How to Get into the University of Southern California as an International Undergraduate Student? - UniVisory
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How to Get into the University of Southern California as an International Undergraduate Student?


How to Get into the University of Southern California as an International Undergraduate Student?

Located in the city of Angels, the University of Southern California is one of the highly-ranked universities worldwide. Founded in 1880, it is one of the oldest universities in California. According to the Best Global Universities, USC university is ranked 70. USC offers several creative USC undergraduate programs, including film, journalism & communication, business, management, marketing, social sciences, visual and performing arts, engineering, computer and information sciences, etc. Getting into such a university, on the other hand, is extremely difficult. One of the unique aspects which makes USC one of the most preferred schools for international students, particularly Indians, is its unique blend of academics and robust social life.

Some of the notable alumni of USC are Richard Knerr, Terrence Lanni, Sri Manchala, Henry Caruso, Timothy O. Johnson and so on. According to the international undergraduate student, USC makes up around 23.8% of the entire student body. The latest total number of undergraduate international students is 11729, with 1735 students from India.

Do you want to pursue your undergraduate education at the University of Southern California? Let’s break down why this university is the best place for study abroad for Indian students and how you can have a higher chance of getting admitted.

What the University of Southern California Looks Into?

USC has an intense competition when it comes to selecting applicants. They are looking for the best of the best applicants who can thrive in the university. The USC university seeks applicants with strong personality traits in addition to excellent academics, test scores and GPA. They are looking for applicants who are not just academically skilled but are willing to come out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves, explore and learn about new fields, assume global perspectives and take advantage of the diverse USC undergraduate programs. Extracurricular or community achievements like being the track team captain or being part of a research project highlight your skills and leadership experiences. “Be your most authentic self. Your personal experiences, whether they are successes or failures, shape who you are”, says Taylor Swartout, Assistant Director of Admission.

Besides that, the USC university admission experts recommend you to take up difficult courses outside your school for diverse knowledge in various fields. Students must complete at least three years of high school mathematics, including Advanced Algebra, with a grade of C or above. Apart from that, if feasible, students should continue taking maths classes beyond Advanced Algebra.

Academic Preparation

USC requires applicants who have excelled academically and can achieve further. The majority of accepted students are in the top 10% of their high school class. They are searching for potential applicants with the capacity to make an impact on the campus. Applicants must be prepared to go above and beyond their comfort zone, delve deeper into a subject, research study ideas and become lifelong learners. Outside of mathematics, there is no specific curriculum requirement for international undergraduate students. However, we recommend you enrol in the challenging courses in English, science, social studies, foreign language and arts program you can handle.

Here are some of the recommended courses you can follow up with:

·         English And Literature: 4 Years of English Literature.

·          Mathematics: 3 to 4 years of Advanced Algebra and continue taking maths courses beyond high school.

·         Foreign Language: 2 to 4 years of a language apart from English.

·         Laboratory/Natural/Physical Science: 2 to 4 years of Lab Science and Physical Science.

·          History and Social Science: 2 years of history and social science.

·         Academic Electives: 3 years of academic electives.

Application Requirements

For freshmen applicants, USC accepts only the Common Application.

·         High school transcript

·         A list of extracurricular activities, work and summer activities

·         Personal essay & supplement essay

·         Number of high school counsellor’s recommendations and school profile depending upon the program you are applying to

·         SAT or ACT scores (optional for 2022-2021)

·         AP test scores, IB test scores and TOEFL scores are required if international

·         Submission of fall grades via the Mid-Year Report Form on the Common App

·         Submission of additional materials, like a portfolio, writing sample or resume only if required by a specific program

A few tips from UniVisory:

·         Focus on school coursework and strive for a high GPA.

·         Challenge yourself outside of the course curriculum.

·         Aim for >1500 SAT or >34 ACT.

·         Find your passion, commit to those activities, balance tiers of activities and look for angularity in activities.

·         Craft a personal essay that is unique and stands out from the crowd.

·         Write engaging & thoughtful supplemental essays.

·         Work on your portfolio or audition for specific programs

·         Prepare for the interview if required.

·         Apply Early Decision as a part of a broader strategy.

Acceptance Rate at University of California

As per the class of 2020, the acceptance rate of the University of California is 16.1%. The average cost of undergraduate study in USC (2021–2022) per year (i.e., tuition, room, board and fees) is nearly $81659 (Approx. 62 Lakhs INR). Note that USC runs one of the country’s largest financial aid programs. USC has a long history of arranging school, state and federal funds to completely cover the cost of undergraduate studies that meet all eligibility requirements and deadlines. Approximately two-thirds of USC undergraduates get financial help in the form of merit scholarships, need-based grants, Federal Work-Study and loans.

Extracurricular and Community Activities

USC places great value on a student’s extracurricular activities. Applicants should engage in activities outside of the classroom. Extracurricular activities can be grouped into four “tiers” in general. You should have Tier 1 or Tier 2 extracurriculars to improve your prospects at the University of Southern California. Currently, USC has around 1000 student groups in charge of programs and events, including concerts, lectures, special events, spirit rallies, cultural and social events and conferences.

Common App Personal Essay/Statement

A personal essay or statement is required at USC to make the admission committee know you better. Typically, you will be asked broad general questions about your qualifications and UG school goals. Your focus will persuade them that you are prepared to succeed and contribute to the UG program. For example, rather than just mentioning you have worked on a project, explain a research project you’ve worked on and show how you have contributed to it through your dedication and knowledge.

Supplemental Essays

In addition to the Common App essay, the USC Writing Supplement requires you to submit two shorter essays. Each essay must be limited to 250 words. For the first essay, you have an option to write one of the three prompt essays. For the second essay, you don’t have any choice.

Here’s how to answer all prompts:

1.    Choose the prompt that appeals to you the most and answer the same for the first essay.

2.    Write about an incidence where your belief was challenged for the first prompt.

3.    Focus on writing about your reaction and what you learned through that incident.

4.    For the second prompt, write about a field outside of your planned major that you’d like to learn more about.

5.    Focus on discussing how you became interested in this particular area and what you want to accomplish with it.

The third prompt is extremely open-ended, allowing you to discuss what you think the USC admissions committee should know about you.

The second essay requires you to write about what major you want to pursue at USC and how you can attain your objective with it. Overall, utilise detailed information, show honesty about your experiences and review each essay before submitting them to USC.

Final Words

If you are looking for pursuing your undergraduate studies from abroad, then the University of California is an ideal private school for study abroad for Indian students. The world-class education, vast campus, bustling city life and diverse opportunities make this university a jumping jack for fulfilling your dreams and impacting the world. Study hard, write excellent essays and maintain your extracurricular achievement list for successful admission. To get more information about studying abroad for Indian students, connect with UniVisory, your one-stop website for expert educational advice!

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