November 23, 2015
Mythbuster: I have a high GPA and test score so I’m definitely getting into USC
The Myth: The rest of the application doesn’t matter if I have a high GPA and test score.
The Verdict: Nope.
“It’s all about the numbers” seems to be something I unfortunately hear quite a bit when folks talk about college admission. It makes me sad because that is completely false when talking about the admission process at USC. Students, counselors and parents tend to get very anxious about GPAs and test scores.
GPAs and test scores are important, but they aren’t the only deciding factor in a student’s admission decision. A student applying to USC will never be automatically admitted nor denied based solely on GPA and test scores.
We are looking to get to know a student the best we possibly can through the admission process. GPAs and test scores help us determine how well you are doing academically, but we also want to get to know you beyond that. We want to learn about how you spend your time outside of the classroom. We are interested in getting to know your personality and the life experiences you may have had up until this point. We want to learn why you are interested in going to college at USC. We want to learn from your teachers or counselors their perspective on who you are as a student and human being. We can’t get all that information from just a GPA and a test score.
This is why we don’t have a cutoff for GPAs and test scores. We want to make sure you have the academic preparation to be successful at USC, but that can be determined in a lot of ways. We analyze your transcript while we calculate your GPA. What type of classes is the student taking? Is the student challenging herself in the context of what is available at her school? How does this relate to her standardized testing? There isn’t a magic GPA and test score combination to determine all this.
Admission to USC is competitive. They are many, many qualified students who are applying to USC. We don’t have spots for all of them in our incoming class. We use qualitative components such as activity summaries, essays, and letters of recommendations to make distinctions among our many excellent candidates.
If we wanted, we could just take the highest GPAs and test scores and admit those students. If we did that, we would admit a very different class than the one we just enrolled. I also wouldn’t have a job because a computer could do that. Our admission process is a human one, and we are looking to bring a well-rounded class to USC. We aim to do this by using your entire application to learn as much as we can about you.
A high GPA and test score is not a golden ticket to admission at USC. We go beyond the numbers, and we hope you do too in your application.
Until next time,
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