University of Southern California: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

USC

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The University of Southern California (USC) is a private research university with an acceptance rate of 13%. Located in the University Park neighborhood southwest of downtown Los Angeles, USC offers over 150 undergraduate majors with programs in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and Marshall School of Business drawing the greatest number of students. USC has strong research programs and is a member of the Association of American Universities, and for excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, USC has a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Academics are supported by an 8-to-1 student to faculty ratio. In athletics, the USC Trojans compete in the Pac 12 Conference.

Considering applying to this highly selective school? Here are the USC admissions statistics you should know.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, USC had an acceptance rate of 13%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 13 students were admitted, making USC's admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2017-18)
Number of Applicants 64,352
Percent Admitted 13%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 41%

SAT Scores and Requirements

USC requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 61% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 660 740
Math 690 790
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of USC's admitted students fall within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to USC scored between 660 and 740, while 25% scored below 660 and 25% scored above 740. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 690 and 790, while 25% scored below 690 and 25% scored above 790. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1530 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at USC.

Requirements

USC does not require the SAT writing section or SAT Subject tests. Note that USC participates in the scorechoice program, which means that the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all SAT test dates.

ACT Scores and Requirements

USC requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 52% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 32 35
Math 28 34
Composite 30 34

This admissions data tells us that most of USC's admitted students fall within the top 7% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to USC received a composite ACT score between 30 and 34, while 25% scored above 34 and 25% scored below 30.

Requirements

USC does not require the ACT writing section. Note that USC does not superscore ACT results; your highest combined score from a single test administration will be considered.

GPA

In 2018, the middle 50% of University of Southern California's incoming class had high school GPAs between 3.7 and 3.97. 25% had a GPA above 3.97, and 25% had a GPA below 3.7. These results suggest that most successful applicants to USC have primarily A and B grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

University of Southern California Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
University of Southern California Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to the University of Southern California. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

The University of Southern California has a highly competitive admissions pool with a low acceptance and high average SAT/ACT scores. However, USC has a holistic admissions process involving other factors beyond your grades and test scores. Strong application essays, and glowing letters of recommendation can strengthen your application, as can participation in meaningful extracurricular activities a rigorous course schedule. USC has additional application requirements for particular majors; applicants are encouraged to review the specific requirements for their intended major.

In the graph above, the blue and green dots representing accepted students are concentrated in the upper right corner. The majority of students who get accepted to the University of Southern California have "A" averages, SAT scores (ERW+M) above 1200, and ACT composite scores above 25. Higher test scores will improve your chances measurably, for over 75% of admitted students reported an ACT composite score of 30 or higher and a combined SAT score around 1300. But even if your grades and scores are on target for USC, you have no guarantee of admission. There are a lot of red dots hidden beneath the blue and green on the graph. Also keep in mind that a few students get accepted with scores a little below the average range. These are typically students with a special talent or unique personal circumstances.

USC Mission Statement

Complete mission statement available on the USC website.

"The central mission of the University of Southern California is the development of human beings and society as a whole through the cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit. The principal means by which our mission is accomplished are teaching, research, artistic creation, professional practice and selected forms of public service."