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.”

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

  1. Is it guaranteed that those with parents that graduated from usc get the opportunity to be in the trojan transfer plan? My father was a graduate, but i received no invitation. Is it extended to all legacies or only those that are qualified?

    1. Hi John, Since you are a member of the Trojan Family, your son is as well. Your son can list your educational history in his Common App and we can identify him as a Scion.

  2. My sister is a second year medical student at Keck School of Medicine. I am applying USC this fall. Do I have legacy? Thank you!

    1. Hi Dylan. You would not be classified as a Scion, but we will take your connection to the Trojan Family into consideration.

  3. My Dad has been attending the MPA Online with Price School. I plan on attending for the fall of 2019. Am I considered a legacy student? And, will USC consider me as a USC family, since my Dad is attending Price School?

    1. Hi Sara. You would not be classified as a Scion, but we will take your connection to the Trojan Family into consideration.

    1. Hi, Ericka. The children of step-parents who graduated from USC are considered Scions, but not great-grandkids.

  4. Hi
    I’m an athlete very interested in attending USC and participating as an athlete. My father was a student athlete at USC and graduated. Can this help my chances of attending and participating in the sport of Track or women’s basketball ?

    1. Hi, Olivia. Athletic recruitment is managed by USC Athletics, not the Office of Admission. It’s unlikely legacy status would have a significant impact on their recruitment process.

  5. If multiple students from the same high school apply, is there a limit to how many students from that high school USC will accept?

    1. Hi, Isela. There is no limit to the number of admits that can come from an individual high school.

  6. How about a spouse? I graduated from USC grad program. My husband plans to apply to usc grad school. Is that considered a legacy?

    1. Hi, Jennifer! This blog is for undergraduate admissions. Applying to graduate school at USC differs so much depending on the program. I encourage your husband to reach out to the graduate admission counselors for the program he is interested in with any questions he may have!

    1. Hi, John! Applicants are only considered legacy candidates if a relative attended or graduated from the University.

  7. My aunt went to USC for her Masters and that doesn’t make me a legacy, but how could I make my connection apparent in my application?

    1. Hi, Jenny! If your aunt’s experiences have resonated with you and influenced your interest in USC, feel free to write about them in the short answer essays that are part of the USC supplement. The focus, however, should be on you (not your aunt).

  8. Hi,
    My dad was a student athlete here many years ago, playing football. He still works with the athletes sometimes through his job, a sales rep for an athletic company… My dad is still very close to many people in the athletic department and friends w some coaches. I am a track and field athlete, but I haven’t gotten offered from USC yet, so I am going to apply and maybe earn a scholarship next season or possibly try to become a walk on. If I do not get into USC, but they do end up recruiting me later my senior year… is it possible I could still come?

    1. Hi, Olivia! You’ll have to reach out to the coaches regarding athletic recruitment. It’s a different timeline from the traditional admission cycle.

  9. Hello,
    I’m attending the Rossier School of Education Leadership Academy for my administrative credential. Will my children be legacy once completed?

  10. If I went to grad school at USC, would my brother be considered a legacy student for grad school as well? Or does this only apply to undergraduates?

  11. Is legacy consideration for undergraduate admissions affected by the number of USC degrees / Trojan family members. My son will be applying and his father is a Trojan (both undergraduate and MBA), two uncles and and two Aunts attended as well. My question is, is more consideration given to applicants with parents who received multiple USC degrees, or for applicants with multiple Trojan family members?

  12. My daughter is planning to apply to USC soon. Both my parents were only children and we didn’t have any family around other than my parent’s cousins who were also only children. All 3 of my mom’s cousin’s sons (from the same family) went to USC. Would that be a consideration for legacy?

    1. Hi, Leigh! While your daughter is certainly a part of the Trojan Family, she does not meet our definition of a legacy candidate.

  13. Is Scion status consideration program specific? I graduated from the film school and my daughter is applying as well. Should that be addressed in her application and how. If not are there any other steps we should consider based on my having graduated from her desired program of study? Thank you.

    1. Hi, Lance! Scion status is not program specific, but she is free to mention it in her application if she feels it helps explain her interest in the school.

  14. Are grandchildren of long term tenured staff considered Scions (grandpa, grandma, and dad all Have SC degrees) or in any other way?


    1. Hi Lauren, An applicant is a Scion if they have a parent, sibling, or grandparent who attended USC. It sounds like that applies to you!

  15. Hello, I am hoping to attend USC in the fall of 2020. My aunt is on the USC staff, and I am wondering if my connection with her will be taken into consideration when applying. Thank you.

  16. Dornsife Class of 2016. My sister is a high school senior and is currently applying to college – would she be considered Legacy?

    1. I’m sorry for your loss, Janet. You can leave the year blank (it’s not required for legacy consideration).

  17. My mother was offered a job at USC hospital a few years ago, and was told that if any of her children attended USC Undergrad, they would receive free tuition. I, as her child, am now interested in attending USC law school. Now I have two questions.

    First, if my mother was to accept this position at USC hospital, would I still be offered free tuition, and if so, would this apply to USC law school as well, or only USC undergrad?

    Second, would my mother accepting this position at USC hospital have any bearing on my acceptance into the USC system? In other words, if she accepts this job will I have a better chance at acceptance into USC law school?

  18. Both of my parents were graduates, but both are deceased now and we can’t locate their diplomas. How do I find out their years of graduation?

    1. I’m sorry to hear that. We do not need their grad dates for application purposes, but if you’d like help tracking down that information, you can reach out to the registrar at (213) 740-5986.

  19. My uncle is Dennis Fernow of 63′ attended USC. He does not have any children is there anyway to be considered legacy in regard to that?

  20. I graduated in 2006 with a PhD in chemistry at USC and my daughter would like to apply to USC as well. Is she considered legacy?

    1. Yes, anyone whose parent, grand-parent, or sibling has attended USC is considered a legacy candidate.

  21. My son’s paternal grandfather graduated Phi Beta Kappa from USC, but we don’t know what year as he’s long since passed away and there are no living relatives to ask. Is it necessary to know the year he graduated to list my son as a legacy? If so, may we ask you to look it up for him? Thank you.

  22. Hello,
    I have a couple of questions. In my rejection letter, I was given the opportunity to use the Trojan Transfer Program. It says that it usually takes students two to three semesters to transfer to USC, but I have 6 aps that I have all passed along with some community colleges courses that I took in high school. Would I be able to transfer to USC in one semester?

    1. Hi, John! We only allow students to apply to the fall semester and most competitive transfer students have been enrolled full-time for at least two semesters. Your AP scores might serve as progress towards meeting general education courses, but we would still want to see you making strides in a college setting. You can discuss the particulars of your path with an admission counselor during your TTP meeting.

    1. You will have to reach out the graduate school to which you are applying. This blog can only address the undergraduate admission process.

    1. Hi, Paris! Yes, all SCions who apply as freshman and are denied are offered the Trojan Transfer Plan.

  23. Hello –

    I wanted to find out if the Thornton School of Music participated in the Trojan Transfer Program.

    Also – how can I confirm that you have confirmed a legacy, as the Grandparent is 93 years old.

    Thank you for you help.

    Leslie Perlow

    1. Hi Leslie,

      The Trojan Transfer Plan offers advising on how to prepare to transfer to USC. Students in any major can participate, but talent based programs will still require auditions.
      Students indicate on their application whether they are a SCion (and all grandchildren of former students are), so there’s nothing you would need to do to confirm.

  24. My children have a legacy connection. Both parents, and also paternal grandparents as well as numerous uncles and cousins. Two years ago my son did not get accepted. I did not hear of the Trojan transfer plan. It may have been in a separate email that he did not show me or was disregarded as he pursued a different university with a scholarship. I learned of the Trojan transfer plan this year as my daughter also did not get accepted. She plans to follow up on the Trojan transfer plan and meet or speak with their advisors. My question: Can my son still participate in the Trojan transfer plan as an incoming junior having completed two years elsewhere? Also he is interested in music performance, so I realize there are also auditions.

    1. Hi Kellie,

      I’m sorry the TTP notification was missed (it is one of the later paragraphs in the decision letter). Because the Trojan Transfer Plan is an advising program, we only offer it to students about to start college who plan to transfer to USC. Because your son has already been in college for a couple of years, the advising information would no longer be applicable to him. If he’d like more info about transferring to Thornton, their admission office can offer their expertise.

    1. Hi, Susan—Unfortunately not. Legacy status is based on attending the University as a student in either an undergraduate or graduate program.

  25. My dad worked at USC as a tenured professor for 20 years before joining another university. Am I considered to be a legacy status ? If not, any thing I can do to make it connected?

    1. Hi, Lucy—You will not be considered a legacy candidate, but he should reach out to USC’s HR office to see if you’re eligible for any sort of tuition benefit based on his past employment.

  26. I am hoping to join the Trojan Transfer Program in the near future as my older brother currently attends the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. Am I considered a legacy?

  27. I am an USC employee and my daughter was offered and took advantage of the Trojan Transfer Plan. She actually just finished her freshman year abraod in Paris at the partner school American Univerity of Paris. Since she took the required course ENG2020 this spring, she received a Spring grades request from USC before she could get the final admission decision. That being said, she got her final grades in today (5/28) and was able to upload her unofficial transcripts via the student portal. She wasn’t sure if she needed to send them to anyone particular there in admissions to hopefully expedite the final decision process. As I am sure you know this has been a long road. Do you happen to have any idea when we can expect to hear back? Many thanks!

    1. Hi, Erin! Students who had their spring grades requested can expect a response by mid-July (it may be earlier than that, but mid-July is the earliest we can guarantee).

  28. Hi,
    My daughter’s grandfather went to USC so that makes her a Scion. But do all Scions get offered the Trojan Transfer regardless of grades in high school and test scores. Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi, Elizabeth—yes, all Scions who are not admitted as freshman are offered transfer counseling as part of the Trojan Transfer Plan.

  29. If my brother attends USC, and I am planning on transferring as a sophomore or junior will my legacy be taken into consideration?

  30. If my sister attended Pharmacy School at USC (and graduated 2018) and I was interested in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, would I be considered a Scion if I applied DPT program?

    1. Hi, Robert–This blog only pertains to undergraduate admission. You will need to reach out to that program to learn more about their policy.

  31. My grandfather is an electrical engineer graduate. I want to pursue my masters in computer science engineering. Will my application be under Scion category? How should i apply for it?

    1. Hi, Yumna! When you apply, you will list any family members who went to USC. This will tag you as a Scion.

  32. I applied to transfer to USC for my sophomore year of college because I am already attending a university, but got denied. My sister graduated from USC but I did not get offered the trojan trasnfer plan. Do I still qualify for it?

    1. Hi, Helia–You are not considered a legacy, but your father should check with HR to see if he retained any employee benefits regarding tuition.

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