Undergraduate Admission Blog

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

March 23, 2017

GUEST BLOG: March is my Favorite Month

So much happens in March. Not only do we spend much of the month meeting with high school juniors during their spring breaks, but we’re also on the road ourselves, visiting high schools, as well as reading and discussing applications; which is why I’m writing today. You heard it here first: USC admission decisions are in the mail and most of our first-year applicants should receive an information packet or letter from us within the next 48-72 hours.

We read the first application for USC’s class of 2021 on October 22, 2016 and we finished our deliberations 152 days later (i.e. yesterday). Although we are thrilled to have identified the most impressive admitted class in USC’s long history, we are also dismayed that so many incredible students were turned away. We are seeking to enroll a first-year class of 3,000 students, so there just wasn’t enough room for everyone.

None of us takes joy or pride in disappointing students. We are, however, consoled by the fact that our applicants have myriad options for higher education. Past experience shows us that everyone will find a college that is right for them, even if that college is not USC.

A few numbers about this fall’s admitted class of first-year students:

  • More than 56,000 first-year applicants
  • 16% admission rate
  • More than 3,300 different high schools represented, from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and 83 other countries
  • 40% from California
  • Outside California, the most represented U.S. States are Texas, New York, Illinois, Florida, Washington, and New Jersey
  • 16% are international students. The most represented places of origin are China, India, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brazil and the United Kingdom
  • 1-in-7 will be the first in their family to attend college
  • 67% are African American, Latino, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander or of multiple ethnicities
  • The average un-weighted GPA, on a 4-point scale, is 3.84.
  • 31% of admits have perfect un-weighted GPAs of 4.0; another 10% earned only one B in high school.
  • 53% enrolled in 8 or more AP or IB courses
  • The middle-50% ACT range is 31-34; the middle-50% SAT range is 1430-1540
  • 79% had standardized test scores in the 95th percentile or higher. Nearly 3,800 (42%) had standardized test scores in the 99th percentile.

Why don’t we just notify students online?

We are often asked why we send admission decisions through postal mail. The answer’s simple: we believe that you should receive this private news at home, have a chance to experience it with your family, and have the space to decide who else knows the outcome. Whether it’s positive or negative, we would much rather you receive our decision through reading our letter rather than just find out “yes” or “no” on your phone at school.

We also understand that waiting is really difficult and not all postal mail arrives in a timely fashion. Because of this, we will post an electronic version of your decision letter online, via our applicant portal, https://you.usc.edu. Your online letter will be made available Sunday morning, March 26th.

So what’s next?

If you are admitted and have applied for need-based financial aid, you’ll be hearing about that very soon. We are committed to getting this information to you quickly, since fewer than six weeks remain until you must commit to enroll.

During the month of April, we will be hosting 50(!) events for admitted students, both on- and off-campus. Check your admission packet or our website for further details – we can’t wait to meet you and your parents. And, if you haven’t visited campus yet, now’s the time to do so.

Nearly three decades have passed since I first helped recruit a class of entering USC students. A lot has changed here since then, but something has remained constant: the deep pride and satisfaction that our students, faculty, staff and alumni experience as being members of the Trojan Family.

Thanks for taking this journey with us. Best wishes to you,

Timothy Brunold
Dean of Admission