USC Acceptance Rate, Admission, SAT/ACT, GPA, Tuition, Ranking

The University of Southern California (USC) is one of the prestigious research institutions on the pacific coast of the United States, but its acceptance rate is a concern for intending applicants.  

In this article, we have analyzed the acceptance rate, admission procedure, and application requirements for admission at USC. 

So if you are intending applicant seeking a first-year or transfer admission into USC. We urge you to read this article till the end to find out essential information about admission at USC and what to include in your application profile. 

USC is a very selective university when to admission irrespective of the mode of entry. Most of its majors are very selective as well and only applicants with high GPAs and test scores can get into those majors.

The University of Southern California is an institution looking out for the best in students besides excellent academic records. Many applicants to USC think the criteria for admission into the university are dependent on high school grades and test scores.

What USC is looking for in students is beyond academics. USC is searching for students who participate in non-academic activities and those who show interest in getting involved with the community.

In a moment, we will get into full detail about these academic and non-academic activities that USC is looking for in applicants. And you will know what to include in your application to enhance your admission chances.

USC Acceptance Rate

About the University of Southern California (USC)

The University of Southern California (USC) traces back to the 19 century when Judge Robert Maclay Widney envisioned the establishment of a university in Los Angeles.

Over the next decade from the 1870s, lands and funds were donated by Ozro W. Childs, John G. Downey, and Isaias W. Hellman to bring USC into existence.

The University of Southern California began as a small institution in 1880. The first enrollment at USC was 53 students who were engaged in classes made up of 10 teachers. 

Today, the University of Southern California has over 48,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled in various fields of study.

The University of Southern California has become a private research institution with global recognition, and most of its current students hail from over 125 countries.

USC functions on a semester-based academic calendar. It offers degree programs and intensive research in engineering, arts and design, business, law, and medicine.

USC competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a member of the Pac-12 Conference, and the USC sports team has dominated the NCAA team championships.

Also Read: 33 South Carolina Universities and Ranking

List of Schools at the University of Southern California

  • Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences 
  • USC School in Architecture 
  • Roski School of Arts and Design 
  • Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business Innovation 
  • Marshall School of Business
  • USC School of Cinematic Arts
  • Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism 
  • Kauffman School of Dance 
  • USC School of Dramatic Arts 
  • Viterbi School of Engineering 
  • Davis School of Gerontology 
  • Keck School of Medicine 
  • Thornton School of Music 
  • Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
  • Gould School of Law
  • USC School of Pharmacy
  • Price School of Public Policy

The University of Southern California Rankings

Here are the recent rankings of the University of Southern California.

Times Higher Education Rankings

  • World University Rankings: 63rd 
  • U.S Rankings: 19th 
  • Engineering and Technology: 63rd 
  • Life Sciences: 98th 
  • Social Sciences: 45th 

U.Snews & World Report

  • 27th in National Universities 
  • 60th in Best College for Veterans
  • 46th in Most Innovative Schools 
  • 31st in Best College Undergraduate Engineering Program 

National Rankings

  • #1 College with the Best Student Life in America
  • #1 Best College for Design in America 
  • #1 Best Big College in America

State Rankings 

  • #1 Top Party School in California 
  • #1 Best College Athletics in California
  • #1 Best College for Business in California
  • #1 Best College for Communications in California 

Campus Life at USC

The University of Southern California has one of the best experiences to offer to college beginners. Students at USC enjoy the benefits of being among a diverse community with a common goal of academic excellence.

There are student clubs and organizations available on campus, so you would feel free to join any you are passionate about. Outdoor activities are also on campus, with athletic facilities where you can participate in leisure and fitness classes.

What is USC Acceptance Rate?

The University of Southern California is a prominent research institution, and many students perceive the university as a perfect destination to study and nurture a career. On the other hand, the state of California provides the opportunity of getting good-paying jobs, so Los Angeles is a perfect location to study and graduate.

In the last few years, the acceptance at USC has been selective by admitting below one quartet of its overall application. During each application year, the University of Southern California receives more than 50,000 applications, irrespective of its selective acceptance rate. 

During the last admission process at USC, the university received 71,031 applications and admitted 8,884 keeping the acceptance rate at 12.5%.

The next admission year reported approximately 69,000 applications, and 8,198 of those applications were successful. With 8,198 successful applications in the recent academic cycle, the acceptance rate at the University of Southern California remained at 12%.

It could have been a bit easier to get into USC with an Early Decision or Early Action program, but unfortunately, the University of Southern California does not offer any.

Also Read:10 Best Pre Med Schools in California

GPA Requirements at USC

High school GPAs are essential in your application to USC. The latest freshman at USC had a middle 50% GPA of 3.75-4.00 (unweighted) 

USC requires a high school GPA of 3.79 on average.

SAT and ACT Requirements

The latest freshman at USC had a middle 50% SAT score of 1370-1520. The average SAT score at USC is 1440 on the 1600 SAT scale.

Here are the stats for SAT by section.

SATScore Range
Critical Reading670-740
  • USC new freshman middle 50% ACT score: 31-34.
  • Average for ACT score: 32
ACTScore Range

First-Year Application Requirement

Who is a first-year applicant, and what are the academic records to submit during application?

First-year applicants are high school students who have graduated and earned a diploma or GED. The required application materials are listed below.

Official School Transcript

As a first-year applicant, you are required to submit official transcripts of all high school coursework completed. If you have also taken any college-level coursework, you should submit official transcripts as well.

Letter of Recommendation 

A letter of recommendation is required and it must come from either your school teacher or counsellor. Those who are applying to the School of Cinematic Arts are required to submit two letters of recommendation. 

Submit Your Fall Grades

When applying to USC, use the Mid-Year Report Form found on the Common Application.

Application Affirmations 

Affirmations will be available on the portal once USC receives your application, and you can submit your digital signature after the application deadline.

Additional Requirements 

Most schools at USC have specific requirements to apply to their majors, and you can find out about the requirements by clicking here.

What is USC Looking For in Students?

The University of Southern is very selective in its admission, with an acceptance rate that admits 12 students out of every 100. What could USC be looking for in students, and why is the acceptance rate so low?

Ordinarily, one would expect the criteria for admission are dependent on good grades and high test scores. Of course, grades contribute to an applicant’s position in an application pool. Most applicants who graduated from high school with near distinction academic records can easily get to a college or university.

But, the University of Southern California is looking for more than excellent academic records from high school. At USC, the admission committee evaluates your application holistically. 

What they are looking for? Your individual story, initiative, sense of leadership, and commitment to the community. USC is interested in your ability to handle rigorous coursework at school and your performance in test scores and writing. 

These are the characteristics that USC is searching for in intending applicants and the same thing applies to any college with a low acceptance rate.

Alao Read: 15 Best Schools For Business in California

Application Requirement for International Students

The application process at USC is the same for first-year, international, and transfer applicants. The University of Southern California is familiar with most countries’ schooling systems and your application will be evaluated accordingly. 

Here are academic materials to submit during your application. 

Official Academic Records

Before applying to USC, you must provide official copies of academic records obtained from secondary/high school, pre-university programs and colleges, or universities attended. 

All official records must be submitted directly to USC from your school or testing agency. If your records are in a different language, you should submit them with a translated English version. 

Submit External Exam Results

GCSE/IGCSE/ or predicted IB, A-Level, Indian board examination, Australia ATAR, results should be submitted during your application. 

Please note: kindly write your name in the Common Application the same way it appears on your passport. 

Standardized Testing 

The University of Southern California is test-optional for the next two application years. However, you can self-report test scores if you think it might increase your chances of admission.

English Proficiency

International applicants from countries where English is not an official language are required to submit English proficiency test scores. 

Here are the English processing test and required scores.

  • TOEFL or iBT Special Home Edition: minimum score of 100 with not less than 20 in each section
  • IELTS: Minimum score of 7
  • PTE: minimum score of 68
  • SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section: minimum score of 650
  • ACT English Section: minimum score of 27

What Is the Acceptance Rate for International Students at USC?

The state of California is arguably the preferred destination for international students who wants to study in the United States. They perceive the opportunity the California environment has to offer when it comes to jobs and building careers in specific fields of study.

Los Angeles is diverse in population, and so are institutions within the city.

USC is one of those universities in Los Angeles with a diverse community. Currently, the international students at USC hail from over 135 countries, enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs.

The acceptance rate for international students at the University of Southern California is approximately 12% which is pretty much the same as the overall admit rate.

Application Requirement for Transfer Admission

For a successful application to USC, here are the requirements for transfer admission.

Official High School Transcript 

Transfer students must provide an official high school transcript with the date of graduation inclusive.

Transfer applicants who did not complete high school education can submit transcripts that show grades they achieved before leaving school.

Official College Transcripts 

Submit official transcripts of coursework completed at college or university attended.

USC needs to evaluate your recent fall term grades, so ensure that your school posted them before sending transcripts.

A letter of recommendation is optional and may be required by some majors at USC.

Tips for Successful Transfer Admission

  • Provide at least a year of rigorous, full-time coursework and excellent academic grades.
  • Ensure you achieve a minimum GPA of 3.7 or above. The new transfer students currently enrolled at USC had an average college GPA of 3.7-4.0.
  • Show steady progress on a particular degree with at least a year of rigorous or full-time academic coursework. 
  • Ensure to complete the equivalent of USC lower-division Writing requirements.
  • Meet the USC average Math requirement by demonstrating proficiency in Algebra II (high school) or intermediate Algebra (in college) with a grade of C or above. 
  • Try to meet the USC General Education requirement 

What Is the Acceptance Rate For Transfer Students at the University of Southern California?

The University of Southern California received 9,988 transfer applications in the last admission year, and 2,208 of those applications were accepted. Most of the successful transfer applicants were students from community colleges in California. 

With 2,208 transfer students offered admission into USC, this keeps the acceptance rate for transfer students at 22.1%.

Also Read: 25 Cheapest Universities in USA for International Students

The University of Southern California Tuition and Fees

Here is the estimated cost of attendance for undergraduates.

On/Off Campus
With Parents or Relatives
Tuition (12-18 units for two semesters)$63,468$63,468
Books and supplies$1,200$1,200
Personal and miscellaneous$1,702$1,702


The University of California Contact Address

  • School Address: : Los Angeles, CA 90007, United States
  • Phone: +1 213-740-2311

Frequently Asked Questions about the University of Southern California (USC) Acceptance Rate

These are some of the frequently asked questions regarding the acceptance rate at USC.

What is the minimum GPA to get into USC?

The minimum GPA requirement at USC is 3.79. You should consider getting more As in your high school courses to emerge as a strong applicant for admission. 

Is it harder to get into UCLA or USC?

The acceptance rate for both UCLA and USC are pretty much selective. The California-based universities have their acceptance rate below 15% and they are very selective when it comes to admission. 

What is the acceptance rate at USC?

The University of Southern California has an acceptance rate that admits only 12 students out of every 100. Which simply implies that the acceptance rate at USC is 12.5&.

Is it difficult to get into USC?

USC admitted 8,884 students out of 71,031, keeping the acceptance rate at 12.5%. It could have been easier to get into USC via Early Decision or Action, but unfortunately, USC does not offer any.


Over the last 141 years, the University of Southern California has evolved into an institution of prestige and excellence. Taking college education and research to a new phase.

What began as an institution of 53 students, today has over 48,000 enrolled in various fields of study.

We believe to have provided the essential information you need to apply to USC and what the university is looking for in applicants.



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