FAQs: Preparing for College


Can college units taken before high school graduation satisfy General Education requirements? What kind of credit may be earned by college courses taken during high school?

All undergraduate students entering USC may receive a combined maximum of 32 elective units for college courses and/or examinations (such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate) taken before graduation from high school. A maximum of 16 of these 32 units will be allowed for college courses taken before high school graduation. These courses must appear on a college transcript as part of a regular college curriculum and are expected to be taught on the college campus by college faculty.

For more information, please visit the Office of Articulation website.

What classes should a student take during high school to prepare for USC?

Students should successfully complete at least 16 yearlong college preparatory courses while in high school:

  • Four (4) years of English (composition and literature).
  • Two (2) years of foreign language.
  • Three (3) years of mathematics (algebra, geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, or calculus).
  • Two (2) years of natural science (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics).
  • Two (2) years of social sciences (e.g., U.S. history, government, economics, geography).
  • Three (3) years of additional courses in subjects above or academic electives (such as computer science, art, music, speech).

Students should pursue Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes whenever possible.

What else can I do to prepare for admission to USC?

Our Preparing by Grade web page includes several tips for choosing extracurricular activities, building your résumé and forming study habits that will help position you as a stronger candidate.

Does USC allow students who have only a GED to transfer?

Yes, it is possible for students who completed high school with a GED to be admitted to USC. However, such students will still need to meet all other transfer requirements (at least 30 transferable semester college units, strong academic record, etc.) and must provide official transcripts of all high school coursework they attempted, in addition to providing an official copy of their GED.