University of Southern California (CA)

University of Southern California (CA)

Common Application 


Regular Decision: Jan. 15, 2017

Essay Questions:

Common Application Essays:

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so. (The application won't accept a response shorter than 250 words.)

l   Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please          share your story.

l   The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn            from the experience?

l   Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

l   Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal                         importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

l   Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Supplemental Essay Questions: 

l   USC students are known to be involved. Briefly describe a non-academic pursuit (such as service to community or family, a club or sport, or work, etc.,) that best illustrates who you are, and why it is important to you. (250 word limit)

l   Describe your academic interests and how you plan to pursue them at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections (250 word limit).

l   Describe yourself in three words.

l   Favorite food:

l   Favorite fictional character:

l  Greatest invention of all time:

l   What do you like to do for fun?

l   Role model:

l   Favorite book:

l   Best movie of all time:

l   Favorite musical performer/band or composer:

l   Dream job:

l   While scientists yearn to discover the world that exists, Engineers and Computer Scientists seek to create the world that never was. Our faculty and students believe collaborative      teams are the key to great accomplishments. Please describe a time in your life (academic, co-curricular, or otherwise) where you had to collaborate to accomplish more than you      could alone. (250 word limit)

l   Your browser history says a lot about you. Take a moment to think about the time you spend online. Whether it’s browsing an Instagram account, listening to your favorite podcast,      subscribing to the best web series on YouTube, or even addressing questions on tech-help forums, we want to know where you spend the most time online, and why. Please share       your favorite online destination (via a web address, specific app, social network, etc.) - and describe why in a few sentences. (250 word limit)

Documents Required:
  • $80 Application Fee
  • Official score reports from the SAT or ACT
  • Official score reports for SAT Subject Tests
  • Official score reports of TOEFL
  • Secondary School Report 
  • Mid-Year School Report 
Other Information: 
Address: USC Office of Admission
               700 Childs Way
               University Park Campus
               Los Angeles, California 90089-0911

Phone: 213-740-1111 (Admissions Office)
Fax: 213-821-0200
Application Info:

SAT/TOEFL Code: 4852

ACT Code: 0470