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The University of Southern California (USC) is a highly-ranked private school located in Los Angeles, and, as a result, it draws thousands of qualified applicants each year. If you're applying here, you are probably wondering what the USC admissions requirements are and what you'll need to stand out as an applicant.
In this article, we explain how to get into USC, offering you specific tips for what you can improve in your application. But first, how hard is it to get into USC?
Feature Image: Ken Lund /Flickr
How Hard Is It to Get Into USC?
USC is a very selective university with an acceptance rate of just under 12% —this means fewer than 1 in 8 students gets accepted.
Here's how USC's official news website describes its student body:
"The average unweighted GPA is 3.91, which represents a historic high. Diversity and access continue to take priority, with the percentage of first-generation college students notching just above 20%, its highest-ever rate.”
Looking at this data alone, we can say with confidence that it's generally pretty difficult to get into USC.
So what kind of applicants is USC looking for? Let's take a look.
What USC Looks For in Applicants
Because USC is so competitive, and because there are so many applicants applying each year, this school is looking for the best of the best when it comes to applicants.
Here's what USC writes about applicants on its website :
"We look for those students we believe will thrive at USC. Our application process is designed to discover your individual story, so that we might see how you would take advantage of the many opportunities available at USC. … We will review your performance in school, the rigor of your program, your writing skills and any test scores you choose to submit. We also consider personal qualities, as revealed in community involvement, leadership and achievements."
In addition to strong numbers (i.e., test scores and grades/GPA), USC wishes to admit applicants with strong "personal qualities." These qualities can be illuminated through either academic or non-academic accomplishments, community service/volunteer efforts, or leadership experiences (for example, maybe you're the captain of the track team or you once organized a successful food drive at your school).
As PrepScholar co-founder and perfect SAT / ACT scorer Allen Cheng discusses in his detailed guide to getting into Harvard , USC, like Harvard and other top schools, prefers applicants with "spikes" in their extracurriculars—those with strong passions for specific activities or interests.
After all, with USC's over 70,000 applicants each year, you'll definitely need something to help your application stand out!
Here's how USC describes its most successful students to give you more of an idea of what they're looking for in applicants:
"USC students pursue ambitious intellectual and professional goals by studying across disciplines and taking advantage of the diversity of programs available. They are willing to venture outside their comfort zones. They are interested in the world, in other peoples and cultures, and enjoy examining important issues from a global perspective."
As you can see, USC is looking for applicants who aren't just academically gifted but who are also willing to challenge their limits, learn about new fields, and assume a global perspective.
Can You Apply Early Action or Early Decision to USC?
Like many other private and prestigious universities, USC offers an early action consideration plan to first-year students for most majors . USC Admissions says this about applying Early Action to USC :
“Early Action (EA) is non-binding, non-restrictive, and is not available for majors requiring a portfolio or audition. Students must apply EA in order to be considered for USC Merit Scholarships , unless their intended major does not participate in Early Action. Students applying to majors requiring a portfolio or audition (see below) will be considered for USC Merit Scholarships as part of their Regular Decision process.”
Although you can't apply early to USC to demonstrate your interest in attending the university, you can (and definitely should) let the admissions committee know about your interest in it so they can take this into consideration as they sift through the thousands of applications they get.
Getting Into USC: Logistics and Deadlines
All freshman applicants to USC must apply through the Common Application . Here's a checklist of all the major USC admission requirements:
- USC Writing Supplement (on Common App)
- records the highest scores for those who have taken tests more than once. For the SAT and ACT, the highest scores for each section of the exam will be recorded, even if achieved in different sittings. USC does not require the writing section for either the ACT or the SAT. Applicants may also submit AP test scores, IB test scores, and TOEFL scores (if international)
- Transcripts showing all high school coursework and any college coursework completed
- Letter(s) of recommendation—the number of letters you must submit to USC depends on the program/school you're applying to
- Additional materials , such as a portfolio, writing sample, or resume ( only if required by your specific program/school)
- Fall grades—these can be submitted via the Mid-Year Report Form on the Common App
As indicated above, certain schools and programs at USC require additional materials from applicants. The following table shows the schools and programs that require supplementary documents and information (in addition to all the components listed above):
*Exact supplementary materials required for admission will vary depending on the major.
Now, let's take a look at all the major USC deadlines , ordered from soonest to latest.
November 1, 2022
- Students must apply Early Action to be considered for USC merit scholarships, unless their intended major does not participate in Early Action
- Students applying to majors requiring a portfolio or audition will be considered for merit scholarships as a part of their Regular Decision application
December 1, 2022
Freshman and transfer application deadline for Regular Decision
Freshman and transfer application deadline for the following majors requiring a portfolio or audition:
Dramatic Arts (BFA programs only)
Cinematic Arts and Music (BFA programs only)
Kaufman School of Dance
- Thornton School of Music
Iovine and Young Academy
January 9, 2023
Deadline to submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile for Early Action applicants who wish to be considered for need-based financial aid.
January 15, 2023
Freshman application deadline for all other majors (without merit scholarship consideration)
Mid- to Late-January 2023
Applicants selecting Early Action will be notified of their admission or deferral to Regular Decision
February 10, 2023
February 15, 2023.
Transfer application deadline for all other majors (without merit scholarship consideration)
March 2, 2023
Transfer Priority Deadline to submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile for need-based financial aid consideration
Cal Grant application deadline (for California residents)
Freshman Regular Decision applicants will be notified of their admission decision
May 31, 2023
(For transfer applicants) Last day by which final admission notifications will be sent out
(For transfer applicants) Last day by which scholarship status notifications will be sent out
USC Admission Requirements: 5 Tips for Getting In
Now that you know the logistics of applying, let's take a look at how to get into USC. What do you need in your application to increase your chance of getting into USC, one of the most prestigious colleges in the country?
#1: Get a High GPA
Admitted applicants to USC typically have very strong GPAs.
For the fall 2022 class, the 25th/75th percentile high school GPA range was 3.82-4.0 . This means that the majority of admitted applicants had relatively strong grades, getting mostly or all As and possibly a few Bs.
If your GPA is below 3.8, you'll most likely have a more difficult time getting into USC. Therefore, it's best to aim as high as you can, preferably at least around a 3.85, so you will be above average but won't suffer too badly if you get a B in one or two classes.
If you're having trouble maintaining a high GPA, figure out which classes are bringing down your grades and then consider spending more time studying for those classes or hiring a tutor to give you the extra support you need.
#2: Have a Rigorous, Challenging Course Load
Another important aspect USC wants to see in applicants is evidence of a strong and challenging course load. Ideal applicants will have taken a fair share of AP, honors, and/or IB classes.
Here's how USC describes its ideal applicants on its undergraduate admissions website:
"Outside of mathematics, no specific curriculum is prescribed or required, though students offered admission typically pursue the most rigorous program available to them in English, science, social studies, foreign language and the arts. Students are expected to have earned a grade of C or better in at least three years of high school mathematics, including Advanced Algebra (Algebra II). Careful attention is paid to preparation for the intended major."
In addition to doing well in classes, strong applicants will have excelled in a rigorous academic program, particularly in classes relevant to their intended majors.
If you're a junior or younger and haven't taken any challenging courses yet, try to sign up for some AP, honors, or IB classes the following academic year and for each subsequent year you're in high school.
It's best to choose challenging classes that focus on the fields in which you're already strong or have a large interest in studying. For example, if you're a science buff, you could take AP Bio or AP Physics.
While you don't need to make every class you take a super hard one, aim to take about three to five upper-level classes each school year, at the very least starting your junior year. This doesn't necessarily mean you must take the AP tests that go with these courses , though it's not a bad idea to do so since it might earn you some college credit!
#3: Earn Strong SAT/ACT Scores
Note : For students applying during 2022-2023, USC is test-optional. For the 2021-2022 application year, 47% of applicants submitted SAT or ACT scores. However, you may still want to consider submitting test scores if you have particularly high scores, or if you feel your scores represent your abilities better than your GPA.
In general, USC expects fairly high SAT/ACT scores from strong applicants.
Below are the middle 50%, or average, score ranges * for both the SAT and ACT for the fall 2021 USC freshman class:
- Composite: 1330-1520
- Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW): 650-740
- Math: 670-780
- Composite: 30-34
- English: 32-35
- Math: 28-34
*The lower score in each range is the 25th percentile (meaning 25% of applicants or fewer got this score), and the higher score is the 75th percentile (meaning 75% or fewer got this score).
Clearly, you'll need to have a pretty high SAT/ACT score in order to be considered a competitive applicant to USC. For the SAT, most applicants have a minimum score of 1330, or the 90th percentile nationally .
Meanwhile, for the ACT, most applicants have a minimum score of 30, or the 93rd percentile nationally . In other words, you'll need to score in the top 5% of test takers in order to meet just the 25th percentile score at USC.
Although getting a score below USC's 25th percentile threshold doesn't automatically mean you'll be rejected, it does indicate that it'll likely be harder for you to get into USC unless you have other significantly impressive qualities.
If you don't meet this "minimum" threshold (1330 on the SAT and 30 on the ACT), the best course of action is to try to raise your SAT/ACT score. One way to do this is to make an SAT / ACT study plan that caters to your weaknesses. I also recommend checking out our guides for some tips on how to increase your SAT or ACT score .
If you prefer having more hands-on guidance in your test prep, consider using our online SAT or ACT prep program , which is 100% customized to your test-prep needs and includes realistic questions written by real top scorers .
#4: Write Excellent Essays
In addition to the Common App essay , you're required to write one shorter essay as part of the USC Writing Supplement. Your essay must be no longer than 250 words, or about half the length of a typical college admissions essay. Also, you have the chance to respond to a second, optional essay, which also has a 250 word limit.
The required and optional prompts are as follows:
The first prompt is a version of the very popular “why this college” essay . USC wants to see that you’re thinking about how you’ll be an active and engaged academic citizen, and, most importantly, why you want to study your areas of interest at USC specifically. Consider mentioning professors you’d like to study with, research projects you’d like to participate in, or specific programs, seminars, or study abroad opportunities you’d like to take advantage of at USC.
Then there’s the second USC supplemental essay prompt, which is optional. However, if there is a gap in your enrollment in school (besides a summer break), it’s a really good idea to respond to this prompt as well. You’ll get the chance to provide an explanation for an anomaly in your academic record and make a case for yourself as an applicant. To the extent that you feel comfortable, explain the circumstances that led to the gap in your enrollment, what you spent that gap time doing, and what you learned from it.
Overall, in order to ensure you're submitting excellent essays to USC, be sure to use specific details, be honest about your experiences and feelings, and edit and proofread each essay before sending it in. Get more expert tips by reading our guide to the USC supplement.
Overall, in order to ensure you're submitting two excellent essays to USC, be sure to use specific details, be honest about your experiences and feelings, and edit and proofread each essay before sending it in. Get more expert tips by reading our guide to the USC supplement .
It's also important to note that some programs and schools require additional essays or short answers. For example, those applying to the School of Architecture must answer extra questions in the Architecture Writing Supplement.
These school-specific essays are just as important as, if not more than, the general USC essays you must write. Why? Because these essays ask you even more specific questions that relate to your intended field of study. Thus, you'll need to be able to clearly explain exactly why you're interested in the field/program/school you're applying to.
#5: Craft an Impressive Portfolio (Required for Certain Programs)
Some programs at USC require the submission of creative portfolios along with the more general requirements listed above.
If a portfolio is required, it'll likely be one of the most important parts of your application. Make sure your portfolio follows all instructions, is 100% original, and is emblematic of your own creative mind, abilities, and goals.
Here are all the schools at USC that require the submission of a portfolio:
- School of Architecture
- Roski School of Art and Design
- Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation
- USC School of Cinematic Arts
- USC School of Dramatic Arts
- Glorya Kaufman School of Dance
USC is a great college in California, but it's not the only one there! If you want to attend college in the Golden State, you'll benefit from learning how to apply to the UC schools and getting info on the cheapest colleges in California .
How does USC's selectivity compare with those of other top colleges? Get the answer in our guide to the most selective schools in the nation !
USC likely isn't the only school you're applying to. Check out our guides to learn more about how to get into Columbia and how to get into NYU .
Want to get into USC or your personal top choice college?
We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies . We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools , from state colleges to the Ivy League.
Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in.
Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.
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What Is a Personal Essay (Personal Statement)?
Glossary of grammatical and rhetorical terms.
- An Introduction to Punctuation
- Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
- M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
- B.A., English, State University of New York
A personal essay is a short work of autobiographical nonfiction characterized by a sense of intimacy and a conversational manner. Also called a personal statement .
A type of creative nonfiction , the personal essay is "all over the map," according to Annie Dillard. "There's nothing you can't do with it. No subject matter is forbidden, no structure is prescribed. You get to make up your own form every time." ("To Fashion a Text," 1998) .
Examples of Personal Essays
- An Apology for Idlers , by Robert Louis Stevenson
- On Laziness , by Christopher Morley
- Coney Island at Night, by James Huneker
- New Year's Eve , by Charles Lamb
- How It Feels to Be Colored Me , by Zora Neale Hurston
- My Wood, by E.M. Forster
- Two Ways of Seeing a River , by Mark Twain
- What I Think and Feel at 25, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The personal essay is one of the most common types of writing assignment--and not only in freshman composition courses. Many employers, as well as graduate and professional schools, will ask you to submit a personal essay (sometimes called a personal statement ) before even considering you for an interview. Being able to compose a coherent version of yourself in words is clearly an important skill.
- What qualities does a personal essay reveal about you? Here are just a few:
- Communication Skills How effective are your communication skills? Do you write clearly, concisely, and correctly? Note that many employers put communication skills at the top of the list of essential qualifications.
- Critical Thinking Skills How fresh and imaginative are you in your thinking? Is your writing cluttered with cliches , or is it obvious that you have original ideas to contribute?
- Maturity What specific lessons have you learned from experience, and are you ready to apply those lessons to the job or the academic program you're considering? Keep in mind that it's not enough to be able to recount a personal experience; you should be prepared to interpret it as well.
- Self and Subject in Personal Essays "[W]here the familiar essay is characterized by its everyday subject matter, the personal essay is defined more by the personality of its writer, which takes precedence over the subject. On the other hand, the personal essayist does not place himself firmly in center stage, as does the autobiographical essayist; the autobiographical element of the personal essay is far less calculated..."
- The Essayist's Persona "Personal essayists from Montaigne on have been fascinated with the changeableness and plasticity of the materials of human personality. Starting with self-description, they have realized they can never render all at once the entire complexity of a personality. So they have elected to follow an additive strategy, offering incomplete shards, one mask or persona after another: the eager, skeptical, amiable, tender, curmudgeonly, antic, somber. If 'we must remove the mask,' it is only to substitute another mask..."
- The "Antigenre": An Alternative to Academic Prose "[T]he more personal essay offers an escape from the confines of academic prose . By using this antigenre form that in contemporary essays embodies multiple kinds of writing, many essayists in search of democracy find a freedom for expressing in their writings spontaneity, self-reflexivity, accessibility, and a rhetoric of sincerity."
- Teaching the Personal Essay "Given the opportunity to speak their own authority as writers, given a turn in the conversation, students can claim their stories as primary source material and transform their experiences into evidence ..."
- Essay Forms "Despite the anthologists' custom of presenting essays as 'models of organization ,' it is the loose structure or apparent shapelessness of the essay that is often stressed in standard definitions. . . . Samuel Johnson famously defined the essay as 'an irregular, indigested piece, not a regular and orderly performance.' And certainly, a number of essayists (Hazlitt and Emerson, for instance, after the fashion of Montaigne) are readily identifiable by the wayward or fragmentary nature of their explorations. Yet each of these writers observes certain distinctive organizing (or disorganizing) principles of his own, thus charting the ramble and shaping the form. As Jeanette Harris observes in Expressive Discourse , 'Even in the case of a personal essay , which may appear informal and loosely structured, the writer has crafted with care this very appearance of informality' (122).
Theresa Werner, "Personal Essay." Encyclopedia of the Essay , ed. by Tracy Chevalier. Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997
E.B. White , Foreword to Essays of E.B. White . Harper and Row, 1977
Cristina Kirklighter, Traversing the Democratic Borders of the Essay . SUNY Press, 2002
Nancy Sommers, "Between the Drafts." College Composition and Communication , February 1992
Richard F. Nordquist, "Voices of the Modern Essay." Dissertation University of Georgia, 1991
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4 University of Southern California (USC) Essays That Worked
Applying to USC in 2023 means that you are facing a lot of competition.
Luckily, one of the most effective tools you have to stand out from the crowd is your essays and responses to USC's writing supplement.
In this article, I've gathered 4 of the best essays from students admitted into the University of Southern California so that you can get inspired and improve your own USC essays.
What is University of Southern California's Acceptance Rate?
This past year, a record 70,971 students applied to USC and only 8,804 students were offered admission. That means USC had an overall acceptance rate of only 12.4%.
If you're trying to maximize your shot of getting into USC, writing essays that show why you should be accepted is one of your best strategies.
USC Acceptance Scattergram
The more competitive a school admissions is, the more heavily your essays are weighed. Let's check out the USC prompts for this year.
What are the University of Southern California Supplemental Prompts for 2022-23?
For its application this year, USC requires students to respond to three short essay questions and ten short answer questions.
USC has an intensive writing section, which means its even more important for you to make your responses the best they can be.
Here are the University of Southern California prompts for 2023:
Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (Approximately 250 words) (1-250 words)
Starting with the beginning of high school/secondary school, if you have had a gap where you were not enrolled in school during a fall or spring term, please address this gap in your educational history. You do not need to address a summer break. (0-250 words)
Describe yourself in three words.
What is your favorite snack?
Best movie of all time:
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
What TV show will you binge watch next?
Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate?
If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be?
4 University of Southern California Essays That Worked
Here are 4 of the best USC essays that worked for this years writing supplement.
Below you can read how admitted USC students answered the short essay and short answer questions. In addition, I've included some Common App personal statements examples recently accepted students.
See exactly how students got into USC and get inspired:
USC Essay Example #1
Usc essay example #2, usc essay example #3, usc essay example #4.
Prompt: What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you? (250 words max)
If I had a fatal flaw it would be loyalty. Of all the things I value, the one thing I value the most is my family. Coming after family is my friends; I consider my friends to be an extended branch of family. My close friends know that I value my friendship and that I would do almost anything for them if they asked me. I am very trusting with my friends, because I know that if I am there to support them, they will be there to support me. Without my friends, I would not be who and where I am now, as they have helped me through my years and shaped me to be the trusting and loyal person I am.
Very often, I put my friends before me, and this is because I know that if I were in the same situation as them, they would opt to help me. My loyalty to my friends helps them understand why I do what I do, and it helps me make even more friends. Wherever I go, I want to go with friends, because I believe that I can go farther when I have others with me rather than going fast and alone, but not as far.
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The sounds of my knife striking kale unnerves my cat asleep in the corner. He quickly runs over to examine the situation but becomes instantly uninterested when he sees green and smells bitterness. Unfortunately, my family has this same reaction every day of every week.
They question, “It’s bad enough that you’re going to eat kale, but do you really have to massage it?” I respond with a deep breath, during which I recall information from nutritionfacts.org. I begin to explain, “Well you see, it takes away the bitterness, because kale is composed of cellulose, so when you massage it with a strong acid–”but as I continue to delve into my rather scientific and oftentimes molecular rationale behind transforming myself into a masseuse to make a salad, everyone begins snoring. I guess no one has ever understood my immense love for the science behind cooking (and probably never will).
Sure, my family, friends, small, undiverse and traditional high school all look at me like I am crazy, but I guess that is because I am. I do not look at kale and think “dark green, bitter, disgusting plant.” Instead, I see proteins and anticarcinogenic properties--analyzing the anatomy of food seems to occupy my mind.
Cooking is an art, visual, creative and instinctive. My favorite nights are spent with knife in hand and sweet potatoes in the oven. Food is my artist outlet, and one of the few things to feed my soul (and my stomach, too).
- Improve your essays in minutes, not hours
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Prompt: Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 words max)
All throughout my life, I always loved doing math no matter what the concept. My love for math led to me taking advanced math classes for my grade. I even had to take a bus to a high school when I was in middle school to take an advanced math class. I always knew that I would want to pursue a career dealing with mathematics, but I was not really sure until my junior year. I had not decided what I wanted to be in the future, so my uncle suggested being a CPA, and I looked into it. When I did my research, it interested me as they made a decent amount of money and they worked with numbers.
At USC, I would like to major in accounting and gain the opportunity to possibly receive an internship at one of the big accounting firms in Los Angeles through the networking of USC. If I were able to get an internship, I would be able to gain experience for when I graduate and search for a job. I would also consider going for a Masters of Business Administration as I know that USC has one of the best business programs in the country.
I had never considered traveling across the country to pursue an education. In fact, living in Pittsburgh all of my life and growing up with people who are so adamant about staying put, forced me to believe that I too had to box myself into this small, yet evolving city. However, now I can confidently tell my friends and family that I want to travel to California for college (and ignore their odd looks).
What strikes me most about USC is its ability to maintain uniformity despite its diverse student body--in interests, ethnicity, and opinion. There are not many schools where I could be best friends with filmmakers, artists, photographers, chemists, potential CEOs, and writers. Although all of these people are spread across different schools, they still seem to maintain a cultural unity. Being surrounded by such a distinct trojan pride combined with the ambitious atmosphere would be both inspiring and propulsive.
At USC, I would not have to confine to merely one of my interests. I have always had aspirations of becoming a doctor and pursuing neuroscience, but have never felt comfortable ignoring the humanities. As a Trojan, I could pursue research at the Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center or even take part in PIBBS, while also honing my writing skills through the intricate Writing Program.
Much like the students, my interests could somehow be molded into a diverse uniformity, and I could prove my fellow Pittsburghers that perhaps they need to move around more.
- Make a Strong Impression
- Impress Admissions Officers
- Write Outstanding Essays
- ...and Get Accepted!
If you want to get into the University of Southern California, you'll need to answer the USC writing supplement questions as best you can. To help improve your essays, you can read these 6 essays that worked for USC and see how students got accepted.
Let me know: what do you think about these USC's essays?
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USC Essay Examples
USC Essay Examples – Introduction
If you’ve been searching for USC Essay Examples, you’re in the right place. The University of Southern California is a private university located in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, USC has 21,000 undergraduates and is a premier research university in the United States. So, it’s no surprise that the USC admissions is very competitive. The most recent USC acceptance rate was under 12% , lower than the average USC acceptance rate of 16%.
USC has a total undergraduate enrollment of 20,790 students, as of Fall 2021. It is ranked #25 in the U.S. News College Rankings. Its ranking, paired with the low USC acceptance rate, qualifies USC as a very competitive university. According to their website , most first-year students were in the top 10% of their high school class.
An Overview of USC Application Requirements
To understand how to get into USC, you must thoroughly examine the USC application requirements. This includes the USC supplemental essays. In this article about USC essay examples, we’ll look at USC essays that worked. We’ll also provide a breakdown of why these USC supplemental essay examples were effective. That way, you can learn how to write the best USC essay.
Let’s take a closer look at the USC application requirements. When you apply, you’ll submit several USC supplemental essays in addition to your Common App or Coalition App personal statement . Below, we will go through each of the USC essay prompts for the 2022-2023 admissions cycle. We’ll also provide USC essay examples and USC supplemental essays examples.
How many supplemental essays does USC have?
Technically there are 12-13 USC supplemental essays. However, don’t let that number scare you. Most of these are short answer essays, which are much easier to write than the typical supplemental essay.
The USC application only requires you to write one or two 250-word supplemental essays depending on your choice of major. You’ll also complete 10 short answer essays and one optional 250-word essay.
You should mostly focus on the required USC essay (or essays). Most students will only complete the required USC essay prompts. We’ll explore some USC supplemental essays examples—or USC essays that worked—later on in this article. That way, you can understand how to craft a successful USC essay.
Essays are a key part of the USC application requirements. So, use these USC essay examples as a blueprint. Then, model your USC essays after our USC supplemental essays examples. Remember, the USC essays are a way for USC admissions to learn more about your unique experiences. By reading your USC essays, USC learns who you are beyond the numbers and why you belong on campus.
As of this year, USC admissions is test-optional . This means that the SAT/ACT is not part of the USC application requirements. If you don’t submit test scores, writing strong USC supplemental essays is even more important. So, make sure you understand why these USC supplemental essays examples stood out. Read these USC essay examples of USC essays that worked to learn what will make your USC essay shine.
What are the USC essay prompts?
Usc supplemental essay requirements for 2022-2023.
- Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (Approximately 250 words) (REQUIRED)
- Starting with the beginning of high school/secondary school, if you have had a gap where you were not enrolled in school during a fall or spring term, please address this gap in your educational history. You do not need to address a summer break. (OPTIONAL)
The second USC essay prompt listed above is optional and is not included in the USC application requirements. So, we have not included it in our USC supplemental essays examples. If this prompt applies to your experience, you should answer it. Try to be straightforward and honest about your personal reasons for having a gap in your educational history.
USC Short Answer Essays
For the USC application requirements, applicants are also asked to complete 10 short-answer questions. These are not the same length as the USC supplemental essays or the other USC supplemental essays examples. They have a 25-100 character limit.
The short answer USC supplemental essays are:
- Describe yourself in three words.
- What is your favorite snack?
- Best movie of all time:
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Dream trip:, what tv show will you binge watch next, which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate, favorite book:, if you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be.
These short answer USC supplemental essays, or “ short takes ,” are designed to help USC get to know you personally. These are more straightforward than the longer “Why USC” essay examples that we’ll look at. So, don’t stress yourself out trying to choose the perfect answer! This could be a chance to showcase parts of your personality that aren’t clear from the rest of your USC application.
When reading this article on USC essay examples, keep in mind that the USC essay prompts are subject to change. That means the USC essay examples below will not match perfectly to the USC essay prompts above. They also might not match USC essay examples from other previous years.
However, these USC essay examples that worked can still provide insight into what makes USC supplemental essays successful. This can help you learn how to make your USC essay stand out to the USC admissions committee.
USC essay examples
First, we’ll go over the two longer USC essay prompts. Then, we’ll analyze some USC essay examples—not just any examples, but specifically USC essays that worked.
The first of our USC essay examples answers a USC essay prompt from a previous year. Though this question is not available this year, it can still be helpful. Remember, the USC supplemental essays give you the chance to highlight aspects of your identity and beliefs. As these USC supplemental essays examples demonstrate, when writing your USC supplemental essay, you should reveal something unique about your experiences.
USC believes that one learns best when interacting with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Tell us about a time you were exposed to a new idea or when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view. (250 words)
Usc essay examples #1.
“Maybe I’m playing the devil’s advocate here, but rural white Americans have been marginalized by our economy. Think about coal-miners whose livelihoods depend on this job. Imagine how threatening global warming policies would be.” Silence. Shock was discernible in the sideways glances of my peers, who like me, were processing this statement.
I attend a private Christian high school. Located in the heart of Hollywood, it has exposed me to diversity of many kinds: religious, racial, and socioeconomic. However, the majority of us hold the same political views, hence our aforementioned reaction. Here he was– teaching at a liberal L.A. high school– asking us to consider the opposing perspective. In this climate of increasing political polarization, his proposition was refreshing. I found solace in this newfound ability to analyze current issues through an academic lens and explore different perspectives in the safety of our classroom. These discussions helped me recognize and overcome my own unconscious bias for the sake of learning, which ultimately expanded my worldview.
At a crossroads to either remain happily entrapped in the bubble of my beliefs, or expose myself to new perspectives, I chose the path of most resistance, bursting the bubble of political ignorance that threatens to divide people. Rather than delegitimizing different outlooks, I will embrace diversity at USC, listening to every perspective with an open mind. Though I initially misunderstood him, I realize now that my teacher had the right mentality; we could all stand to play the devil’s advocate once in a while.
Why did this USC essay work?
To write one of the many USC essays that worked, you must tell a concise and thoughtful story. Your essay should highlight aspects of your personality not seen elsewhere in your application.
As the first of our USC supplemental essays examples demonstrates, many successful USC supplemental essays also describe a personal change. This USC essay example shows the admissions committee that this applicant is a critical thinker with the ability to self-reflect.
Of course, we don’t know who the writers of these USC supplemental essays examples are. Still, this essay discusses a piece of the writer’s experience likely not clear from their extracurriculars or intended major . Successful USC essay examples, however, should highlight a student’s character. Whether the author is a pre-med student or a history buff, their understanding of political polarization adds depth and to their profile. In this USC essay example, we don’t just learn who the author is. We also learn how they think and how they would operate on USC’s campus.
Crucially, this USC essay example does not just describe an experience. It also focuses on the personal growth the student underwent. When thinking about what experiences to write about for your USC supplementals, ask yourself: how did this experience change me? What were my views on myself and the world before this experience, and what were my views after? As shown in the best of our USC supplemental essays examples, this essay demonstrates that the student has undergone a change in perspective.
Additionally, our USC supplemental essays examples are well-structured and concise. This essay is no exception. When you only have 250 words to tell a story, a clear structure is paramount. By choosing to start with a quote from a teacher and moving into an anecdote, the writer immediately puts us, the readers, in their place. In this USC essay example, an anecdote serves as the “hook” for the essay. It engages the reader and makes them listen to what the author has to say.
As the author of these USC supplemental essays examples demonstrates, you should “hook” your reader with an attention-grabbing statement. Then, use the rest of your essay to tell your story. The writer’s use of an anecdote in their USC essay example grabs our attention. It makes us want to finish reading their USC supplemental essay—and offer them a spot at USC.
Why USC Essay Examples
The next two USC supplemental essays examples are examples of the “Why USC?” essay. The “Why USC” essay serves to convey to the USC admissions committee why you belong at USC. It does so through two “whys”: first, why you would like to go to USC, and second, why USC admissions should accept you.
In these USC supplemental essays examples, the writers detail their academic plans. They also highlight why USC is the best place for them to pursue those plans. Read these two USC essay examples to see how these students used their USC supplemental essays to enhance their USC applications.
Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (Max 250 words)
Why usc essay examples #1.
Eleven years of dancing have given me a unique fascination for human biology. With each grand jeté and every pirouette, the biological systems in my body—circulatory, respiratory, nervous, and skeletal—operate together in their own constant dance, their harmonious movement choreographed by the brain. I am amazed by our bodies’ complexity, present even in the simplest of acts (it takes just eight muscles to point my toes). I’ve chosen to major in Human Biology, confident it will satisfy the insatiable curiosity I developed in dance class. Not only would its core requirements build upon what I’ve already explored in high school, it would allow me to delve into topics that pique my interest: genetics, evolutionary medicine, and neurobiology.
While Human Biology would stimulate my intellect, my second choice major—Global Health— would challenge me to apply biology to the real world. Through this interdisciplinary major, I would be expanding various science-based courses to the humanities through electives like AIDS in Society and Cultural Competence in Medicine. Both of these majors are career-oriented and excite me to be a Trojan.
Although my ultimate goal is to become a doctor (possibly a neurologist), I am very passionate about doing missionary work in Peru after I finish pre-med. Applying my medical studies to serving impoverished Peruvian communities would give purpose to my family’s sacrifices for my education, and it would answer the question I have always asked myself: How can I make the greatest change in the world?
Let’s take a closer look at the second of our USC supplemental essays examples. As one of our “Why USC” essay examples, it focuses on specific majors and courses that will help the applicant achieve their career goals. When writing a “why USC” essay, or any “Why this college” essay, consider specificity . This student could study biology anywhere, so why should they study it at USC?
Their answer in this USC supplemental is clear, thoughtful, and well-explained. In the first of our Why USC essay examples, the student highlights USC’s majors of Human Biology and Global Health . It shows how these programs would provide the interdisciplinary education that this student is looking for. The unique electives will not only help the student on their way to becoming a doctor; they would also contribute to their humanitarian passions.
A great hook
The “hook” of this why USC essays examples also makes it special. The student weaves dance, one of their extracurriculars, into why they want to study human biology . In number two of our USC supplemental essays examples, this student employs a creative tactic to uniting two seemingly disparate interests: dance and a career in medicine. If the USC admissions committee were just reading this student’s resume and intended major without their USC supplemental, they would have no idea how this students’ hours of dance practice related to their dreams of becoming a doctor . Compared to other Why USC essay examples, this essay adds crucial information to the student’s USC application.
Why USC Essay Examples #2
Captivated by connections between biology, public policy, and the social sciences, I hope to pursue a career in healthcare leadership that, uniting these fields, enables me to enhance the health and wellbeing of broad populations. USC’s strong focus on interdisciplinary exploration within and outside the classroom would encourage me to develop the necessary capacity to collaborate across multiple pathways, while building a deep understanding of the systems and complexities underlying the challenges of managing population health.
The Global Health and Health Promotion & Disease Prevention majors would allow me to explore these complexities through courses such as Case Studies in Global Health, which surveys different international responses to healthcare crises. Through Behavioral Medicine and Biological & Behavioral Basis of Disease, I could pursue my interests in psychology and study with faculty who focus on systemic connections, like one professor’s investigations into the overlap between behavioral health and biological stress responses.
USC’s interconnectedness extends beyond pure academics—working with the Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, particularly the Ensuring Human Rights in Family Planning & Contraceptive Programs initiative, could provide valuable hands-on experience navigating social issues in a medical context. Similarly, the USC Inter-Health Council would provide unique opportunities to interact with diverse groups within a healthcare framework.
Increasingly, healthcare advances come with pressing questions about how to most efficiently and equitably manage them for the greatest public impact. USC’s emphasis on interdisciplinary learning offers the perfect environment to develop the multifaceted knowledge and creativity needed to successfully address these challenges.
Similar to the previous example, the third of our three USC supplemental essays examples shines in its specificity. The student who wrote the second one of these Why USC essay examples clearly has done their research. They list multiple unique opportunities that only USC could offer. They have gone further than only looking at class listings and professors. In fact, they specifically address the organizations that they could only access at USC.
Moreover, the third of these USC supplemental essays examples strikes a great balance . First, it shows that the student has done research about USC for their USC application. However, it does so while showcasing the student’s personal passions and goals.
In this USC essay, the student first details their own desire to “pursue a career in healthcare leadership” that would affect broad change. They also explain their need for an interdisciplinary course to achieve this goal. Then, finally, they explain how USC offered the best possible education for their personal purposes.
How do I write a USC supplemental essay?
Now that you’ve read some USC essay examples that worked, you might wonder about your own USC essay. So, how can you write a USC essay that is as successful as these USC supplemental essays examples?
The key to supplemental essays is in the name: they should supplement your application materials. Your USC supplemental essays should add depth to your USC application. In doing so, they should help the USC admissions committee understand who you are. We can assume that our USC essay examples each added a piece to the puzzle of the writer’s identity. For example, the student who wrote about how dance inspired their interest in Human Biology.
Three key criteria to keep in mind while considering how to write your USC supplemental essays are:
In the USC example essay about different perspectives, we see how structure plays a role in how we read an essay. The essay had a clear beginning, middle, and end. It started with a particular experience, told us how that experience changed the student, and ended with how the student would act at USC given the lesson they had learned.
When writing a USC supplemental, content means: what is this essay about? No topic is off-limits (though we would discourage you from choosing overly-done topics like winning the big game, overcoming a sports injury, going on a mission trip, or dealing with a loss). Overall, whatever you choose should be meaningful to you. Writing about something that matters to you will automatically make your essay stronger. It will also demonstrate that you are a passionate individual. In the third USC essay example, you can tell that the writer cares deeply about pursuing a career in health leadership. The USC essay is focused and clear.
Personality in your essays
When thinking about how personality factors into your supplemental, think about authenticity. What are the things that make you, you? Think of the author of the second USC essay example. In their USC essay, they combine their dance extracurricular with their desire to study medicine. Then, they close the essay with a statement of their desire to make a positive impact on the world.
At first glance, these are all unrelated ideas. However, by using a comprehensive structure, the writer showcases many aspects of their personality in only 250 words. As long as you steer clear of anything too personal (ask yourself: would you discuss this at the dinner table?), you are free to highlight your unique strengths and traits in your supplemental.
USC states on their website that they look for “a diverse group of students who represent a vast array of perspectives and passions, who will enrich each other’s education by challenging each other, inside the classroom and out.” They expect your essay and short answer responses to help them “get to know your personality and your voice.” So, use your USC essays to showcase your unique perspective. Throughout your USC application, try to show USC admissions how you would contribute to the community.
Additional Tips to Write the USC Supplemental Essays
Let’s break down this USC supplemental essay. This USC essay prompt asks you to explain your academic interests and how you plan to pursue them at USC. The USC essay can include your first and second choice major selections. Though this is seemingly optional, it is recommended. In fact, both of the USC essay examples detailed in this article list multiple major choices.
Of course, a plan to pursue your academic interests must involve choosing a major. So, you should first reflect on what major you want to pursue at USC. If you’re not sure how to choose, USC has its own suggestions on how to select a major . Remember, whatever major you choose, you can always change it once you are admitted to the school. The USC admissions team just wants to understand how your academic interests will manifest at USC. So, you need to detail specific programs and majors that you are interested in. Look at our Why USC Essay examples above if you need inspiration for your USC supplemental.
Once you have decided on your intended USC major, you can begin brainstorming for your USC essay. Think long term—what do you hope to achieve with your USC education? How can USC help you not only follow your academic interests but, more importantly, achieve your larger goals? Remember the second of our “Why USC” essay examples: without knowing the author’s goal of becoming a leader in healthcare leadership, we wouldn’t understand the importance of pursuing an interdisciplinary education.
Also, always remember to highlight your personality. If you don’t share your unique story in your USC supplemental, your essay won’t enrich your USC application. If the USC admissions committee comes away from your USC essay learning more about USC than they do about you, then you haven’t done a thorough job with your USC supplemental essays.
USC Short Answer Essay Examples
When writing your short USC supplemental essays, don’t overthink it! Have fun with these ones. As long as you don’t say anything offensive or inappropriate, you can answer honestly.
Remember that even though these questions are short and fun, you’re not answering them in a vacuum. Each of these questions still contributes to the story your USC application tells. For example, if you have a long list of TV shows to binge-watch, pick the one that best adds to your application– someone interested in animation might pick Bojack Horseman instead of Grey’s Anatomy .
If you need more prompting to spark your creativity, check out our more detailed review of these short USC supplemental essays from a previous year’s guide .
University of Southern California (USC) Supplemental Essays Guide: 2021-2022
How to craft original short answer responses
We’ve gone over some USC essay examples and what made them shine. Now, you might be wondering how to write unique, original short answer responses with only 100 characters. These short answer questions aren’t unlike the other USC supplementals. All USC essays that worked will highlight what makes a certain student unique. For these particularly short USC essays—as with the longer USC essay examples—the most important aspect is that you are true to yourself.
The second piece of advice to consider when crafting these short answer USC supplemental essays is to pick the most creative choice. As long as you’re answering honestly, you have a lot of room to pick the answer that you think is the most fun or tells the most about how you view the world. But remember: the goal is to create the best possible depiction of yourself, not to be the “perfect” applicant.
Here are some short USC essay examples to get the brain juices flowing.
Let’s say I’m a student who is passionate about theater and want to go into K-12 education:
“Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl
Watching an original production of Shakespeare in the Globe Theater
The BFG by Roald Dahl
“‘Vocal Adrenaline’? The Science of Singing as Depicted in 21st Century Popular Media”
So, why did these essays work?
As this hypothetical student, I’ve:
- Listed things that I genuinely care about
- Tied my answers into the story of my application ( Abbot Elementary is a show about teaching, The BFG is a well-known children’s book, “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is a musical theater song where the character won’t be stopped from achieving her dreams)
- Showed creativity and personality in my answers (traveling back in time to see Shakespeare, using the show choir team from Glee as the title of my class on vocal science).
USC Supplemental Essay Top 5 Tips
With such a low USC acceptance rate, your supplemental essays are crucial to impress the admissions committee. Now that you have read and analyzed these USC essay examples, you are far better prepared to write your USC supplementals. That way, you can create the strongest possible USC application.
Top 5 Tips for crafting your USC essay prompts:
✔️three key facets.
Remember the three key facets of a good supplemental essay: structure, content, and personality. In USC essays that worked, you’ll find that the author uses a strong structure to convey their ideas. They also make sure their character shines through. Strong USC essay examples paint a vivid picture of who the writer is and how they’d contribute to campus life.
✔️Focus on what matters to you
If you write passionately about something that matters to you, the essay will automatically be more effective. All of the USC essays that worked embody this perspective. So, use our USC essay examples as inspiration. Then, apply what you’ve learned from our Why USC essay examples (and other USC essay examples) to your own writing.
✔️Be detailed and specific
Be specific and do your research—take points from the Why USC essay examples. The more specific you are in your USC essays, the stronger they’ll be. The USC application process is competitive, so you should do all you can to stand out.
✔️Authenticity is key
Be vulnerable —let the USC admissions committee get to know you. As with all aspects of the college admissions process, authenticity is key. Be yourself in your USC supplementals.
✔️ Fill in the gaps
Use your essays to cover any gaps in knowledge that USC might have from the rest of your USC application.
USC Essay Examples – Final Thoughts and Tips
The best way to become a writer of one of the few “USC essays that worked” is to study USC essay examples. The USC essay prompts change over the years. Still, how to get into USC despite the low USC acceptance rate always depends on the same factors.
Those factors are:
- Meeting the USC application requirements
- Crafting strong essays
- Doing all you can to help the admissions committee paint a comprehensive, compelling picture of who you are
So, use our USC essay examples to jump start your writing process. We hope they help you write clear and compelling USC essays. Finally, for more advice on how to write the best supplemental essays for USC, check out our blogs from previous years.
This article was written by Rachel Kahn . Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.
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USC Essay Examples for
Article Contents 7 min read
The USC essay examples show you how to write a college essay to convince the University of Southern California that you are a good fit for them. These essays are meant to probe into your personality and find out more about you and why you would be a great addition to the USC campus. Let’s review some of the top USCE essay examples so you can write your own!
Note : If you want us to help you with your applications, interviews and/or standardized tests, book a free strategy call . If you are a university, business, or student organization representative and want to partner with us, visit our partnerships page .
USC essay prompts
USC has three prompts and a section for short-answer questions. The first and second prompts are required, while the third one is optional.
The second prompt also has three optional sub-prompts, and candidates need only choose one to answer.
There are then a series of ten questions, also required, that are to be answered with 100 characters or less.
Check out how to write your essay:
It is time to delve into each prompt and have a look at some USC essay examples that you can learn from.
Prompt 1 (Required): Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections (250 words).
Ever since my parents bought me my first computer at the age of 6, I’ve been fascinated by what happens inside these machines. That’s why I want to be a computer programmer – to understand the inner world of computers.
My journey into coding started when I realized I could write programs to make the device perform tasks I wanted done. Soon, I was reading every single book I could get my hands on about programming and spent my days watching YouTube videos about writing machine-level code.
Within two years, I’d become the go-to kid in my high school regarding computer issues. Topics like new gadgets and software releases were all I was interested in.
I want to build on my self-developed knowledge by attending the Computer Science program here at USC. The university’s well-known for its research in this field. I want to understand the inner logic of computers and USC will help me plant deep roots in science – I want to possess in-depth knowledge and understanding behind the 0’s and 1’s.
USC also offers a chance for students to delve into the entrepreneurial aspects of Computer Science. I intend to pursue these classes to gain knowledge on how to use my education to create the applications of the future – for my own and the public’s welfare.
Electronics, my second-choice major, will also help me achieve the same goals, albeit with a slightly different approach. Studying the underlying technology will give me a deeper insight into realizing my digital dreams. (250 words)
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As you have probably grasped by now from the USC essay examples above, the prompts are intended to bring out as much information as possible about you. They are questions that you answer in the first person.
Now, although the prompts may seem easy, you always need to make sure that you have the best essay before you even think of submitting it. Give yourself at least 6 weeks to plan and write your essays.
The best way to do that is to either learn how to write an essay yourself or find college essay advisors who can help you with your submissions.
Want to learn more about college essays?
USC is one of the leading universities in America and a highly ranked one in the world. This means it is also one of the toughest universities to get into.
But that shouldn’t concern you too much. You need to instead focus on creating a complete application package, writing all required essays, and sending in your application on time.
If you find it overwhelming, you can also find college advisors who can guide you through the process.
You better get good at it – and fast. Applying to top universities like USC means you need to be on your toes all the time. The reason they – and all other top-ranked universities – are selective is because they want to make sure they take in students who will keep up with their intense course flow.
And the scrutiny begins at admission time – with your application.
Alternatively, if you think your essay isn’t up to par, you can use college essay review services to help you with your submissions.
They are very important. The universities use essays as a way of collecting information about you. The admissions committee members pore over the essays to get a “feel” of the kind of person you are. They gauge you as they read each word. And if they find you lacking, your application could be rejected.
Therefore, make sure you invest time and effort into writing each of the college essay topics .
Please use the academic essay structure, with an intro, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
The most important thing to focus on is the story itself. It should make the admissions committee members take notice of what you are trying to tell them.
Dig deep to find that story, tell the truth, and make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors, and you should have an essay that stands out.
The values and traits that the university is looking for include bright students who can cope with the curriculum, integrate into the diverse student body with ease, and contribute positively to the college community as a whole.
The best way to go about it is to find a balance between both. It shouldn’t be so casual that it makes the readers wince, and it shouldn’t be so formal that it would look like it was written in Olde English.
Use short sentences to convey clear, concise ideas and cut words that add no value to the sentence or story and you should have a great essay.
The USC prompt has been pretty standard over the past few years – with just a question or two being changed. With that being said, the important thing is check for the prompts on the official USC website the year you are applying.
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How to Get Into USC: Strategies and Essays that Worked
How hard is it to get into usc learn the usc acceptance rate and strategies to get accepted.
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: usc admissions requirements, part 3: 2021–2022 usc supplemental essays (examples included).
Situated just a few miles from Hollywood, the University of Southern California (USC) is famous for its stellar film and performing arts programs. Indeed, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a blockbuster hit that doesn’t involve a USC alum.
But don’t let the Hollywood glitz overshadow the fact that USC is also the oldest private research university in California. Core components of the modern Internet were created at USC, including the Domain Name System (which allowed you to type “shemmassianconsulting.com” into your browser and arrive at our website!).
USC also houses one of the nation’s premier college athletic programs and its athletes have gone on to win the most Olympic medals for the United States.
Excelling in sports, the arts, and academia, USC seems to have it all, and they expect their student body to as well. The university encourages undergraduates to expand their studies across disciplines to challenge their ways of thinking. The school strives for students to be global citizens, from seeking out unfamiliar cultures to approaching problems from a holistic perspective.
If your child is a talented, motivated student interested in USC, read on to find out our best advice for how to get into USC, information on USC admissions statistics and USC admissions requirements, and guidance on how to tackle the school’s secondary prompts—including sample USC essays.
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U.S. News and World Report: 25
Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education: 19
(Suggested reading: USC vs. UCLA—Which College is Better ?)
USC’s urban campus is a green oasis in the middle of Los Angeles. The university plays a significant role in LA, acting as the city’s largest private employer.
USC student population
Undergraduate students: 21,000
Graduate students: 28,500
USC acceptance rate
Here are the admissions statistics for the class of 2026 :
Acceptance rate: 11.8%
USC tuition and scholarships
The 2022–2023 cost of attendance (i.e., tuition, room, board, and fees) at USC is $85,648.
USC conducts need-blind admissions and two-thirds of students receive financial aid. This figure includes the one out of five USC students who receive a merit-based scholarship. The average merit-based award is $20,937 while the average need-based award is $45,003.
Take note, in order to be considered for these scholarships, your child must apply to USC by December 1st, even though the regular application deadline is January 15th.
Who gets into USC?
To help you understand how likely your child is to get into USC, we’ve collected the admissions data from the successful USC applicants for the class of 2026:
USC average GPA: 3.9
USC average SAT score*: 1435
25th percentile: 1360
75th percentile: 1510
USC average ACT score*: 32
25th percentile: 30
75th percentile: 34
California residents: 38%
International students: 23.8%
First-generation college students: 22%
Among the class of 2025, 27.3% of students were white, 19.1% were Asian/Asian American, 15.6% were Hispanic/Latinx, and 5.8% were Black/African American.
*USC has made it optional for students to submit their SAT or ACT scores until at least the 2023-24 admissions cycle. These test scores are from the 202-21 admissions cycle.
USC academic requirements
USC suggests that your child complete the following coursework in order to be prepared for college:
English: 4 years
Math: 3–4 years (Your child should have earned a grade of C or better in at least three years of high school math, including Algebra II. Ideally, they should also continue on to more advanced courses.)
Foreign language: 2–4 years
Laboratory/natural/physical science: 2–4 years
History and social science: 2 years
Academic electives: 3 years
Your child’s grades are very important to USC, but the university also cares about context. How competitive was your child’s high school? Did their grades go up or down throughout their four years? Did they challenge themselves?
In addition, USC looks for students who utilize their summer vacations well, whether enrolling in a special music workshop, volunteering in their community, or working a part-time job to save for college.
USC offers a unique resource that’s telling about their desire to level the playing field, despite what you may have read about the university’s involvement in the 2019 college admissions scandal : a database to find the nearest admissions counselor. Your child should take advantage of this and reach out to their designated contact when they are in 10th or 11th grade. The goal of this interaction isn’t to impress the counselor or bombard them with accomplishments; your child’s mission should be to learn a little bit more about USC in ways that they couldn’t from the website.
USC application requirements
Students wishing to apply to USC must submit the following:
Common App essay
USC supplemental essays
Optional in 2022–2023: ACT or SAT test scores
1 letter of recommendation from a counselor or teacher
Transcripts and mid-year report
Optional: Portfolio, resume, and/or additional writing samples, depending on what major your child is applying to
Note that USC does not have an early action or early decision program. Thus, your child should submit their application by either of the following dates:
December 1st (in order to be considered for merit scholarships or for the following schools: Iovine and Young Academy, Kaufman School of Dance, Roski School of Art & Design, School of Architecture, School of Cinematic Arts, School of Dramatic Arts, and Thornton School of Music)
January 15th (in order to be considered for all other programs)
USC requires applicants to write a 250-word supplemental essay and ten short-answers in addition to the Common App essays. For the first essay, USC gives students a choice of three essay prompts. Below, we’ll provide an example essay for the main prompt and explain what makes it effective. We’ll then provide the list of short-answer questions and discuss how to answer them.
USC supplemental essay
Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections.
Here is an example essay based on how one of our students answered this prompt:
As a child of Bangladeshi immigrants, I decided years ago to become an immigration lawyer. My parents secured their green cards, and eventual citizenships, by the time I was born, so I never knew the struggle of living insecurely in America on a visa. I have only known the privilege of being a full-fledged American citizen. I want to help others access those same opportunities.
Like many immigrants, my parents focused on academic achievement and instilled in me a desire to be extraordinary. All great attorneys have superior intellect, sharp communication skills, and a fearsome work ethic. Those qualities are essentially table stakes. The most remarkable attorneys are the ones that possess a great deal of creativity.
From my perspective, the best way to build the muscle of creativity is to expose yourself to different ways of thinking.
That’s why I hope to attend USC.
USC fosters creativity in its approach to the undergraduate experience. When I visited I was struck by how often current students, the tour guide, and admissions officers emphasized interdisciplinary thinking. USC kicks it up a notch through the Renaissance program, enabling and encouraging us to create the most diverse mashup of majors. Instead of a typical history/poli-sci double major, USC would push me to obtain a dual degree in something like archaeology and comp lit, which would be an unusual but potentially perfect path towards law school.
Here’s why this essay works:
Many students try to pack this essay with all of the reasons they think this is the right school for them, leading to a paragraph full of Googled summary, and telling the university nothing they don’t already know about themselves. This student finds the perfect way around that. He chose to focus on just one aspect of USC—its Renaissance Ideal —and explain thoroughly what that philosophy represented to him. He makes clear where he got the information on the Renaissance Ideal, by the way, emphasizing that he visited campus and paid attention.
He also wove in a piece of his family background to explain his academic ambitions, which helps the reader get a fuller picture of the student.
(Very) short answers
After your child completes the supplemental essay, they will need to answer ten simple questions in less than 100 characters. The tight word limit forces the responder to present their choices without explanation. Here are the USC 2023 short answer questions:
Describe yourself in three words. (25 characters each)
What is your favorite snack?
Best movie of all time
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
What TV show will you binge watch next?
Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate?
If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be?
Remind your child to be thoughtful, but not overthink this section. They should take a little time to think of an answer that is uniquely them. So if their go-to snack is chips, don’t tell them to say “granola.” But maybe they can write “Lays Salt and Vinegar Chips.” Because, if chips are truly their favorite snack, wouldn’t they have a favorite type? Being specific and illustrative here matters more than seeming virtuous.
Similarly, if your child’s favorite movie of all time is To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before , don’t suggest they write All Quiet on the Western Front in an attempt to appear more intellectual.
USC seeks out students that demonstrate academic rigor, appreciate diversity, and make a positive impact in their communities. Your child should ensure they highlight their ambition and creativity when submitting an application.
About the Author
Dr. Shirag Shemmassian is the Founder of Shemmassian Academic Consulting and one of the world's foremost experts on college admissions. For nearly 20 years, he and his team have helped thousands of students get into top programs like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT using his exclusive approach.
THERE'S NO REASON TO STRUGGLE THROUGH THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS ALONE, ESPECIALLY WITH SO MUCH ON THE LINE. SCHEDULE YOUR COMPLIMENTARY 30-MINUTE CONSULTATION TO ENSURE YOU LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE.
How to Write the University of Southern California Supplemental Essays: Guide + Examples 2022/2023
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What are the usc supplemental essay prompts.
- How to write each supplemental essay prompt for USC
- Prompt #1: "Why us?" essay
- Prompt #2: Optional gap year essay
- Prompt #3: Short answers
- Prompt #4: Viterbi School of Engineering essay
- Prompt #5: Engineering & Computer Science essay
- Prompt #6: Dornsife College essay
Want to get a better sense of what USC is looking for? You’ll find an extensive, by-the-numbers look at USC’s offerings, from enrollment and tuition statistics to student life and financial aid information, on its Common Data Set . For deep insights into how this private research university envisions its role and how it wants to grow and evolve, read its most recent strategic plan, Answering The Call (scroll to bottom to download the entire document).
Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 words)
Optional: Starting with the beginning of high school/secondary school, if you have had a gap where you were not enrolled in school during a fall or spring term, please address this gap in your educational history. You do not need to address a summer break. (250 words)
Prompt #3: Short Answers
Describe yourself in three words. (25 characters per word) What is your favorite snack? Best movie of all time Dream job If your life had a theme song, what would it be? Dream trip What TV show will you binge watch next? Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate? Favorite Book If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be? (Questions #2-10 limited to 100 characters each)
Prompt #4: USC Viterbi School of Engineering Applicants
The student body at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering is a diverse group of unique engineers and computer scientists who work together to engineer a better world for all humanity. Describe how your contributions to the USC Viterbi student body may be distinct from others. Please feel free to touch on any part of your background, traits, skills, experiences, challenges, and/or personality in helping us better understand you. (250 words)
Prompt #5: Engineering & Computer Science Applicants
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and their 14 Grand Challenges go hand-in-hand with our vision to engineer a better world for all humanity. Engineers and computer scientists are challenged to solve these problems in order to improve life on the planet. at Learn more about the NAE Grand Challenges and tell us which challenge is most important to you, and why. (250 words)
Prompt #6: Dornsife College Applicants Only:
Many of us have at least one issue or passion that we care deeply about – a topic on which we would love to share our opinions and insights in hopes of sparking intense interest and continued conversation. If you had ten minutes and the attention of a million people, what would your talk be about? (250 words)
How to Write Each Supplemental Essay Prompt for USC
How to write the usc supplemental essay prompt #1.
Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 word limit)
This prompt is asking for a short “Why us?” essay, with a not-so-subtle reminder to address what you’ve selected as your first and second major on the USC application. We recommend checking out this complete guide on how to write the “Why us?” essay and paying close attention to the “Why Cornell” and “Why Penn” examples, which are our favorites.
Here’s the short version of how to write the “Why us?” essay:
Spend 1 hr+ researching 10+ reasons why USC might be a great fit for you (ideally 3-5 of the reasons will be unique to USC and connect back to you).
Make a copy of this chart to map out your college research.
Create an outline for your essays based on either Approach 1, 2 (recommended), or 3 in the full guide above.
Write a first draft!
Remember—the best USC “Why us?” essays don’t celebrate how it’s the GREATEST SCHOOL OF ALL TIME. They’re more an explanation of why you and USC are the perfect match. Make sure to connect each of your USC examples to your first- and second-major choices.
As you write, try and avoid these common mistakes:
Five Common Mistakes Students Make on “Why Us?” Essays
Mistake #1 : Writing about the school's size, location, reputation, weather, or ranking
Mistake #2 : Simply using emotional language to demonstrate fit
Mistake #3 : Screwing up the mascot, stadium, team colors or names of any important people or places on campus
Mistake #4 : Parroting the brochures or website language
Mistake #5 : Describing traditions the school is well-known for
Mistake #6 : Thinking of this as only a "Why Them" essay
Here’s a great sample essay for this prompt:
At two opposite ends of the spectrum, I’m both the analytical thinker and creative pursuer. Science stimulates my thoughts. Music heals my soul. At USC, I believe that with its multi-disciplinary accessibility, I’ll be able to expand my love for science while exploring the depths of classical singing. As a pre-med student, I’ll devote myself to science, while also engaging in other courses to discover music. Because the possibility to double major is encouraged, I ultimately want to mold medicine and music together, uncovering ways to use music as treatment for diseases. After taking CHEM 203Lxg: AIDS Drugs Discovery and Development as well as MUSC 371g: Musical Genre Bonding, I’ll merge the two and create a program consisting of specific genres (or blends) to find treatment therapy relying on sounds. Outside academics, the bustling extracurriculars at USC already excite me. Listening to “Chandelier,” a cover I arranged for my a cappella group The Pitches, I picture myself performing with the SoCal VoCals. In the center of LA, I see myself running from lab to stage, changing from a white coat to concert attire, experimenting various treatments then rehearsing for an upcoming a cappella gig. Bursting with opportunities, USC supports this interdisciplinary approach and provides endless opportunities for me to delve into the two very different passions of mine. My dream is to be an opera singing doctor, and USC supports every aspect. (232 words) — — —
Tips + Analysis
Connect your values to USC’s. The author shows two sides of herself and names specific ways that each of those sides would flourish at USC. Scan the essay and look for capital letters. Those are the school-related specifics.
Create a clear, solid structure for the essay. This essay does that in the first sentence of each paragraph. Go back and re-read them. See how easy the essay reads as a result? Here’s an exercise to help you revise your draft, whether it’s a “Why us?” or even a personal statement.
Demonstrate a variety of values. One of the most important messages you want to convey in any college essay is your core values—the things that matter to you at your, well, core. Haven’t yet given much thought to what your core values are? You’re not alone. That’s why we’ve developed this super quick Values Exercise to help you identify what means most to you. Then, as you write, make sure your top values are coming through in not just this “Why us?” but in your application as a whole. Look over this example essay and see how many values you can spot. We see bunches—intellectual curiosity, meaningful work, excitement, productivity, hunger, and more.
And here are two more great USC essay examples that worked for this “Why us?” prompt:
Jacqueline Novogratz used financial investments and Wall Street as a vehicle to help others. It’s a shame she’s less well-known than Bernie Madoff. By majoring in economics and minoring in philosophy at USC’s Dornsife College, I hope to gain the knowledge and perspectives to become a socially conscientious investment banker. To be successful, I’ll need knowledge of how to raise capital via the Wall Street network. Courses such as Financial Markets will allow me to examine how Wall Street functions within the American economy, while Introduction to Econometrics will help me develop quantitative analysis skills for evaluating the market. I’ll need a global perspective to understand how Wall Street impacts the broader world economy, and I am very interested in behavioral economics. By pairing courses such as The World Economy and International Finance with Neuroeconomics and Behavioral Economics I hope to not only discover the economic reasoning that motivates people, but also how those individual actions can accumulate to have effects visible on a macroeconomic scale. I also love big questions—Why are people attracted to money in the first place? Does capitalism foster immorality?—issues I hope to tackle through USC’s Thematic Option, in a course like Culture and Values. I hope to confront the universal problems that I may experience throughout my life, so that If I come close to making a harmful decision, I can step back and existentially evaluate my choices. As a Trojan, I hope to explore my existing passions while creating new ones. — — —
As a child, I was curious to know how the human mind works. Growing up in a mathematically talented family, I was encouraged to learn how to make mental calculations. At age 8, I won a mathematics race against an accountant with a calculator and became fascinated with not only mathematics but also neuroscience. I plan to research the science behind the brain’s functions, hoping to discover how I could make calculations faster than technology just by using my mind. As one of the only universities to have computational neuroscience as a major, USC will definitely provide me with the practical knowledge I need to pursue my intended career as a physician. With a major in computational neuroscience, I can apply my mathematical and computational techniques toward the understanding of complex neural systems. I also hope to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) program to research diseases, injuries, and mental impairments and build computer-based models that explain the biological functions of the brain. These models will enhance my understanding of how synapses function and change in relation to external stimulus, allowing me to build technologies that diagnose both the physical and mental disabilities of patients. In order to approach computational neuroscience with a knowledge of artificial intelligence, I plan to conduct research with Professor Laurent Itti to learn how the intelligence of machines can exceed that of humans. I hope to one day design more powerful models and methods of testing theories related to neuronal networks. — — —
Bonus Points: Ask yourself: How might you develop this essential part of yourself at USC? There’s a chance for a mini “ Why us? ” within this prompt in that final paragraph. Research a club, class, space, or speaker who will help you further engage with this identity at USC. Important: You’ll be asked to write a separate 250-word “Why us?” essay, so make sure if you do name something here that you discuss other details in that essay.
Here are three other great examples of USC essays that worked for this first prompt:
USC believes that one learns best when interacting with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Tell us about a time you were exposed to a new idea or when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view. (Option 1)
Three books started the trajectory of the person I am today: Savages in the Mirror by Gunn Allen, Yellow by Wu, and Citizen by Rankine. Gunn Allen reexamines canonical history that erased Native American voices. Wu gives a voice to my experiences being Chinese-American. Rankine portrays African-American history and identity through bursts of color, art, and poetry. Three books. I fell in love with them after reading them in Honors American Literature. So much history, pain, celebration, power. In APUSH, when I learned of the mass genocide of Native Americans communities, I thought of Gunn Allen’s words, condemning the “American individualism” that drove settlers to act as they did and still drive political agendas. When I learned of the dichotomy between the Chinese Exclusion Act and the influx of Asian immigrants in top industries today, I was reminded of Wu’s words on how the Model Minority Myth that has emerged will affect my life as I prepare to head to college. When I learned of debt peonage, the Great Migration, de facto/de jure segregation, and the Modern Civil Rights Movement, I remembered Rankine’s words— that America’s ugly history manifests itself in infrastructure and microaggressions today. When I study economics, I think of the motives that shaped America and continue to do so. When I study politics and business, I remember the importance of bringing in the voices of history into actions of today. Three books. They have changed the way I want to view the world and learn business.* — — —
Describe something outside of your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning. (Option 2)
I’m a history nerd. My favorite “history nerd” moments occur when I connect a modern sociopolitical phenomenon to a historical event. For my IB Extended Essay, I’m writing about the Second Amendment, hoping to elucidate the gun control debate with research surrounding the legacy of the Glorious Revolution. My passion for history led me to an internship at the Sejong Institute, a think tank specializing in Korean diplomacy. While I translated publications on topics like denuclearizing North Korea, I drew from what I learned of the region’s past, coming to understand that international conflicts cannot be resolved without historical insight. This notion also applies to my participation in MUN. Learning about the often-controversial past actions of nations prompted me to raise ethical questions. For instance, I was appalled to learn that the Kurdish crisis and ISIL could be traced to the Sykes-Picot agreement, which split the region into ‘spheres of influence’ in 1916. In resolving these conflicts, how do we balance national sovereignty with the responsibility of former colonial powers to stabilize the region? This summer, I enrolled in “Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology” at UC Irvine. From tracing the African exodus of Homo erectus to examining La Bestia (freight trains used by US-bound migrants), I now understand that migration is as old as history itself. In college, I hope to continue drawing connections between history and contemporary geopolitics. I hope to use my education to heal history’s wounds as a civil rights attorney, and potentially as a Supreme Court Justice.* — — —
What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you? (Option 3)
My room’s got all the necessities—bed, desk, closet, posters—but there’s another desk with a PC, a microphone, a cassette-player, and an assortment of gadgets decorated with knobs and displays. I’ve gradually put my recording studio together over the years—including building the computer from scratch and working jobs to buy sound equipment. In the process, I’ve grown so familiar with it, it’s become a sanctuary—a place where I don’t have to worry about grades, breakups, insecurities. As for Fortaleza, Brazil—its homeness wasn’t so immediately apparent. I once believed that despite learning English from the ground up and struggling with several Americanisms, my Brazilian identity was just a matter of geography. But returning to Fortaleza this year showed me the tethers I was blind to. While browsing a crafts market, I met an elderly gentleman selling cordéis: booklets of long, narrative-driven lyrics musicians purchase and interpret. He told me he wrote them himself, and offered to play a song. And so, listening to this haunting, droning hymn, I looked through the various tales these authors had conceived… stories of Brazilian heroes, thieves, princesses. At that moment, I understood something—I’m not a musician for just any reason. This spirit of poetry, this faith in art and storytelling… it’s in my blood. Even in my home studio in Washington, I feel an energy being channeled from Fortaleza, through my fingers, into the music. As sambista João Bosco puts it: “with so many leaving/on the rocket’s tail/our motherland wept/on the soil of Brazil.” — — —
How to Write the USC Supplemental Essay Prompt #2
So how do you write about a gap year or time off between high school and college?
First, let’s look at an example:
My dad is the master of turning life into a game. Who can squish their face in the funniest shape for the camera? Don’t tell mom. Who can find the weirdest snack in the supermarket? Ready, go! But when my dad got sick the summer after my senior year of high school, the game was up. Instead of running around at top speed with “salad-flavored Doritos,” I helped my dad rest after chemotherapy. It was impossible to go to college during this time of crisis, so I took the year off to support my family. Many days, my dad and I would talk. Our new game was one of curiosity. How do you feel? Who are you? That spring, my dad beat cancer. Although that year was hard, it was defined by a clearer understanding of my relationships to others. I was profoundly affected by the new bond I shared with my father. My fascination with connectedness in times of crisis led me to take an online course in advanced psychology and design an independent research project on psychotherapy. My dad and I still turn pretty much everything into a game, but we also show up for each other in newly meaningful ways. My year away from school taught me the importance of reciprocity and responsibility, no matter the game you’re playing (222 words). — — —
Don’t get so carried away in the story that you lose the substance. Remember, the key here is to convey when you missed school and why. Even though this essay follows a narrative arc, it doesn’t lose sight of the question being asked. The author is clear about the fact that she took a gap year and why: because she had to take care of her dad while he battled cancer. As you write your essay, make sure you’re constantly thinking back to the main question and checking that you’re answering all the key components.
Include details to highlight your personality. Many people take off school for similar reasons (personal tragedy, study abroad opportunities, internship, financial burden, etc.). Although all these reasons are valid, you want to use the space to explain what specifically this year off meant to you and what values you developed or strengthened. This author uses specific details to show the kinds of games they play, but she’s also careful to focus on specific values she gained: connectedness and reciprocity. Details make the essay memorable; values help give the reader a sense of how you’ll contribute to their school.
Show growth. Just because you weren’t in school doesn’t mean you weren’t learning. In this essay, the author does a great job of showing us how she truly connected to her father and her culture while also fostering a growing love for psychology/psychotherapy. When you write, make sure to highlight how your experience away from school helped you develop academically or personally (or better yet, both!). Giving specific examples of how you grew is also really important. Talk about classes you took on your own initiative, trips you went on, jobs you worked, or projects you started. USC wants to see that you maximized your time, even if you weren’t at school.
Draw connections. While you don’t necessarily have to write in the narrative style of this example essay, it’s good to have some kind of arc to your piece. This author uses the idea of games to reinforce what she learned about reciprocity and responsibility in her relationship with those she loves. This is a common thread throughout the essay, and she returns to in a brief, but meaningful way at the end of the piece. You can do this in your essay as well by finding a way to connect the intro and conclusion. Your answer should be cohesive and articulate no matter how you go about writing your essay. How do all the things you’ve learned inform one another? How do your tangible projects or jobs connect to your interests? What are you doing now that relates to your experiences then? These are all questions you can be asking yourself to draw connections that will elevate your essay.
How to Write the USC Supplemental Essay #3: Short Answers
- Describe yourself in three words. (25 characters each)
- What is your favorite snack?
- Best movie of all time
- If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
- What TV show will you binge watch next?
- Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate?
- Favorite Book
- If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be?
Here’s a comprehensive guide to the short answer questions.
Here are some quick tips on these:
Describe yourself in three words: Get creative. These don’t all need to be adjectives. Also, hyphenated words of your own creation or short three-word phrases (like “nerdy animal whisperer”) are fair game.
What is your favorite snack? Don’t just say “pizza.” Give us some context; you’ve got a little space here.
Best movie of all time: Same as above.
Dream job: Reveal something about yourself that isn’t already obvious elsewhere in your application, adding a little context if necessary. So if you want to be a doctor and you’ve already said so in your “Why us?,” no need to repeat that here.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be? You don’t have to like the actual song. It could just be the title that resonates with you.
Dream trip: It could be a geographical location, but it doesn’t have to be. You can also time travel.
What TV show will you binge watch next? As above, use this as a chance to teach us something new about you.
Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate? After you answer, maybe say why (briefly).
Favorite book: Avoid these books commonly read in English classes.
If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be? Maybe something smart + something funny (examples here ).
Describe yourself in three words: Hungry, Petrichor, Retrouvailles What is your favorite snack? Spicy bars, only ¥0.5 Yuan (approximately 7 cents) from the newsstand right next to my elementary school Best movie of all time: A Charlie Brown Christmas—Linus’s explanation of the true meaning of Christmas can brighten any day. Dream job: Doctor Doolittle What is your theme song? Up & Up by Coldplay Dream trip: Cambodia to see my TASSEL students in person and to learn more about the country’s history What TV show will you binge watch next? Westworld Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate? Gertrude Bell, also known as "the female Lawrence of Arabia" and "Queen of the Desert." Favorite book: Memory and Modernity in South India, Davesh Soneji If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be? Happiness: psychological or philosophical? — — —
How to Write the USC Supplemental Essay #4: Viterbi School of Engineering
This essay offers a fun, creative way to help USC imagine you on its campus, collaborating with equally industrious Engineering or Computer Science majors, and—perhaps even more important—contributing to the program in your own unique way.
Here are some tips to consider as you go to write:
Share how your contributions would be diverse and distinct. USC wants to know what you’ll bring that perhaps no one else will. What’s in your personality that helps you solve problems? What inspiration do you turn to? What’s your go-to life hack, and what does it say about you?
Show, don’t just tell. In writing about yourself, use a brief example or two. If you’re talking about your affinity for puzzles, for example, share that time you discovered a love for anagrams or how you challenge yourself to finish The New York Times Sunday crossword with no extra help. Details do more than help your essay come to life—they help you stand out.
Think big. USC’s target of a better world for all humanity gives you a chance to blue-sky. If you have a remarkable idea (even a small one!) that would make life better for humans, that idea can anchor your essay. You can use it to show your background, traits, skills, experiences, challenges, and/or personality.
Show your why. Share your reasoning for choosing the parts of yourself that are one-of-a-kind. It’s not enough to say how you’re different; you need to say why your contributions will matter as a USC Engineering or Computer Science student. How does building a robot help you build strong friendships? Here’s a great list of 19 ways to add strong insights to your essay.
Perhaps add a “Why USC?” detail or two. The prompt doesn’t specifically ask for how your contributions would factor into your experience at USC, but it wouldn’t hurt (and may actually benefit your application) to help the admission team envision you thriving on its campus. Maybe it’s by joining the Min Family Social Entrepreneurship Challenge to create a solution that uplifts vulnerable people around the world. Or lending your 3D design skills to make Braille maps for USC students who are visually impaired.
Let go of the LEGO. LEGO is one of the most commonly mentioned words in engineering-related essays. Ok, we didn’t actually do a scientific study, but based on the umpteen essays we’ve worked on with students, we can tell you it’s mentioned a lot. A lot a lot. So maybe use another way to show how your love of building things developed?
Since this prompt is brand-new for USC, we don’t have a specific example to share, but this essay, written for an older version of this prompt, could work with some tweaks we’ll share below.
From first-hand experience, I know my effective communication skills lead my teams to success. As captain for my high school and club volleyball teams, I strive to form tight-knit bonds with teammates. I firmly believe that strong bonds inside a team translate to key victories on the court. And as co-president of my school’s Science Olympiad team, I calmly listen and work with my fellow board members with an open mind. Through trial and error, I help the younger team members build sturdy yet lightweight projects. But underneath my collected exterior, I am an adrenaline junkie. As a hardcore thrill-seeker, I love riding the tallest roller coasters, whether at the local fair or in Knott’s Berry Farm. On most weekends, you can find me plowing through horror films (my favorite is The Silence of the Lambs) or rewatching Criminal Minds. All with the lights off, I must add. My search for thrill also leads me to experiment in the kitchen. Some of my weirdest (but yummiest!) culinary creations include sticky rice gnocchi and peanut butter quesadillas. However, not all risks are perilous. In fact, because I took a risk, I applied for the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program and ended up learning how to code last summer. My search for adventure leads me to discoveries both inside and outside of the classroom. In chem class, my willingness to take risks allows me to experiment without fear. At USC, I cannot wait to collaborate and experiment with my fellow peers. — — —
Don’t forget to compare. This writer puts us in her world. She even describes her philosophy of leadership in almost the same breath as a peanut butter quesadilla. But had it been written for the new version of the prompt, the admission reader would be left to figure out how “these contributions to the USC Viterbi student body may be distinct from others.” For example, how is being an adrenaline junkie and hardcore thrill-seeker different from other engineeering students? Make sure the reader not only sees something special, but understands how that’s unique from other would-be Trojans.
Dial back the brag. The first paragraph flexes a bit of “take my word for it” bluster “effective communications skills lead [her] teams to success.” And maybe it’s true, but the sentiment risks coming off as a pat on the back. You can better show traits you’re proud of by offering proof (even an anecdote will work!).
Cherry-pick uncommon words. By using words like “plowing,” “yummiest” and “gnocchi,” this student creates surprise and vibrancy. These words underscore her point about adrenalin, and make this part of her essay memorable. As you write, look for ways to up-level your essay by up-leveling your word choice. This Epic Verb List may help.
Watch out for careless language. Is it really a good idea to be a chem student who experiments without fear? That could be disastrous! Language that is all-or-nothing can come off as hyperbolic, and it’s usually not true. Better to be precise in your language, as that’s the best- a better way to get your point across. Your imperfections can be among your most valuable contributions.
Pay it forward. Given that USC wants to “engineer a better world for all humanity,” think about how your contributions could benefit others. This student uses the first paragraph to show how hard she works to help others—forming tight-knit bonds with teammates, listening to fellow board members with an open mind, using trial and error to help younger teammates with their projects. For this prompt, those examples would have been stronger had they shown how the student was working in collaboration with others to improve the world around them. Try to channel generosity as you write this one.
How to Write the USC Supplemental Essay #5: Engineering & Computer Science
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and their 14 Grand Challenges go hand-in-hand with our vision to engineer a better world for all humanity. Engineers and computer scientists are challenged to solve these problems in order to improve life on the planet. Learn more about the NAE Grand Challenges and tell us which challenge is most important to you, and why. (250 words)
USC is taking a novel approach in asking you to explain how your interests align with its mission to make the world a better place, which is why we really like this prompt. It offers an opportunity for you to show how you envision making a real-world impact with your Engineering or Computer Science degree, in a way that’s both relevant and timely.
The key here is choosing a challenge from the NAE list that not only speaks to a strong interest of yours but that also (ideally) connects back to something (or some things) you’ve already done. For example, maybe the Engineer Better Medicines challenge will allow you to talk about that health-sensing app you helped design, or maybe you choose Reverse-Engineer the Brain so you can share the work you’ve done in, or your fascination with, cognitive science.
How do you do that? Well, this could take lots of forms, but to simplify your options, we recommend taking one of two paths, depending on how you answer this question:
Have you led or participated in a project, exercise or activity that has improved your community (however you define community)?
If you answered yes …
Treat this as an engineering-focused version of the Community Service Essay. Here’s our guide to that type of essay, using the Elon Musk Exercise to brainstorm your material and approach. Generally speaking, the outline would look like this:
Name the problem.
Answer “why now?”
Articulate the vision.
Describe what you did.
Clarify your role.
Explain the impact you had, lessons learned, or value you gained.
If you answered no …
Take the opportunity to explain how the challenge you’ve chosen connects back to a subject that a) you’ve explored either in or outside the classroom (your love of biological research, or how you’ve geeked out on TED Talks about the growing threat to cybersecurity), or b) you want to learn more about because it appeals to specific values (that you could then write about).
No matter which approach you take, remember to:
Answer the “which and why” part of the prompt. Probably better to do this in the intro paragraph, then tie quickly to your project/interest/experience. It could be a brief statement (“The Engineer Better Medicines appeals to the health-focused entrepreneur in me. I first discovered the power of medicine in changing lives during my internship with Rutgers, when I helped design a health-sensing app …”), or a longer explanation. But save the bulk of your word budget on connecting the challenge back to you and your experiences/interests.
Clearly show your interest in making a difference in your world/community. This seems obvious, but we thought it was worth the risk of an eye roll to add a reminder that this essay isn’t about just doing, but doing for others. It’s a clear indication that USC is looking for humanitarians in its Engineering and Comp Sci programs. Show how you’re that.
And maybe: Use your conclusion to look forward. Do a deeper dive into the challenge you’ve chosen, and if you’re inspired, use your ending to envision how you’d contribute in a specific way. It’s not required, but could go a long way toward showing both your motivation and your ingenuity.
This is an example from a student who may have answered “no” to the “led or participated in a project, etc.” question above.
The most important challenge that we as engineers need to focus on is carbon sequestration methods. Growing up in a world that has had difficulty coming to terms with the fact that the earth is warming up to a dangerous point is very troubling. Fortunately, we know this warmth is due to the greenhouse gasses emitted by cars, coal plants, and cow farms. However, if we as engineers, scientists, and citizens don’t take the necessary steps to prevent human-produced carbon from entering the atmosphere the results will be catastrophic. We can reduce the emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases by providing cheap, simple solutions to the main producers of carbon that slows their carbon emissions. For example, one solution could be a filtration device that breaks down CO2 as it exits a car’s exhaust pipe or by building farms that break down methane or reuse it as energy to fuel the farm. On top of these simple solutions, we must move to renewable energies and decentivize fossil fuels by working with political representatives to create policies like Washington's initiative 1631, which attempted to put a tax on carbon. Through coding, I hope to build the infrastructure we need to manipulate and analyze the data from the simple solutions mentioned above. I want to be able to use this data to create visual images of the amount of carbon we use as a society and provide direct feedback about what impact your carbon usage has on the environment. — — —
“We” is your friend. This writer uses “we” to make a persuasive case that his chosen challenge is in the best interests of others. The switch to “I” in the final paragraph makes it clear what role the writer wants in this challenge. (This choice is particularly smart for anyone answering “no” to “Have you led or participated in a project, exercise or activity that has improved your community?”)
Tie it back to your chosen challenge. This student has clearly thought through potential solutions to reducing greenhouse gasses. His ideas are articulate and clear. But the essay, had it been written for this prompt, would have been even stronger had he more directly tied his data visualization goals back to carbon sequestration. How would giving feedback on carbon usage incentivize conservation, especially for the uninitiated? It wouldn’t take much—just a sentence perhaps—to answer the question. Think through those why’s and how’s as you go to write.
Show you know your stuff. USC Engineering & Computer Science is looking for doers who have already thought deeply about how they’ll use their education to solve real-world problems, and this prompt is mining for insights into that reflection. So use the opportunity to flex your knowledge about a topic that’s meaningful to you, one you’ve spent some time contemplating, or even done some significant work on. For this student, it’s not just about carbon emissions and mitigation solutions, but using his experience in computer science to add some complexity and depth to his solutions.
How to Write the USC Supplemental Essay #6: Dornsife College
With this prompt, Dornsife wants to give you one more opportunity to add a new dimension to your application—a chance to show the liberal arts and science college a side of you not reflected elsewhere in your application.
Here are some tips to consider as you write:
Try to pick an uncommon topic (or at least a specific aspect of a common topic). This prompt runs the risk of inspiring common subject matter—education is all about learning from people from different backgrounds, for example, or “racism is bad.” That’s not to say that those topics are not important—they’re great!—but in most cases, writing about them will make it more difficult to stand out, especially since many other students are likely to write about them (which is why they’re common). So aim for a topic that’s unique, or at least unique to you, so that when you’re done, you can look back and say with confidence that no one else could have written it that way.
In fact, if you’re leaning toward a more common topic—environmental damage, for example—take a very specific angle that speaks to your interests or experiences, like the need to stop sewage discharge into the Atlantic Ocean, which is killing reefs and sea life in your community and threatening not just the environment but the tourism industry dependent on it.
Do some research to add depth to your topic. Statistics and studies don’t just add impact to your argument; they show you’ve done your homework and have some level of mastery of your topic. That helps to show your big, beautiful brain, and that you’ll take the extra effort to add context and strength to your argument, even when it’s not required.
Do a values scan, then add values that don’t show up elsewhere in your application. Remember, Dornsife specifically asks that you use this essay to show something of yourself not seen in the rest of your application. That includes your values—those core principles that matter to you most. Don’t really know what your values are? Complete this Values Exercise , and scan your application to make sure your top values are reflected. Are any missing? This essay is a great opportunity to showcase those.
Here’s an example we love.
I don’t understand cults. I am baffled by the groomed subservience within the Manson Family and the ethos of the Peoples Temple. After two years researching the harrowing why within cult indoctrinations, I’ve realized how the world I live in is painfully bound to cult mentality. I don’t know if in ten minutes I can connect with a million people about how we are prisoners to ideology, but I could try. I would start with myself. As a student journalist, my unbalanced media diet came to a sobering halt once I realized how one-sided it was. From the mainstream networks I religiously checked in the morning, to the Twitter commentators who claimed my midnight attention: my media consumption was a reflection of my ideological bubble. Only after slowly learning to balance my news feed did I notice how the same kinds of divisive rhetoric that I had studied in cult research were rampant on both ends of the partisan spectrum. What do you read? Do you fact-check tweets before you re-share them? Did you ever find that study cited in the petition you just signed? I would ask questions to my audience not to assume, but to engage.. I want to work towards a space where media literacy can help us better recognize our cognitive biases. Ten minutes may not be long enough for me to unravel this country’s echo chambers. But ten minutes still offers a safe, if temporary, space for self-reflection. It’s enough time to start. (248 words) — — —
Start from the fringe, then work inward. At first glance, one may think this essay is a cautionary tale about joining cults. As we keep reading, though, we see that it concerns media literacy and healing social divisions, both of which relate to the writer’s interest in pursuing journalism. Beginning with a related, yet extreme, example of media consumption gone wrong allows the writer to leverage their attention-grabbing start to illustrate a need for balanced news reporting.
Waltzing with “what,” “how,” and “why.” Put your dancing shoes away—we aren’t heading to a ballroom. When it comes to essay prompts that require a bit more than a simple “yes” or “no,” you’ll want to keep in mind that your response needs to make three key moves: what, how, and why. This writer clearly shares what the topic of their imagined speech is, they detail how they’d approach the topic, and they explain why this matters … both to them and the world.
Beware of the soapbox. Although, in this prompt, you’re delivering a talk to a million people, don’t abandon your humility. You may know a lot about your topic, but avoid making assumptions about your audience and, if applicable, call yourself out. This writer does an excellent job of displaying their introspection by sharing their own “unbalanced media diet” and by listing examples of questions they’d ask their listeners. Notice that the prompt points you in the direction of a topic that facilitates “continued conversation,” not just a lecture.
Call on your values. This prompt gives you another opportunity to share some values that you feel don’t come through strongly enough elsewhere in your application, or that you hope to highlight. This writer probably could have discussed some favorite news sources or stories, but instead, they make clear their commitment to social justice, community building, active listening, and empathy. No matter what topic you choose, think about ways you can tie it into parts of yourself that you’ll bring to USC’s campus.
Special thanks to Natalie for writing this blog post
Natalie is a former high school teacher who taught English, World Geography and Culture, US History, and AP Language and Composition. She has been working with students through the college application process since 2017, and has assisted hundreds of students achieve their post-secondary plans. She is also a proud AmeriCorps alumna and served in Chicago’s Near West Side neighborhood. Her wish for all students is that they feel valued, loved, and are able to live a life rich with options. In her free time, she loves grabbing a cortado, watching Nora Ephron movies, and playing with her daughter. She currently lives in Knoxville, TN.
Top Values: Empathy | Equity | Purpose
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How to write the usc supplemental essays 2020-2021: the perfect guide (examples included).
University of Southern California (USC) is a private university located in downtown Los Angeles, California.
With its warm weather and beautiful campus, USC has been a prime film location for many films and television shows.
- If you’ve seen Forrest Gump, Legally Blonde, Love & Basketball, The Social Network , and the C ., you’ve seen USC.
Boasting over 21 colleges, academies, and schools of study that offer hundreds of majors, and thousands of courses, USC offers plenty of variety for even the most curious students.
USC’s acceptance rate has been sitting at a thin 13% for the past few years.
With such a low acceptance rate, you’ll need to write excellent essays to be considered for admission at USC.
USC uses the Common App , which means you can access all essay questions on the Common App portal.
Though you’ll need to make these essays count, you shouldn’t worry. This guide is here to help you through the entire process, so you can show the USC admissions team that you deserve to be a part of their upcoming class through thoughtful and well-written supplemental essays.
What Are USC’s Supplemental Essay Requirements?
USC requires that students answer multiple prompts as part of the application process. You will find both on the Common App.
Click above to watch a video on USC Supplemental Essay.
For the first prompt, students must choose one of three potential essay questions . These questions assess the student’s diverse experiences, interests, and characteristics. This type of question is also commonly referred to as the “diversity essay.”
The prompts for essay #1 include:
USC believes that one learns best when interacting with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Tell us about a time you were exposed to a new idea or when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view. Please discuss the significance of the experience and its effect on you. USC faculty place an emphasis on interdisciplinary academic opportunities. Describe something outside of your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning. What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you?
For the second prompt, students must describe their intended major and what motivated them to make that choice.
The question is as follows:
Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections.
USC also has a short answer section, in which you are expected to write extremely short, 1 sentence (or even 1 word) answers. These questions are designed to better showcase your personality.
These questions are quite random, so prepare yourself to answer with authenticity and a bit of thought, so the best version of yourself is represented.
Creating a compelling application to USC requires well-written essay responses that reflect critical self-reflection and self-understanding.
On top of perfecting your mechanical skills, work to condense and hone your writing so that every word adds to your main point.
In addition to helping admissions counselors get to know you better through writing, you should pay attention to your organization, spelling, and grammar.
Simple mistakes in those areas can outshine your true potential.
We’ll look into each of the prompts in detail below, to help you submit the best version possible
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Usc supplemental essay prompt #1: new ideas.
“USC believes that one learns best when interacting with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Tell us about a time you were exposed to a new idea or when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view. Please discuss the significance of the experience and its effect on you.”
In this prompt, USC tells you that they value diversity.
Not only do they value diversity, but they also value people who can appreciate diversity and are open-minded to new ideas, experiences, and perspectives .
First, it’s vital that you truly understand what diversity means.
- According to Merriam-Webster, two definitions are “the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization” and “an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities.”
To answer this question, you will have to reflect on past experiences during which you faced a different idea or belief that somehow challenged yours.
- You will then have to tie your experience and lessons learned in with USC’s values.
USC’s values are found underneath the Applicant Admission Process tab on their website.
In the Personal Qualities section, USC states: “We look for students who possess the potential to contribute to our diverse and vibrant campus life, who represent a vast array of interests and passions, and are leaders unafraid to speak up in class or fight for a cause.
We value students who make us think….”
- In other words, not only does USC want you to be open-minded and appreciative of diversity, they also want you to be a leader and contributor to their community. They want you to own your uniqueness and share it with others in a way that is mutually beneficial to the community and to you.
Before you begin generating ideas, let’s take a deeper look at the question to fully understand what USC is asking for without going overboard in your response.
- “Tell us about A TIME you were exposed to a new idea OR when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view.”
- Your essay response only needs to include one story and does not need to include both components mentioned in the prompt.
To start brainstorming, think of a few times where you heard something or had a conversation that introduced you to a new perspective, changed your perspective, or called it into question.
- How did you feel?
- Why did you feel that way?
Once you have generated a list of experiences, pick the one you feel offers the deepest experience with diversity in your life.
Reflect on this experience and discuss how it affected you in a positive way.
- How did those experiences change your thinking or your outlook on life for the better?
- Did the experience cause you to question or reflect on other beliefs you possess?
- If your perspective didn’t change, what did you appreciate about the other perspective on the issue/idea/belief?
It’s helpful to write down thoughts and notes before you begin crafting your actual essay.
After doing this, take what you have written and summarize that into a brief thesis statement.
- Then, expand to help the reader to understand your challenge just as you were experiencing it.
Your telling of the experience can flow similar to how you would tell someone out loud, but you’re limited to 250 words.
- For example, “My discussion with Person X did not change my views on the problems associated with income inequality, but it did help me to better understand and sympathize with some of the issues self-made wealthy individuals face…etc.”
Pick your most poignant experience and make a story out of it.
Help the reader to experience your challenge just as you were experiencing it.
Be sure to showcase your individuality and your open-mindedness. Once you’ve written your personal statement, be sure to have someone read through and edit your response.
This will help make sure your point was made and avoid spelling/grammar errors you may have overlooked.
USC Supplemental Essay Prompt #2: Outside of Your Academic Focus
“USC faculty place an emphasis on interdisciplinary academic opportunities. Describe something outside of your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning.”
With this prompt, USC wants to see that you are able to demonstrate open-mindedness.
- It’s great that you want to study mathematics, but are you open to learning from the field of music?
- What about psychology?
- Maybe you want to be a doctor and are inspired by literary doctors like Oliver Sacks and William Carlos Williams. In this case, you’d explain how you plan on studying literature in addition to pre-medical courses.
They want to know that you care about things outside of your immediate focus.
Having more than one interest makes you more well-rounded on a personal level, and it can help you on professional and academic levels as well.
- For instance, USC wants to produce skilled doctors, and they would prefer to produce good doctors who also understand the healing power of narrative. You’ll want to have a focus but also a breadth of diverse interests.
For this question, you will also need to be genuine.
Even if your other interest is not an academic field or major offered at USC, it’s okay.
- The prompt doesn’t state it has to be an academic interest – it just has to be outside of your intended academic focus.
- You may decide to minor in another area, but you should not feel restricted to discuss academics only.
Consider writing about opportunities offered at the university that exist outside of the classroom.
You could try researching the different clubs, activities, or events that exist or happen around campus.
- For example, you may major in political science but also want to become a better musician.
- You might sign up for a voice class at the university and join choirs and singing groups to improve your musical ability.
Or, maybe you are a STEM major, but you’ve also been learning ASL. You could write about your interest in USC’s American Sign Language Club, as it would help you better practice your sign language.
- What are your other interests?
- Try writing them down and writing about the one that means the most to you (or shows a side of you that is not yet on your application).
Here is another example:
- If you plan on majoring in bioengineering, you’ll want to think beyond biology and engineering, as this is implied in the name of the major. You could be interested in a humanity like anthropology, which works to explain how human cultures work – an interest that may inform and enrichen your primary focus.
If you can’t think of a particular interest that would be completely new to you, consider a topic outside your academic focus that you want to become better versed in.
In this case, you’ll express why you want to continue learning more about that interest. In other words:
- What is something you want to learn more about?
- Why do you want to learn more about it?
While there’s no wrong way to answer the question, a great way to approach the question is using your interest to unconventionally further your understanding in your academic focus.
- For instance, if you’re a physics major with a passion for music, you might write about using music as practical applications of some physics principles regarding vibration and sound transfer.
If there’s a particular story behind your interest, share that in a way that helps the reader connect with you.
Telling a short story about your interest will help you effectively use more of your 250-word limit.
Overall, try to be authentic and show USC that you’re a well-rounded individual who will add to their campus community in more ways than one.
USC Outside of Academic Focus Essay Example
“Hi. My name … is Bobby … and I will be playing Fur … Elise … today.” The audience sat still as I stuttered through my introduction, approaching the lavish grand piano for my freshman-year recital. As chords flowed through my hands, my fingers began to slip, missing notes along the way. My stage fright had gotten the better of me. When I enrolled at GSA the next year, my friends dragged me to drill practice in preparation for the Clash of the Halls dance competition. I was reluctant, but upperclassmen convinced me to represent my hall at the most popular event at school. Although I had performed at multiple piano recitals, participating in choreographed dancing was a new challenge. Passion gradually outweighed my fear as I became more comfortable with the challenging choreography. Dancing became less of a commitment. I slowly became obsessed with making sure our team hit every note, rhythm, and beat. When I began leading practices, rising from apprentice to teacher, the moves became muscle memory and excitement pumped through my veins. After months of practices, I led my hallmates into the gym, exuding hall spirit and assuming our formation. The fear that once possessed me completely vanished. We went on to give an unforgettable show. Having discovered my newfound passion, I went on to choreograph my school’s Diwali dance for the next two years. I look forward to pursuing my love for dance by joining the USC Zeher Bollywood fusion team in the near future.
USC Supplemental Essay Prompt #3: Essential to Understanding You
“What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you?”
This is the equivalent of the “tell me about yourself” question; the same one that you will be asked during almost every interview.
This question is broad, so you want to be particular.
The best way to be particular is by utilizing a story you haven’t already told in another part of your application. This story should also highlight one of the characteristics you feel is essential to who you are as a person.
- Think of a story that demonstrates your values, a perfect day, an activity you enjoy, or an important relationship.
You’ll want to be able to pinpoint that one thing throughout your story.
- The key is to answer the question concisely (within the 250 word count maximum) and genuinely.
Another great way to approach this question is to ask yourself a question and answer through a free-write.
Examples of questions you could ask yourself include:
- What do I value?
- What does my perfect day look like?
- What could I do every day and not get tired of?
- Who are the most important people in my life?
- What’s my ultimate life goal?
- What motivates me?
Write whatever comes to mind for your questions.
Don’t be afraid to include a negative experience if it significantly affected your life, goals, or personality.
This is where you can find beauty in the darkness to show how you’re unique.
Do the same free-write exercise with these questions.
- What struggle do I work most to overcome?
- What is something only those closest to me know about how I’ve become who I am?
- What do I avoid at all costs?
- What am I terrified of?
You are not being asked to share your most tragic story or deepest darkest secret, but it’s important to appreciate that we don’t only grow from positive experiences.
We grow from all experiences, so write about one (positive or negative) that has shaped you most.
The next step is to ask yourself why. This is very important.
USC wants to know what is important to you and why it’s important.
- If your answer is “I don’t know,” take some time to think about it or move on to the next idea on your list.
- Ask friends and family for their thoughts (but remember that you have to create an essay with your own thoughts and not those of someone else).
Here’s an example of breaking down a meaningful story to pinpoint the specific characteristic that is essential to you being you.
- Interest: I love traveling by train.
- Why? I like the rhythm and cadence of the wheels on the tracks, the sound of the whistle, watching the diversity of the landscape as I travel in and out of urban centers.
- What does it say about me? I pine for a quieter, slower time and love to find ways to balance the rush and grind of the city with habits of slow living.
- What characteristic does this give me? This says something about how I’m contemplative.
- How do I use this characteristic? I spend time contemplating choices longer than most and dislike being rushed to make a decision.
When you’re able to come up with the answer to “Why?” write down as much as you can without judging yourself. You’re the only person who knows the truth about what is essential to understanding you.
When you’re able to identify what you would like to write about, frame it within a story.
Remember you only have 250 words to spare, so it won’t be a full-blown story.
However, two to three sentences about the background behind your topic will be helpful to the reader.
- For example, if you want to write about your involvement in sports as an important part of who you are, write about how you became interested in sports in the first place.
- Maybe your grandfather taught you how to throw a football. Maybe he came to all your games.
- Let the reader know the story behind what you’ve chosen to write about.
As always, have someone read your essay to ensure that it is error-free and genuinely reflects you.
USC Essential to Understanding You Essay Example
My grandmother likes to tell the story of three-year-old me in the grocery cart, screaming in Vietnamese the names of passing vegetables, much to the amusement of shoppers. Back then, Vietnamese was enough. In kindergarten, I faced my first language obstacle. At the toilet, I couldn’t undo my double-ring belt. How embarrassing would it be to interrupt the teacher in the middle of class and silently point to it, hoping she would get the message? I chose to sit on the toilet and cry. That was the first day I peed my pants in class but the last time language would ever come between me and going to the bathroom. I made learning English my mission. By third grade, I was reading stacks of books almost as tall as I was every week. Language is meaningful to me. While volunteering in the hospital, when I ask a lost elderly couple if they speak Vietnamese, their eyes light up in relief. When a Spanish-speaking woman hurriedly calls her child over to translate, I tell them in Spanish not to worry, empathizing with the child who has the same role I once did. Language doesn’t just communicate information. For me, it has been a tool for insight, allowing me to connect with others. Throughout my schooling, I’ve taught my parents a lot of English, and I still teach them new words every so often. When I make the occasional error, I jokingly but affectionately blame it on English as my second language.
“Why USC?” Supplemental Essay: How to Answer The Intended Major Question
“The intended major question states: Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections.”
This is another version of a “Why This College” essay .
Sometimes when high school students are asked about their major, they get overwhelmed because they aren’t 100% confident about what they want to study.
Consider major selections to be a road trip, not a death sentence.
You are allowed to change your mind, but it helps if you know what you want and why. So, take some time to think about it:
- What do you enjoy studying?
- Why do you enjoy studying it?
- Are there other subjects you enjoy as well?
Think about your experiences in school up until this point.
Sure, interests change, but, often, there are things within our lives that remain constant.
Maybe you never cared about history class, but you enjoyed reading novels and analyzing characterization and plot techniques.
- Or, perhaps you hated having reading assigned for class but enjoyed acting out scenes from different novels and plays.
These are things to take note of.
Another way to help you figure out your intended major is to look through USC’s website.
- Remember, this question functions as both a question about your intended major and a question about your intentions for applying to USC. Your answer is best suited when tailored to USC’s unique features that other colleges may not offer.
Does Biomedical Engineering sound interesting to you? Check out USC’s Biomedical Engineering program. Look at the courses you will have to take. See what excites you.
Still struggling to come up with your intended major?
Working backward is another helpful strategy.
- Think about where you will want to be 5 to 10 years from now.
- What do you want to be doing every day?
- Are you passionate about reading and analyzing large amounts of information and communicating it in a way that makes sense to other people?
- Do you want to teach people how to handle their finances?
- Are you interested in helping other people live healthier lives?
- Do you want to develop your passion for writing into a career?
Look at careers that match the types of things you will want to be doing every day. Then, look at the type of knowledge that will be required to get those jobs.
That knowledge may be found in more than one major. If that’s the case, you will need to look through the department websites for your intended majors.
- Once you’ve done the necessary background research, tell your story.
- Lean into a story of what your major will be and own it, but, remember, it’s not binding or contractual.
The more you learn about different majors, the clearer your intended major may become, so spend a couple of hours clicking deep into the website:
- Start with the programs related to a chosen field.
- Then, look at the types of courses that are offered and learn about some of the professors teaching the courses.
- You’ll also want to look at news or research coming out of the department.
Consider ways in which you will grow and flourish academically and programs to which you might contribute as a student at USC.
If you have a career goal, it can help.
- Describe how your major in narrative studies will help you realize the goal of becoming a documentary filmmaker.
- Explain how you will be prepared in a program that balances traditional studies in English literature with film theory, writing classes, as well as the study of popular culture and ethnicity.
- Write about how a degree in social work will help shape you into the type of politician you want to be in the future.
Write the vision for your life and write how your first (and/or second-choice) major will help you get there.
It would be an added bonus if you can talk about extracurricular activities you might be interested in joining to further supplement your learning.
Remember, learning takes place outside the classroom as well.
Take time with this essay to make sure you’re confident in your future goals, and then share them with the admissions team. When you’re authentic and have a plan for the future, you’re sure to write a compelling essay.
Why USC and Why This Major Essay Example
8 p.m. – I sat in the peer tutor room, waiting for underclassmen to approach me for academic help. An hour-long shift passed without any students stopping by. At this moment, I realized the immense lack of organization within the peer tutoring program at GSA. Students could neither find available tutors nor schedule time with them despite needing support for challenging courses. I knew there had to be a better way. I spent the next few months teaching myself Android Studio programming and developed EngTutor, an app that streamlines the process of finding academic help connecting students with available tutors. I will use the resources available at USC to turn EngTutor into a commercial venture. In the classroom, I aim to take advantage of USC’s advanced computer science program to broaden my knowledge of robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. I am excited to take courses such as Advanced Natural Language Processing to understand AI concepts. At USC, I intend to take advantage of the focus on interdisciplinary studies and enroll in elective courses at the Marshall School of Business to complement my skills developed at USC’s LavaLab. By receiving mentorship from professionals in entrepreneurship and computer science and gaining experience pitching my ideas to judges, I will be ready to participate in the Blackstone LaunchPad. Here, I aim to collaborate with like-minded individuals to enhance my entrepreneurship capabilities. Through these academic and extracurricular programs, USC will provide me with the resources necessary to embark on my entrepreneurial journey.
The USC Short-Answer Questions
The USC Short-Answer Questions include:
- Describe yourself in three words.
- What is your favorite snack?
- Best movie of all time:
- If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
- Dream trip:
- What TV show will you binge watch next?
- Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate?
- Favorite book:
- If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be?
While most universities that include a short answer section limit your word count to 100 words, the USC short answer questions only require one or two sentences to fully answer them.
- Be sure to answer the “why” implicit in the question.
- Treat it more like a conversation or an interview – monosyllabic responses don’t bode well for a conversation, and they don’t look great on your application, either.
- Instead, add a little context to your answers.
- After all, the USC admissions department should better understand you after reading your short answers.
There are two kinds of questions – Listing something that you feel describes yourself, and answering generic “break the ice” questions.
- For the questions in which you describe yourself, try asking friends or family for some perspective.
- Most importantly, make sure that you don’t choose vague adjectives – Each word should reflect a specific part of your personality.
If you are having a lot of trouble thinking of words that best describe you, don’t be afraid to get creative. For example, if you are a Harry Potter fan, consider using traits that describe your favorite Hogwarts house.
- For instance, if you consider yourself a Ravenclaw, you might use the words “analytical, quizzical, and creative.”
- A Slytherin may use “ambitious, hardworking, and clever.”
- Whatever method you use, make sure that these words tell USC about you.
For other questions, begin with the answer, then explain the why.
Also, remember that the admissions team at USC is not looking for the most sophisticated student, they just want introspective students.
- For instance, don’t just say that your favorite movie is Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Twelve Angry Men – explain why (briefly).
- Perhaps you’re interested in the themes of privacy versus security, or the film made you interested in the law or political science.
With every question, bring along a little insight into your life, your beliefs, and your ambitions.
USC Short Responses Examples
1.Describe yourself in three words.
2. First Word: Self-motivated
3. Second Word: Analytical
4. Third Word: Mindful
5. What is your favorite snack? Raisins and almonds: nutritious, portable, and delicious
6. Favorite app/website: Spotify
7. Best movie of all time: Avengers: Infinity War
8. Dream job: Founder/CEO of my assistive robotics technology company
9. What is your theme song: Believer – Imagine Dragons
10. Dream trip: Road trip on historic Route 66 from Chicago to LA with my friends
11. What TV show will you binge watch next: The Office
12. Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate: Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings
13. Favorite book: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
14. If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be: Facing Your Fears: Public Speaking
Conclusion: Writing the USC Supplemental Essays
As we mentioned at the beginning of this guide, well-written responses to those prompts require self-reflection, critical self-analysis, and research.
Start early to give yourself enough time to research your intended majors, write high-quality responses, and have time for revisions.
You have a 250 word limit for each of the supplemental essays, so use them all to create a lasting impression on the admissions officer reading your application.
By following the above guidelines, you can create a shining admissions package that will set you apart from other applicants.
Don’t forget to have fun, be a little creative, and show the USC admissions team who you really are. Your best chance to get into USC depends on it.
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How to Ace USC’s Supplemental Essays | Guide & Examples, 2022-2023
Great news. The University of Southern California recently reduced its somewhat long and quirky supplemental essay requirements. This year, USC asks for shorter, but equally quirky, responses. Never fear: we can guide you through it.
Bottom line, you’ll have to answer:
- A Why USC prompt (250 words)
- A series of 10 “quick take” answers (100 characters per answer)
If you’re curious about the quirk, here are the 10 quick questions:
- Describe yourself in three words.
- First Word: (25 characters)
- Second Word: (25 characters)
- Third Word: (25 characters)
- What is your favorite snack? (100 characters)
- Best movie of all time: (100 characters)
- Dream job: (100 characters)
- If your life had a theme song, what would it be? (100 characters)
- Dream trip: (100 characters)
- What TV show will you binge-watch next? (100 characters)
- Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate? (100 characters)
- Favorite book. (100 characters)
- If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be? (100 characters)
Quirky? Yes. Doable, also yes! So meet us below the table of contents and let’s get started.
(For help with all aspects of your college application, head to our College Essay Help Center .)
In this article:
Brainstorm — decide what’s most impressive to say before getting to the prompts
Prompt’s essay-writing method starts with figuring out what you want to say. (Then we slot that into the essay prompts that are available.)
So what should you say on your college application? Easy. Your entire task is to show admissions officers that you will succeed in college and beyond .
Okay, but how do you show an admissions officer you’re likely to succeed? This is also, surprisingly, not that hard: you do it by talking about your experiences that show one or more of the 5 Traits Colleges Look for in Applicants :
- Drive (grit)
- Intellectual Curiosity
- Diversity of Experiences
That brings us to brainstorming. Before you can begin talking about “Why USC” or thinking about how to answer the veritable volley of strange questions they throw your way, you need to write down all of your high school experiences, which is easier said than done. Brainstorm things like your:
- Academic interests
- Extracurricular activities and interests
- Self-learning and independent projects you’ve undertaken
- Work experiences and substantial domestic obligations
- Any other skills you’ve developed or meaningful experiences you’ve had
If you create a free Prompt account , you can develop these ideas through our brainstorming modules.
At the end of this process, you should have a solid idea of what experiences best show off one or more of the 5 Traits.
This is important with a disparate set of questions like USC’s — you don’t want the questions themselves to turn you around, confuse or distract you. Instead, with this method, you can use each question as a tool to say what you already know you want to say about yourself to further your application.
Let’s go through each question.
Q1: Why USC — Focus on your actions that relate to your dreams and your background
The first prompt is:
Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 words or fewer)
Note that this isn’t a “Why major” essay (even though it looks like one). Why Majors want to know if you can cut it academically in your major. By contrast, “Why Us” prompts want to know if you’re going to succeed academically at that particular college . Given how short the recommended word count is for this question, it clearly falls in that category.
When a school asks “Why Us,” they’re looking for:
- a likelihood that you’ll actually choose their school if admitted — (read our article on Demonstrated Interest for more on how powerful this can be) and also
- a sense that you’ll be a good fit at the school — (read our article on “Why Us” essays to get into the minds of admissions officers asking this question).
The short version of what this means for your essay is that you need to talk about:
- Your academic-related interests and
- How they’ll be a great match for USC.
As you’ll note, number 1 here is “you” and number 2 is USC. So start by thinking about which of your academic/extracurricular interests you’d like to highlight to the admissions team. Refer to that big brainstorm we talked about above. After that, get digging for things at USC that match those interests.
If you visited the campus , consider working an anecdote into your essay — you can also have the essay center around your visit. Just make sure that the aspect of the campus visit you describe relates to your intellectual curiosity . You don’t want the experience you showcase to be about social life or amenities.
Whether or not you visited , spend a bit of time on the USC college website , looking at the academic departments you’d likely major in for courses you might like to take. You can also look at interesting research, faculty and student work, and opportunities on the USC News site .
Q1: Why USC — Example
Please note that Prompt strongly believes that influencers shouldn’t influence your college essays and that, for essays that get published in flashy places , you don’t know if the essay got that student in or if they got in despite what was maybe a bad essay.
That being said, an example can be worth a thousand words!
Why USC example
I’ve already written a full novel. Yes, it’s faced nothing but rejection (though my English teacher Ms. Smithson was encouraging), but still: I wrote it! In fact, I loved writing it and I’m excited to write another.
But if this experience has taught me anything it’s that I belong in USC’s Narrative Studies department. I love the approach to a deep, rigorous study of narrative in popular culture, from a cross-cultural perspective and a historical perspective. I know that analysis will help my own craft as I continue to work on fiction on the side. But I also love that this study can prepare me for a non-writing career in creative fields, as it has done for many others.
In fact, I learned about USC through a colleague at the theater where I intern. She graduated from the program and hearing about her experiences made me eager to apply. In particular, her Capstone Project was a study of how anime has influenced modern Japanese theater. I loved hearing about her research and am excited to have the same opportunity. If I had to do it now, I’d write about how Chekov has been adapted since 2000. (My novel was a modern “update” of the Chekov play Three Sisters .)
- Word count: 207
- This essay shows a deep understanding of one of USC’s unique departments. (That being said, if you’re writing about a more “typical” major, you can use the same technique, though citing a few courses or research opportunities would be important.)
- This essay displays the student’s intellectual curiosity and talks about some of their intellectual achievements so far and how they connect to what’s at USC.
- This essay leaves the reader with the feeling that the student is excited about USC.
Q2: Short Takes — Refer to your brainstormed experiences to decide what aspects of your personality to highlight
This unique prompt reads in full:
- What TV show will you binge watch next? (100 characters)
Though “fun” and “quirky,” admissions officers are still looking through your answers with a red pen and a view toward advancing your application to either the “reject” or the “admit” pile.
It’s important both to answer in the spirit of the questions asked — loose and open — but also to show that you exhibit one or more of the 5 Traits and have the ability to succeed in college and beyond.
So sift through your list of brainstormed experiences. Try to make your answers reflect the experiences that show your potential for success. In addition, try to make your answers amplify the potential you’ve exhibited in your personal statement and in “Why USC.”
Note that you have just enough space to add a few words of explanation to each of your answers, which can help connect them to your overarching application themes.
Q2: Short Takes — Example
For example, pretend the same student who answered the “Why USC?” example above is responding here. Assume their personal statement centered on their experiences at the theater internship, where they learned the value of hard work to support creative expression (showing up every day, working hard on thankless tasks to build an audience).
They might answer like this:
- First Word : Creative
- Second Word : Hard-working
- Third Word : Curious
- What is your favorite snack? Anything from the Sterling Theater vending machine, especially after 7pm.
- Best movie of all time: Uncle Vanya on 42nd St — A film of a rehearsal of a play. What is art? How do we make it? Why?
- Dream job: Creative Director of a theater company devoted to showcasing new and emerging playwrights.
- If your life had a theme song, what would it be? Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” — you have to put in the hours to make creative projects work.
- Dream trip: As a kid I went to the Stratford Theater Festival with my grandma every year. I’d love to go back.
- What TV show will you binge watch next? Only Murders in the Building — I 🖤meta (true crime podcast fans make their own true crime podcast)
- Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate? I’m not over my Chekov obsession, so Chekov. Also, his being a doctor could be handy.
- Favorite book. Ai WeiWei’s 1000 Years of Joy and Sorrows — from political oppression to freedom through art.
- If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be? Stage fighting. It’s just so much fun!
- The answers all connect to the other work in the student’s essays — their internship at a theater and their desire to write and major in “narrative studies” — and the traits of drive and intellectual curiosity .
- You don’t have to share your actual “favorite” movie (or TV show, or snack, …). Instead, share the one that fits with the larger message about your intellectual curiosity that you want the admissions officers to hear. (Nobody’s favorite movie is Uncle Vanya on 42nd St . This student’s favorite movie is probably Princess Bride . Just saying.)
- It’s not a bad idea to have one “fun” answer that’s not totally related to your application — in this case, the stage-fighting answer might play that role. While showcasing your intellectual bona fides matters, it’s also nice to show that you can be loose and authentic.
Helpful info on all the “other” stuff you’ll consider as you apply to USC (and other schools)
A few helpful resources for the non-supplement parts of your application:
- Common App : Since you must use it for USC , read our guide to acing everything to do with writing your Common App .
- Whether to submit test scores: USC remains test-optional this year. Our test-optional article will guide you through the tricky waters of making this decision.
- Early options: USC offers Early Action . Read our Early Admissions article so you know how to approach this decision.
BTW, here’s our guidance for approaching any college supplement + here’s where you can find our guides for almost every college’s supplements .
Feeling inspired? A great place to start is at our College Essay Help Center .
More articles on Prompt.com’s admissions-boosting methods:
- Work with a college essay coach
- Strong essays increase your chance of admission by up to 10x
- Don’t let influencers influence your college essays
- Should I apply test-optional?
- Early admissions: Everything you need to know
- College Essay Help Center
Weak Rough Draft
Stanford Roommate Essay | Guide and Examples
How to Write a Great “Describe an Activity” Essay | Guide and Examples
Deferred or Waitlisted? How to Write a Great Letter of Continued Interest
How to Write a Strong “Why Major” Essay | 2022-23
The 5-part strategy for great college supplements | 2022-23
Strong essays increase your chances of admissions by 10x. you don't have to tackle your essays alone..
- Written by Brad Schiller
- Posted on March 16, 2021
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How to Write the USC Why Us Essay + Accepted Sample
In this article, we’ll cover how to write the USC “Why Us” Essay. We’ll also be including an example essay that was accepted. You can also find the original applicant’s stats and marks below.
This should give you a general guideline to what your chances are of getting accepted into USC, as well as what you need to get in for your major.
For reference, the applicant’s information that we are basing off on was accepted into USC for Neuroscience. As such, he was accepted into USC’s Dornsife. However, they were an associate of ours and did not receive essay editing from us. They only received advice and consultation from us.
Okay, now onto the main attraction.
TL;DR: This applicant had an essay that was alright, but his strong grades and extracurriculars demonstrated he went above and beyond what most applicants could do.
Table of Contents
USC Why Us Essay Prompt
- How Important is the USC Why Us Essay?
Accepted Applicant’s GPA and Scores
Accepted applicant’s background + extracurriculars, sample working essay, why this essay worked.
Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (Approximately 250 words) USC Essay Prompt
How Important is the USC Why US Essay?
As you may have already seen on the official page , USC takes on a holistic admissions approach. This means that more than just your grades and test scores will be considered. Your essays will be weighed in as well.
With the rise of grade inflation, higher GPAs during the COVID19 Pandemic, and harder measuring tools for academic success, USC’s application essays are now more important than ever before.
To rub salt in the wound, the “Why Us” Essay is perhaps one of if not the most important essay in your application to USC. Why is that? It’s because it gives answers to questions that are most important to the admissions officers: what will you be doing here?
Some people have no idea what they want to do. Others have an entire startup idea already planned and ready to execute at USC. Depending on your answer, it can make or break your chances of acceptance.
So, long story short: it’s super important. Period.
Here’s some info on what the applicant’s stats were. Hopefully this will help you have a good idea of what it takes to get accepted into USC Dornsife.
- Summer: 4.00 GPA at Community college
- Fall: 3.86 GPA at 4 year 4.00 GPA at Community college
- Winter: 3.91 GPA at 4-year
- Spring: 3.51 (2 B’s 2 A’s) at 4-year and 4.00 GPA at Community college
- 4 year overall GPA: 3.76 GPA. Community College overall GPA: 4.00
Combined GPA of 4-year and Community college: 3.88 GPA.
Now, here’s everything the applicant had done for their extracurriculars and other projects. We underlined the particularly impressive ones in bold.
If you want to have extracurriculars that will help you stand out, make sure to conduct your own projects with positive results. These typically show a dedication and passion for your major more than others.
- Completed all GE’s.
- Completed majority of neuroscience recommended major preparation courses.
- Completed entire second major choice recommended preparation (Second major choice: Health and Human sciences.)
- Conducted 3D-printed mask initiative. Created masks for the COVID-19 Pandemic through 3D printing. Worked to make sure final product fit with mask regulations. Gave the printed masks to those in need.
- Conducted a program at UCLA
- Participate + active at local church
- Learned Basic CPR
- Doctors Without Borders
- Worked a job for 2 years.
- Externship at Brown University
Note: This sample essay has many spots that can be edited to look better. However, this essay was accepted for someone with a fantastic GPA and incredible extracurriculars. They went above and beyond.
After scrolling on YouTube for hours as a 16-year-old, I was suddenly recommended watching a neurosurgeon perform brain surgery while the patient played the guitar. This strange yet interesting video of how a patient’s functions were still functional even though the skull is wide open led me to USC professor Donald Arnold’s body of work, which focuses on Behavioral, Systems, and Cognitives. His work led me to take a step in my life to pursue a career in Neuroscience. I hope to conduct Undergraduate research in the Neuroscience Experience Undergraduate Research and Learning Program or NEURAL. Working under Tirin Moore and Sarah Bottjer, I will collaborate with students in Humanities, Physical Sciences, and Mathematics. The projects that are housed at NEURAL will allow me to explore my catenated interests. Collaborating with students in a variety of fields can allow me to solve real-world problems. The obstacles we face as a whole, we need doctors who not only think unclouded but also view challenges from various lenses. Dornsife’s emphasis on amalgamated learning within the Neuroscience Honors Program encourages metacognitive problem solving and thinking. I hope to integrate psychology, Biology, and Neuroscience by taking courses like “Neuroscience Colloquium and Systems Neuroscience: From Synapses to Perception,” further interning for SURF offered by USC. By merging multiple disciplines in my study, I will help bridge together people and the problems we face. (Word Count: 233) Nathan –Aceppted to USC for Neuroscience
So, here are a few points as to how this essay worked and what it did right.
- Using an interesting opening
- Being specific on what he wants to do
- Showing how USC’s resources specifically (particular professors) work for his future career
- Mentioning his multiple interests and merging them together into a more specific future plan
Now, in the grand scheme of things, this is an okay essay.
However, if you are performing below what the applicant has in terms of GPA, scores, background, and extracurriculars, then you’ll need a better essay .
We wanted to show this essay because it is a decent essay that is around the level of what you would expect of someone who had done some research on their application essays.
If you are below a 3.9 cumulative nonweighted GPA, are not doing internships at prestigious schools, and don’t have the number of clubs this student has, that’s actually okay! You just need to make sure that your essay is better than what we’ve posted above!
So, what does that leave for us?
That means if you’re not at the 99th percentile of your class, taking multiple courses over the summer, and doing externships with professors at an Ivy League such as Brown University, then you have no chances of getting accepted to USC.
On a serious note, if you want to get accepted to USC, knowing how to write the USC why us essay is crucial. This is perhaps one of the most important essays in the application because it demonstrates to the admissions office why they are #1 on your list. It also shows them who is worthy of entering their school, and who will use their resources well.
If you’re still struggling on learning how to write the USC why us essay, you may want to discuss it with us! Send us a copy of your essay, or simply contact us ! You can get a free consultation, and we’ll give you free help in your initial call!
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