I Was Deferred to Regular Decision – FAQ

Today, approximately 2,400 first-year students will be notified that they are admitted to USC. The majority of applicants, however, will be notified that they have been deferred to the Regular Decision round. This can raise many questions, and we’d like to help you sort through what it all means.   

Q: I wasn’t admitted during the Early Action round. Does that mean I’m not going to be admitted to USC?  

A: We plan to make 70% of our offers of admission to Regular Decision. Most students admitted to USC are admitted by April 1. Not being admitted at this point is not indicative of your likelihood of admission. Your application is still very much under consideration.  

Q: Why wasn’t I admitted EA?

A: The process for selecting our first group of admits was very competitive. Over 40,600 students applied by the Early Action deadline, and we offered admission to about 2,400 students. We use both quantitative and qualitative factors in our review process and there is no formula for gaining admission to USC at any point in our process.  

Q: Should I send you my fall grades? 

A: Yes. Please submit your fall grades if you or your counselor has not done so already.

Q: Can I submit new essays, resumes, or letters of recommendation for you to consider in the Regular Decision process? 

A: No. In the interest of equity, we are not considering new application materials, nor will we accept revisions of previously submitted materials. The only additional piece we need is your mid-year transcript. 

Q: How can I show USC I am still interested in admission?  

A: In your applicant portal there is a form you can submit to tell us you would like to be considered in the Regular Decision round. This is the best and only way to indicate you are still interested in USC.  

Q: Can I send you a Letter of Continued Interest?  

A: No. We would like you to submit the EA Deferral Form found in your portal. 

Q: Was I deferred because I didn’t submit a test score (or because of my test score)? Can I change my testing plan at this point?

A: We take many things into consideration when deciding who to admit. We do not disadvantage students who choose to apply test optional and, given the nature of our holistic review, decisions are based on a combination of factors. At this stage in our review process, we cannot change your testing plan.   

Q: When will I receive a final admission decision?  

A: Regular Decision applicants will hear back from us by April 1. 

Q: Am I still eligible for need-based financial aid?  

A: Yes. Financial aid is need-based—not merit-based—and eligibility is separate from the merit scholarship process. If you are interested in receiving need-based aid, please apply as soon as possible by submitting the FAFSA and CSS Profile if you have not done so already. You can learn more here

Q: Will my admission decision be impacted if I choose to apply for need-based financial aid?  

A: No! USC is need-blind, meaning we do not consider financial need when making admission decisions. In fact, admission counselors do not have access to your financial aid application. We encourage all eligible students to apply for financial aid.   

Q: If I am named a National Merit Finalist but wasn’t admitted EA, can I still receive USC’s Presidential Scholarship if I am admitted in Regular Decision?  

A: Yes, if you are ultimately admitted to USC as a first-year student, and are named a National Merit Finalist, and select USC as your first-choice school with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) by May 31. Finalists will receive the Presidential award notification after their name is confirmed on the official roster from NMSC in the spring. 

Q: Are there any merit scholarships available to students who aren’t admitted Early Action? 

A: Not from the Office of Admission (aside from the National Merit Scholarship noted above), but there are some still available through other USC organizations. Many have specific eligibility conditions and ask for a separate application so be sure you are on top of those requirements and deadlines. These scholarships tend to have smaller monetary values, but we know that every bit counts.

Note that departments requiring a portfolio or audition had a December 1 Regular Decision deadline, and handle scholarships separately. Please review the list of scholarships for more information. 
Q: How do I withdraw my application for admission to USC? 

A: You can do this via the applicant portal

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 visit askUSC. Applicants can also call the Admission Contact Center at (213) 740-1111.  And don’t forget to follow @USCAdmission on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. We will post application tips and reminders, as well as answer questions.  

We wish you the best of luck with the application process!