The University of South California (USC) is not just any private research university in Los Angeles — it’s the oldest one in California.
Having an acceptance rate of only 13%, there’s no denying that it’s a very selective institution. But it climbs to 22% for transfer students.
So, how do you transfer to USC the right way to increase your chances of getting in?
Transferring to USC starts with filling out the Common App and paying the $85 fee by February 15. Other than high school and college transcripts, some majors may require transfer applicants to audition or submit portfolios or resumes. Successful transfer applicants to USC have GPAs that range from 3.7 to 4.0.
Who is Eligible to Transfer to USC?
The University of Southern California accepts both junior and sophomore transfer students. Successful transferees are those who have completed at least 1 year of rigorous, full-time academic coursework. The most competitive transfers to USC are students who have earned 14 to 16 credits and competitive GPAs.
As mentioned earlier, USC accepts almost a little more than a fifth of all transfer applicants.
Because the process of applying as a transferee doesn’t come free of charge and can be time-consuming, it’s a must to ensure that you are considered eligible to transfer to the prestigious private research university located in LA beforehand.
One of the most important requirements to meet for your transfer application to be reviewed by the meticulous admissions officers at USC is that you must have completed not less than 1 year of college.
But it’s not enough that you have completed any year’s worth of coursework — it has to be both full-time and rigorous.
More transfer students from colleges and universities in California get into USC. As a matter of fact, around 47% of them are from community colleges in the state. On the other hand, 26% are from schools elsewhere in the country.
According to USC itself, transfer applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0.
But it doesn’t mean that just because yours is 2.0 you are guaranteed admission. Given that USC is a selective institution, it’s important for your GPA to be high to increase your admissions chances.
So much so that the middle 50% (between the bottom 25% and top 25%) cumulative GPAs of admitted transfers is 3.7 to 4.0.
Above, I mentioned that USC accepts not only junior transfer students but also sophomore ones.
The institution, however, suggests students to transfer as early as their junior year.
Doing so allows them to take more of their general education courses and electives at USC as well as have more opportunities for them to get involved with campus life.
It’s also a great strategy for those who are interested in double majoring or majors that are unit-intensive.
It’s also important for transfer applicants to have completed the equivalent of USC’s lower-division Writing requirement (Writing 130) and the minimum math requirement by demonstrating a mastery of intermediate algebra in college or even algebra II in high school with a grade of C or higher — some USC majors require more math.
5 Steps to Transferring to USC
As with applying to any postsecondary institution as a transfer student, the process starts at USC by filling out the Common App. Most departments or schools at USC do not require transfer applicants to submit recommendation letters and supplemental essays. The deadline for transfer applications is February 15.
There are certain things other colleges and universities ask transfer applicants to submit that USC doesn’t. Some of them include school reports and supplemental essays, in many instances.
In this part of the post, let’s take a look at the things to do when applying to USC as a transferee.
Fill out the Common App and pay the fee
The application to USC as a transfer student starts by filling out the Common App for Transfers.
The transfer application fee amounts to $85 — it doesn’t matter whether you are from California or not.
Unable to pay the said amount?
Then you can waive the application fee by presenting a letter or memo from the financial aid office of your current college stating that it would cause a financial hardship for you or submitting a documentation from any state unemployment agency proving that you are unemployed as of the time being.
The transfer application deadline at USC is February 15.
While there is no early action (EA) option for transfer applicants, those who are applying for the following majors must submit their applications by December 1:
- Cinematic arts
- Dramatic arts
Naturally, you will have to submit your college transcript when applying to USC as a transfer student. And if you attended more than just a single college, it goes without saying that you should submit transcripts from all of them.
Unofficial copies are fine. But when it’s time to enroll, it’s a must for USC to get hold of the official ones.
You will also have to submit your high school transcript because the admissions officers at USC will also take into account your high school GPA.
As a general rule of thumb, the less time you have spent in college, the more important the role your high school grades play in the transfer admissions process.
Provide letters of recommendation depending on major
At most postsecondary institutions, transfer applicants are usually required to approach their advisers or teachers and ask them to write recommendation letters. At USC, there’s no need for you to do that.
Well, in most instances, at least — some departments or majors at USC will require you to provide a letter of recommendation.
Of course, if asked to submit the said material, it’s a good idea for it to come from someone who knows you quite well as a person and as a student as well as your capabilities and potential, too.
Provide additional materials
Usually, performance majors being offered by USC require applicants, transfers and first-time, first-year students alike, to audition to showcase their talents and skills before a panel, usually consisting of faculty members.
There are times, too, when transfer applicants are asked to submit portfolios, resumes and even writing samples.
Some of the USC schools or departments that require additional materials include:
- Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
- Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation
- Kaufman School of Dance
- Marshall School of Business
- Roski School of Art and Design
- Thornton School of Music
- USC School of Architecture
- USC School of Dramatic Arts
- Viterbi School of Engineering
If you are applying to any of the ones mentioned above, make sure to get your hands on any required supplementary forms and fulfill all departmental requirements. More importantly, submit them on or before the slated deadline.
Sign the application affirmations
Last but definitely not least in the transfer application process, you should provide your digital signature to the application affirmations, which will become available to you after USC receives your completed transfer application form.
The following is what those affirmations look like:
I certify that I am personally responsible for what is submitted in my USC application. All information supplied on application forms and contained in related materials is accurate, complete, and my own work. I also acknowledge that USC may audit my application at any point in the enrollment process and that specific information will be verified for authenticity, accuracy, authorship and completeness.
Further, I understand that while conducting such an audit, USC reserves the right to gather and verify information with officials from high school(s) or college(s), authors of my recommendation letters, individuals associated with my extracurricular or employment activities, and information available online, through social media and other sources.
Additional USC Transfer Considerations
USC is known for being a selective institution, but it tends to accept more transfer applicants than freshmen applicants.
What’s more, in most instances, it doesn’t require transfer students to submit all kinds of requirements that most other colleges and universities tend to ask from those who are coming from other postsecondary institutions.
How much does it cost to attend USC?
The estimated cost of attendance at USC amounts to $90,921. Tuition alone is $66,640, which comprises around 73% of the overall cost. More than two-thirds of undergraduates at USC receive financial aid, and the total institutional award given is equivalent to $464,300,000.
Does USC accept transfer credits?
USC accepts transfer credits. However, the institution limits the amount to 64 units earned from accredited colleges and universities. The school also limits transfer of credits in certain categories, such as up to 4 units of English, 8 units of dance, 12 units of physical education courses and 16 units of individual instruction in music.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.