January 16, 2014
Transferring into USC? Here Is Everything You Ever Need To Know
It’s that time of the year again. January is not only the time when we make our final scholarship recommendations for the upcoming first-year class. It means February 1st is right around the corner, and that means the deadline for our transfer applicants is soon! The requirements this year are not any different from past years, with one major exception:
THE REGISTRAR’S REPORT…
Due to changes in The Common App this year, it will prevent you from submitting and completing the application without the registrar report. To assign a “Registrar,” enter the information regarding the designated Registrar at your college. The Registrar will be asked to complete the Transfer Registrar’s Report. If your registrar has another process to request an official transcript, you should follow that process. It is your responsibility to ensure an official transcript of all college work is submitted to USC.
Besides that, everything we need from you is the same. Please thoroughly read the Transferring to USC Brochure. Want a checklist to help you organize your necessary requirements? Sure thing; you can find our transfer checklist here. Need more last minute tips? Click here and read my blog from last year.
Those three resources should ultimately provide you with answers to most questions you’ll have about transferring into USC.
Finally, my colleagues and I have come up with a list of the most common questions we’ve received from transfer applicants and our responses to them. If after reading all of the resources provided for you in this blog, you still feel confused, please feel free to contact your territory manager here.
FAQ’s for USC Transfer Applicants
Q: My academic record from a few years back was not very good. But I’ve been taking classes lately and I’ve brought up my GPA. Will I be accepted?
A: We consider trends in your grades and college attendance patterns. Consistent degree progress and strong recent performance (usually the last 30 units you’ve taken) are important.
Q: Do you need all of my transcripts? Even if I went to school 10 years ago?
A: Yes, we will need all of your academic transcripts. Submit all of them. Failure to report a complete education history is a serious breach of academic integrity. Can you tell we’re serious?
Q: What about high school transcripts?
A: Yes, an official high school transcript with date of graduation is a requirement for the transfer application. If you did not graduate from high school, please submit a record of your high school work and your GED certificate if applicable.
Q: What’s the minimum number of transfer units to transfer?
A: There is no minimum number of transfer units you must complete before applying for admission. However, if you will complete fewer than 30 semester units by the end of the spring term, we will focus additionally on your high school record and results from the SAT or ACT.
Q: So you’ll need test scores?
A: We will need to see your test scores if you will complete less than 30 semester units by the end of the spring term.
Q: What about English proficiency tests?
All international students whose first language is not English are required to submit results from an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic). You can find more information at www.usc.edu/internationalstudents.
Q: I have only taken one semester of English. Does that mean USC will immediately reject me if I don’t take another semester of English?
A: We expect that students at community colleges will have completed two semesters of English composition before enrolling at USC. At the very least, you may have the second semester of English composition in progress at the time you apply. IMPORTANT NOTE: We are more flexible with our writing requirement for transfer applicants coming from four year institutions. We understand that each four year university has its own general education requirements and not all institutions have courses equivalent to our writing requirement. The two semester writing requirement can be waived for admission purposes but it will have to be completed in order to earn a degree at USC.
Q: Will USC accept students who have not completed all of the general education requirements? I am still missing courses from categories I and V. I plan to take them during spring and summer, but I am unsure if I will be able to enroll in one of them.
A: You do not need to complete all general education requirements in order to be considered for admission. Our strongest candidates, however, will have completed or be currently enrolled (spring) in most if not all of the GE and major-related courses.
Q: How important is the foreign language requirement for admission decisions? Is it possible to take this course at USC instead?
A: Foreign Language is not a requirement to transfer. It is a requirement to graduate for certain majors at USC.
Q: One of my recommenders is having trouble submitting on Common App. For some reason it will not let her submit the letter of rec. Is it okay if I have him/her mail in the letter?
A: Sure, letters can be mailed to our physical address:
USC Office of Admission
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA
Q: How much do you consider extracurricular activities and awesome internships?
A: They are looked at. However, we rely heavily on your academic work. Bottom line: We weigh your academic work the most in the transfer application process.
Q: So what else could I do to set myself apart?
A: Cure cancer. Find a way to be in two places at once. Prove that Elvis is still alive. Just kidding.
The absolute, best way to be competitive as a transfer applicant is to submit an academic history that shows consistent degree progress and strong grades in a full time curriculum. Your academic work is the most important preparation for the coursework you will be asked to do at USC.
Transfer applicants must write powerful essays to get into the colleges of their choice. They should NOT reuse high school college applications essays because the prompts differ and colleges are looking for different qualities.
While colleges still want diverse students, they also want transfer students who have found and explored academic passions, been active on and off campus, and met transfer admissions requirements. Therefore, long transfer essays are much less creative than freshman essays, yet even more powerful tools for admission to desired colleges.
Here is the Common Application transfer prompt:
|Please provide a statement (appr. 250-500 words) that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve.Note: The Common Application essay should be the same for all colleges. Members that wish to review custom essay responses will request them on their Supplement form.|
So as you work on your transfer essays, really focus on the story of your evolution and exploration of your reasons for wanting to transfer. Community college students can write about second chances and the ways community college and various experiences helped them find their academic and career passions. Four year college students can talk about experiences that led to wanting to transfer but please, never ever blame your original college. You can talk about outgrowing a major or wanting a different setting, but never sound bitter.
Most importantly, you should discuss experiences from your college years, including the summer after senior year of high school and between first and second year of community college.
We will be posting other tips for transfers in the following weeks.