The 2017 freshman class shows increased diversity and academic strength
March 27, 2017 — The challenging application process has come to a close for 8,980 students, as acceptance letters for fall admission to USC arrive.
University admissions staff made tough decisions to select students from 56,000 applicants, an increase of 3.5 percent from last year and the most-ever for the university. One in seven incoming freshmen (14 percent) is first in their family to attend college.
USC’s admission rate reached a new low of 16 percent.
“All our applicants bring strengths and talents and we’re honored they applied to USC,” said Timothy Brunold, USC’s dean of admission. “Due to the incredible demand we’re forced to turn away excellent students. In considering applicants, we look deeply, and what we’re seeking frequently goes beyond numbers. Our admission process looks to provide access to an excellent education for a broad range of students, rather than simply picking those with the highest GPAs or test scores.”
A deep and diverse addition to the Trojan Family
Twenty-four percent of the admitted class are from historically under-represented racial groups, with more than two-thirds being students of color. Eighty-three countries are represented, including India, China, Canada, Taiwan, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
Academically, the freshman class is made up of top performers. Just over 31 percent have a 4.0 GPA. The newest crop of Trojans also bumps up the bar on standardized test scores, with 42 percent scoring in the 99th percentile — an increase of about 100 students in that elite category compared to last year.
For Brunold, those numbers are important, but they don’t tell the full story of how the freshman class was selected from an enormous pool of highly qualified applicants.
“We look past the numbers and find something compelling, something that will enrich the USC community,” Brunold said. “These students have strong character and a willingness to engage in learning, an eagerness to dig deep into scholarship. It’s about the impact these students will have in class, in the library, in the lab and in the community. These students have a unique perspective, and their presence will strengthen the university.”
The freshman class shows a strong interest in natural science and computer science majors.
Many admits shared their excitement across social media over the weekend using the hashtag #IGotIntoUSC.
Welcoming students of all backgrounds and incomes
USC admits students without regard for their ability to pay. Two-thirds of USC students receive some form of financial aid.
USC has increased student aid 76 percent since 2007, offering one of the biggest financial aid pools in the country valued at $320 million. These funds help increase access to the university for students from all backgrounds.
With its intensified commitment to support students in need and increase in diversity university-wide, USC is a leader among private American universities in total Pell Grant recipients. Students whose households earn $50,000 or less per year are eligible for the federal grants.
The average USC student graduates with less debt than their peers.