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

October 18, 2018

Getting Involved: Spotlighting USC’s (Many, Many) Clubs and Organizations

USC is proud to have nearly 1000 student clubs and organizations across our campus, which encompass the school values of engagement, respect, inclusivity, leadership, and service. In this week’s blog, we will highlight a few of the organizations that USC students are passionate about and provide information about how new and current students can join clubs on campus or even start their own!

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October 12, 2018

Human Resources: How to Get in Touch with a USC Counselor

While applying to college requires students spend countless hours navigating university websites and inputting data in the Common App, it is still fundamentally a human process. While the bots might be up to all kinds of things these days, USC continues to employ a large group of humans to serve applicants as admission counselors. Responsible for everything from presenting at your high school to attending your transfer fair to reading your application, the people in our office are happy to meet you and help guide you through this process.

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September 27, 2018

What Does That Even Mean? USC’s Helpful Guide to Navigating the Lingo of the College Application Process

One of the hallmarks of the college application journey is the alphabet soup of acronyms and random terms that are casually thrown around to describe the various stages of the admissions process. Many of these concepts will be brand new to students and may add an extra layer of confusion to an already complex process. With that in mind, the USC Office of Admission has put together a handy glossary of terms to help any student feel like an expert when navigating their college applications!

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September 20, 2018

Rethinking the End Game

While the most obvious and logical goal of applying to college is being accepted to college, I would argue that it should not be your only goal. During the years I worked in a high school, I was amazed by the exponential emotional and social growth I saw in the senior class. Much of this development, I would argue, is supported (if not instigated) by the college process. My colleague Samantha Schreiber, Associate Director of College Counseling & Academic Planning at Milken Community Schools, and I sat down to discuss the ways that seniors grow (whether or not they are aware of it)! In her role as a college counselor, she not only has a “front row seat” but is able to actively encourage and support students as they grow in their maturity and self-knowledge. Our hope is that, by acknowledging these opportunities for development, those who are involved in the college application process (be they student, parent, counselor, or anyone else) can come to appreciate a broader view of what success is and how applicants can gain more from this process than just a place to spend the next four years. Here’s some of what Samantha and I have observed:

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August 23, 2018

Supplementary, My Dear Watson! Breaking Down the USC Supplement

Within the Common Application, the USC Writing Supplement is one of the best ways for applicants to introduce themselves to the university and convey their interest in pursuing their academic studies here. This blog will provide some “clues” about the different components of the USC Writing Supplement and help applicants put their best foot forward when completing this part of the application.

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August 16, 2018

What Should My College Essay be About?

Students frequently ask what they should write about–there is really no way for an admission counselor to answer this question. You know yourself best and you know what is important to share. All college essays must contain two elements, however: the illustration and the insight. The illustration element can take many shapes, but most students use an anecdote or series of moments to illuminate their personality and experiences. The insight element can be separate or intertwined, but a strong college essay always includes some type of analysis. Your goal in a personal statement is not only to introduce us to yourself but to show us how you think. That all sounds very heady, but your high school career has prepared you to write a good essay. Now the trick is to make it personal…which is usually where students start to panic.

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August 9, 2018

If Goldilocks Gave Essay Advice

The most important part of your essay is the content. Your experiences, your thoughts, your understanding of your world—that’s what we are looking for. Style, however, can either elevate an essay or make it practically unreadable. I often find that my advice on style is met with quizzical expressions. My points, to be frank, are often conflicting, and it is obvious that the students I speak with are looking for a clear guideline—a guaranteed how to—on writing a memorable and successful college essay. I don’t blame them. The college process has many unknowns, and it’s natural to want a concrete piece of advice that will improve your application. While there is certainly guidance I can provide on essay writing, each tip often comes with a qualifier. I often find myself sounding a bit like Goldilocks as she sampled the bears’ porridge and beds: this essay is too “x,” this essay is too “y.” The purpose of this post is to try to help you find the sweet spot for your essay. We want it to be “just right.”

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July 26, 2018

Student Highlight: Pursuing a Progressive Degree at USC

This week’s student blog comes from Nisha Malhotra, a rising senior at USC from Glendale, CA. Nisha is majoring in Narrative Studies with a double-minor in Cinematic Arts and Screenwriting. She is involved in various organizations across campus, including being a writer for the TrojanVision show, “The Breakdown,” a member of the Women’s Leadership Society, and a tour guide in the Admission Center. Nisha was recently accepted to a progressive degree program here at USC and is sharing her journey through this process in her blog.

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July 19, 2018

How to Transfer to USC

Transfer students are important to USC, and the Office of Admission is here to help you navigate the application process. This guide will provide a breakdown of how to present a strong transfer application to USC. We’re sharing this information with you now, during the summer, so that any prospective transfer student can develop a course plan.

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