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. However, only those applicants with a parent, grandparent, or sibling who graduated from USC (or is currently enrolled) are considered a legacy for admission purposes. We do not consider cousins, aunts, or uncles.

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?

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