The Skinny on Spring Grade Requests

It’s a busy time of year in the Office of Admission, but when is it not busy? Our counselors have already selected and notified first-year applicants of their admission decision, and we are now very eager to admit future Trojans who applied in our transfer process.  

We know that you have been on the other side of the deadline for some time, and we understand that waiting is the worst! While we never want this process to be overly stressful, we know that that’s just how it goes this time of year.  But the wait will be over soon! Our notification deadline for transfer applicants is May 31, and while most students will find out whether they have been admitted or not 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 always the most reliable place to get accurate information), so let’s get to the heart of it. Why might we want to see how you did this term? 

  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 here. There are many aspects of an academic record that are worthy of consideration, and we often want to see at least a full year of college grades in order to confidently admit a student. This may also be a factor if your transcript is mostly P/NP due to COVID-related grading policies.
  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 that requirement 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.

A request for spring grades does not guarantee an offer of admission or indicate a leaning towards admission or denial. If you receive a request for spring grades, it is because we do not yet have enough information to make a decision either way. 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. 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 always able to provide admission decisions immediately after receiving your spring transcript. 

If you receive a request for spring grades, we want to see your final spring grades. Progress reports will not be sufficient. We know that this may mean we will not have your spring grades until later in the spring/summer. We require that students submit their spring transcripts by June 30 for consideration. We do not require an official spring transcript to fulfil our request. Submitting an official transcript from your school takes a lot of time, so we encourage students to upload an unofficial copy of their final spring grades in their USC Applicant Portal. This will help speed up the review process. 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 do not hesitate to let us know! 

Fight On!