Undergraduate Admission Blog

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January 19, 2016

Counselor on Contact

ContactIt’s Wednesday morning and I’m arriving to work. Instead of heading to my office, I head to the Admission Center because I am “on contact.” What does that mean exactly? Well, about once a month, it’s my responsibility to sit in the Admission Center, give the admission presentations, and answer any questions from students who drop by. (It also means I have an excuse to get Coffee Bean because it’s in the same building.)

8:00 a.m. After grabbing my café vanilla, I do a quick email scan and check my teeth before going into the presentation room. Since today is Wednesday, I will give the 8:30 am and 12:30 pm Meet USC presentations. This one-hour presentation is our most comprehensive program that provides a USC overview as well as information on the admission process. Maybe you’ve been to one! Generally, there will be a lot of questions, mostly from parents, until students feel more comfortable (don’t be afraid to ask questions, I’m literally there all day to talk to you.)

9:30 a.m. Once the presentations are over I’ll go back to the counselor desk and guests take a 90-minute tour with a student tour-guide. Our tour guides are so eager and willing to talk to prospective students and families. I always chat with our tour guides and admission ambassadors. They’re usually very involved students and often tell us about their internships and projects, so it’s helpful to hear their perspective. A lot of times, they’re a big source of information for us on current student life.

10:00 a.m. Between presentations, I am typically jumping between talking to prospective students and parents and doing whatever work is required of me that day. During this particular time of the year, that means reviewing applications and answering emails. Because your specific admission counselor might not be available, the counselor assigned to the Admission Center for the day is there to field any questions. Some days are super busy and a line builds up, other days are light and I can spend a few extra minutes talking to students, but I’ll always make sure to be helpful and answer as many questions as I can.

12:00ish. When I can, I run outside to grab a quick lunch. The closest options to the Admission Center are all the places in the Tutor Campus Center like Lemonade, Panda Express and Seeds Marketplace. Today, I think I’ll go with Lemonade’s avocado and tomato salad and some pesto pasta (if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out).

3:00 p.m. At the counselor desk, every once in a while, students will ask me if we can talk privately. If there’s not a line, I’m happy to help and respect your confidentiality, but students should understand that this is not an appointment and I likely won’t be able to spend a lot of time in one-on-one conversations away from the main desk. If the information is relevant to your application and you would like those reviewing it to keep it in mind, we’ll always recommend that you call or email your specific admission counselor.

5:00 p.m. Time to close the Admission Center. Sometimes it’s an exhausting day and other times it’s pretty quiet, but either way, being the counselor on contact allows us a chance to interact with students and families and really get to use the “counselor” part of our title. It’s always nice to know you helped someone get a better understanding of the admission process.

So, moral of the story: if you have general questions about applying to USC or your application and you’ll be on campus, please stop by and see us; we are happy to help! In fact, while on contact, it’s our job to help! However, if there’s something private you wish to discuss, or you believe you need time for a more in-depth explanation or discussion, call your admission counselor; they are also happy to help and can dedicate the appropriate amount of time to your questions.



  1. parsa says:

    which email address am I supposed to send my questions about international students to get the answers?


    Hi my name is Laurie Ann Poirier Flores I am writing to you to set a schedule for a tour of your school and questions regarding freshmen inrollment for my son please let me know the date and time of your tours my son would start off as a freshman coming from ATC School IN MONTEBELLO THANK YOU

    562 528 4056

  3. Kendrick Nathaniel says:

    how can I apply as a freshman into the USC as an international student. I need every detail…

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Kendrick,
      The application for international students is the same as for domestic students. In addition to the application, we require demonstration of English proficiency through tests such as the TOEFL or IELTS. We also require a financial statement. You can find more information for international students here.

  4. kevin sichei manyu says:

    am from Africa-Kenya I would like to be sent an admission form, can you please forward it to my email.

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Kevin, All of our application materials are online. You can apply to USC via the Common Application.

  5. Sydney Kemp says:

    Hi i was wondering how many ap classes I should take in high school get into USC. Thanks for your time.

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Sydney, Thanks for your question! This is entirely dependent on your high school and what you’re comfortable with. We don’t have a minimum AP requirement.

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