Every year, students from all over the world apply to USC. We are proud to have one of the largest international student populations of any university in the United States. Whether you are from Canada or Croatia, Hong Kong or Hungary, India or Italy – you will feel at home here. USC also offers special international student orientations and a variety of student services to ease your transition to university life in the United States.
At USC, an international student is an individual of foreign nationality who will be entering, or has already entered, the United States with a student visa. Students already residing in the United States and holding other non-immigrant visas (E2, H2, or L2, for example) are also considered to be international students. For more information on student visa applications click here.
International students do not qualify for need-based financial aid, but are eligible for merit-based scholarships. Permanent residents of the United States, naturalized U.S. citizens, and U.S. citizens studying at schools outside the United States are not considered international students and are eligible for need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships.
How to Apply as an International Student
International students must follow the steps for applying to USC listed either on How to Apply as a First-Year Applicant or How to Apply as a Transfer Applicant. You must also submit the Financial Statement of Personal or Family Support along with your application.
On the undergraduate application, please write your name as it appears on your passport. This will be the name printed on your I–20 form to apply for a student visa. If the name on your school record is different from your passport, enter that name in the "Preferred Names" section. All international applicants must provide a permanent foreign address, that is not a P.O. Box, even if your current mailing address is in the United States.
Financial Statement of Personal or Family Support
The United States government requires all international applicants to provide proof of ability to pay tuition and living expenses before a formal letter of admission, or the forms needed for obtaining a visa, can be issued.
Each international applicant relying on personal or family support must furnish, at the time of application, a completed Financial Statement of Personal or Family Support and appropriate original financial documents, such as savings deposit and checking account records or bank letters signed by bank personnel, stating the sponsor's name and address and verifying the ability to pay the annual cost of education-related expenses for the first academic year. The financial document must be verified by a bank.
You must provide one official copy in your native language, sent directly from your school and accompanied by a certified English translation, of all records of academic course work. Required records include:
- Yearly secondary school records that indicate the courses taken and grades/marks received;
- Yearly records from each college or university attended that indicate the number of lecture and/or laboratory hours per week, per course, and the grade received in each course (for transfer students only); and
- Official documents verifying the award of all secondary school diplomas and/or academic certificates with the title and date conferred.
USC requires either the SAT or the ACT (with the optional Writing test) scores from all first-year (freshman) applicants.
All international applicants (first-year and transfer) whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL. International first-year applicants with minimum scores of 600 on SAT Critical Reading or 27 on ACT English are exempt from taking the TOEFL. The TOEFL must have been taken within the past two years from application date.
- More information about the SAT exam
- More information about the ACT exam
- More information about the TOEFL test
English Proficiency Requirements
Academic success at USC depends on your ability to communicate effectively in English. All international applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency in the following manner:
- First-year applicants must submit TOEFL, SAT, or ACT scores
- Transfer applicants must submit TOEFL score
First-year and transfer applicants whose native language is English are presumed to be proficient. This includes applicants from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (except Quebec) where English is both the first language of the country and the language of instruction. Applicants with minimum scores of 100 on TOEFL iBT (with at least 20 in each section), 600 on SAT Critical Reading, or 27 on ACT English are presumed to be proficient.
For those who do not demonstrate English proficiency, USC requires the International Student Exam (ISE) upon admission and prior to registration. The results on the ISE determine whether or not a student must enroll in English language courses at the American Language Institute (ALI) at USC.
Office of International Services
The Office of International Services assists international students with all aspects of their USC experience after enrollment at the university.
Discover USC in Asia
USC is hosting its annual Discover Asia receptions in Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Taipei this October!
At these events, you will meet members of the Undergraduate Admission Office, as well as admission staff from various departments such as the Marshall School of Business, Viterbi School of Engineering, and the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
This is a great opportunity to learn more about USC’s application process and requirements, and discover our world-class academics and vibrant campus life.
RSVP today at www.usc.edu/uscasia.