Undergraduate Admission Blog

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May 23, 2019

Re-Post: The Skinny on Spring Grade Requests

Our notification deadline for transfer applicants is May 31st, and while most students will find out whether or not they have been admitted 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?

1. We want to confirm your strong college-level work.
It is very common for us to request spring grades from students who are in their first year of college. USC’s academic environment is rigorous, and we want to be sure that the students we accept will be successful in their coursework at USC. There are many aspects of an academic record that are worthy of consideration, and we often want to see at least two semesters of college grades in order to confidently admit a student.

2. You are in the process of meeting a requirement or a recommended course.
USC has both a writing and a minimum math requirement for transfer students. If you are receiving a spring grade request, it is possibly because we want to confirm you have met one of our requirements before advancing you in the process. Furthermore, you may be taking coursework that is relevant to your major (e.g., calculus for a business major, biology for a neuroscience major), and we’re waiting on those grades to evaluate your preparation for that field of study.

3. You have been showing potential, and we are hopeful that you will show improved grades.
We know that the transition to college can be difficult, and sometimes students take a bit of time to get their feet under them. It is not uncommon for us to request spring grades from students who haven’t been performing at the level we’d like to see, but who we think might be stronger with another semester of coursework under their belt.

Very often, we are asked if a request for spring grades is simply a precursor to an offer of admission. If you receive a request for spring grades, it is because we do not yet have enough information to make a decision either way. This is why we aren’t able to make a decision by May 31st, and it is why we need your final semester grades (a mid-semester report is not sufficient).

Admission to USC is competitive and not just a matter of checking off boxes. While academic performance is the focus of our review, we are also looking at your writing, reviewing your academic department supplements, and assessing your fit with the selected majors. How you perform in the spring will help us make our final call, but spring grades do not dictate our decision-making process. Doing well certainly helps, but there is so much we take into consideration that it isn’t a guarantee of admission. At the end of the process, we are not only considering your preparation for USC, but also how you fit into our larger transfer class. For that reason, we aren’t able to provide admission decisions immediately after receiving your spring transcript (admission isn’t done on a “first come, first served” basis).

We require students submit their spring transcripts by June 30th for consideration. This date allows time for students at quarter schools to receive their final grades. Due to the amount of time it can take for transcripts to be processed, we will accept unofficial copies of transcripts, which can be sent much faster. Feel free to email your admission counselor a screenshot or digital copy of your spring grades in addition to the official copy sent by your college. The screen shot needs to include your full name, the school you attend, and the term.

While waiting is hard (and we understand that our transfer process runs later than most), our final decisions for students will come out by mid-July. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to let us know!


  1. Berdj Joseph Rassam says:

    The longer it takes to respond to prospective students, the more grueling and stressful it becomes for those students. It’d be great if there was a way to speed up the acceptance process.

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      We agree entirely, Berdj! Each year, we evaluate our process to see if we can move up the last notification. If at all possible, we provide a decision in May. Unfortunately, there are many students whose spring grades don’t come to us until late June/early July, and in order to remain fair to them, we have to keep a final notification date in mid-July.

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