, Dawson! Yes, you are considered a scion. It is a plus factor in our application process, along with many others. All scions who are denied as first years are offered TTP counseling.

  12. Hi, my aunt graduated from USC and received her PHD there. My mom attended USC but then decided to finish her education and graduate elsewhere as USC did not have her preferred major. Would this make me a legacy?

    1. Hi, Drew! Because your mom attended USC (even though she didn’t graduate), you are considered a SCion.

  13. Hello,
    My grandfather attended USC. I am a student at CSUN. I am planning on getting my MBA after I graduate college. Does USC consider legacy students for masters programs?
    Thank You

    1. Hi, Kyle! This blog is run by the undergraduate admission office. Please reach out to the MBA program to ask them how legacy is considered.

  14. My aunt on my father’s side of the family was a graduate of USC and do I qualified under the legacy program?

    Also I have an interest in the Film and Television Program (B.A Television Production) . However, I’m currently in the process of transfer and graduating from LACC.

    thank you

  15. Are relatives-in-law considered SCions? For example, my wife went to USC. Would my sister be considered a legacy applicant?

    Is this any different for step-siblings or step-children?

  16. Hello! It is currently the summer before my first year at a cc and my brother just got accepted into the Spring 2021 term at USC. He is planning on attending. Is there any way I could get into the TTP program (I understand that it is a bit late)?

  17. Hi! My dad graduated from Usc and my sister will be a senior by the time i’m applying. Does that mean i’d be more of a legacy in some way, or is it the same for anyone else with only one family member who’s an alumni/enrolled student?

    1. Hi, Sierra! In our process you’re either considered a SCion or not. There are no degrees to the designation.

  18. Hi! My grandfather did his graduate studies at USC (Masters of Music in 1958 and Doctor of Musical Arts in 1970). Would that qualify me as a SCion, or is it only undergraduate degrees?

  19. Hi,
    My dad attended usc, but later transferred to another school. Am I still eligible as a legacy or would he have had from the university?

  20. Hi! My maternal grandfather attended USC for his undergrad and law degree. My dad also attended USC for his undergrad. Filling out the common app, it asks you where your parents attended college, but where on the application can I include that my grandfather also attended? I have an uncle and an aunt that attended but I understand that doesn’t count as a legacy, but I would like to include that my grandfather attended USC.

    1. Hi, Ruby! In the USC supplement you will be able to indicate that your grandfather also attended USC.

  21. Hi, my son is a legacy applicant who is applying this year, and I was wondering if he is guaranteed the TTP program or if it only handed out on a case by case basis. Thanks!

    1. Hi, James! Trojan transfer counseling is offered to any legacy student who is not admitted as a first year applicant.

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