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Application Essays

The admissions essay is a part of the application that can make you stand out as unique even among a large group of similarly qualified applicants. It may be called a letter of intent, personal statement, or personal narrative, but always provides an occasion to establish your own personal voice and to explain why you are well suited for the program.

When you begin the writing process, start by reading the prompt. Neglecting to address a specific question or failing to follow directions about page or word limits, are unlikely to impress. Usually you will be asked fairly generic questions about your qualifications and aims for graduate school and a common page length for a personal statement is 2 pages.

Your aim is to convince those reading your application that you are prepared to be successful and to contribute to the graduate program of study. While all of your accomplishments are important, it is best to focus on a few specific ideas, experiences, or themes. For example, rather than merely claiming to be interested in research, it is better to explain a research project you have produced or participated in and what about it you liked. Rather than just saying you are committed to the betterment of humanity, show how you have demonstrated that commitment. Examples will help you “prove” your claims.

In addition to the specific prompt, it is important to include the following:

  1. Your preparation and background in the field of study
  2. Your specific area of interest in the field: you should explain what area of the profession you see yourself getting into, and how you see the degree helping you to get there.
  3. Your research ambitions in the field
  4. Why this Program/School?: Before you apply to graduate or professional schools you should have given a lot of thought to why you are seeking a particular degree, and why the specific institutions to which you are applying. You should explain to the schools or departments why you are a good fit with them. This means saying something about the school that could not be said about most other schools. For example, instead of writing “you have a very strong faculty,” mention some examples of faculty research that interest you.
  5. Future career goals
  6. Positively Addressing Inconsistencies: If you know there is some striking weakness in your application (perhaps a GPA or score that is glaringly low or some long gap in your resume) you will want to account for it in your statement. If, as a result of suddenly needing to work a 40-hour week to support yourself, your grades slipped significantly, that might well be something to address. You should make sure to explain it in terms as positive as possible. For any personal struggles that you have worked through, express that it is safely in the past and will not recur in graduate school. If you struggled at first in school, but your grades have improved every year, or your grades in your major are particularly outstanding, these are things you could point out. Some people suggest including such explanations only in a separate addendum, in order that the tone of your essay is uniformly positive.

Why are you applying to this program specifically,

what is your future career interest, and

how will this program help you attain that?

When you first sit down to write, start by reflecting on your goals, achievements, strengths, interesting experiences you have had, and how you plan to continue your academic or professional development. Once you have your list of ideas, you should begin creating a general structure for your essay without committing to sentence structure and grammar. Once you are satisfied with a structure of content for your essay, begin writing your first draft. Make sure your tone is enthusiastic and positive. Also, be sure to display all of the reasons why you are an excellent candidate; this is not the place for excessive modesty.

When you consider editing your statements, we recommend seeking as much feedback as possible. Expect to complete a minimum of 3 drafts. The Pre-Grad advisors are willing to review your draft. You also have the Writing Center (THH 216), a peer, or faculty member as resources to review your statement. It is strongly advised to include an editor working in your field of interest. Be sure to give a draft to your recommenders. It will help them understand how you are presenting yourself in your application, and they may also provide you with useful feedback.

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October 27, 2011

Essay Tips

The infamous college essay. For most colleges, this is a required part of the application. For some of you, this may be a major source of stress within the application process. While there’s no perfect essay, topic, or approach, there are some general tips that may be helpful when writing your college essays.

Admission counselors at USC view the essay as our opportunity to get to know applicants better. Since we use a holistic review process, we hope to gain more insight into who our applicants are beyond just grades and test scores. While it is not about the topic you choose to write about, it is more about how that topic is relevant to your life. We realize that you may have many different people providing input and helping you edit your essay, but we are genuinely interested in hearing what you have to say and what you want to write about. Your essay shouldn’t be what your friend’s parent’s cousin’s dog’s owner wrote for their college application; your essay should reflect your voice, interests, and individual personality.

Another general tip is knowing your audience. Although you can’t anticipate the sense of humor of who will read your application, you can use common sense. I’ve read essays in the past that use slang, swear words, or internet and text abbreviations. These are not appropriate for the standard college essay! While we like to see students who try something different in their essay, just keep in mind that you also don’t want to offend someone who reads your writing. At the very least, you know that the audience for your college essay will not be your peers.

This may be obvious advice as well, but spelling and grammar can make a difference. It’s so easy to use spell check these days that I’m often surprised when I find students who haven’t mastered how to spell words like “definitely.” Although we are looking at the college essay more for the content than anything else, it can be hard to ignore multiple glaring mistakes in one essay or application. Writing is an important part of being a college student, thus we want to make certain that students have the ability to write an essay with a solid structure while paying attention to spelling and grammar.

At the end of the day, it’s important to follow your heart and write about what comes naturally to you. We read many different types of essays and many essays that have a similar theme. What we’re most interested in reading is the essay that you want to write, that reflects your voice, and tells us more about what makes you special.

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    Getting writing help for the USC application can be easy once you know where you can get. The University of Southern California has an application process that seems easy enough to follow. Yet, getting an essay written according to USC standards is a problem all on its own for several reasons. Many students are worried they may not get their content completed in time for the deadline, while others have no idea what they should submit. The good news is there are professional writing services available to help you understand the essay writing process.

    Work with a Professional Writer When Developing Your Topic

    While USC offers guidelines on how your essay content should be created, they may not give helpful information to help you determine what you should write about. Professional writing services can present various ideas since they work with thousands of students in helping them prepare for higher education academics. Such writers have created related essay content on a number of topics in helping students gain access to the school they want.

    Get Custom Essay Content Created for Your Application

    If you have little time to commit in getting your essay written or you need more assistance in understanding what is required, you may benefit from custom essay writing. This is where you work with a professional writer who will create an essay from scratch. This means content is original and not copied from another source. You can provide notes and guidelines when you place your request. A number of service providers provide custom content quickly and work under tight deadlines to ensure it gets done.

    Students admit they could use an extra set of hands when it comes to writing an essay. Others feel it is too much pressure to sit and write an essay. With this option you don’t have to wait for someone to be available or wait till a certain time to contact someone. You can contact a reputable professional writing service through available 24/7 customer service options.

    Consider other Professional Services to Improve Essay Quality

    You can choose to write you essay or hire a professional writer to help you. There are other services worth considering since you want your essay to look its best. Proofreading, editing, and revising your essay is important. Some students may miss the mark in getting approved when they fail to read over and revise their content.

    Usc admission essay

    Welcome to USC Admission & Financial Aid.

    Imagine the possibilities.

    As a top-ranked private research institution, the University of Southern California offers everything you are looking for: an interdisciplinary education informed by a global perspective, more academic opportunities than any other American university, a vibrant campus life, a location in the heart of a dynamic world center and the lifelong support of the Trojan Family.

    Apply to RHP

    The 2018 RHP application is now available. Please read the following information and click the Slideroom link below to access the RHP supplement.

    Before you begin, please review our home page and FAQ to familiarize yourself with our program and admission requirements.

    Materials required for ALL applicants:

    1. Common Application and USC Writing Supplement

    • Common App
    • USC Writing Supplement
    • School Report
    • Official Transcripts
    • 2 Teacher Evaluations, one of which must be from an English teacher*
    • Application fee or fee waiver
    • Additional major requirements, if applicable

    As a freshman applicant to USC, you must submit the Common Application online. The Common Application will ask you to identify your academic interests, showcase your writing skills, and provide details about your high school coursework and extracurricular activities. More information and guidelines are available through USC Undergraduate Admission.

    *As part of the Common Application, you will be asked to enter the names and contact information of recommenders. All RHP applicants must enter information for two teachers, who will complete your Teacher Evaluations, and for your high school counselor, who will complete the School Report and submit your official transcript. Both teachers and counselors are welcome and encouraged to submit letters of recommendation along with their respective forms. These letters should address your readiness to attend college early in addition to your other qualities. As always, remember to respectfully request your teachers’ and counselor’s support before you enter their information in the Common Application.

    Note that some majors have additional application requirements, so be sure to read and follow all instructions carefully.

    2. RHP SlideRoom Application

    Submit the RHP SlideRoom Application online. The RHP Application will help us get to know you better and give you a chance to showcase why starting college a year early is the right path for your education.

    As part of this application, you will be asked to provide contact information for one reference. This reference must be your current high school counselor. He or she will receive a link to complete the RHP Nomination Form on your behalf. Remember to inform your counselor that s/he will also be asked to submit information as part of the Common Application.

    3. Official SAT or ACT Scores

    You must submit official SAT or ACT scores directly to USC from the testing agency. You should complete your testing before December to ensure your official scores arrive in time for merit scholarship consideration. Scores from December tests may be used for admission purposes, but they will likely not arrive in time to be reviewed by USC’s scholarship review committees.

    If you plan to submit results from a November or December test, you should request that your scores be sent to USC at the time you register for the exam , as this will ensure that your scores reach us as quickly as possible. Waiting to view your student score report before sending your scores to USC will delay receipt of your scores.

    No preference is given to the SAT or the ACT. If you submit scores from multiple tests, we will consider only your highest scores in our review. There is no minimum SAT or ACT score to apply to RHP, but please keep in mind that scores of admitted students are usually in the highest range for each exam.

    SAT Subject Tests and AP Exams are not required, but we encourage you to submit these scores if you have them. High scores on Subject Tests and/or APs will strengthen your application. (Note that Subject Tests are required if you are home-schooled or attend a non-accredited high school. See below.)

    Additional materials required for:

    Students of Certain Majors:

    Some majors have additional major requirements with varying guidelines and deadlines. Be sure to carefully review the requirements for your intended major, if applicable. RHP students may participate in any major USC offers*, but they must submit all required materials just like other freshman applicants.

    Students Who Have Attended Multiple Schools:

    • Official transcripts for all secondary school coursework
    • Official transcripts for all college coursework

    Please submit official transcripts from all schools and colleges you have attended since the 9th grade, including for summer coursework. If online submission is not possible, the school or college should mail or fax your transcript to USC Admission.

    • Financial Statement of Personal or Family Support
    • Demonstrated English proficiency, if applicable
    • Original and translated academic records, if applicable
    • External examination results, if applicable

    RHP welcomes well-prepared international applicants who are currently in their second-to-last year of secondary school. Learn more about the additional materials required for international students at USC Admission’s International Applicants page.

    • Official scores for three SAT Subject Tests, one of which must be in mathematics
    • Answers to the home-school questions within the Common Application

    Your Common Application should include detailed information about your home-schooling philosophy, curriculum, and textbooks.

    Students Who Attend a Non-Accredited School:

    • Official scores for three SAT Subject Tests, one of which must be in mathematics

    Some new or nontraditional schools are not recognized by one of the regional accrediting associations. In this case, we ask for some additional test scores to help us determine your college readiness. If you are unsure of your school’s accreditation, please ask your high school counselor.

    *RHP students are not permitted to participate in the World Bachelor in Business (WBB) major, as this is not solely a USC program. All other majors are open to RHP applicants.

    University of Southern California Undergraduate College Application Essays

    These University of Southern California college application essays were written by students accepted at University of Southern California. All of our sample college essays include the question prompt and the year written. Please use these sample admission essays responsibly.

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    College Application Essays accepted by University of Southern California

    Nothing Matters Molly Maldonado

    University of Southern California

    I went home the other night, my mind full of ideas, words, and lines from a play.

    Excitedly, I began to explain my outlook to those who would hear me. “It doesn’t matter,” I said with a smile on my face, “none of this matters.” My audience was much.

    The Importance of Pizza Sarah Takimoto

    University of Southern California

    One late Saturday afternoon, my friend Amelia and I were completely ravenous so I decided to order a pizza, not realizing how significantly that one pie could change not only the course of my day, but also my outlook on life. After shamelessly.

    Different Sarah Takimoto

    University of Southern California

    My life is filled with hantai, or opposites: potatoes and rice, forks and chopsticks, Bachan and Nana, and an English first name and a Japanese last name. When I was younger, it never occurred to me that I was any different than any of my.

    The Fall of Icarus and the Rise of Spirit Silvia Lu

    University of Southern California

    A single pair of legs, kicking up from the ocean. Kicking up from the far right corner of a pleasant landscape depicting what may be the most tranquil morning in the history of pleasant landscapes. And there, the legs – added as almost an.

    Statement of Purpose Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    In fourth grade, after recovering from a brief “I want to be a waitress!” phase, I discovered art, and knew that one day I would become an artist. At that age, I knew people liked art and I had fun creating art, so it seemed like the perfect thing.

    I'm No Buffy the Vampire Slayer Arielle Ring

    University of Southern California

    A few years ago, USA Today named the star of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, Sarah Michelle Gellar, the epitome of the modern feminist. Declaring “with her take-no-prisoners attitude. vampire-slaying Buffy Summers has become. a feminist hero who’s.

    How I Changed Direction Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    We were nervous. The breeze of early morning stung our bare arms with cold. I complained, out of my own bitter hatred for the cold, and in hopes of quieting the spinning butterflies in my stomach. Doubts floated through my head as I acknowledged.

    Unlikely Accomplishment Suzy Fahmy

    University of Southern California

    At School of the Arts (SOTA) in San Francisco, film and video students set out to create independent projects twice a year. In spring semester of senior year, my friend Julian and I decided we would produce a movie so incredible, it would be.

    Leave it all on the Field Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    Date of birth: eleven seven eighty eight. Sex: male. Grade: eleven. Social security number: 606261790. “No, that’s not right,” I mumbled to myself. How could I forget my social security number? “I’m just nervous for the SAT,” was my first.

    Nikki in the Bubble Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    As I watched my first black and white print slowly emerge from nothingness, the methodical ticking of the timer behind me, I smiled as a wave of excitement passed through me. Without thinking, I began to dance to the rhythm of the clock. From the.

    My Place in My World Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    In a school as small as The College Preparatory School (CPS), I often joke that just from looking at someone’s shoes, I can give his or her first and last name and favorite color. Obviously this is an overstatement, but the point is that my.

    Passion Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    I would have never expected my life to change dramatically after a trip to the men’s room. However, on June 20, 2007, one did. I overheard a conversation that changed my point of view on nearly everything. “He didn’t even make it to Extemp.

    Where Was I? Sheliza Kabani

    University of Southern California

    The day: December 27th, 2007. The time: 6:45 PM. The location: Karachi, Pakistan. There was nothing out of the ordinary on this crisp December day, or so I thought. I did not know that this ordinary day would soon become one of the most important.

    Life as a Scribe Anthony Mells

    University of Southern California

    As I rushed up to the sliding glass doors that marked the entrance to the Emergency Room, my heart pounded with exhilaration. Patients were sitting in chairs, lying on stretchers, and nervously pacing the floor. With a dry mouth and sweaty palms.

    The Science of Skimboarding Anthony Mells

    University of Southern California

    As I stood on the wet beach assessing the oncoming wave, I threw the skimboard onto the sand, and jumped on. “How could I generate more speed?” I thought to myself. Calling upon inspiration from Mr. Harvie, my AP Physics teacher, I envisioned a.

    BANG! BANG! BANG! Anthony Mells

    University of Southern California

    “BANG! BANG! BANG!” I slam the gavel on the desk to get everyone’s attention. As I sit in front of the High School Site Council, full of administrators, teachers, students, and members of the community, I call the meeting to order. Serving as the.

    Debate Struggle Gokul Agrawal

    University of Southern California

    It was a less-than-exciting afternoon in the waning days of junior year when the mess began. My name, along with the names of two other speech and debate officers, was called over the intercom. We were wanted in the principal’s office immediately.

    Mother's story Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    People often tell me how much I look like my grandmother. They say we share the same eyes, the same nose, and the same eager smile. What they don’t realize, however, is that the five-foot, white-haired, 61-year-old woman beside me is not my.

    A Second Chance Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    I had heard it all before: life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, and rarely any second chances. Yet in spite of the currents against me, I sought to make for myself a second chance. When my junior year of basketball ended, my heart sunk.

    Coming From a World of Outsiders Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    Both of my parents came from very different worlds. My mother was born and raised in the impoverished country of Colombia in South America, where she had to help my grandparents take care of her four younger brothers in their small apartment in.

    My Passion for Debate Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    The great passion of my high school years has been debate. One of the reasons that I attended Damien High School in the first place was because of its reputation in competitive debate. I was thirteen years old when I began and I realized very.

    Teriyaki to Chitterlings Marisa Louise Okano

    University of Southern California

    Like every other year, a spectrum of color surrounds me on the first day of 2009. My January 1st mornings have always been shared with Grandma, a 91-year-old woman who still manages to scurry through the kitchen preparing the brunch that stares at.

    From Tackle Practice to the Barre Anonymous

    University of Southern California

    I lead a double life. You don’t often find someone who both dances and plays football. I suppose that makes me a statistical anomaly, because I go to tackle practice at six a.m. and barre class at six p.m. I love dance because it’s art with.

    For the Love of the Script Jonathan Lee Hopkins

    University of Southern California

    Three A.M. I still smell like the chicken-soaked grease of a shift spent working at Chick-Fil-A, but I’ve hit a plot snag. My character’s stuck in Boston, I’m stuck on page 78, and I need to figure out how to get us both out before I’ll let myself.

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    Usc admission essay

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    Presidential Scholars (half tuition)

    Dean’s Scholars (quarter tuition)

    African American/Black: 7%

    Native American/Pacific Islander: 2%

    Asian/Asian American: 25%

    International: 11% (student VISA holders)

    Private: Harvard-Westlake, North Hollywood, CA

    Outside: China, South Korea, Canada

    Marshall School of Business: 18%

    Viterbi School of Engineering: 15%

    Out of state: 35%

    24% – Merit-Based Scholarship

    60% – Need-Based Assistance

    Need Based Aid only available to US citizens but international students can be eligible for merit-based scholarships

    Room & Board: $11,500

    Misc Expenses & Transpo: $1,500

    Books & Supplies: $1,500

    Annual Total: $55,578

    Required: Part 2 Application, Official high school transcripts, Results from SAT or ACT (with writing)

    Essay & Responses to short answer topics

    Counselor/Teacher Rec Form & Letter

    January 10th- Final Part 2 deadline

    Feb 2nd- FAFSA & PROFILE should be filed by this date for priority financial aid consideration

    March 1st- Submit student & parent tax returns

    April 1st- Admission notification date

    May 2nd- National candidates reply date

    Aug 17th- Move in Day

    Aug 22nd- First day of classes

    Telephone: (213) 740-1111

    Average Class: 26

    I Western Cultures and Traditions

    II Global Cultures and Traditions

    III Scientific Inquiry

    IV Science & Its Significance

    V Arts & Letters

    VI Social Issues

    USC Marshall School of Business

    USC School of Cinematic Arts

    USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

    Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

    USC Viterbi School of Engineering

    USC Roski School of Fine Arts

    USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

    Keck School of Medicine of USC

    USC Thornton School of MUsic

    USC School of Policy, Planning and Development

    USC School of Theatre

    USC Independent Health Professions

    February 1, 2011: Final deadline for transfer admission

    Notification will be mailed by June 1, 2011.

    Feb 1: Cinematic Arts (Transfers), Dentistry (Transfers)

    March 1: Marshall School of Business Transfers

    Need Based: Perkins Loan, Subsidized Stafford Loan

    Non Need: Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and the Federal Parent PLUS Loan

    M/W/F 8:30am & 12:30pm

    Admission Presentation (with Admission Counselor): 1 hour

    Campus Tour: 90 min

    Meeting with Academic Dept: 1 hour

    Check people in on the ESD site. For walk-ins have them register on the ESD site using guest computers.

    Admission Presentation (30min) Optional

    Campus Tour (90min)

    Maximum 35 guests

    T/Th: 9am, 11am, 1pm, 2:30pm

    Enter the presentation room 20min into program

    Financial Aid Presentation

    Financial Aid Presentation

    Academic Program Presentation

    Any other use requires the approval of the Admission Center Manager. Mid day cart ban in the middle of campus. d

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