I was a PSAT semifinalist and was planning on applying to USC early for merit scholarship consideration but I was also planning to applying to a college via restrictive early action. I’m a bit confused because the USC news article talking about their new early action system just uses the word “early” without “action” to describe merit scholarship apps. Does this mean I would just apply for regular decision but submit my application early?
Would anyone be able to clarify how this really works and possibly how I can modify my Common App to fit this change?
You must apply EA to USC to be considered for merit aid (unless your intended major doesn’t have EA).
Students must apply EA in order to be considered for USC Merit Scholarships, unless their intended major does not participate in Early Action.
With that said, USC doesn’t give much merit, so do an honest assessment if you think you will be competitive. They do still offer half tuition for NMF, but here’s what they say about scholarships in general:
Generally, scholarships are reserved for students with special qualifications, such as academic, athletic or artistic talent. Awards are also available for students who are interested in particular fields of study, are members of underrepresented groups, or live in certain areas of the country.
What school are you applying to REA/SCEA?
Double check what their website says about applying to EA at a private school if that is the requirement for scholarship consideration. For example, both Harvard and Stanford policies allow this, but the wording isn’t precise. It’s worth a call to those schools (talk with an FA staffer, not a student who may answer the phone) to ask about the USC new EA program and if an app there would be allowed.