USC SCA Film School acceptance going test-optional

Hi! I really need some advice-I’ve been wanting to go to USC Film School ever since I can remember and I have been working on my application to apply this fall. However, I got back my ACT score and it was BAD, way below USC’s range. I am planning on taking it twice more this fall, but I wanted to know what would happen if I decided not to submit my scores? Would I have any chance going test-optional with the acceptance rate being less than 5 percent? Here is an overview of my application:

I attend a private school in Virginia (not sure how that will weigh in)

I have around a 3.9 GPA unweighted and a 4.3 weighted. I’ve taken a good amount of APs and Honors classes.

There is a class rank, but I’m not sure where I fall. We only have 39 people in my grade so it’s competitive.

I received a 3 on AP Euro, and 4s on AP Lit. and AP U.S. History. I’m planning on taking AP Art History and AP Studio Art senior year.

I have some really strong extra circulars:

-I started my own service project called Movie Making For Military Kids where I have traveled to different military bases in VA teaching kids how to make movies to send to their parents overseas (I used to be a military kid, my dad retired recently). I have over 70 volunteer hours in this and I think it’s pretty unique idea so this is probably my strongest circular. I transferred the class to zoom during quarantine to keep it going and I did an outdoor summer camp this past month.

-I’ve danced intensively as a ballerina since I was six years old, performing on-stage and doing some competitions

-I’ve participated in lots of theater productions both school and non-school related, and have written some plays for my school.

-I’ve won some Shakespeare monologue competitions at my school, as well as essay/poetry competitions and art competitions (first and second places)

I think my essays are pretty strong, I’ve always been a good writer/storyteller

I don’t think I have many hooks, I’m not a minority or a legacy. I also haven’t received any film awards for my work so I’m not sure if that will hurt my application or not.

I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me their thoughts on this. Thank you!

I recommend looking through the last cycle’s USC SCA applicants’ thread…

And just keep in mind that you would actually have to be admitted twice… by USC overall and into SCA specifically too. It is possible to be admitted only into USC as Undeclared… and then internally transfer into SCA later. My younger daughter did so in fact.

In terms of getting “Chanced” for USC or USC + SCA, or to any of the nation’s top forty or so elite colleges and universities, it is virtually impossible for others to predict what may or may not occur in your specific case. In terms of USC specifically… with an admit rate now below 16%, and with 4K+ applicants with 4.0 unweighted GPAs and test scores in the 99th percentile among those not gaining admission, your success will instead likely depend on too many potential factors for anyone to correctly evaluate… making predicting admission nearly impossible.

It can be even more complicated when applying to SCA, as so much of it will depend on subjective matters related to your creative submissions… written and visual.

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.

So 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 or why USC SCA?” 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 SCA is truly significant and important to you specifically. And moreover, USC SCA does want to gain a sense as to what you will be uniquely contributing to the greater USC SCA community if admitted.

Your SCA supplements may very well be able to make up for lower test scores or GPA.

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

Good luck…