For what it's worth, I believe the "SC started mailing last Friday" rumor is false and that we still have about 2 weeks of waiting. The "last Friday" rumor is based on unsound logic (someone read that some were mailed in early March last year).
IMO, we'll start hearing somewhere around 3/25-ish. Only a few weeks to go!
For those that track the status messages, my daughter's has been this for the last month or so:
Undergraduate Application (Part II, Fall 2010)
We received the fall grades we requested, and require no additional information at this time. We will mail decisions to freshman applicants by April 1st.
On one of the NUMEROUS threads on this topic, a parent referenced a post from last year from an accepted student. The posted date for delivery of that acceptance indicated that this week in March has been used most recently to send out a wave.
Two other facts that may or may not be relevant. 1) Final interviews for scholarship candidates take place today (my H is on one of the panels. 2) Priority registration for Thematic Option is March 15. You can only apply for TO IF you are an admitted student. So, if they'd like some of those seats to be available to other than the scholarship students who are already admitted, then more admission notices should theoretically be coming out before March 15.
These data points may be worthless. I just thought I'd put them out there for your analysis/amusement/anexity ... your choice.
Thanks for the data points, FindAPlace, but somehow I doubt that the timing of the second wave of acceptance letters is related to either the scholarship interviews schedule or the TO priority deadline. Speaking of which, it does seem as if, for all practical purposes, USC targets only the early admits when it comes to the Thematic Option. In other words, there wouldn't be enough time for anyone notified in the second wave--even if the letters were sent today--to fill out an application by a priority deadline that's only a few days away. Granted, I don't know what the TO application entails, but it just doesn't seem feasible...
Also, I would caution against expecting a letter this week only because some were being sent out around the same time last year. Based on what I'm reading about other selective schools, a number of them have already departed from previous years' schedules and/or procedures. They all seem to have been swamped with applications at a time when highly qualified students apply to a record number of schools. As a matter of fact, I recognize many of the screen names that I've come to know from the USC board on all of these other boards :-)
As always, hang in there. It'll all work out in the end.
FindAPlace, I'm curious if you'd know whether interviews done by SCA professors being conducted this past week has something to do with Scholarship consideration (like the USC Itself), admission or just a sort of check-in with the applicant kind of thing? Alot of folks applying for production have gotten interviews recently. And these interviews are being done by Associate Professors/endowed chairs etc, so it's clearly serious business...
Tomismom, I agree that the timing of mailing admissions decisions are not likely linked to what goes on with merit interviews or TO deadlines. If anything (this is only me surmising), the March 15 priority deadline for TO applications may be intended to
1) get those early admits to check out what TO has to offer before they get admission packets from other selective schools--help market USC to top students, demonstrating the excellent education available to them if they choose USC,
2) allow TO administrators more time to process applications as after March 15 (hint: a huge number of regular admits will hit the pool!) there will be others potentially vying for spots in TO.
In previous year, there wasn't a hard cut-off date for TO apps. The priority deadline simply permitted students to receive TO program acceptance before the May 1 decision date--presumably to help them make college decisions. For students accepted to USC too late to make that app date, just get your application submitted as soon as possible. They will notify you as soon as they can, oftentimes before May 1 (although not guaranteed). You can always call their office if this is a deal-maker.
All well-qualified students who want to be in Thematic Option, it is worth a little hustle to fill out the rather low-key application and see where it lands you.