USC Regular Decision

July 20, 2022
By AdmissionSight

USC Regular Decision

The oldest private research university in California is called USC, or the University of Southern California. 19,500 undergraduates and 26,500 graduate and professional students are enrolled at the university. It has an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

USC is renowned for its elite academic programs, pleasant climate, successful athletics departments, well-known alumni, and more. In this article, we’ll examine the USC regular decision, the school’s reputation, and the reasons it’s a school to think about.


Your college experience is influenced by the school’s setting as well as by the university itself. Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the country, is where USC is situated. Over 300 days of sunshine are experienced annually in Los Angeles, which is known as the global center of entertainment.

Main building of USC with wide yard and grass.

While the University Park campus of USC is located in the center of Los Angeles, the Health Science campus is located northeast of the city. Both campuses put students close to top-notch dining, clubs, bars, and other entertainment options. Additionally, there are many opportunities to network and gain practical business experience there.


The top 30 universities in the country consistently include USC. The university grants 126 undergraduate degrees in total. The Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and 22 graduate and professional schools make up its 23 schools.

Game/Simulation Development (1), Real Estate (7), Accounting (9), International Business (12), and Engineering (31) are among USC’s top-ranked undergraduate programs.

Male and female student leaning on a bookshelf.

The Marshall School of Business, Rossier School of Education, Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering, Gould School of Law, Keck School of Medicine, School of Social Work, and Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism are among the top-ranked graduate institutions.

Perhaps the most well-known program at USC is the esteemed School of Cinematic Arts. It is the oldest film school in the country and its alumni and faculty include many Emmy and Academy Award winners.

When Is USC’s Regular Decision Due?

The next query would be “When is USC’s regular decision due?” The submission of applications for first-year consideration must be completed by January 15. The 15th of February is the deadline for the USC regular decision regarding transfers and scholarships. Applicants who choose or are deferred to regular decision will be notified of the decision by April 1st.

Application deadline for majors requiring a portfolio or interview: December 1, 2022

The following schools’ final application deadline for students pursuing the following majors:

Iovine and Young Academy
Kaufman School of Dance
Roski School of Art & Design
School of Architecture
School of Cinematic Arts
School of Dramatic Arts
Thornton School of Music

Candidates who apply to these programs via Regular Decision by December 1 will be given consideration for USC Merit Scholarships.

All the other majors’ deadline for applications: January 15, 2023

Deadline for Financial Aid Applications under USC Regular Decision: February 10, 2023

Deadline for Cal Grant applications: March 2, 2023

How Selective Is USC?

Due to the high level of competition at USC and the large number of applicants who submit applications each year, this university only accepts the best candidates.

Applicants with strong “personal qualities” are preferred by USC over those with strong academic credentials (such as test scores, grades, and GPA).

USC main building with trees near the facade.

These qualities can be demonstrated through academic or extracurricular achievements, volunteer work or community service, or leadership roles (for instance, being the captain of the track team or having previously led a successful food drive at your school).

As you can see, USC seeks candidates who are not only academically talented but who are also eager to push themselves, discover new things, and adopt a global perspective. Let’s find out how selective is USC.

Can I apply to USC using early action or early decision?

USC does not provide first-year students with an early action/early decision plan, in contrast to many other private and prestigious universities.

Consequently, everyone who wants to apply to USC must do so by the same deadline (somewhat like the USC regular decision).

Although you can’t apply to USC early, it’s a good idea to let the admissions committee know if it really is your top choice school so they can make a note of it in your application.

You can’t apply early to USC to show that you’re interested in attending, but you can (and should) let the admissions committee know that you are so they can keep that in mind as they sift through the thousands of applications they receive

Deadlines and Logistics of Applying to USC

USC requires a Common Application essay for all freshmen applicants.

The following is a list of all the significant USC admission requirements:

  • USC Writing Supplement
  • Common App (on Common App)
  • Reliable SAT/ACT results (OPTIONAL for students applying during the 2021-2022 school year).
  • Additionally, applicants may submit their TOEFL, AP, IB, and SAT Subject Test results (if international)
  • Fall grades, which can be submitted using the Common App’s Mid-Year Report Form.

The number of letters of recommendation you must send to USC depends on the program or school you are applying to. Additional materials, such as a portfolio, writing sample, or resume (only if required by your specific program or school). Transcripts showing all high school coursework and any college coursework completed.

What Is USC’s Acceptance Rate For Regular Admission?

A total of 8198 people were given admission offers out of roughly 69,000 applicants for the 2022–23 academic year. This year’s acceptance rate of 12 percent is nearly identical to the previous one.

Young female student smiling at the camera.

There are no Early Action or Early Decision options available at this institution. Thus, the USC regular decision deadlines will be the same for everyone. So, what is USC’s acceptance rate for regular admission?  That would still amount to 12 percent. All applicants for merit scholarships must submit their materials by December 1; all other first-year applicants must do so by January 15.

What Are the Odds of Getting Off the Waitlist?

Some of you might ask “What are the odds of getting off the waitlist in USC?” USC chooses to offer spring term enrollment to many students each year rather than placing them on wait lists. In short, USC does not use waitlists. Students who accept USC’s offer of spring enrollment are guaranteed a spot in our incoming class and will be given consideration for any openings in the fall semester, should any become available.

How Do You Increase Your Chances of Getting into USC?

Let’s look at how to get into USC now that you are familiar with the application process details. How do you increase your chances of getting into USC, one of the most esteemed universities in the nation?:

1.Obtain a high GPA.

USC admissions candidates typically have GPAs that are very high. The 25th/75th percentile high school GPA range for the fall 2021 class was 3.75-4.0. This indicates that the majority of applicants who were accepted had generally good grades, earning mostly As and possibly a few Bs.

Your chances of getting into USC will probably be worse if your GPA is below 3.75.

It is, therefore, best to aim as high as you can, preferably at least around a 3.85, so that you will be significantly above average but won’t suffer too much if you receive a B in one or two classes. If you’re struggling to keep your GPA high, identify the classes that are negatively affecting your performance, and then think about investing more time in your preparation for those classes or hiring a tutor to provide you with the extra assistance you require.

2. Enroll in difficult, demanding courses.

Evidence of a demanding course load is another crucial quality USC looks for in applicants. The best candidates will have participated in a decent number of AP, honors, and/or IB courses.

Female student using a laptop and holding a paper.

Strong applicants will have performed exceptionally well in their classes as well as in a demanding academic program, especially in courses related to their intended majors.

Try to enroll in some AP, honors, or IB classes the following academic year and for each additional year you are in high school if you are a junior or younger and haven’t taken any challenging courses yet.

It’s best to select demanding classes that concentrate on subjects in which you already excel or have a keen interest. For instance, if science is your passion, you might enroll in AP Bio or AP Physics.

While you don’t have to take extremely challenging classes every semester, start your junior year at the very least and aim to enroll in three to five upper-level courses annually. Although it’s not a bad idea to take the AP exams that go along with these courses since you might get some college credit, this does not obligate you to do so.

3. Achieve high SAT/ACT scores.

For applicants in 2021–2022, USC will not require a test. Forty-seven percent of applicants for the 2020–2021 application year submitted SAT or ACT scores.

If your test scores are particularly high or you believe they more accurately reflect your abilities than your GPA, you might still want to submit them. USC generally anticipates strong applicants to achieve fairly high SAT/ACT scores.

For the fall 2019 USC freshman class, the following are the middle 50%, or average, SAT and ACT score ranges:

SAT Scores

  • Composite: 1420-1520
  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW): 670-740
  • Math: 690-790

ACT Scores

  • Composite: 31-34
  • English: 32-35
  • Math: 28-34

Each range’s lowest score is the 25th percentile, which indicates that no more than 25% of applicants received that score. The highest score is the 75th percentile (meaning 75 percent or fewer got this score).

Obviously, in order to be a competitive applicant to USC, you’ll need to have a pretty high SAT/ACT score. Most candidates have a SAT score of at least 1420, or the 95th percentile nationally.

In contrast, the majority of applicants have an ACT score of at least 31 or the 95th percentile nationally. In order to achieve just the 25th percentile score at USC, you will need to perform among the top 5 percent of test-takers.

Although receiving a score below USC’s 25th percentile cutoff does not guarantee acceptance, it does suggest that it will probably be more difficult for you to enroll at USC unless you have other notably outstanding qualities.

The best course of action if you don’t score at or above this “minimum” mark (1420 on the SAT and 31 on the ACT) is to work on improving your score. Making a study plan for the SAT/ACT that takes into account your weaknesses is one way to achieve this.

AdmissionSight has a SAT and ACT Private Tutoring program if you prefer more hands-on guidance during your test preparation.

4. Write top-notch essays.

You must write two shorter essays as part of the USC Writing Supplement in addition to the Common App essay.

Each essay must be no more than 250 words long, which is roughly the same as the average college admissions essay. You must select one of three prompts to respond to for the first USC essay:

  • USC believes that one learns best when interacting with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Tell us about a time you were exposed to a new idea or when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view. Please discuss the significance of the experience and its effect on you.
  • USC faculty place an emphasis on interdisciplinary academic opportunities. Describe something outside of your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning.
  • What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you?

Pick the prompt that most interests you and that you can answer clearly and succinctly.

Write about a specific instance when a belief or opinion of yours was contested for the first prompt. Here, it’s important to concentrate on how you responded and what this particular experience taught you about yourself. This might be a viewpoint on a social issue, a political position, or a religious conviction.

The second essay question asks you to describe an unrelated area of study that you are also interested in. Discussing how you became interested in this particular field and what you might do with it in the future is a great idea at this point. For instance, you might be a computer science major who has recently discovered that you have a strong interest in learning about the history of paintings after taking a required art class.

The third essay question is quite open-ended and gives you the chance to discuss anything you think the USC admissions committee should know about you. Introduce a specific interest, talent, or experience you have. You could also provide an explanation for a flaw in your academic history, such as a semester where your grades dropped off the rails or a low SAT score.

This is a great point to keep in mind as you write your USC essays.

You will also need to write a second essay for the USC Writing Supplement in addition to this one.

There is only one prompt for this essay; you have no other options!

  • Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections.

This essay question merely asks what you intend to major in at USC and how you’ll pursue your academic objectives while a student.

In essence, what intellectual course do you anticipate taking at USC? If you want to major in English, for instance, you could describe how you want to adopt a more interdisciplinary approach by adding courses in foreign literature to your course load.

In conclusion, use specific details, be honest about your experiences and feelings, and edit and proofread each essay before submitting it to USC to ensure that you are submitting two top-notch essays.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that some programs and institutions demand additional essays or brief responses.

For instance, the Architecture Writing Supplement requires applicants to the School of Architecture to respond to additional questions. The three general USC essays you must write are not less significant than these school-specific essays, if not more so. Why? Because the questions in these essays are even more specific and pertain to your intended field of study.

The reason you are interested in the field, program, or school you are applying to must be explained in detail.

5. Create an outstanding portfolio (required for certain programs).

Along with the more general requirements mentioned above, some USC programs also require the submission of creative portfolios.

If a portfolio is required, it’ll probably rank among your application’s most crucial components. Make sure your portfolio adheres to all guidelines, is entirely original, and reflects your own creative mind, skills, and objectives.

Is USC A Good Fit for Me?

USC might be a great fit for new students as long as they have an open mind and a strong work ethic. A person who seeks a balance between excellent academics and student life will have the most fun at the University of Southern California. If you can identify this person as “you”, it’s time that you start your preparations for the USC regular decision admissions. Feel free to book a consultation with AdmissionSight!


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