Undergraduate Admission Blog

Follow the Official USC Undergraduate Admission Blog for information, advice, and a behind-the-scenes look at our process

November 3, 2014

STUDENT BLOG: Who Are You Beyond Your GPA?

In high school everything I did had one purpose: get into my dream university. I studied for those (fun?) standardized tests with flash cards, tutors, and my personal favorite: the SAT for Dummies board game. If there was a volunteer event to build houses or clean local rivers: I was there. I didn’t know how to say “No” I just knew yes because to me, at that time, I thought I believed I was combination of a test score and a GPA.

If my high school counselors had told me then what I know to be true now, I would have spent more time focusing on being the best person AND student I could’ve been, rather than worrying about what national percentile my test scores placed me. Believe it or not, the number sitting next to your name at graduation is only one facet that defines who you are to the university. As you continue your college application process, or perhaps start thinking about it, I challenge you to create something (or things) that are tangible.

It’s not how much you can fit onto your resume but rather, the impact of what you’re doing. You should also enjoy what you’re doing; passion is the ultimate cherry on top of your application sundae. When you’re excited about what you’re doing anyone reading your application will know. USC has a holistic admissions process: no number, formula, or level of involvement determines what students become Trojans. Every admissions counselor looks at you, not as a number or a test score, but as someone who could potentially represent this university.

I’m a testament to this fact because while I did focus on my GPA (weighted & unweighted headaches) I truly believed in things beyond the limits of scan-tron bubbles. In high school, I was involved, yes. I worked for good grades, yes. But I look back now and wish I would’ve taken a step back to be proud of what I was accomplishing. What USC saw in me, was not only where I had been, or where I was in high school–but where I was going. By the end of my application process I liked who I was on paper, it wasn’t 2400, it was authentically me.

Potential is the ability to continue growing even in a new environment. When I arrived for my first semester here I forced myself to step out of my comfort zone. I auditioned for Trojan Vision and became a host for the morning talk show, The Morning Brew. Three years later it’s become one of my proudest accomplishments, how did I get it? Because my application focused on what I wanted to do instead of what my number said about me.

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