Undergraduate Admission Blog

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

Category Archives: Staff Bloggers

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 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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July 12, 2018

So You Want to be a Lawyer?

USC Pre-Law Advising offers academic guidance and programming for both USC students and alumni across all academic units in their exploration and pursuit of a legal education. We help students navigate the law school admissions process and are a resource in enhancing Trojan applicants’ candidacy for law school admission, as well as determining whether or not law school is even right for them. There are no requirements and there is no distinction that appears on a student’s degree or transcript that identifies him/her as pre-law, rather the program allows you to utilize our pre-law advising services and resources that are designed expose you to the realities of the legal profession and help you make the most of your undergraduate years to strengthen your candidacy for law school admission.

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July 5, 2018

Politics, Religion, and Football: Addressing Personal Beliefs and Sensitive Topics in Your Application

Growing up, my parents taught me that there were three topics you should never broach at the dinner table: politics, religion, and football. These three things, they claimed, were so sensitive and so entrenched in personal opinion that to bring them up when there were forks and knives at hand’s reach would trigger an inevitably decline into awkward tension soon to be followed by bloodshed. While I appreciate my parents’ desire to put mild manners on the menu, I have to admit that I’m very encouraged by the willingness of our applicants to discuss difficult–and sometimes controversial–topics. College applications often provide insight into students’ values, opinions, and identities. There are many students out there who want to broach these subjects but may be confused about how to do so appropriately. Perhaps it’s something you’ve been interested in writing about, but you are concerned about being disadvantaged in the college admission process if you do. Let me set down my knife and fork for a moment so we can talk about it!

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May 17, 2018

The Skinny on Spring Grade Requests

Our notification deadline for transfer applicants is May 31st, and while most students will find out whether they have been admitted or not by that date, many applicants will receive spring grade requests. There’s a lot of speculation as to why we request spring grades (and let’s be honest, online forums are not the place to get accurate information), so let’s get to the heart of it. Why might we want to see how you did this semester?

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May 10, 2018

Throwback Thursday

If you walk around campus today, you will see clusters of cardinal and gold balloons, gaggles of proud parents, and lots and lots of folding chairs. Tomorrow, our senior class will move the tassels on their caps from right to left and become graduates of the University of Southern California. We are excited to celebrate the success of our soon-to-be alumni, but this is also a time of great nostalgia. For these five friends who will graduate tomorrow, they not only have the last four years to look back on…but the last eleven! Take a look as they share their memories.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4etHxgEKQ3o&feature=youtu.be

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May 3, 2018

How to Get to Know the University of Southern California without Leaving Your Couch

One of the most challenging parts of the admission process for many students is determining which college or university they want to apply to during their senior year. With over 5,300 amazing institutions across the United States, it is impossible to visit every single one to get a sense of what it has to offer to a prospective student. To help make this process a bit easier for potential applicants, we have put together a list of different resources that students can use to begin to get to know our campus without leaving the comfort of their couch. We hope you enjoy!

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April 26, 2018

Admitted Students Day!

This Saturday, April 28, the University of Southern California is hosting its annual Admitted Students Day open house program. We encourage all newly admitted first-years to attend. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about USC and connect with fellow students! Here are a few things those visiting campus on Saturday will be able to experience.

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April 5, 2018

Making the Most of Explore USC

April is an exciting month–the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and college-bound seniors have a big decision to make! There are many factors that go into the final decision of where enroll, and we find one of the best ways to gather information is by going to admitted student events. USC offers a variety of programs–full day on-campus Explore programs (including those specifically for students admitted to the spring semester), part day Preview events, 2-hour admitted student tours, evening receptions in cities all over the world, and a huge Admitted Student Day to wrap things up. We highly recommend attending one of these events as you weigh your various offers of admission. Here’s how to make the most of them…

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