USC Transfer Acceptance Rate and Requirements — 2024

December 11, 2023

usc transfer acceptance rate

Becoming a USC Trojan has always been a dream of yours. Back when your parents were applying to college, the University of Southern California still accepted close to half of those who applied. However, in the 2020s, USC only accepts 11-12% of freshman applicants. Yet, even if you don’t get accepted right out of high school, there is another way. USC admits thousands of transfer applicants every year. In fact, acceptance rates for transfers are actually higher than for first-years. The following blog will reveal the USC transfer acceptance rates as well as other crucial items like the USC transfer application deadline, the USC transfer requirements, and much more.

USC Transfer Acceptance Rate

Below we present the most current available USC transfer acceptance rate as well as historical data.

For entry in the fall of 2023, 2,310 students received acceptance letters (9,488 applied), resulting in a USC transfer acceptance rate of 24.4%.

For entry in the fall of 2022, there were 2,151 students admitted out of a pool of 9,100 applicants. This means that the USC transfer acceptance rate was 23.6%.

For entry in the fall of 2021, there were 9,888 transfer applicants and 2,208 individuals were accepted. This means that the USC transfer acceptance rate was 22%.

When trying to get the complete picture of how difficult it is to transfer into a given school, it is important to look at historical data. While many schools have wild fluctuations in transfer acceptance rate from year to year, you can see that USC’s have remained stable in recent years.

Historical transfer rates are as follows:

Year USC Transfer Acceptance Rate
2020 27%
2019 23%
2018 25%
2017 24%

USC Transfer Application Deadline

For the vast majority of academic programs, the USC transfer deadline is February 15.

However, the following programs have a deadline of December 1. These programs also have an audition or portfolio requirement.

  • Kaufman School of Dance
  • School of Cinematic Arts – BFA programs only
  • School of Dramatic Arts – BFA programs only
  • Thornton School of Music

The priority transfer application deadline for financial aid is March 4.

USC Transfer Acceptance Rate and Requirements (Continued)

USC Transfer Requirements

All students must submit the following items as part of their USC application:

  • A Common App for Transfer
  • Official college transcripts
  • Final high school transcripts
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Portfolios (for some majors)

In addition to meeting the USC transfer requirements, students who have the best chance to gain admission have done the following:

  • Completed a lower-division writing course.
  • Taken at least one full year of coursework at another college.
  • Made progress toward USC Gen Ed requirements.
  • Finished at least Algebra II in high school or college.
  • Completed or made significant progress toward USC’s foreign language requirement.
  • Completed lower-level coursework within their intended major.

As such, we recommend thoroughly reviewing the USC Transfer Planning Worksheet.

USC also has articulation agreements with many CA community colleges, which is an official agreement between institutions that outlines transferrable courses.

USC Average Transfer GPA

Students admitted as transfers in 2023 had a mid-50% GPA range of 3.71-4.0.

Colleges that Send the Most Transfer Students to USC:

The colleges that saw the greatest number of successful transfer applicants in 2023 were:

  1. Santa Monica College (107)
  2. Pasadena City College (67)
  3. Glendale Community College (43)
  4. El Camino College (34)
  5. American University of Paris (33)

USC Transfer Acceptance Rate and Requirements (Continued)

USC Transfer Application Essays

The following essays are required of all transfer applicants:

Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. You can type directly into the box, or you can paste text from another source. (Approximately 650 words)

Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (Approximately 250 words)

There are also a number of short answer responses. They are as follows:

  • Describe yourself in three words.
  • What is your favorite snack?
  • Best movie of all time:
  • Dream job:
  • If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
  • Dream trip:
  • What TV show will you binge watch next?
  • Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate?
  • Favorite book
  • If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be?

Additionally, there may be other essays to write depending on which school you are applying to. For example, Viterbi applicants must respond to two additional prompts.

When Do USC Transfer Decisions Come Out?

Decisions come out by May 31. Applicants will either receive an admissions decision or a request to review spring grades by that date.

Final Thoughts – USC Transfer Acceptance Rate

USC plucks 52% of its transfer students from California community colleges. Furthermore, an additional 13% were California State University/University of California students, and 6% hailed from private colleges in California. Even though USC is a private school, they clearly like to take a large number of in-state transfers.

If you are looking for information on how to apply to USC as a first-year student, you may find the following blogs to be of interest:

Those searching for application info on other institutions may wish to visit our Dataverse pages: