USC Class of 2026 — Regular Decision

I was at USC yesterday - had a great Wahlburgers lunch at the Village - it was still pretty quiet around there, but always is a bit slow in the summer. Can’t wait to see a busy campus back this fall!


Hi @CADREAMIN, it’s been a while since I’ve been on College Confidential. I posted up above in like May about the finalist merit scholarships. I applied to USC for CS and successfully submitted my application last week. I’m curious though, I’m so far a semifinalista for National Merit (1,480 PSAT) and I really want to qualify for the Trustee scholarship for CS. Is it possible to get the Trustee scholarship or would the presidential scholarship,hypothetically, be more realistic for me even though I’ve got beyond above average stats? Thanks!

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Congratulations on submitting your application so early! Realistically, USC awards 100 Trustee scholarships and over 400 Presidential scholarships (NM and other) so your chance of receiving Presidential is much higher. In my opinion, top scholarships are awarded to students who are more than just stats. That is why I was trying to prompt you to make sure you include why you would be a good fit at Viterbi, what you will do while you are at USC and what you would like to do after USC.

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Ok! I think I did a good job with the essays too which really helped! :slight_smile:

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After acceptance, the Presidential is guaranteed as an NMF, so yes, that has to be seen as more realistic than the elusive Trustee scholarship. But they obviously have to go to somebody. It is good to understand the odds as to not be disappointed - 100 are ultimately given, let’s say 50/50 to guys/gals, so that takes it down to 50 per gender (roughly speaking there). Then they are divided between schools, so a handful to each school and then per major (for example, Dornsife isn’t going to give 10 all to the same major). So statistically, the chance is very small versus the 40K that apply in time for the Dec 1st scholarship deadline.

And let’s face it, they have way more NMFs apply than they accept and on top of that; they flat out reject 4000+ with a gpa of 4.0+ and 99 percentile scores. There are just too many bright and hard working kids applying these days. The Trustees have more than grades and scores (which thousands have), they tend to have a special sparkle or passion in themselves and/or USC that just stands out above the rest.

I have used this example before - but a kid that got one a few years back was applying as an aeronautical engineering major, who got his pilot’s license at 16, created flying clubs at school and used his piloting to do some good things, with big plans for the future. Not that everyone has to be so grand, but it’s an interesting and unique package with passion all over it. Then there are those who do a lot with very little and have specific goals for the future that fits in to the Trojan goals and values. Each Trustee is unique and what each school looks for in giving them is unique - making them hard to predict, and certainly harder to count on. Do well and hope for the best! Good luck in your quest!


USC Admissions is taking Discover USC on the road.

These programs provide students and their families with an opportunity to meet admission counselors, representatives from various academic departments, and other prospective students and their parents.

United States—Arizona

United States—California

United States—Colorado

United States—District of Columbia

United States—Florida

United States—Georgia

United States—Illinois

United States—Massachusetts

United States—Minnesota

United States—Nevada

United States—New York

United States—Oregon

United States—Pennsylvania

United States—Texas

United States—Washington

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Does USC track Demonstrated Interest? I wonder if it’s a good thing to go to these meet and greets?

They say they don’t, but they do in certain ways. A prospect should plan on attending at least one of these regardless.

They definitely track interest. It may not be factored into admissions decisions but it can be used in determining scholarships.

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Anyone familiar with the format? Formal presentation then meet and greet or? Would assume a sort of “ business casual” for the students?

Sorry, I don’t know as we only did USC tours on campus. We attended Exploring College Options and Coast to Coast when they were in our area and the format was similar to what you mention - formal presentation followed by Q&A and then break out into smaller more casual meet & greet.

If you check out USC Admission’s Instagram story, it looks like they might have representatives from the different colleges (Dornslife, Viterbi, Marshall, etc.).

Great info - thanks!

Neat & casual and business casual is all fine. Presentations, q&a (both as a group and time to ask individuals questions) and Trojan sprint is all part of Discover USC. We always enjoyed them. There are representatives from various schools. The ones in NorCal were well run, fun and informative. We always learned something new even with a student already in attendance at USC.

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Do you know if going to these meet and greets makes any difference? I thought USC doesn’t care about DI? Thanks!

Officially they don’t, unofficially, they do. Showing interest is a good thing.

Demonstrated interest… especially as it is reflected within the application itself… is more than just expected. These days it is a critical component, in my opinion, to set yourself apart.

In the current environment, even 90% of all legacy applicants are unfortunately turned away. And 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 likely depend on DI to a degree. 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. 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. But 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.

To all potential applicants… before applying, I suggest reading through the very helpful insider’s guide to USC admissions…

Good Luck…


Outstanding advice. I believe this helped DS get in with below median scores. They determine interest based on how you respond to the “Why USC”. Are there certain professors you’re excited to study under? Research opportunities you will take advantage of? Places on campus you plan on studying? Talk about it in the Why USC answer.


Does anyone have info/intel on the percentage of admits that applied test optional? My D22 still has not been able to take the SAT.