FAQs: Application


How can I find out if USC has received my application?

While students are welcome to submit the Common Application any time after it becomes available on August 1, USC will not begin processing applications until early October. Until then, students can check their accounts at www.commonapp.org for status updates regarding their applications. Beginning in October, USC will verify receipt of students’ applications, and students will be able to check their application status online at YouSC.

Can I complete the Common Application over a number of sittings, or must I complete it all at once?

The Common Application allows you to complete your application in multiple sessions. USC will not receive your application until you choose to submit it.

Where can I get help if I experience difficulties with the Common Application?

If you have technical difficulties with the application, we encourage you to contact the Common App Support Team.

If you have general questions about USC’s admission process, application requirements or deadlines, please feel free to contact us or call (213) 740-1111.

Is it okay if my application essay is longer than the word limit?

We prefer that applicants adhere to 650 word limit set by Common Application.

Does USC accept late applications?

Applications submitted after USC's deadlines will be considered late and may not be considered for the term in question. In no case will USC refund an application fee.

What type of essay or personal statement do you require as part of your application?

The Common Application will prompt you to answer one of five essay questions. Your response should be approximately 250-650 words and demonstrate your ability to express yourself in a clear, organized manner. This will help admission counselors get to know you and assess how well you might fit in at USC.

The USC Writing Supplement also includes a short-answer and “quick takes” section designed to help us get to know you better.

Applicants to our various professional schools may be required to send additional materials, such as a portfolio or other writing samples. Please refer to the department website for details.

How much is USC's application fee?

The application fee is $80, payable online via www.commonapp.org when you submit your application for admission. The fee applies to all applicants, regardless of state of residency or citizenship status.

If paying the fee causes a financial hardship, applicants may request a fee waiver from the Payments page of the Common Application website.

International students are not eligible for application fee waivers and USC does not accept international reply coupons for application payments. Full-time USC employees and their dependents are exempt from paying the application fee and should submit the request for a fee waiver.

Will USC consider supplemental information that I submit with my application?

We do not encourage the submission of supplemental materials outside of those required by specific academic departments. At USC, the Art Supplement submitted through SlideRoom.com is intended only for students applying to the majors that require those materials. We do not take additional music or arts materials for students who intend to major outside the arts. Instead, you should use the space in the application to tell us about your arts involvement.

How do I submit supplemental materials if I am applying to a fine or performing arts school?

If your first- or second-choice major is in one of our schools of the arts, you are expected to submit an Art Supplement (Architecture, Cinematic Arts, Dramatic Arts, Fine Arts, or Music) through SlideRoom.com

Does USC offer application fee waivers?

If paying the fee causes a financial hardship, applicants may request a fee waiver from the Payments page of the Common Application website.

International students are not eligible for application fee waivers and USC does not accept international reply coupons for application payments.

Full-time USC employees and their dependents are exempt from paying the application fee. Dependents of full-time USC employees should submit the request for a fee waiver.

How do I confirm receipt of application materials such as SAT scores, transcripts, etc.?

Beginning in October, you can log in to your USConnect account to check your application status. Keep in mind, however, that it may take two to four business days for recently submitted documents to appear as part of your file.

Alternatively, contact the Office of Admission by e-mail or by telephone at (213) 740-1111 (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time).

If my mailing address has changed, how should I update your mailing list and my admission records?

To change your address, please contact us at (213) 740-1111 or send an e-mail message to admitusc@usc.edu.

If you e-mail us, please put "Address Change" in the subject line of your message.

If I am not a California resident, will it be harder for me to gain admission? Will my tuition and fees be higher than those for California residents?

USC is a private university and thus has no state residency requirements. We recruit nationally and internationally and more than half our student body comes from outside California. Tuition and fees are the same for all students, regardless of state of residence or national citizenship.

Who is considered a Trojan SCion, and how does this affect admission to USC?

At USC, A SCion is any applicant whose siblings, parents, grandparents or great-grandparents attended USC. Although an applicant's status as a SCion is not a major factor in admission decisions, SCions are welcome to indicate their status on the USC Writing Supplement in the space provided.

SCions denied first-year admission to USC can take advantage of special counseling from the USC Office of Admission. During this session, a counselor will explain the process of transferring to USC from another institution and outline the steps the applicant should take, should he or she wish to transfer to USC at a later date.

Instructions on how to sign up for a SCion counseling session are included with the decision letter from the Office of Admission.