USC Class of 2026 — Regular Decision

Class of 2025, please continue to use the 2025 class thread for questions and comments regarding your upcoming start and first year at USC!

This new thread is for any and all types of USC questions for students applying during the fall of 2021 to be freshman for the 2022 - 2023 school year. The USC College Confidential community looks forward to helping everyone through this exciting (and stressful) process.


@CADREAMIN and @WWWard Hello! I’m applying for USC when the Application opens in the fall. I’m still a junior in high school hoping to major in CS. My dad went to USC and so I’d be a legacy we live in Palo Alto. I have a 4.0 UW/4.8 Weighted GPA and a 1590 SAT. I’m officially gonna be the be the next student body president at my school that has 3,000 kids so I’m very excited for next year! Any advice for upcoming application questions and CS at Viterbi would be very appreciated. I’m going to be submitting my chance me here shortly.

Well, you are certainly well qualified. And I wish that was enough alone. But such is not the case these days. In the current environment, even 90% of all legacy applicants are unfortunately turned away. So it just needs some extra focus…

My main advice to future college applicants, and especially to those seeking USC, is to start the application process early and to ask the important questions now and up to the time that you actually submit the application. So it is good that you are doing so already. The time to gain some potential insights and to wok out your own unique and specific approach to applying is now and up to your submission date… and not thereafter.

And in terms of getting “Chanced” for USC, or for any elite college or university, it is virtually impossible for others to predict what may or may not occur in your specific case. With recent USC admit rates in the range of 11-16%, and with 4K+ applicants with 4.0 unweighted GPAs and test scores in the 99th percentile among those not gaining admission each year, your success will instead likely depend on too many potential factors for anyone to correctly evaluate… making predicting admission nearly impossible. But this also shows that they admit many without perfect grades or test scores. They are after all seeking to craft a well-rounded and diverse freshman class comprised of those who actually have a strong affinity for or connection to USC. They do aim to admit those who they project will thrive well at USC and bring something unique to the campus environment.

It is not the case that USC is looking for a freshman class of circa 3K comprised necessarily of well-rounded students. They are instead looking to craft a well-rounded class comprised of unique individuals who might bring something interesting and specifically needed to campus. So use the admission process to demonstrate that. Let the readers understand what USC may be gaining by admitting you specifically.

Your individual admission decision will likely come down to a composite and holistic analysis of your stats coupled with writing ability / essays, ECs, potential leadership roles, potential other unique qualifiers (URM, First Gen, geography, demographics, etc.), your Why USC? explanation/reasoning, etc. And that “Why USC?” explanation is likely the most important single component of your application. You do need to provide a well-thought out and well-researched answer as to why attending USC is truly significant and important to you specifically. And moreover, USC does want to gain a sense as to what you will be uniquely contributing to the greater USC community if admitted.

Before applying, I suggest reading through the very helpful insider’s guide to USC admissions…

Both of my daughters gained admission to USC and attended. So if you have questions about the process or anything USC, feel free to ask. @CADREAMIN had even more children attend USC, so also an excellent resource in this process. She also has direct experience as I recall with CS.

Good Luck…


Thank you so much for your advice! I will apply and follow it!

You’re welcome.

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Hey @CADREAMIN Do you have any advice for my application for USC CS? I’ve built up a good college list so far: Cal Poly SLO, USC,UCB,UCI,UCSC,SJSU,SFSU,Stanford,Caltech, Harvard,UCLA (All for CS)

Did you end up putting together your “chance me”? The UCs are test blind. With the exception of the CSUs, all of the schools on your list have holistic admissions. That means that they will look at more than your grades and SAT score. Congratulations on student body president. What else will you include in your application?

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I’m working on it! That makes sense. I got a perfect 36 on the ACT too. I’ve also been heavily involved with my school’s robotics team and I’ve been putting hours in with my dad’s startup working as an engineering internship. Also, helping at my church, playing Varsity Basketball (Non-recruited, but made a fun buzzer beater 3 pt shot the other day!) , varsity volleyball (Not that bad :slight_smile: ) and being the NHS VP this next school year. Is that enough EC’s or would it be considered mediocre?

It isn’t quantity but quality. Even with top scores, CS is extremely competitive everywhere. Why CS? Why USC? Why Stanford? Why CalTech? You don’t need to answer those questions for me but you should be able to answer them and make your “why” apparent in your applications. When you get your “chance me” up, you’ll receive more feedback from others on CC.

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Usc is where my dad went and it is an amazing school! I was born at the hospital nearby and I lived off campus nearby until my dad graduated with his PhD

@CADREAMIN Do you have any input for CS and the Apps?

DS applying to USC in the Marshall School of Business. Would an ACT of 32 or 33 superscored be submitted? We weren’t sure if we should even submit ACT scores or not.

CC consensus seems to be send if score is at 50 percent of the average score submitted by freshmen admits. The 2020-21 freshman profile shows a chart with the “middle 50 percent” at 32-35. That seems like such a wide range…,but your student’s score is within. I don’t know if Marshall has its own stats — would an admissions rep be able to advise?

My daughter is very interested in USC for class of 2026. She got accepted into Grammy Camp, and while it is virtual, we are heading to LA July 18-24th to visit schools (we live in Boston). She is interested in Thornton for popular music. She also has interests in political science/law. Campus tours don’t seem to be available yet but I was wondering if any current USC students who live in the area could meet us for coffee so we could ask some questions about the school. We are both fully vaccinated. Thanks!

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Wondering if anyone has seen/heard a breakdown on the percentage of admitted test optional applicants in 2021. Also wondering about TO applicants chosen for Presidential or Trustee merit. @CADREAMIN @lkg4answers @WWWard

My D22 has had seven scheduled SAT tests canceled! She has signed up for 4 more, but feeling nervous.

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I don’t know. They regularly publish a class profile. I haven’t seen one for the class of 2025 yet but here is the class of 2024. It will be interesting to see how much the test scores change in a TO year.

USC is reinstating their in-person, on-campus tours.

Yes they have been going on for a couple weeks now for admitted students, and are done in groups of 10. Some folks on the transfer thread did one last week and really enjoyed it! Nice to see they are open to prospects now too.

Copying post from @lkg4answers in the 2025 thread:

[Coronavirus cases increase, masks “anticipated” for fall semester | Daily Trojan]

Following the recent rise in coronavirus cases, USC will no longer permit students to submit a vaccine declination form and will only allow students with religious or medical exemptions to refuse the vaccine.

Before the increase, students would have been allowed to submit a declination form to the University regardless of medical or religious reasons until the vaccines were fully approved by the FDA, rather than the current emergency use authorization.