The ACT and SAT Scores You Need to Get Into USC

University of Southern California USC and what scores you need

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The University of Southern California (USC) is one of the leading private research universities in the country. The university has esteemed programs for business, education, engineering, medicine, social work, and law. The other programs to note include USC’s journalism and cinema schools.

With so much prestige comes heavy competition. Over 70,000 students apply each year, with just over 9,000 being admitted. USC has a 13% acceptance rate, and the average GPA of incoming freshmen is 3.82. There’s no doubt: USC looks for the people at the tops of their classes.

So, what about the entrance exams, specifically the ACT? What kind of scores would you need to make it into USC? A good trick to use is to look at the average scores between the 25th percentile and 75th percentile to see how the middle 50% of admitted students score, finding averages makes comparisons easier.

What is the Average ACT Score for USC-Accepted Students?

On average, the students accepted to USC earn a composite score somewhere between 32 and 35. If we look at the individual sections of the ACT, USC-accepted students score between 32 and 36 on the Math section and between 32 and 34 in English.

Therefore, students interested in applying to USC should aim for a 33.5 composite score on the ACT, which is the average score of admitted individuals.

What About the SAT?

If you choose to take the SAT instead of the ACT, you should aim for a 1,420 and 1,540 Combined score. For Math, the average range is 710 to 790. For Reading/Writing, the accepted student tends to have between a 720 and a 760.

How Do These Numbers Compare to the National Average for the ACT?

On the national scale, the average ACT composite score is 21. For the ACT math, the average is 20.2, and for English, it’s 20.3.

The scores USC is looking for in students is well above this. In fact, a composite score of 33 on the ACT is in the 98th percentile! A 34 is the 99th. Even on the low end of averages, a 32 is in the 96th percentile. These are impressive numbers.

Do You Have to Take the ACT or SAT to Apply to USC?

Many schools have recently made the ACT or SAT optional – the University of Southern California is one of them. Students can opt whether or not to submit their test scores, and are by no means required to.

The answer to the question of should you take the ACT or SAT is completely up to you! The university has stated that students will not be at a disadvantage if they choose not to sit for the entrance exams.

However, in most cases, it’s generally recommended that you do take one of the tests. It could be a deal breaker between you and another student, and it shows initiative to the admissions department.

If you do decide to sit for an entrance exam, though, USC does not prefer the ACT over the SAT or vice versa, as is the case with most colleges!

How Can You Increase Your Chances of Getting Accepted to USC?

The University of Southern California considers more than just ACT or SAT scores when it comes to students’ applications. They also look at:

  • Rigor of class schedule
  • Grades, GPA, and high school transcript
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Extracurriculars, sports, clubs, and volunteer work
  • College application as a whole

Students also need to complete a college prep program in order to apply to the university, and there is an $85 fee for undergraduate applications.

If you want to increase your chances of getting accepted to USC, it’s important to take difficult classes, score well in your courses, and show initiative, drive, and leadership outside the classroom, on top of doing well on your entrance exams.

With all this in mind, though, it’s important to remember that test scores do not necessarily make or break your chances of getting accepted into a college. They can play a role, especially in colleges where the tests are required. If you have any questions about the ACT, how to submit your scores, and USC’s test-optional policy, make sure you reach out to the school’s admissions department ahead of time.