Undergraduate Admission Blog

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

Category Archives: Applying to USC

March 24, 2015

GUEST BLOG: I Love When A Plan Comes Together

Processed with VSCOcam with g2 presetTens of thousands of packets and letters are beginning to make their way through the U.S. postal system. We began reading on October 29th and just finished our last committee discussions less than twenty four hours ago. Believe me, we have needed and used every single minute over the last several months to select this class. More than 30,000 staff hours (the equivalent of fifteen years of full-time work for one person) have been spent reading, evaluating and discussing candidates.

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March 19, 2015

5 Questions Answered About Spring Admission

keavy photoIt’s the time of year that admission officers across the country are finishing reading applications and making sure everything is set in time to mail their notifications. At the other end, applicants are anxiously waiting by the mailbox or busily refreshing their email inboxes anticipating their decisions: Admit, Waitlist, or Deny. At USC things work a little differently. First of all, all decisions will be sent by postal mail. Secondly, we do not have a waitlist. That’s right, instead of wait listing students, we have opted to guarantee students a spot in the freshman class, but starting a semester later, in January 2016. We call it Spring Admission; admission to the spring term instead of the fall. Many times students admitted to the spring are surprised, maybe even a bit disappointed, and have a lot of questions about what it means. The most important thing is to remember it means that we want these students to come to USC, which is why we admitted them! One of our student bloggers, Madisen Keavy, was a spring admit for January 2014 and wanted to answer five questions she had when she was admitted to the spring semester.

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February 26, 2015

Surviving the Waiting Game

dog-wait-door Our freshman application deadlines have passed which means we are in the thick of file review. The chatty nature of recruitment and catching up with colleagues is replaced by quiet concentration in cubicles as we review thousands of applications. I love file review and getting to read the stories of my applicants but also know that now thousands of applicants are now twiddling their thumbs waiting for a decision. A lot goes in to the review of an application and we take this responsibility quite seriously but I promise you April 1 seems just as far away to us as it does to you.

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January 27, 2015

GUEST BLOG: Focus On The Opportunities That Lie Ahead

MIKE Blog PicCollege admission has now been my career for nearly eight years, but prior to jumping onto this side of the desk, I spent two years as a high school counselor in my home state of Louisiana. I was never formally the school’s “college counselor,” so I was spared from having to write hundreds upon hundreds of letters of recommendation. But during those two years, due to my role as moderator of the Student Council, I was able to get to know a number of seniors who were going through the admission process. As we prepare to mail out decisions regarding our scholarship decisions, which I am sure will leave a great number of students dissatisfied, confused, and questioning our judgment, a particular meeting with one of my favorite Student Council members is fresh on my mind.

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December 18, 2014

Are We Having A Moment Or Nah?

65521820_697334_445267490_nYou’ve written the personal statements, hunted down that letter of recommendation, kissed the computer screen for good luck, and finally submitted that college application! Yay! Now what? Get a chair and go sit next to your mailbox until April. Get to know your mail carrier and try to bribe them with all of the leftover Halloween candy you still have stashed away. Alright, can we not? You can do plenty of things to keep yourself occupied while you wait for those decisions.
Applying to colleges is no simple task. It’s actually pretty challenging and can be draining. We get that and we understand that you have been working extra hard. Once the application is submitted, let us do our thang and get to know who you are. It does take us a while to get through the many applications we receive. Since we do read every single one, you’ll be hearing from us around April 1st. There’s a lot you can do between now and then. I know you’re already thinking about the financial aid applications, so I won’t go into that right now. I will go into reminding you that you’re a senior in high school! It’s time to start enjoying your last year in high school and getting back to the things that you put on the back burner for those college apps.

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December 11, 2014

GUEST BLOG: Why Don’t You Have Early Decision or Early Action?

This week we have a guest blog post from our Director of Admission, Kirk Brennan, on our stance about early decision and early action programs.

xKirk_BrennanWe get this question a lot.  We have an early deadline, December 1 for merit scholarship consideration, but we don’t have Early Action or Early Decision. Some students ask this questions because they want to demonstrate USC is their number one choice, others to lock in a decision early.  We’ve considered it, but ultimately decided against the practice.  Why?  Well, we don’t think Early Decision/Action programs promote a healthy search for a college.  We think a good search for a college should be careful and deliberate, not rushed, and that early programs generally cause students to make this big decision too soon.  So our policy is based on the principle of keeping the student’s best interest in mind.

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November 24, 2014

STUDENT BLOG: December 1

BSR-Ex-031Do you want to know the real reason why winter seems so short? No, it’s not because of all the sleep you get when snow locks you inside your house. It’s because it’s actually the shortest season, at 89 days. BUT, I’m going to pretend I didn’t just Google that so I can write the intro I planned in my head. Winter seems so short because there are so many special days! It begins on October 3, the day Aaron Samuels tells Cady Heron what day it is. Then, Halloween on October 31, followed by Thanksgiving, which happens to be on November 25 this year, and then there’s all the religious holidays, of which I celebrate Christmas Eve on December 24, Christmas on December 25, Day After Christmas (that’s a thing, right?) on December 26, and New Year’s Eve on December 31 and then New Year’s Day on January 1! Phew, that was a mouth full. BUT, there’s one more day I left out: December 1, the merit scholarship deadline for Undergraduate Admission at USC.

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November 13, 2014

No Shortcuts: Cuz ur not talkin to ur bff

IMG_1427Submitting a college application is a big step. I remember sitting at my computer reading the preview of my application over and over. And over and over again. I’m not kidding – I probably read it over 50 times to make sure everything looked ok.

I didn’t have a lot of direction in this processes. I didn’t have a college guidance counselor, and I was the first in my family to attend a four-year college. But I knew that I wanted to put my best foot forward and present myself in the most positive way possible. I made sure to highlight my greatest achievements and my strongest extracurricular activities. And in my essays I was sure to emphasize my interest in each institution. I was thoughtful about why each college or university was on my list, so that made it easier to communicate to those institutions as to why I wanted to attend each school.

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November 12, 2014

STUDENT BLOG: Bye Bye Reach Schools

There was a time in high school when I would look up a university’s cost of tuition and immediately discount it from my application list because of a price tag that seemed absolutely impossible to be able to afford. If it wasn’t tuition, the statistics about the average admitted student GPAs and test scores surely discouraged me. It seemed as though there was always something that would hold me back or give me a sense of unworthiness to even apply to such highly recognized colleges even if I really wanted to attend. Luckily, I was able to have people around me who told me otherwise and instead encouraged me to focus on just how unique I was.  

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November 7, 2014

What is the Point of an Application, Anyway?

cat on computer What is the point of a college application? If you’ve started working on your applications this may be a question you’ve asked yourself either out of reflection or perhaps frustration. We ask you for an application because we want to get to know you and get a sense of how you may thrive academically and personally at USC. We don’t have time to sit down and talk to every applicant one on one so we ask you to give us a variety of information to try and gain a sense of who you are. As you complete your applications, ask yourselves if the content reflects who you are, not just as a student but also as a person.

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