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Complete Guide to USC

Complete Guide to USC

In Los Angeles, California, there is a private research university called the University of Southern California (USC). Founded in 1880 by Robert M. Widney, it is the oldest private research university in California. The University of Southern California (USC) has 20 professional schools, including the USC Leventhal School of Accounting, USC School of Architecture, USC Roski School of Art and Design, USC Iovine and Young Academy, USC Marshall School of Business, USC School of Cinematic Arts, and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

USC received a rating of 3.97 out of 5 stars on Niche, is ranked #134 in the QS World University Rankings 2023 by Top Universities, and is ranked #25 in the 2022–2023 edition of Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report. It offers undergraduate programs in a variety of disciplines, including business, communications, biology, and more, and has a 16% acceptance rate. Additionally, it provides teaching hospitals, postgraduate programs in occupational science and occupational therapy, biokinesiology, and physical therapy through its 20 professional schools.

USC tuition | Guide to USC

The tuition cost for the University of Southern California (USC) for the 2021-2022 school year is $64,726. This includes tuition of $63,468 and fees of $1,258. On-campus room and board averages $16,732 for a total of $81,659. USC tuition is the 8th most expensive according to the Wall Street Journal top rankings.

In addition to tuition and fees, students may also be responsible for additional expenses like books and supplies ($1,500), travel ($2,000), and personal costs ($3,500). Those who qualify for financial aid can apply for merit scholarships, need-based grants, federal work-study, and loans. 

Most USC undergraduate students receive financial aid in some capacity—nearly two thirds. USC offers tuition-free attendance to incoming first-year students from American families with annual incomes of $80,000 or less and average assets.

USC scholarships | Guide to USC

For undergraduate students who need financial assistance, the University of Southern California (USC) has a number of scholarships available. These funds are non-repayable and come from university, federal, state, and private sources. In order to be considered for a USC Merit Scholarship, applicants must submit their admissions applications by either November 1 or December 1 depending on their intended major. These deadlines are set by the Office of Admission. 

These scholarships are given out based on academic excellence, leadership, service, and talent, and can be worth up to the full cost of tuition. The three main USC Merit Scholarships are the Trustee Scholarship (full-tuition), the Presidential Scholarship (half-tuition) and the Dean’s Scholarship (quarter-tuition)

In addition to these merit-based awards, there are additional USC scholarships offered by non-university institutions. 

In order to be considered for other freshman scholarships, students must submit the USC Scholarship Application by February 1; for continuing and transfer student scholarships, the deadline is April 1. 

For consideration, candidates must have a minimum 3.0 GPA (USC GPA for continuing students or collegiate GPA for transfer students). Typically, award notifications are sent out in June. The same application procedure may also be used by students enrolling in a Palmetto College degree program or those accepted into USC Lancaster’s Upper Division of the BSN program.

Through Scholarship Universe, an online resource that connects students with scholarship opportunities, students can look for and apply for scholarships.

USC Tuition Fees | Guide to USC 

For the 2023–2024 academic year, the estimated two-semester costs for a full-time USC undergraduate (taking 12–18 units per semester) are $85,648 for students living on or off campus and $75,576 for those living with parents or other family members.

The cost of living is $10,506, the cost of housing and food and dining is $6,930, the cost of books and supplies is $1,200, the cost of personal and other expenses is $1,702, and the cost of transportation is $584. A $450 first-semester new student fee is additionally charged.

USC’s need-blind admissions policy benefits applicants from lower- and middle-class backgrounds. 

USC is ranked as the eighth-most expensive university by The Wall Street Journal. For the academic years 2023–2024, in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees are 57,470 and 57,470, respectively. In 2023–2024, graduate tuition and fees were on average $50654 per semester. The estimated total for MHIT students’ tuition and fees for the semester is $23 917.

USC scholarships

Students who meet the requirements can apply for merit scholarships from the University of Southern California (USC). When awarding these scholarships, a number of factors are taken into account, including academic excellence, leadership, service, and talent. 

Among the USC Merit Scholarships are the Trustee Scholarship, which covers all tuition for four years, the Presidential Scholarship, which has a half-tuition fee, and the Deans Scholarship, which has a quarter-tuition fee.

Students must submit their applications earlier than the regular decision deadline to be considered for a USC Merit Scholarship. Usually, only 2% of initial applicants are chosen to be given a chance at a USC Merit Scholarship. 

90% or more of the applicants who were chosen will be awarded one of these merit scholarships.

There are additional scholarships offered by the Office of Admission and other USC departments in addition to the USC Merit Scholarships. In Scholarship Universe, an online resource that enables students to look for and apply for scholarships, prospective students can see these awards.

USC financial aid | Guide to USC

For undergraduate students who need financial assistance, the University of Southern California (USC) has a number of programs available.

 Included in this are all need-based grants and scholarships, with more than 75% of aid coming in the form of gift aid that is not required to be paid back. USC offers tuition-free attendance to incoming first-year students from American families with annual incomes of $80,000 or less and average assets.

There are different application procedures for need-based financial aid and merit scholarships. The Office of Admission has established deadlines for applicants for merit scholarships, which are November 1 or December 1 of the current academic year, depending on their intended major. On the USC Financial Aid website, you can submit an application for need-based financial assistance.

If you have any questions regarding financial aid at USC, you can email a financial aid advisor by clicking “Email Us” at the top of the website page dedicated to financial aid or you can call the financial aid office between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm (Pacific Time), Monday through Friday, at (213) 740-4444.

USC Scholarships |Guide to USC

To help lower the out-of-pocket costs associated with obtaining a university degree, the University of Southern California (USC) provides a variety of financial aid options. At USC, more than 90% of undergraduate students and almost all incoming freshmen receive financial aid in some capacity. 

The university’s financial aid staff can assist students in assessing their expenses and establishing connections with the resources that best suit their individual needs.

There are scholarships available for South Carolinians, non-South Carolinians, departments, colleges, and more. Furthermore, grants are easily accessible and frequently awarded in accordance with financial need. Additionally, USC offers a strong merit scholarship program for incoming first-year students from American families with average assets and annual incomes of $80,000 or less.

A total of $63,468 is expected to be spent on tuition, fees, housing, and food for the academic year 2021–2022. The estimated cost of tuition for the academic year 2022–2023 is $64,726 plus fees ($1,258). Visit the USC Upstate website for a complete breakdown of the school’s tuition and fees.

USC Scholarships for international students

The University of Southern California (USC) offers a range of scholarships for international students, including the International Freshman Academic Scholarship, USC Associates ScholarshipTransfer Merit Scholarship and Asian Pacific Alumni Association Scholarship

Additionally, there are merit-based scholarships available for undergraduate and graduate students. 

These scholarships can provide partial funding for tuition fees and other study expenses. International Student Scholarships, English Excellence Scholarships, Blackwood 76 Fund Study Support Bursaries, UniSC Asylum Seeker Scholarships, and U3A Merit-based Scholarships are just a few of the additional financial aid options that USC provides to international students. In order to find out if they qualify for any other scholarships, international students should also inquire with their home institution and government. For international students from SCAR member nations, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) also provides fellowships in Antarctic research.

USC campus life

USC campus life is world-class and global, with a 226-acre main campus located three miles south of Downtown Los AngelesUSC International Academy students have full access to the university’s facilities, services, and events. 

The Health Sciences Campus is home to the Keck School of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy programs as well as the world-class Keck Medical Center of USC.

USC has over 850 student clubs, including concerts, pep rallies, conferences, talks, and lectures. It is also one of the top party schools in the country due to its abundance of opportunities for on-campus activities. Nearly 98% of USC students live on campus in one of 40 resident halls or apartment buildings.

USC has a vibrant Greek life with 65% of students saying that it is pretty big. There are also many other social activities available such as football games, Conquest (an annual spirit competition between USC and UCLA), Springfest (an annual music festival), tailgating, marching band performances, Visions and Voices (a series of events featuring artists from around the world), scholarship parties, Halloween parties, and homecoming celebrations.

Overall, USC offers a wide range of social activities for its 50,000 students. However, there is a disparity between those who can afford to take part in these activities and those who cannot due to financial constraints.

USC student life

A wide range of clubs and organizations are available for students to join at the University of Southern California (USC), including a band, chorus, theater groups, a campus newspaper, a radio station, fraternities and sororities, and more. CONQUEST!, Springfest, and Songfest are among the most well-liked campus events.

For students who want to live on campus, USC provides housing. On-campus living is given for first-year students. About 65% of USC students live off-campus.

For students interested in participating in sports programs, USC also provides a variety of athletic options. The NCAA regulates intercollegiate athletics, and universities provide financial support. The university has prioritized recruiting students from all backgrounds, and by almost any metric, the diversity of its student body is evident.

USC campus life

Three miles south of Downtown Los Angeles, on a 226-acre main campus, USC offers a first-rate, international campus experience. Students at USC International Academy have complete access to all of the university’s resources, services, and activities. The Keck School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy, as well as the renowned Keck Medical Center of USC, are located on the Health Sciences Campus. Additionally, USC has 23 campus libraries that are intended to support learning and research.

With the help of its more than 850 student clubs, USC hosts a variety of cultural events, such as concerts, pep rallies, conferences, talks, and lectures. Because there are so many opportunities for on-campus activities, it is one of the best party schools in the nation. The majority of USC students—nearly 98%—live on campus in 40 residence halls and apartment complexes, including specialized communities like the Rainbow LGBTQ+ Community, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American Leadership Community, Women in Science and Engineering Living Learning Community, and more.

The NCAA, which represents USC athletics, boasts some of the most fervent sports supporters. Greek life is also well-liked at USC, where 65% of students say it is fairly significant.

Depending on whether students live in an apartment with a private room or share a bedroom, the cost of living at the USWhile private rooms can cost more than $2,000 per month, shared bedrooms can be rented for as little as $950 per month. Students who cannot afford certain experiences or activities that are common among their wealthier peers may feel excluded as a result of this wealth gap.
This disparity between wealth levels among students can lead to feelings of exclusion among those who cannot afford certain activities or experiences that are common among wealthier peers.

USC campus tour

The University of Southern California (USC) provides a range of tours and information sessions to introduce prospective students to the campus and school. They consist of Saturday visits, self-guided tours, virtual reality tours, and student-led tours.

The USC undergraduate students who lead the student-led tours give visitors a broad overview of the university.

An overview of the University Park Campus in all of its forms is provided in a pdf that can be accessed online and on mobile devices as part of the self-guided tours. 

Visitors can experience a 360-degree, fully immersive tour of USC thanks to virtual reality. Last but not least, Saturday visits include a brief presentation from an enrollment counselor as well as a walkthrough of the campus during the day or at night.

USC admission requirements |Guide to USC

High SAT and ACT score requirements apply to admission to the University of Southern California (USC), which typically accepts applicants with scores in the top 8% (SAT 1340/1530; ACT 30/34). Applicants should aim for a 1530 SAT or 34 ACT score as well as a 3.79 GPA or higher to increase their chances of admission. Neither the ACT nor the SAT’s writing test is necessary for admission to USC.

USC pays close attention to an applicant’s personal narrative, background, and circumstances in addition to test results. Applications must include official transcripts of all college and high school work taken, as well as any Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses. If paying the application fee is too expensive, applicants can ask for a fee exemption in the Profile section of their application.


If your child knows they want to study business management or enter the film industry, or if they prefer smaller classes, USC would be a better option. But if they don’t mind big lecture halls, are set on a STEM field, and skip out on football games for academics, UCLA could be a more ideal fit.
Undergraduate Students
A grade point average of at least 2.0 (“C”) on all baccalaureate units attempted at USC, as well as on the combined USC–transfer GPA, is required for all undergraduate degrees.
Is it hard to get into USC? The USC admission process is extremely competitive. Over 70,000 students applied last year, bringing the USC acceptance rate down to 12%. Over 25% of students admitted to the USC Class of 2025 had perfect grades in high school.
Is USC Ivy League? No, USC isn’t an Ivy League school, but it is a prestigious university. USC offers many of the same benefits as an Ivy League school such as specialized education, state-of-the-art research facilities, and small class sizes.
There is no minimum GPA or test score, nor is there any specific number of AP or honors courses you must have on your transcript in order to have your application reviewed or be admitted to Stanford.

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