Undergraduate Admission Blog

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June 20, 2017

The Trojan Family: Legacy Students Applying to USC

While visiting high schools and attending college fairs, the USC admission counselors often connect with members of the Trojan Family who have a daughter or son who is considering USC. These parents may wonder, “how much does legacy status really impact a student’s application?” As part of an ongoing series on the Trojan Family, I’m here – with some help from a few colleagues – to answer that question and provide advice for legacy students.

When applying to USC through the Common Application, students will submit background information about their family members. The information within this section of the application is how we determine a student’s legacy status. Only those applicants with a parent, grandparent, or sibling who graduated from USC (or is currently enrolled) are considered a legacy for admission purposes. While we understand that there are many ways to be a part of the Trojan Family, legacy status is a technical designation, and only those relationships listed above fall into the parameters.

As most applicants and their parents likely know, the process of applying to USC has become increasingly competitive. Due in large part to the number of applications we receive every year (roughly 56,000 high school students applied last time around), the university doesn’t have the space to offer admission to every qualified student. The reality is that there will always be legacy students, known as “Scions” at USC, with very strong applications who don’t receive an offer of admission.

However, it’s important to us that our population of Scions is represented among the entering class; roughly 19 percent of the first-year students joining USC for the 2017-2018 school year are Scions. But, legacy status is, on its own, not going to be the deciding factor in the evaluation of a student’s application. There are many factors that we are considering when making our decisions, and legacy status is just one part of that.

With this in mind, I asked a few of my fellow USC admission counselors to provide their perspectives and advice.

Tyler-Rose Veguez, who works with students from California and Texas, encourages Scions to do their own research into USC. “Don’t rely upon what other people, like your family members, say about USC. Figure out your own reasons for being interested in applying,” she advised, “Use your connection to the Trojan Family to gain a deeper understanding of USC’s core values – that will put you on a road to researching the university on a deeper level, and if you can show within your application that you truly know why USC is the right fit for you, that can really help you stand out.”

Kelsey Bradshaw echoed that guidance, and advised students to make the process of choosing their future school and major their own personal journey. “Just because USC was right for your siblings or parents or friends doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right for you,” she continued, “Also, you shouldn’t just pick your major because someone you know studied that and was successful. You should find something you are passionate about!”

Finally, Hayley Camin – who counsels students from Indiana, Kansas, and California – guides Scions to not be demoralized if they aren’t admitted to USC. “There are so many schools out there that could be a good fit for you, and, if you are a Scion, you would have the opportunity to meet with an admission counselor and put together a transfer plan,” she concluded, “There’s more than just one road to USC. And we’re here to help and support all of our students – that’s what the Trojan Family really means to us.”


  1. Perry says:

    May I ask does the child of a USC graduate school alumni count as a legacy applicant? Thank you!

  2. Summer says:

    Is it guaranteed that those with parents that graduated from usc get the opportunity to be in the trojan transfer plan? My father was a graduate, but i received no invitation. Is it extended to all legacies or only those that are qualified?

  3. John says:

    If I graduated from USC residency medical program, will my son have legacy?

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi John, Since you are a member of the Trojan Family, your son is as well. Your son can list your educational history in his Common App and we can identify him as a Scion.

  4. Kevin says:

    My sister is a second year medical student at Keck School of Medicine. I am applying USC this fall. Do I have legacy? Thank you!

  5. Dylan says:

    My uncle attended USC and graduated. Do I have legacy?

    • Ryan Bouziane says:

      Hi Dylan. You would not be classified as a Scion, but we will take your connection to the Trojan Family into consideration.

  6. Matt says:

    My Dad has been attending the MPA Online with Price School. I plan on attending for the fall of 2019. Am I considered a legacy student? And, will USC consider me as a USC family, since my Dad is attending Price School?

  7. Sara says:

    My cousin attended the MBA school. I plan on attending next year. Would I be considered a legacy student?

    • Ryan Bouziane says:

      Hi Sara. You would not be classified as a Scion, but we will take your connection to the Trojan Family into consideration.

  8. Ericka says:

    Are great-grandparents and step-parents still considered part of the legacy program?

    • Ryan Bouziane says:

      Hi, Ericka. The children of step-parents who graduated from USC are considered Scions, but not great-grandkids.

  9. Olivia says:

    I’m an athlete very interested in attending USC and participating as an athlete. My father was a student athlete at USC and graduated. Can this help my chances of attending and participating in the sport of Track or women’s basketball ?

    • Ryan Bouziane says:

      Hi, Olivia. Athletic recruitment is managed by USC Athletics, not the Office of Admission. It’s unlikely legacy status would have a significant impact on their recruitment process.

  10. Isela says:

    If multiple students from the same high school apply, is there a limit to how many students from that high school USC will accept?

    • Ryan Bouziane says:

      Hi, Isela. There is no limit to the number of admits that can come from an individual high school.

  11. Jennifer says:

    How about a spouse? I graduated from USC grad program. My husband plans to apply to usc grad school. Is that considered a legacy?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi, Jennifer! This blog is for undergraduate admissions. Applying to graduate school at USC differs so much depending on the program. I encourage your husband to reach out to the graduate admission counselors for the program he is interested in with any questions he may have!

  12. John Harris says:

    If I did my Medical Internship at USC Medical Center will my daughter be considered Legacy status?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi, John! Applicants are only considered legacy candidates if a relative attended or graduated from the University.

  13. Jenny says:

    My aunt went to USC for her Masters and that doesn’t make me a legacy, but how could I make my connection apparent in my application?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi, Jenny! If your aunt’s experiences have resonated with you and influenced your interest in USC, feel free to write about them in the short answer essays that are part of the USC supplement. The focus, however, should be on you (not your aunt).

  14. Olivia says:

    My dad was a student athlete here many years ago, playing football. He still works with the athletes sometimes through his job, a sales rep for an athletic company… My dad is still very close to many people in the athletic department and friends w some coaches. I am a track and field athlete, but I haven’t gotten offered from USC yet, so I am going to apply and maybe earn a scholarship next season or possibly try to become a walk on. If I do not get into USC, but they do end up recruiting me later my senior year… is it possible I could still come?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi, Olivia! You’ll have to reach out to the coaches regarding athletic recruitment. It’s a different timeline from the traditional admission cycle.

  15. Jay says:

    I’m attending the Rossier School of Education Leadership Academy for my administrative credential. Will my children be legacy once completed?

  16. Kiran Sriram says:

    If I went to grad school at USC, would my brother be considered a legacy student for grad school as well? Or does this only apply to undergraduates?

  17. James says:

    Is legacy consideration for undergraduate admissions affected by the number of USC degrees / Trojan family members. My son will be applying and his father is a Trojan (both undergraduate and MBA), two uncles and and two Aunts attended as well. My question is, is more consideration given to applicants with parents who received multiple USC degrees, or for applicants with multiple Trojan family members?

  18. Leigh Stevens says:

    My daughter is planning to apply to USC soon. Both my parents were only children and we didn’t have any family around other than my parent’s cousins who were also only children. All 3 of my mom’s cousin’s sons (from the same family) went to USC. Would that be a consideration for legacy?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi, Leigh! While your daughter is certainly a part of the Trojan Family, she does not meet our definition of a legacy candidate.

  19. Lance says:

    Is Scion status consideration program specific? I graduated from the film school and my daughter is applying as well. Should that be addressed in her application and how. If not are there any other steps we should consider based on my having graduated from her desired program of study? Thank you.

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi, Lance! Scion status is not program specific, but she is free to mention it in her application if she feels it helps explain her interest in the school.

  20. Julie says:

    Is Scion status give to the children of a parent that completed the Ross Certificate CE Program in Real Estate? Thanks!

  21. Lauren says:

    Are grandchildren of long term tenured staff considered Scions (grandpa, grandma, and dad all Have SC degrees) or in any other way?


    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Lauren, An applicant is a Scion if they have a parent, sibling, or grandparent who attended USC. It sounds like that applies to you!

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi, Lauren! Your SCion status is based on your family’s history of attending USC.

  22. Mason Montoya says:

    Hello, I am hoping to attend USC in the fall of 2020. My aunt is on the USC staff, and I am wondering if my connection with her will be taken into consideration when applying. Thank you.

  23. Ezra Yu says:

    Dornsife Class of 2016. My sister is a high school senior and is currently applying to college – would she be considered Legacy?

  24. Janet says:

    My father attended USC but he has passed away and I am not sure what year he graduated. How can I find out?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      I’m sorry for your loss, Janet. You can leave the year blank (it’s not required for legacy consideration).

  25. Zoya says:

    My husband worked at USC between July 2005 to 2015 as a faculty, would our daughter considered legacy ?Thanks

  26. James says:

    My mother was offered a job at USC hospital a few years ago, and was told that if any of her children attended USC Undergrad, they would receive free tuition. I, as her child, am now interested in attending USC law school. Now I have two questions.

    First, if my mother was to accept this position at USC hospital, would I still be offered free tuition, and if so, would this apply to USC law school as well, or only USC undergrad?

    Second, would my mother accepting this position at USC hospital have any bearing on my acceptance into the USC system? In other words, if she accepts this job will I have a better chance at acceptance into USC law school?

  27. Nicolette Worley says:

    Both of my parents were graduates, but both are deceased now and we can’t locate their diplomas. How do I find out their years of graduation?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      I’m sorry to hear that. We do not need their grad dates for application purposes, but if you’d like help tracking down that information, you can reach out to the registrar at (213) 740-5986.

  28. Jacob Fernow says:

    My uncle is Dennis Fernow of 63′ attended USC. He does not have any children is there anyway to be considered legacy in regard to that?

  29. Cathie Rigby says:

    Does the great grandchild of a past USC Dean/Teacher count as a legacy.

  30. Dean Nakagawa says:

    In order to be “looked upon” as a Scion, is there a certain GPA or SAT/ACT that is required?

  31. Simona says:

    I graduated in 2006 with a PhD in chemistry at USC and my daughter would like to apply to USC as well. Is she considered legacy?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Yes, anyone whose parent, grand-parent, or sibling has attended USC is considered a legacy candidate.

  32. Lisa Katz says:

    My son’s paternal grandfather graduated Phi Beta Kappa from USC, but we don’t know what year as he’s long since passed away and there are no living relatives to ask. Is it necessary to know the year he graduated to list my son as a legacy? If so, may we ask you to look it up for him? Thank you.

  33. John Kamakian says:

    I have a couple of questions. In my rejection letter, I was given the opportunity to use the Trojan Transfer Program. It says that it usually takes students two to three semesters to transfer to USC, but I have 6 aps that I have all passed along with some community colleges courses that I took in high school. Would I be able to transfer to USC in one semester?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      Hi, John! We only allow students to apply to the fall semester and most competitive transfer students have been enrolled full-time for at least two semesters. Your AP scores might serve as progress towards meeting general education courses, but we would still want to see you making strides in a college setting. You can discuss the particulars of your path with an admission counselor during your TTP meeting.

  34. CuriousKid says:

    Does legacy help if i’m planning on applying to USC as a graduate school is legacy taken into account?

    • Brittany Baker-Brousseau says:

      You will have to reach out the graduate school to which you are applying. This blog can only address the undergraduate admission process.

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