We take every aspect of your personal profile into consideration when calculating your admissions chances.
Please respond to one of the prompts below.
USC believes that one learns best when interacting with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Tell us about a time you were exposed to a new idea or when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view. Please discuss the significance of the experience and its effect on you.
USC faculty place an emphasis on interdisciplinary academic opportunities. Describe something outside of your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning.
What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you?
USC Dornsife Applicants: Please select one of the essay prompts below. Please provide an essay of no more than 250 words on your selected prompt topic. In your response, we encourage you to write about something that you haven‘t already discussed elsewhere in your application.
The word "education" can take on a variety of meanings. To some, receiving a high school or college diploma is the ultimate mark of being "educated," while others take a different view. Looking past receiving a diploma, what does it mean to you personally to be "educated"? What standards will you put in place to define whether or not you‘ve obtained a great education?
Many of us have at least one issue or passion that we care deeply about -- a topic on which we would love to share our opinions and insights in hopes of sparking intense interest and continued conversation. If you had ten minutes and the attention of a million people, what would your talk be about?
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.
Starting with the beginning of high school/secondary school, if you have had a gap where you were not enrolled in school during a fall or spring term, please address this gap in your educational history. You do not need to address a summer break.
Describe yourself in three words.
What is your favorite snack?
Best movie of all time:
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
What TV show will you binge watch next?
Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate?
If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be?
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.
Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.