Undergraduate Admission Blog

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January 13, 2016

4 Ways to Stand Out as a Transfer Applicant

TransferApp1. Pursue full time school work

Applicants looking to transfer to USC should realize that USC students are expected to attend school full time. In order for the admission office to get a sense of how you will fare at USC, we would like to see how well you performed while in a full time schedule at your current institution.  We understand there are exceptions to this, of course, but students aiming to transfer to USC should be attending full-time if possible.

2. Make progress towards fulfilling General Education requirements

The last thing we want transfer students to do is start from scratch once they arrive at USC. Since the GE curriculum is required of all graduates of USC, it is in your best interest to get a head start on completing these requirements. You do not have to complete them all in order to gain admission to USC, but completing a good portion of GE categories only makes you a more competitive applicant.

3. Take relevant coursework

In addition to full time coursework, we would like to see that you are taking transferable courses. You can see which courses are transferable from your current institution by reviewing the articulation agreement we have with your school.  Articulation agreements for California community colleges can be found online at usc.edu/transfercredit. You should also make sure you are completing any prerequisite courses for your specific major of interest.

4. Make academics your priority

Your academic performance and preparation is our main concern in the transfer admission process. While getting involved and joining organizations is a great part of the college experience, you should make your academics your number one priority if you are serious about transferring to USC.


  1. msomi noxolo says:

    I’m a student in South Africa looking to come and study at USC in the future or even this year perhaps. I would like to do a carer of environmental science that’s the course I like. my academic reputation is excellent. I attend school full-time. your feedback would really make me happy

    • Bryan Hudson says:

      Thank you for reading the blog. If you have any questions about the admission process feel free to contact our general admission line at 213-740-1111. For more specific questions they can put you in contact with your territory manager.

  2. Meeghan Genevieve Chavez says:

    I am in the process of finding which exact field of Health Science I would like to persue. I feel a passion for Medicine as well as Neurology. However through personal experience I feel I would be great in pediatric and adolescence behavorial health studies. I’d like to do it all! I am currently in my first year at MSMU in the Pre-Health science program. I want to be proactive with the direction of my career. Expanding my learning process and being able to receive first hand/ hands on experience under the guidance of USC is truly a dream of mine. I love the programs provided. Having appropiate mentored support and, funding for extended study from allumni. That truly sets the corriculm apart! ❤️

  3. Ellen Bulington says:

    I just sent in my transfer application for the fall of 2016! I was wondering, since you said that academics should be the the number one priority, if I have a GPA higher than the average accepted transfer , will leadership roles on my campus and jobs count against me?
    Thanks for your feedback!

    • Bryan Hudson says:

      Hi Ellen,
      That is not the case at all. We focus on academics more heavily in the transfer process, but being involved in other things definitely will not hinder your application.

  4. David says:

    Hello, I’m an American who was been studying outside the country and now am trying to transfer into USC Cinematic school. My only problem is that my credits aren’t transferable and my old university is recognized.
    Am i still considered a transfer student? Can i send in an application anyway without filling in the other colleges or university attended part of the application?

    • Bryan Hudson says:

      Hi David,
      It’s great to hear that you are interested in transferring to USC. Yes, you are still considered a Transfer student. To be a competitive transfer applicant I recommend pursuing college work that will be transferable.

  5. Brian Boermeester says:

    Hi, I want to transfer to USC from Boise State. My GPA isn’t high at all. But I am a student with learning disabilities. Could I still be accepted to USC?

    • Bryan Hudson says:

      Hi Brian,
      We want to see that transfer applicants have excelled in college so far. There is no minimum GPA for admission, but following the tips in this post will help you be a competitive applicant.

  6. Rob Ruiz says:

    Hello, I am a veteran and am planning on applying as a transfer student for the Fall for 2017-2018 school year.

    When is the soonest I can apply to USC? Also, does USC accept transfer students (have undergrad at Azusa Pacific experience as well as recent Glendale Community College work) for the Spring of 2017 or just for the fall? If so, when is the deadline for that?


    • Bryan Hudson says:

      Hi Rob,
      It’s great to hear that you are interested in transferring to USC. The next deadline will be February 1, 2017 for Fall 2017. You can only apply for the Fall semester. Yes, students have been admitted from both of those institutions and it is okay to transfer units from both colleges.

  7. Brenda says:


    I am a student from Indonesia who is really interested to attend USC. I am currently about to move to Seattle. I’m 16 and will receive my high school certificate by around June 2017. I will also receive some transferrable college credits, but am I considered a transfer or a freshman? Also, is there a minimum age to attend USC? I’m about to move to Edmonds community college.

    Thank you.

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Brenda, If you are enrolling in a community college, then you should apply as a transfer student. If you are applying while still enrolled in high school, then you should apply as a freshmen. If you need more specific information, please contact your territory manager. You can find out who that is here.

  8. Max Parker says:

    I have submitted my transfer application for the Fall 2016 semester. What date will transfer applicants start receiving notification if they have been accepted?


    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Max, We will contact all transfer students by June 1st with either an admission decision or a request for spring grades.

  9. Zach D-Hutton says:

    Thank you for the blogpost!

    If it is decided that a transfer applicant is accepted to attend full-time, will there be enough time to locate on campus housing options?

    Also, I didn’t have time to enroll in any further classes by the time I learned of the application deadline for USC.
    When I began investigating programs, I found that USC is ranked above all others for my specific area of interest.
    The semester for local coursework was already underway when I noted that the admission deadline for filing was approaching within just a few days, which was when I put everything else on hold to focus my attention on filing my application.
    Although I have a term of engagement in full-time coursework within my educational history, will not having spring grades to submit effect me negatively?

    Thank you,

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Zach, Housing is available for transfer students although it is not guaranteed. We look for full-time academic coursework in consecutive semesters. Without seeing your application, it’s hard to say how something might effect the decision. If you have any specific application questions or would like information added to your file, I recommend contacting your admission counselor directly.

  10. Tasha Farsaci says:


    I am currently a freshman at Loyola Marymount University looking to transfer to USC for the Fall of 2016. Because I only have one semester of grades so far, I am expecting a Spring Grade Request. I am wondering when these will be sent. Also, if I do receive a Spring Grade Request, will it strengthen my application substantially if my GPA increases?

    Thank you,

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Tasha, You will hear from us by June 1st with either a decision or a request for spring grades. An upward trend in grades is always positive.

  11. vtkt_110 says:

    I am a Vietnamese student. I used to study at a community college in US to get a high school diploma degree, then i graduated and move to Australia to study A bachelor degree in accounting. I have finished high school there with 3.5 gpa, and graduated from university in australia with 5.56/7. Now, i want to do a second degree in Stem (undecided specific major) at USC, am i considered as transfer student when applying here ? Since i want to start a second degree, Am i eligible to apply for scholarships as a first year international student ? does SAT important for scholarship? thanks

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      If you are looking for another bachelor’s degree, then you would apply as a transfer student. I would also recommend looking into a graduate program if you will complete your bachelors degree in Australia. You are eligible to receive scholarships as a transfer student.

  12. Riley says:

    Hi, I am a current freshman student at University of Wisconsin-Madison and taking credits that will transfer from Folsom Lake College in Northern California. Could I transfer second semester sophomore year? Thanks. If so, could I get more information.

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Riley, You can only apply to USC for the fall semester of each academic year. Our deadline is February 1st of each year.

  13. Chris White says:

    I applied to USC out of high school with good grades (3.6) from a difficult private school and high test scores (ACT 31) but was offered the Trojan Transfer Program. I decided to attend LMU because I had an offer as a student athlete. I had a difficult first semester adjusting to 5 hours of practice a day. I also had a teacher in a math class who did not speak understandable English, and I got a poor grade on my first test. I didn’t know I could drop a class, so I stuck with it, and got a tutor to teach me the material. I got high 80s the rest of the semester, but when she averaged the points, I still earned a D and she wouldn’t work with me. That sunk my GPA. I did much better second semester, but couldn’t apply to transfer to USC with that grade. I tried to retake the class, but they cancelled the summer session. I also earned a C+ in a very difficult Econ course. All my other grades are As and Bs. Will I have any chance for admission after sophomore year? How high do my grades have to be next year? Do I need to retake that math class in the fall? It’s always been my dream to attend USC, and I came so close, but now I am discouraged and feel I’ve lost my chance. I’d really appreciate your advice.

  14. Kyle Welch says:

    I finished my first year at my community college with a 3.3 GPA. Saying if I have a 4.0 GPA my second year, averaging around a 3.6 I think, is it good to be below the average transfer GPA for USC but have a huge upward trend to your GPA

  15. Kermina Halim says:

    Hi, I am a 16 year old transfer student who applied to USC for the Fall 2018 year. I begun college when I was 15. Does my age help my chances in any way? Thanks!

  16. Casandra Manning says:

    Greetings, I am currently a student at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. My first year attending was rocky and I was only able to attend part time due to being a new mother and working security full time. Last year I was able to attend college full time, and am continuing the trend this year. My overall GPA is 3.73. My lowest grade is a B- in College Algebra (the professor lost half of my homework and then inputted them as zeros, dropping my grade, and I did not find out until the period for disputing was over). I am currently double-majoring in Psychology and Anthropology, but I want to go into the health sciences and am very interested in neuroscience and pharmacology. I do not have an “end-game” plan as to what field I want to work in, but I do have plans to at the very least achieve a Master’s degree.
    Would I still be a good candidate for USC, specifically the Pharmacology and Drug Development Bachelor’s program? I have not taken the biology, chemistry, or calculus classes at the community college though because I want to learn from professors at a better school. I do have the drive and passion to change my area of study, if it is allowed upon entering.
    Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear back from you.

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi, Casandra! It seems like you have a lot to offer. We do, however, like to see that students have prepared themselves for the majors they intend to pursue. I encourage you to take the recommended STEM coursework in order to strengthen your application to those programs.

  17. Kaylee Davis says:


    I am a prospective transfer student, and I am attending a quarter system university at the current moment, it appears you ask for spring grades, but would my fall and winter quarter grades be sufficient enough if I enroll in three during my first quarter and four during my second?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi, Kaylee! There are many factors that determine whether we need to see spring grades, so there is no path that guarantees that you won’t receive a spring grade request.

  18. Kristine says:


    I am currently enrolled in a 4-year university, but I am still trying to transfer for the fall of next year.

    Since my school is on the quarter system, and other students have received their decision before my school years end. Do you guys reserve spots for students on the quarter system?

  19. Lesley Ann says:

    Hello there 🙂 I am currently a college student at East Los Angeles college and I am really hoping into transferring into USC. My gpa is not the highest, I have a 3.3 at the moment and it took me a while to figure out my major but my mind is set. I’m a little nervous about the application process but I was wondering if there are people we can reach out to at USC to help out with the process !
    Thank you very much.

  20. Pauline Yaghoobians says:

    Hello! I am currently a student at Glendale Community College and my dream has always been to be a part of the Trojan family! Unfortunately, my counselor told me that USC is not interested in applicants who are taking less than 12-14 units and in my 3 years at GCC, I have had 2 semesters under 12 units. My counselor also advised me that missing 2-3 courses required to transfer will not affect my acceptance. Could you please let me know if this is a concern I should worry about or if it will not impact my acceptance. Thank you!

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi Pauline,

      We recommend you reach out directly to your counselor to discuss any particulars of the situation: https://admission.usc.edu/find-your-counselor/
      Generally, we do prefer students who have been enrolled full time (which we see as 15-16 units per semester). We do not expect students to have completed all GEs, but the more you do, the stronger your application.

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