I’m Not a QuestBridge Match – What Does This Mean?

This time of year can be stressful if you’re a high school senior. You’re trying to successfully balance schoolwork, your home life, and college applications. Some of you applied to USC through the QuestBridge National College Match process but have recently been notified that you were not selected in the match. Although not being matched with the college you wanted may be disappointing, you should be very proud of all the work that it took for you to apply through QuestBridge and share your story with the colleges you ranked! If you ranked USC as one of your colleges, rest assured that we took the time to thoroughly review your QuestBridge application; to get to know you, your story, and your accomplishments. However, this process is extremely competitive, and if you were not selected as a match, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t like your application – it just means that we have a very limited number of spots for QuestBridge matches.  

If you applied to USC through the QuestBridge College Match process and you completed all the USC Match Requirements (either the USC QuestBridge Writing Supplement or the Common Application), but did not match to a binding college, you’ll have three options: 

  1. For students applying to majors in Art and Design, Architecture, Music, Cinematic Arts, and Theatre – you may select for your application to be considered in our Regular Decision process. If you submit your application and supplemental materials by December 1st, you’ll be automatically considered for USC merit scholarships that are awarded through the USC Office of Admission. 
  2. For students applying to all other majors – you may select to have your application considered in our Early Action process (and for major merit scholarships) or in our Regular Decision process. If you select Early Action you will also be automatically considered for USC merit scholarships that are awarded through the USC Office of Admission. 
  3. For students who no longer want their application to be considered in our process you may withdraw your application to USC entirely. 

If you applied through the QuestBridge process and did NOT rank USC, you will have to take some additional steps to be considered for admission to USC.  You must submit: 

  1. All the materials for the Common Application (and SlideRoom application for applicants to majors that require a portfolio or audition). 
  1. An official high school transcript directly from your school. 
  1. Official SAT or ACT test scores (if you are choosing to include a test score). 
  1. A midyear report once your fall semester grades are available.  

The USC first-year regular decision deadline for submitting your application is January 15, the regular decision deadline for majors that require an audition or portfolio is December 1st, the same day as the QuestBridge College Match Day. Note, some academic departments only have a single December 1 deadline.  

A student who did not rank USC in the QuestBridge process will also have to submit the appropriate financial aid materials:   

  1. FAFSA (code: 001328) 
  1. CSS Profile (code: 4852) 
  1. USC 2020 Tax Information or Non-Filing Statement Form – Parents 
  1. USC Parent Income and Expense Form 

After you submit your application for admission, you will receive an email with instructions on how to set up your Applicant Portal. You can access the USC-specific forms and check on the status of your financial aid application on the USC FAST portal which is accessible through your USC Applicant Portal.  

Applicants who identify as undocumented should submit the following documents to begin their financial aid application: the CSS Profile, 2020 tax return, and a third-party letter confirming undocumented status. California residents will also be asked to complete the CSAC Dream Grant application requirements.  

The USC financial aid deadline for regular decision applicants is February 10th.  You must submit all of your financial aid materials by the deadline to ensure that you are fully considered for financial aid. At USC, we meet each student’s full demonstrated financial need – this means that your financial aid package will cover the full cost of attendance through loans, grants, and work study. In February 2020 we launched the Affordability Initiative which states that incoming first-year students from U.S. families with an annual income of $80,000 or less with typical assets will attend USC tuition free. Read more about the Affordability Initiative on our website.  

We understand that paying college application fees can get expensive.  If you feel that paying the application fee will be a financial hardship for you and your family, you can select the fee waiver payment option on the Common Application. Watch this video for instructions on how to use a fee waiver.  

All of this information can also be found on the QuestBridge website. If you find this process confusing or have questions about what you need to submit, please do not hesitate to contact your  USC admission counselor with any questions.  

If you are a QuestBridge Finalist and are ultimately admitted to USC through our Match, Early Action or Regular Decision process, we want to ensure that you feel supported and part of the USC community. Scholars come to USC from all across the country and bring their incredible achievements, talents, and experiences to campus where they have the opportunity to connect with other amazing Scholars through the USC QuestBridge Scholars group. All QuestBridge Finalists that are admitted to USC — either as a Match or through our regular decision process — are welcome to join the USC QuestBridge Scholars group. This group puts on a variety of events throughout the year to bring Scholars together. Events like a Welcome Back BBQ at the beginning of the school year, mixers, movie nights, mentoring opportunities, and study days during finals with free food!

At USC, we have the largest chapter of QuestBridge Scholars of any university, which means that you will always have resources and a support system available to you. 

Fight On!

Written by:

Maria Rodriguez, Associate Director of Multicultural Recruitment – USC Office of Admission

Kelsey K. Bradshaw Carroll, Associate Director – USC Office of Admission

Isaiah Sneed, Senior Assistant Director – USC Office of Admission

December 1 Application Deadline Frequently Asked Questions for Fall 2023 Applicants 

December 1 is the final application deadline for all first-year applicants applying to programs requiring a portfolio or audition. That includes all majors in the following schools:  

Iovine and Young Academy 
Kaufman School of Dance 
Roski School of Art & Design 
School of Architecture 
School of Cinematic Arts 
School of Dramatic Arts 
Thornton School of Music 

It is also the final deadline for transfer applicants applying to BFA programs in the School of Cinematic Arts and School of Dramatic Arts; and to any major in the Thornton School of Music, the Iovine and Young Academy, and the Kaufman School of Dance.  

Prospective first-year and transfer students applying to these programs by the December 1 deadline will be considered for merit scholarships.  

You can read more information on USC’s Admission Dates and Deadlines.  

This post will address some common questions we are getting about the December 1 deadline! 

Q: I submitted my application on December 1 before midnight, but my confirmation email says I submitted on December 2. What’s going on?

A: The Common App timestamp is on Eastern Time, so depending on where you live, it may look like your application was submitted on December 2. That’s okay! We still consider applications received in the early morning of December 2 to be on time. 

Q: Do I need to submit anything extra to be considered for the Office of Admission scholarships?

A: Nope! Just submit all required application materials by December 1.  

There are some organizations at USC that offer additional scholarships you may be eligible for that require an extra application. Please review our full list of scholarships for more information.   
Note: USC is test optional for Fall 2023 undergraduate applicants. Applicants who indicate on the Common App that they do not wish to have their test scores considered are not required to submit test scores in order to be considered for a merit-based scholarship.  

Q: My second-choice major also requires a portfolio. Do I have to submit two SlideRoom portfolios?

A: Yes, even within the same school the portfolio requirements may differ so a separate SlideRoom application is required for each major. Please review application requirements for both your first- and second-choice majors, and feel free to contact your intended department directly with any portfolio or audition questions.  

Iovine and Young Academy – (213) 821-6140 | iovine-young@usc.edu
Kaufman School of Dance – (213) 740-9327 | uscdance@usc.edu
Roski School of Art & Design – (213) 740-2787 | roski@usc.edu
School of Architecture – (213) 740-2723 | uscarch@usc.edu
School of Cinematic Arts – (213) 740-8358 | admissions@cinema.usc.edu
School of Dramatic Arts – (213) 740-1286 | sdaugrad@usc.edu
Thornton School of Music – (213) 740-8986 | uscmusic@usc.edu

Q: My test scores, letter of recommendation and/or transcript won’t arrive until after the deadline. Is that okay?

A: If your Common Application and SlideRoom department supplements are submitted by December 1, your application will be considered on time. If school documents such as transcripts or letters of recommendation trickle in a little after the deadline, that is okay, but be sure those are sent as soon as possible! 

Q: My transcript and test scores were sent, but they haven’t shown up on my portal checklist. What do I do?

A:Please allow at least two weeks for processing. Even if your transcript* or test scores are showing up as downloaded or received by USC on your ordering platform, it will still take some time to add each document to an individual student’s file. It is also important to verify that your name on your transcript or test scores matches exactly as it appears on your Common Application.  

*High school transcripts will not appear on your portal checklist if you are applying as a first-year applicant. We have your self-reported grades on Common App which we can refer to until your official transcript is added to your file. If after a couple weeks we still don’t have an official transcript, we will let you know we are missing documents by sending you an email.  

Q: I am an international applicant. Is it okay if my financial statement is submitted after the application deadline?    

A: Yes, but don’t wait too long. In order to submit your financial statement you need access to your portal, which won’t become available until after your application is processed into our system. It is totally fine to submit your financial statement after the deadline, but please upload it as soon as possible as it is a required piece of the application for international students, even if you are applying for merit scholarship consideration. Our website has more information about requirements for international applicants.    

Q: What is the applicant portal and how do I access it?

A: A day or two after submitting your Common Application, you will receive an email with instructions to access your portal, so make sure to check your inbox! The subject of the email is “USC Admission Has Received Your Application – Set up your applicant portal today!” Your portal is where you can check the status of your application, including information about any missing items. You are welcome to check the status of your submitted application by logging in to the USC Applicant Portal. The portal is updated as materials are processed into our system. 

Be sure you can receive emails from us, and please read your emails! If you set up your Common App account using an email address you never check, it means you will be missing out on important information from USC. If you have used your school’s email address, please be sure your school email system does not block messages from outside the school. Similarly, be sure your email account has space to receive new messages.  

Q: What application items need to be submitted by the application deadline?

A: For your application to be considered on time, you will need to submit your Common Application and SlideRoom portfolio(s) by December 1. If transcripts, letters of recommendation, or test scores come in after the deadline, that is okay! Just be sure they are on their way. 

Q: When will I know if I am invited to a live audition/interview?

A: Students applying to majors that require a live audition (or interview) will be emailed between mid-December and mid-January, depending on the major to which you have applied. You will either be invited to audition/interview with your intended department, or you will be informed you are no longer being considered for those programs. Students not selected may choose to withdraw their application at that time, or they can remain in the applicant pool to be considered for their second-choice or the Undecided/Exploratory major. 

Q: When will I get a final decision?

A: All first-year applicants will have an admission and merit scholarship decision by April 1.  

Transfer applicants will receive an admission decision or a request for their spring grades by May 31.  If spring grades are requested, you may not have a final decision until mid-July.  

Q: I received an email about signing an Affirmation, how do I do this?

A:You will need to login to your USC Applicant Portal and navigate to the Application Affirmation section. This is an electronic signature acknowledging that everything in your application is truthful, correct, and yours. This is required for all USC applicants. You can preview the affirmations here.  

Q: If I decide to report my SAT/ACT scores, do you require the official test score report?

A: Yes, eventually* we need an official report. In the meantime, you can upload an unofficial copy of your SAT and/or ACT scores through the USC Applicant Portal.  Please be sure the unofficial copy includes scores from all sections for each sitting you are submitting (superscores on their own will not fulfill the requirement). It should also have identifying information such as your name and birthdate, address, or school listed on the report.  

*Note, all students who ultimately enroll at USC and chose to have their scores considered must submit an official score report directly through the testing agency. 
USC SAT code number: 4852 
USC ACT code number: 0470  

Q: I am not going to submit official test scores, but my portal notes that the SAT/ACT score report is missing. What is happening?

A: This data comes from the SAT/ACT question on the Common Application. If you indicated that you would like to consider your official test scores, we will wait for the score report in order to complete your file. If you are no longer interested in submitting your test scores, and we have not already received your scores, you can update your testing plan in the Applicant Portal.    

Q: My recommender submitted their letter of recommendation on my behalf, why don’t I see this as a checklist item on my USC Applicant Portal?

A: Your USC Applicant Portal checklist will not list letters of recommendation as items. Rest assured, if a recommender has submitted a letter on your behalf, it has been added to your file.    

Q: I have additional letters of recommendation I want to add. How do I do this?

A: Additional letters are not required nor expected for admission to the university. We don’t want your voice to get lost amidst a sea of letters from other people. If you truly feel your application would be incomplete without this extra perspective, recommenders may email their letters to the appropriate USC admission counselor and should include your full name and birthdate or reference ID (found in your applicant portal) in order to match them to the correct application. Please note that quality is more important than quantity! 

Q: Paying the USC application fee is a financial hardship for me and my family. Can I have the Common Application fee waived?

A: If paying the application fee would cause you financial hardship, utilize the Common Application fee waiver option.  

First-Year Applicants will find this option in the Profile section of the Common Application. You can watch the video below about how to do this!  

Transfer Applicants will find this option in the “My Application” section of the Common Application.  

Additionally, USC also offers school-specific fee waiver options which can be found in the USC Questions section of both the first-year and transfer application. These school-specific waivers are intended for US Veterans/Active Military/Reserves and their dependents, NAI Scholars, and children of USC employees.  

Q: I paid the application feel on Common App. Does this mean my application is submitted?

A: Not yet. After you pay the application fee you’ll need to go back into Common App to “Review and Submit” your application.

Q: How do I log in to my Financial Aid Summary and Tasks (FAST) portal?

A: FAST is a website where students can access their Financial Aid Summary and determine the current status of their application for need-based financial aid. You will have access to your FAST portal a couple days after we receive your application. You will find a link to FAST in your USC Applicant Portal. 

Q: Should I submit my financial aid application before I get an admission decision?  

A: Yes! If you are applying for a portfolio-based program by December 1, you will be automatically considered for merit-based scholarships, but need-based aid has a separate process. You should submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile by February 10, 2023 if you are a first-year applicant or by March 2, 2023 as a transfer applicant. This will allow you to receive your need-based aid summary soon after you receive an admission decision. USC is need-blind, meaning we do not consider financial need when making admission decisions.   

Q: I just submitted all my USC application materials. Now what do I do?

A: Nice job! Want to know what to do next? Take a look at the admission blog article Top Things to Do After Applying to USC” as a final check to your USC application. 

Q: I have more questions. Who can I talk to?

A: If you have any questions, or wish to email the Office of Admission, we invite you to askUSC. Applicants can also call the Admission Contact Center at (213) 740-1111. 

For any questions about SlideRoom or the audition process, you can reach out to your intended department directly:  

Iovine and Young Academy – (213) 821-6140 | iovine-young@usc.edu
Kaufman School of Dance – (213) 740-9327 | uscdance@usc.edu  
Roski School of Art & Design – (213) 740-2787 | roski@usc.edu  
School of Architecture – (213) 740-2723 | uscarch@usc.edu  
School of Cinematic Arts – (213) 740-8358 | admissions@cinema.usc.edu
School of Dramatic Arts – (213) 740-1286 | sdaugrad@usc.edu
Thornton School of Music – (213) 740-8986 | uscmusic@usc.edu

You can also follow @USCAdmission on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. We will post application tips and reminders, as well as answer any final questions you may have.     

Good luck and fight on!

Simply, Thank You! 

This is the time of the year where we take time to reflect and think about the many acts of bravery and the selfless sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have made for this great country. Today, November 11, represents a day that we honor you, a community who not only heard the call of duty, but have also answered it. This is the day that we honor those who placed their lives in danger and performed their duties with acts of bravery and courage. Initially, this day was meant to acknowledge and celebrate world peace and the end of World War I in 1918. It has evolved to a day which celebrates you, current and former members of our military, –those who sacrificed all in the name of liberty and justice for all. This is a day where veterans across the nation come together to support and honor each other–all those who served, and those who are no longer with us. This is the day we salute you and honor you for your prodigious deeds.  

Initially known as “Armistice Day”, to later be renamed “Veterans Day”, I am reminded of the words of President Woodrow Wilson who proclaimed: 

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” 

To my fellow Veterans and to all of you who are currently serving, this is the day I say thank you for the many freedoms that you continue to provide, and to say how proud I am of you and your commitment to this country and to yourselves. This sentiment is shared by my colleagues in the Office of Undergraduate Admission as well as the entire community at the University of Southern California. With a proud tradition that extends back to 1914, our commitment to you has remained unbroken. At USC, we recognize your strengths and contribution to our institution. We remain steadfast in our support to you and we aim to empower you-the student veterans through the various resources that are in place to aid you in your success and experience as students at the University of Southern California. Because of your experiences, perspectives, skills, and contributions, USC is greatly enriched by our student-veteran population.

To continue to support the transition and success of our veterans, USC continuously creates new programs and resources for our student-veterans, active service members, and ROTC students – including academic, financial, and wellness support. Here is a list of resources to address the needs of this student population.

Departmental Support

Since 2014, the   USC Veterans Resource Center(VRC) has worked to support student veterans in all endeavors of campus life, including everything from outreach and admission to graduation and job seeking. The center collaborates between multiple student affairs offices and administrative divisions and helps serve nearly 1,200 veterans who enroll in USC classes each semester. The VRC provides students with a variety of benefits:

  • Study space with access to computers
  • Opportunities to socialize with fellow student veterans
  • Information about on-campus services
  • Check-ins with a designated veteran certifying officer on campus
  • Special programs, such as the advisement luncheons offered at the beginning of the semester
  • Professional advisement (resumes, cover letters, networking, and interviews) and a job recruitment fair
  • Other perks like catered luncheons and complimentary tickets for sporting events!

Clubs & Organizations

To help student veterans establish relationships and build social and professional networks during their time at USC and after graduation, there are multiple student and alumni associations to join. The USC Veterans Association is a student organization composed of undergraduate and graduate students and keeps members informed of various opportunities and resources. On their active Facebook page, students can find out about upcoming social events and workshops, job openings, and research opportunities and apply for leadership positions within the group. The Marshall Military Veterans Association is a group for student veterans pursuing their MBA at the Marshall School of Business. To provide ongoing support for student veterans in their transition to USC, the USC Student Veterans Support Network mission is to help current and former students, staff, and faculty connect with students. Lastly, the USC Alumni Veterans Network is open to all USC alumni who are veterans and are interested in staying involved with the Trojan Family long after graduation.

Financial Benefits

In addition to their G.I. benefits, student veterans have access to the same scholarships and financial aid resources utilized by all USC students. USC’s Office of Financial Aid and the Veterans Certification Office work with military veterans to help them understand their educational benefits and provide assistance with financial aid and other funding. Check out this video that explains this process more in-depth.

USC is also proud to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which is open to post-9/11 GI Bill recipients and covers up to one-half of tuition and mandatory fees matched dollar for dollar by the V.A. The Schoen Family Scholarship Program for Veterans was established in 1986 by William J. Schoen, a former U.S. Marine and USC alumnus (’60, MBA’ 63), to provide additional funding for student veterans at USC. This scholarship is available to new and continuing students in the Marshall School of Business and the Viterbi School of Engineering who have served a minimum of three years of continuous, full-time, active duty in the past ten years.

Research & Practice

With the desire to meet the needs of our student veterans on campus, the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) is also committed to research, education, and outreach for all veterans and their families. The CIR conducts a wide range of research projects, provides training seminars to behavioral health providers and clinicians, and works with community partners to address the issues that face today’s veterans and military families.

The University of Southern California has continued commitment and dedication to assisting veterans, service members, and qualified family members. USC is committed to providing the tools to successfully assist student veterans in navigating and integrating into the college environment while creating a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable campus environment for veterans. With this said, please take the time to review the resources in this blog post. Should you have any questions regarding the number of resources available or questions regarding admissions and the application process, please feel free to email me at emejia17@usc.edu.

USC Veteran Resource Center

ROTC & Veteran Benefits

Veteran Housing

USC Admission Contact Information

Transfer Tools

Transfer Information Session

For further information on USC’s Veteran Resource Center, check the FAQ’s – USC Veterans Resource Center.

Semper Fidelis and Fight On!

Written by Eric Mejia, Assistant Director

USMC Veteran

EdD Candidate