USC Supplemental Essays 2023-24 Prompts and Tips

September 1, 2023

usc supplemental essays prompts

When applying to a school like the University of Southern California, it is important to grasp that their acceptance rate in 2023 is lower than Harvard’s back in the late 1990s. Last cycle, USC received roughly 80,000 applications and admitted just 9% from that pool (their first time in the single digits). We don’t bring up these numbers or the Friends -era Harvard comparison to cause future applicants unnecessary fear. Rather, we want aspiring Trojans to realize that in addition to strong high school grades and standardized test scores, they need to excel in other critical areas of their application as well. This brings us to the topic of the USC supplemental essays.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into the University of Southern California? Visit our blog entitled:  How to Get Into USC: Admissions Data and Strategies   for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

The supplemental essay section offered by USC is a fairly epic one and presents just such an opportunity for students to differentiate themselves from swarms of other qualified applicants. In addition to several short essays, you are also required to answer 10 short answer questions. Below are the USC’s supplemental prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle along with tips about how to address each one.

2023-24 USC Supplemental Essays – Required Prompt #1

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)

This is part “Why Us?” and part “Explain Your Major” and your aim is to seamlessly touch on both topics in a tightly woven 250-word composition. For a deeper dive, let’s examine a list of characteristics of a winning USC “Why Us?” essay:

  • How did your interest in your major of choice begin and how has it matured over the years?
  • While pursuing your majors(s)/interest(s) of choice, how will you take advantage of the university’s immense resources both inside and outside of the classroom? Be sure to cite specific  academic programs ,  professors ,  research opportunities ,  internship/externship programs , and  study abroad programs . Discuss why they pique your interest.
  • Feel free to touch on  student-run organizations  related to your field of study that you would like to join.
  • Lastly, don’t ignore your second-choice major in this essay.

In any “Why Us?” composition, you need to show that you’ve done your homework on a given school, but you don’t want it to read like a robotic list of items that you Googled ten minutes before writing the essay (even if the timing of the Google search is roughly accurate). In addition to the pure research element, a lot of the time and skill required in creating a stellar USC essay will involve connecting the classes, professors, opportunities, etc. of interest that you have uncovered to your distinct values, talents, aims, proficiencies, and future goals.

USC Supplemental Essays – Short Answers

(#1 provides 25 characters for each word, and #2-10 provide 100 characters each)

  • 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?
  • Favorite book
  • If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be?

USC Supplemental Essays (Continued)

It would be a bit silly to try to advise you on what your favorite snack is. Obviously, the USC admissions committee wants to hear “Pepperoni Pizza Combos” but will also accept “Ranch-flavored Bugles.” As such, we’ll keep our advice on these a bit broader:

  • This is a chance to make a personal connection with an admissions officer. Don’t overthink these or pick movies, books, songs, or trips that you think an admissions officer will find impressive. Just be genuine.
  • For #1, try to avoid words like “interesting” that are…well, not very  interesting , or words that could describe most of USC’s applicant pool, like “hard-working” or “dedicated.”
  • For #10, don’t pick a general topic in a traditional discipline. Instead, pick something about which you are passionate. This could be a blend of pop culture and academics or a highly esoteric topic that you happen to be obsessed with (e.g., the Beatles 1965-67 mid-career era, the history of jai-alai, or how to groom a ferret).
  • You have 100 characters to utilize, so do include some short explanations that infuse your answers with extra personality. For example, you could jazz up Ranch-flavored Bugles as follows: “Ranch-flavored Bugles, me and my mom’s go-to Jeopardy snack.”
  • Final tip: if you feel stuck, try brainstorming a few options for each one before choosing your favorite.

USC Supplemental Essays – School-Specific Prompts

In addition to the required essays noted above, you’ll also need to answer at least one additional essay question that is dependent on the school or college you are applying to at USC. Below, we’ve broken down the most popular options:

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

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? (250 words)

What makes you tick? What keeps you up at night? Which subjects could (and do) you talk about for hours if given the opportunity? If you could address one problem in the world, large or small, what would it be? Here’s your chance to tell us all about it. You’ll then want to explain “why”—why will (or should) your passion/topic of choice be made relevant to a wider audience? Why is it so important that others hear your message? Your answer will give admissions readers greater insight into what type of issues are most important to you.

Viterbi School of Engineering

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and their 14 Grand Challenges go hand-in-hand with our vision to engineer a better world for all humanity. Engineers and computer scientists are challenged to solve these problems in order to improve life on the planet. Learn more about the NAE Grand Challenges at  http://engineeringchallenges.org  and tell us which challenge is most important to you, and why. (250 words)

The NAE Grand Challenges list is expansive and includes a number of pressing issues, like clean water access, solar energy, and nuclear terrorism. Basically, you are 100% guaranteed to find at least one item on this list that resonates with you. After reviewing the options, which one are you most passionate about, and why? Is there something from your personal background or experiences that inspired your interest in this area? Alternatively, have you engaged with this topic either inside or outside of school, and if so, how? What would you still like to learn about it? If you choose an issue that you are genuinely interested in and clearly convey your reasoning for doing so, you’ll be well on your way to a compelling response.

The student body at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering is a diverse group of unique engineers and computer scientists who work together to engineer a better world for all humanity. Describe how your contributions to the USC Viterbi student body may be distinct from others. Please feel free to touch on any part of your background, traits, skills, experiences, challenges, and/or personality in helping us better understand you. (250 words)

Take note of the wide-open nature of this prompt. You are essentially invited to talk about any of the following topics:

  • A perspective you hold
  • An experience/challenge you had
  • A community you belong to
  • Your cultural background
  • Your family background
  • A personality trait
  • A skill you hold

Although this prompt’s open floor plan may feel daunting, a good tactic is to first consider what has already been communicated within your Common App personal statement, activities list, and other USC essays. What important aspects of yourself have not been shared (or sufficiently discussed)? The admissions officer reading your essay is hoping to connect with you through your written words, so—within your essay’s reflection—be open, humble, thoughtful, inquisitive, emotionally honest, mature, and/or insightful about what you learned and how you grew. No matter what type of story you tell, the goal is to have the reader come away saying, “I can definitely see this applicant as a contributing member of our talented and engaged Viterbi community.”

How important are the USC supplemental essays?

There are five factors that USC considers to be “very important” to their candidate evaluation process and the essay section is one of them. Along with GPA, standardized test scores, rigor of high school coursework, and recommendations, the Common App and supplement essays play a huge role in the USC admissions staff’s decision-making.

Want personalized assistance?

Lastly, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your USC supplemental essays, we encourage you to  get a quote  today.

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How to Write the USC Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

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The University of Southern California , also known as USC, UC, or SoCal, currently educates almost 50,000 students, 21,000 of whom are undergraduates. Located in Los Angeles, CA, USC is known for its 22 schools, each of which has a unique specialization. With an impressive list of alums, from George Lucas and Shonda Rhimes to Neil Armstrong and Grant Imahara , USC launches careers in entertainment, engineering, English, and more every year. If you’re looking to maximize your chances of acceptance, continue reading as we break down USC’s supplemental essays.

University of Southern California campus

Note that the specific program within USC to which you apply may have additional supplemental materials. These include short essays, short videos, and portfolios of creative work. Check out the programs here and the additional application requirements for USC here .

USC’s 2023-2024 Prompts

Long answer questions, required: 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. (250 words or fewer).

  • Optional: 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.  (250 words or fewer)

Short Answer Questions

Describe yourself in three words. (3 words), what is your favorite snack (100 characters or fewer), best movie of all time (100 characters or fewer), dream job (100 characters or fewer), if your life had a theme song, what would it be (100 characters or fewer).

  • Dream trip (100 characters or fewer)

What TV show will you binge watch next? (100 characters or fewer)

Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate (100 characters or fewer), favorite book (100 characters or fewer), if you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be (100 characters or fewer).

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The USC application requires one longer essay (250 words or fewer) and ten shorter responses limited to 100 characters. (But don’t compose a 100-character answer for the questions requiring a single word!). There is also an optional longer essay question only applicable to students with some gap in their educational history other than a summer break.

This standard essay question is deceptively difficult. Most students have enough of a sense of their academic interests to list them and describe why they’re interested in them. However, this question is actually more of a research question than a personal essay question. The USC admissions officers reading your response to this question are less interested in what your academic interests are and more in how you will pursue them while a student at USC.

As a result, it’s recommended that you do some research before answering this question. Read through a list of USC’s majors and minors . Scroll around in the course catalog . Find some programs, professors, clubs, and activities at USC that relate to your academic interests. Mention these opportunities by name and describe how and why you will take advantage of them. Displaying this kind of research will demonstrate your seriousness in applying to USC and your maturity in visualizing your future.

Optional: 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. (250 words or fewer)

If your educational background has some kind of gap, then you should answer this question. If not, then leave this question aside.

In your 250 words, you’ll need to summarize the following pieces of information:

  • why you were not enrolled for a period of time during your high school/secondary school years;
  • what you did during your period of non-enrollment;
  • how this experience impacted your educational experience thereafter;
  • and optionally, how this experience impacted your life in general thereafter.

USC’s admissions officers review applications holistically. They don’t want to assume that any gap in educational history is a bad thing. If your period of non-enrollment did have a negative impact on your life, this essay question gives you the opportunity to provide nuance to this experience and describe how you grew from it.

These short answer questions provide space for you to express your unique personality. Feel free to inject humor into your responses or adopt a light-hearted tone. Still, authenticity is key. Admissions officers ask questions like these because they want to see who you are inside and outside of the classroom.

You might be thinking it’s a little redundant to mention that describing yourself in three words should take three words to answer, no more and no less. But you’d be surprised to learn how many students don’t take that piece of information to heart! If you have a legitimately clever idea for getting around the word restriction and providing a longer answer, then go for it. Still, bear in mind that if you answer with three unassuming words, you’re more likely to have a neutral response than a negative response. Meanwhile, if you get a little too clever with this answer, you increase the likelihood of your reader taking your response the wrong way.

If you’re having difficulty coming up with your three words, consider asking friends or family to help you out. Ask them to describe you in a word or two, ideally a noun (for example, “artist,” “dreamer,” or “nerd”) or adjective (for example, “creative,” “logical,” or “caring”). It can be hard to describe ourselves. It’s even harder to describe ourselves succinctly. Sometimes, the people who know us best can describe us better than we can ourselves.

If you already know some or all of your words without help, you may still want to run your choices by someone else. Some words have both positive and negative connotations, and ideally, your word choices are primarily positive. For example, “stubborn” can be both a positive and a negative descriptor of a person. Thus, you may want to think carefully about whether your stubbornness is portrayed elsewhere in your application in a positive light that will offset its possible negative connotations.

As always, unless you have a uniquely clever and interesting answer that goes beyond the literal meaning of the prompt, keep this answer simple. This answer shouldn’t require you to think too much; if you find yourself over-thinking, just bring it back to basics! When you get home from school and feel a bit peckish, what do most often you gravitate toward? There: that’s your answer, and another USC essay done!

This is a subjective question, but don’t feel pressured to defend your point-of-view. Just share what you think is the best movie of all time. And if you don’t have a favorite, just pick one of your favorites after rolling a die or flipping a coin. 

Note that the context of a college application is, if not formal, not so casual either. Don’t list a movie considered highly inappropriate. If you wouldn’t hypothetically be willing to defend this movie choice to a teacher, a parent, or a college admissions officer, then it’s probably not a good choice to put on a college application. You don’t have to limit yourself to G-rated movies (although if a G-rated movie is your favorite, then put it down), but you should probably avoid anything X-rated and some R-rated movies.

This short answer question, like the previous ones, does not require (and probably shouldn’t) have too much accompanying elaboration, if any. As a result, choose a job description or title which is clear to the reader. Jobs like “writer” or “teacher” are relatively general and you could boost them with concrete and specific details. Consider alternatives like “fantasy novel writer” and “middle school English teacher.”

With this question, because of the word “dream,” you don’t necessarily need to choose a “dream job” that relates to your intended course of study. You might be a pre-med applicant who dreams of being a life-saving surgeon. Or maybe you’re a marketing major who can’t sing but still dreams of becoming a rockstar. Whatever your dreams are, don’t feel embarrassed, just share them!

Like the question about what movie you think is the best of all time, this question asks you to provide the reader with some insight into the media you consume. Although it may feel natural to put your favorite song to listen to as the answer to this question, consider how/whether the song describes your life. Are the themes of the song—for instance: love, loss, ambition, fear—themes of your life? Is the tone of the song—for instance: joyful, energetic, nostalgic, chill—descriptive of the way you often feel?

Consider that the admissions officers may look up your song of choice and read the lyrics, in the case of songs which have lyrics. As a result, the song should not deal with themes which are too mature for the context of a college application. If you wouldn’t hypothetically feel comfortable writing an essay about this song for your application, an essay which quotes the song and delves into the meaning of its lyrics, then perhaps you should select a different song for your choice here.

Authenticity is still important. Some students who may struggle with their mental health feel uncertain about listing a particularly deep, raw, or emotional song as their “theme song.” If that sounds like you, consider whether the rest of your application somehow demonstrates that you are self-aware regarding your mental health struggles and/or that you have matured over the years in how you meet your struggles. Doing so will help your reader understand that you are a nuanced person, even if your song choice presents a single dimension of yourself.

Dream trip (100 characters or fewer)

In this essay question, you can dream big—consider the limits of where you could go and what you could do there. There’s no right answer to this question, but do consider how someone from the place you would like to visit might view your dream trip plan (if you provide detail about your plan, which you don’t have to). Make sure that your references to other places are respectful of those places and the people who live there, and consider researching your dream trip locale of interest before responding to this question.

Like the earlier questions about movies and songs, this question requires you to think broadly about the media you consume. Yet there’s a difference with this question: it focuses on the future. Meanwhile, the earlier questions asked about media you have already consumed.

The admissions officers ask this kind of question are curious about your personality and about your curiosities. Do you seek out procedural dramas, intrigued by the way family relationships might play out in a courtroom? Are you a sci-fi buff dreaming of new technologies and far-away galaxies? Or are you invested in the psyches of reality TV contestants seeking love? 

Like most of these questions, there’s no right answer. Admissions officers aren’t seeking to fulfill specific quotas of history documentary fans and sitcom devotees. However, like previous questions about media, consider your audience and whether your answer suits the context of a college application. Is your answer “safe for work”? 

Lastly, you can feel free to add a brief “because… ” or equivalent statement after your choice, especially if it seems to warrant explanation. Also, note that some show titles are very generic, so without further (minimal) context the reader may not know what you’re referring to. Adding a year, language, director, or something similar might provide the necessary clues so that your answer isn’t confusing.

This is a multilayered question. It requires you to not only consider a person or character whom you know and are (presumably) a fan of but also how your lifestyles would align. As a result, your answer will not just indicate what kind of media, news, or other content you consume. It will (should) also hint at how you currently live and what your ideal way of living might be.

Feel free to get creative with this answer. Maybe you want to live with the Flash because he could do the dishes really quickly, or with Bob the Builder because you could co-design your ideal DIY home. On the flipside, you could also take this question more literally and look up a famous figure known for their impressive productivity strategies and excellent sleep schedule.

This is yet another media-related question that aims to provide dimension to your personality through a window into how you spend your free time. This question, like all of these questions, is best served by an honest answer. What book do you pick up again and again? What book do you think about as you fall asleep? What book are you constantly recommending to friends?

Some students feel pressured to answer this question with a book they read in English class or some impressive-sounding academic treatise. However, admissions officers are skilled professionals who will see right through that kind of answer. If your favorite book truly is The Grapes of Wrath and you first encountered it in 10th grade Honors English, that’s an entirely legitimate answer, and don’t feel self-conscious about it. But if your favorite book is an obscure mystery novel no one’s ever heard of, or written by a highly popular author like James Patterson or Rick Riordan, that’s also totally legitimate. Not every accepted applicant to USC is going to be an English major. Nevertheless, admissions officers do expect to see students who engage with books. So if you can’t think of any books to answer this question with, get reading while you still have time!

This is a common college essay question that you may have seen on other applications. For example, Yale asks an almost identical question , with 200 characters permitted for a response, because you’re expected to explain why you would teach this class. USC doesn’t require you to explain why. The limit to a 100-character answer further drives home how brief your answer is expected to be.

Of course, if the topic you choose is extremely obscure and requires context to understand, a brief explanation could be helpful. Otherwise, just think broadly and put the course title or topic. Your answer can be anything from academic to athletic, creative to craft-based. It also doesn’t need to be a topic you know much about (yet), but instead something you’re interested in learning more about. Good luck!

If you need help polishing up your USC supplemental essays, check out our College Essay Review service. You can receive detailed feedback from Ivy League consultants in as little as 24 hours.

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How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essays 2023–2024

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USC Supplemental Essays 2023-24

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Are you interested in applying to USC? Strong USC supplemental essays can make all the difference in the application process. In this guide, we will discuss the University of Southern California’s supplemental essay requirements and application deadlines. We will cover what role essays play in your application review and discuss how to write a strong why USC essay. Additionally, we’ll provide some examples of USC school-specific supplemental essays.

University of Southern California Background

The University of Southern California, often known as USC, is one of the nation’s premier research universities. Located in Los Angeles, California, USC offers undergraduate and graduate degrees to almost 50,000 students. In addition to USC’s academic accomplishments, it also provides students with a great environment in a bustling city. Impressively, USC is ranked # 25 of all the private and public colleges in the country.

Logically, as such top ranking university, USC enrolls some of the best students in the world. In 2022, USC received almost 70,000 first-year applications. But, they admitted just 12% . Unsurprisingly, those students accepted had impressive academics: an average GPA range of 3.82-4.0 and an SAT range of 1410-1540. Selective institutions like USC receive thousands of applicants with high GPAs and SAT scores. Therefore, this means that they look for students with impressive personal attributes, extracurricular involvements, and essays. 

Keep reading to learn more about the USC essay requirements and how you can use them to your advantage.

USC Essay Prompts: Quick Facts

  • University of Southern California Acceptance Rate – US News ranks the University of Southern California as a most selective school, with an acceptance rate of 12%.
  • 1 Why USC essay 
  • 10 short answer essays 
  • Early Action: November 1 st
  • Regular Decision: January 5 th
  • The USC admissions application is hosted on the Common App . Additional required materials include transcripts, letters of recommendation, optional test scores and a portfolio or additional writing sample if required by major. 
  • Some academic programs have their own USC essays, so be sure to research those USC supplemental essays as well. 
  • Why School and Why Major essays can be a great way to display how you will fit into the campus community. Don’t forget to mention the academic opportunities in and out of the classroom. 
  • Don’t overthink your short answer essays. They are meant to be brief and insightful. 
  • Start creating an outline for your essays well in advance. Use that outline to create a structured essay. This will allow you to stay organized and avoid writing your essay at the last minute.

Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website. 

Does USC have supplemental essays?

Are you wondering how to get into USC? Like many other selective institutions, USC requires applicants to write USC supplemental essays. Therefore, these essays will play an important role in your application.

In addition to impressive high school transcripts and glowing letters of recommendation, strong USC supplemental essays can positively impact your application. Unlike some of the materials mentioned above, the USC essay prompts allow students to speak directly to the admissions committee. As such, your USC essays are the perfect chance to showcase your personality, interests, and motivations. 

Since USC does not have an admissions interview, the USC supplemental essays are likely the best way to make a personal connection. 

Check out the USC supplemental essay requirements: 

  • 1 required Why USC essay
  • 10 required short answer essays
  • 1 optional educational progression essay

Technically, that’s a total of 11 USC supplemental essays and 1 optional USC writing supplement. In this guide, we’ll summarize the Why USC essay, the short answer USC supplemental essays, and the USC requirements.

Overall, don’t be intimidated by the number of USC supplemental essays. Instead, view your USC supplemental essays as a chance to highlight what makes you stand out.

Additional USC supplemental essay requirements

The application also requires prospective students applying to certain majors to complete additional USC essay prompts. The USC supplemental essays for these majors vary, but they all center around specific academic interests. 

If you are interested in one of these programs, you may need to complete additional USC supplemental essays: 

  • Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Science
  • USC School of Architecture
  • Roski School of Art and Design
  • Iovine and Young Academy for Arts
  • Technology and the Business of Innovation
  • Marshall School of Business (World Bachelor in Business)
  • USC School of Cinematic Arts
  • Kaufman School of Dance
  • USC School of Dramatic Arts.

Keep reading to learn more about the USC supplemental essays and USC essays for specific majors. And, don’t forget to register for our webinar below to learn more about application timelines! 

Why USC Essay

usc supplemental essays

The Why USC essay prompt is one of the most important USC writing supplements. As such, all students applying to USC must complete a Why USC essay. Luckily, the Why USC essay uses a similar format to many Why School or Why Major essays. So, you’ve probably seen similar prompts. Now, let’s review the prompt below and discuss how to structure a compelling Why USC essay. 

PROMPT #1: 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. (250 words)

As we can see, the Why USC essay prompt asks the student to articulate their academic plans on the USC campus. Therefore, a strong Why USC essay should show that the student has done their research and is passionate about their academic interests.

In your Why USC essay, try to highlight specific features of USC that excite you. This can take many different forms. For example, some Why USC essays might discuss a high-powered research lab on campus. Alternatively, other Why USC essays might focus on the unique studio culture found at the USC School of Architecture (one of the best architecture schools in the country). 

Most importantly, showing your passion for your desired USC academic program should include evidence and context. So, in your Why USC essay, share what sparked your initial curiosity and what you have done to further explore the discipline. For example, a student applying to the Iovne and Young Academy could discuss how starting an e-commerce business during the pandemic sparked their interest in entrepreneurship and human-centered design. 

Undecided students

Fortunately, admissions officers also understand that not all students have a solidified career plan. If this is you, you can still write a stellar Why USC essay. How? Well, students can still craft a compelling Why USC essay by discussing their academic interests more broadly. Even if you haven’t chosen your career path, you can use your USC essays to highlight your intellectual curiosity and academic strengths. 

Looking for more information on how to write a strong Why USC essay? Then check out our guide on how to write a strong Why Major supplemental essay to help you craft a strong Why USC essay for your major. 

USC Short Answer Essays

usc supplemental essays

In addition to the Why USC essay, the USC requirements also include 10 short answer USC supplemental essays. But, don’t let these short supplemental essays intimidate you. The admissions office looks for responses that reflect your interests, passions, and motivations. Therefore, like the Why USC essay, your answers should be unique to you. However, the answers to each of these questions should be no more than 25 words.

The short answer USC supplemental essays are:

1. Describe yourself in three words. 

2. what is your favorite snack, 3. best movie of all time:, 4. dream job:, 5. if your life had a theme song, what would it be, 6. dream trip:, 7. what tv show will you binge watch next, 8. which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate, 9. favorite book:, 10. if you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be.

The beauty of the short answer USC supplemental essays is they are incredibly personal. This allows you to separate yourself from what you think the admissions committee wants to hear and allows you to foreground who you really are. As such, there is no single right answer to this collection of USC essay prompts. In fact, there are many possible excellent answers.

USC School-Specific Supplemental Essays

Additionally, a handful of majors at USC require applicants to submit a USC writing supplement as part of the admissions application process. So, keep reading for a few examples of school-specific USC requirements and USC supplemental essays. 

Check out the list below to find out more about all the programs that require additional USC essays.

But, what are the major specific USC supplemental essays? Well, keep reading for a few examples of USC essays required by specific programs on the USC campus. 

USC Dornslife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences

The USC Dornslife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences includes the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Whether you want to major in computational neuroscience or art history, USC Dornslife wants to learn more about your passions through its USC writing supplement. 

Most importantly, a strong application to USC Dornsife includes introspective and well-constructed USC essays. There is one required essay for the USC Dornslife College of Letters, Arts and Science. Now, let’s review and discuss the best way to approach this essay. 

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? (250 words)

This USC essay asks the student to discuss a topic that they are passionate about. A strong response to this essay prompt may directly connect to your major or another interest. However, don’t forget, there is no right answer here. First and foremost, this is your opportunity to discuss what you are passionate about. Likewise, you may even connect your academic interests to this passion. But, when choosing what to write about, be sure to stay true to yourself. While you may be inclined to discuss a major world problem, don’t shy away from the smaller topics and messages that might resonate with a large audience. 

Next, we’ll discuss USC supplemental essays for the School of Architecture. 

USC School of Architecture Supplement

Impressively, the USC School of Architecture is one of the best architecture schools in the nation.  The School of Architecture offers a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Inventive Technologies.  Applying to the USC School of Architecture requires students to complete two additional USC essay prompts and a video prompt. 

Our school views architecture as a “human right,” and that design should exhibit “social consciousness.” How do you think architecture can contribute to the greater social consciousness?

At usc architecture we will teach you to become strong critical thinkers. with that in mind please tell us about a piece of architecture that you’ve personally experienced and how its design resonated with you..

The first prompt requires students to connect architecture to the world around them. How might architecture and the built environment contribute to social consciousness? For example, you might focus on sustainable design or buildings that prioritize community spaces. 

This prompt requires reflection, so don’t hesitate to workshop a few essay ideas. Then, choose the one that best suits you. The second prompt asks students to name a specific architectural work that resonates with them. This USC essay also provides the perfect opportunity to share how the world of architecture influences your daily life. 

USC Architecture aims to engage students as critical thinkers through their USC supplemental essays. Therefore, these USC essay prompts ask students to think beyond their favorite skyscraper. Instead, you should consider how architecture and design interact with society, social consciousness, and you as a person. 

USC Video Essays

In addition to the USC essay prompts, the USC School of Architecture also has a USC supplemental video prompt.

Video Prompt:

Please produce a video that presents what you consider to be your favorite project in your portfolio and why. try to be as informative and concise as possible when you’re speaking about the project but also remember to be yourself. we are looking for students that are passionate with a keen curiosity about architecture and design..

In your video response, make sure you choose a project that reflects your interests and potential. Don’t focus on using lofty language—instead, highlight where your ideas came from and how your critical thinking skills inform the work you produce. 

Next, we will discuss the USC supplemental essays for the Viterbi School of Engineering. 

USC Viterbi Supplemental Essays

usc supplemental essays

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering offers a variety of degrees in engineering and computer science. Like other programs, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering requires two additional USC supplemental essays.  Most importantly, the Viterbi USC essays seek to get into the minds of future engineers . Like the School of Architecture USC supplemental essays, the Viterbi USC essays require students to reflect on their personal experiences. 

The student body at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering is a diverse group of unique engineers and computer scientists who work together to engineer a better world for all humanity. Describe how your contributions to the USC Viterbi student body may be distinct from others. Please feel free to touch on any part of your background, traits, skills, experiences, challenges, and/or personality in helping us better understand you. (250 words)

The national academy of engineering (nae) and their 14 grand challenges go hand-in-hand with our vision to engineer a better world for all humanity. engineers and computer scientists are challenged to solve these problems in order to improve life on the planet. learn more about the nae grand challenges at http://engineeringchallenges.org and tell us which challenge is most important to you, and why..

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering wants to learn more about you through the USC supplemental essays. In the first USC writing supplement, applicants should talk about the ways their unique traits and experiences add to the USC Engineering student body. In fact, the USC Viterbi admissions blog summarizes this prompt as ”How will you make a unique contribution to the USC student body?” 

You might find some inspiration from your Why USC essay, but be sure to make each of these USC essays unique. 

Additionally, in the second Viterbi USC supplemental writing prompt, students are instructed to review key engineering challenges laid out by the National Academy of Engineering. Students then choose a specific challenge and discuss why it’s important to them. 

Structuring your essay

As you review this prompt, pay attention to the directions. Most importantly, make sure you only choose one challenge and craft a strong argument about why it matters. According to the Viterbi Admissions blog , the challenge does not have to be related to your major. Additionally, you don’t have to provide a solution to the challenge, and there is no right answer.

In each of the Viterbi USC supplemental essays, students respond to USC essay prompts that allow them to represent their most authentic selves. If you aim to study engineering or computer science at USC, these USC supplemental essays give you the chance to share your unique story and perspective. 

Does USC care about essays?

usc supplemental essays

Absolutely! In fact, the more selective the institution, the more your essays might matter. Logically, highly selective schools receive many applications from students with high GPAs and test scores. Therefore, having stellar USC essays can help you stand out to the admissions committee. And, given the USC acceptance rate is just 13% , the USC essay prompts let you set yourself apart. 

In other words, admissions committees look for ways to envision you on their campuses. Indeed, they want to make sure you would enrich their community. So, your Why USC essay is one of the ways you can discuss why USC is the perfect match for you. 

USC essays are one of the ways that the admissions committee can get to know you as a person. Have you heard college admissions representatives encourage you to use “your voice” in your essay? Being authentic and introspective can allow the admissions team to learn more about you while reading your USC supplemental essays. 

What is the application deadline for USC?

usc supplemental essays

Now that you know more about USC supplemental essays, let’s discuss application dates and deadlines. 

USC has two application plans: Regular Decision and Early Action. However, majors requiring a portfolio or audition are not permitted to apply Early Action or Regular Decision. Instead, they have a deadline of December 1 st . Check out this list of majors with a December 1 st deadline.  

The Early Action USC application deadline is November 1 st . The Early Action plan is non-binding and non-restrictive. Therefore, you can apply to as many colleges as you wish and there is no obligation to enroll. Early Action applicants will be notified of their results in January. The Early Action plan leaves ample time for students to review financial aid letters and visit campus before deciding on where to enroll. 

If you are not ready to submit your application in November, the Regular Decision USC application deadline is January 15 th . The Regular Decision plan is also non-binding and non-restrictive. These applicants will be notified of their admissions decision on April 1, 2024. Whether you are applying Early Action or Regular Decision, your USC supplemental essays are due on the application deadline. 

If you are already in college and are interested in transferring to USC, transfer students have a USC application deadline of January 1 st if they are already enrolled at USC and February 15 th if they are currently enrolled at another college.

Starting early

No matter what admissions plan you choose, it is critical to begin working on your USC supplemental essays well ahead of their deadline. Overall, it is never too early to begin brainstorming ideas and creating an outline. By getting organized early and not procrastinating, you can ensure you submit the strongest application possible. 

Your USC essays will also be used in your overall review for merit scholarships. But don’t forget to view the USC scholarship and financial aid deadlines! All students interested in being considered for a USC merit scholarship must apply Early Action (or by December 1 st if their major requires a portfolio or audition).

Keep reading for more resources to help with your USC essays. 

More USC Resources to explore

Are you looking for more insight on how to get into USC and craft strong USC essays? Well, CollegeAdvisor has got you covered. Now that you know more about the USC Supplemental essay requirements, check out these examples of USC supplemental essays. 

Additionally, as you are researching the USC essay prompts, don’t forget about merit scholarships and financial aid. In fact, learning about USC merit scholarships and prestigious external awards, like the Questbridge scholarship, can ease anxiety about the financial aspect of enrolling at USC.

CollegeAdvisor also hosts tons of interactive webinars to help you learn more about USC essays and admissions in general. So, get informed and watch them! Specifically, check out this Q&A webinar with former Georgetown and USC admissions officers. 

Remember that the University of Southern California is just one of many great schools in the State of California. Check out this guide to see how USC stacks up to other California colleges. 

Also, check out USC Admission’s resource videos on YouTube! The video below offers tips for approaching this year’s USC supplemental essays as well.

USC Supplemental Essays – Takeaways 

As we’ve seen in this article, USC supplemental essays are a critical part of the USC admissions application. Here’s a list of 7 takeaways to help you write strong USC supplemental essays.

7 USC Supplemental Essays Takeaways

1. usc has 11 required essays: the why usc essay and 10 short answer essays. all students, regardless of major, have this requirement., 2. your why usc essay is a great opportunity to show why you would be a great fit for usc. , 3. your short answer essays are meant to be brief and authentic. don’t overthink these , 4. depending on your major, you may have additional usc essays to submit. refer to this guide for the list of majors that have additional usc essays. , 5. the deadline for your usc essays is the same as the application deadline. so, it is incredibly important that you prepare by giving yourself ample time to write and edit your usc essays., 6. the usc office of admissions views essays as a valuable part of the application. in fact, they just might be the thing that makes you stand out., 7. be yourself these essays are structured to get a closer look at who you are. don’t shy away from this element..

Looking for more guidance on the USC essays? CollegeAdvisor is here to help. Click here to schedule a meeting with our experts today and start receiving personalized college admissions guidance.

usc supplemental essays

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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 University of Southern California Supplemental Essays

usc supplemental essays 2023 examples

Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

Learn about our editorial policies

usc supplemental essays 2023 examples

Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

usc supplemental essays 2023 examples

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Respond to the 2023/2024 University of Southern California Supplemental Essays

With the warm Cali weather and beautiful campus, it is no surprise that students are so eager to apply to USC in Los Angeles. The USC supplemental essays are a perfect way to stand out from the rest of the USC applicants. Keep reading this guide to learn more about how to make your responses to the USC supplemental essays the best they can be!

Breaking down the USC supplemental essays

Be prepared to write, because USC asks for a lot of USC supplemental essays responses! However, this should not deter you from applying, rather, it should make you more excited! Essays offer you the opportunity to show who you are to the USC admissions officers. 

Here is a list of essays to respond to:

  • 1 250 word essay
  • 1 optional 250 word essay 
  • 10 quick short answers
  • 1 Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences essay (only for Dornsife students)
  • 1 Viterbi School of Engineering 250 word essay (with 2 options to choose from only for Viterbit students)

For the list of 10 short questions, they are almost rapid fire questions with a quick and easy response to a less open-ended question. For these, just be you and have fun! 

Now that you know what to expect from the USC supplemental essays, let’s take a look at them! 

“Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 word limit)”

Most college applications ask you to select a major, so take this question as an opportunity to explain and elaborate on the “why.” Why do you want to major in this topic? What do you hope to do with a degree in this major? How will this major help you pursue your dreams? 

Be specific

In addition to simply mentioning your major and reason behind selecting this major, you should also touch upon any courses or extracurriculars that will help you reach your future goals.

For example, if you want to major in biology, you can talk about how you are excited to be able to take the USC BISC 469L: Marine Biology course because you have always been fascinated by marine life. 

Being specific with the course names will prove to the USC admissions officers that you have done your research. They will recognize that you are truly passionate about furthering your education in this particular field. 

Still undecided?

If you are unsure about what you want to major in, do not worry! It is a big decision to make at this point in your life. Remember, a lot of applicants are feeling the same way. Therefore, you should not share a major and talk about a passion if you are not truly certain or interested in this major. 

Rather, you should be authentic and describe why you are unsure of what you want to major in. In addition, you should then detail what academic programs or clubs you hope to become involved in to find your true passion. The most important thing to do if you are taking the undecided major route is to detail how you will take advantage of USC to discover what you are truly interested in. 

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Essay #2 – optional.

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 (250 words). (250 words) 

Only answer this essay if you have a gap in your education. If this does not apply to you, you do not have to answer this question. However, if it does apply to you then you should answer this question as truthfully as possible. 

Questions to consider

  • Why did you choose to take a gap year or semester? 
  • Did you even choose to take off? 
  • What external factors affected your education? 

While this is a more serious and specific question, you can still be creative in your response. Meaning, rather than stating why, you can tell the personal  story that led you to make this decision. This can lead the USC admissions officers to empathize with your situation.

Essay 3 – short answer questions

The short answer questions ask you to answer in 100 characters or less, unless otherwise directed. This means these questions should be rapid fire responses. Do not overthink these! This is a fun section that allows the reader to get to know you and your opinions better! Just be sure to not answer a response in a way that has already been revealed in your application. 

1. Describe yourself in three words. (25 characters each)

Think about your most defining characteristics. If someone close to you had to choose 3 words to describe you, what would they say? 

2. What is your favorite snack?

Don’t think, just answer! What are you craving? Do you have a sweet tooth? If you were given the choice to pick one snack from the grocery store what would you pick? 

3. Best movie of all time

Try to think of a movie that is not typically picked to be the best movie of all time! You want your uniqueness to shine through! Be sure you are selecting a movie you have actually seen and enjoyed. 

4. Dream job

What are you working towards in college? What do you “want to be” when you graduate? You can choose to go the serious or silly route for this question. So, you could make up a job such as “Chocolate taste-tester because the decadence of creamy milk chocolate is my favorite thing on Earth.”

5. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?

This is a creative question! Therefore, try to pick a creative answer. Find a song that has meaningful lyrics that can relate to your life. 

6. Dream trip

Try to avoid cliches with this answer such as Disneyworld – remember, you are trying to stand out from the rest of USC applicants. Think of somewhere you have always wanted to visit. Be specific! Do not just mention the city, state, or country, but rather, mention the specifics. 

7. What TV show will you binge watch next?

What TV show do you love? What TV show could you watch without getting sick of it? 

8. Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate?

This question allows you to have a lot of fun, so dig deep into your imagination! Try to write a quick reason as to why they would make a good roommate. For example, maybe Harry Potter because you know he is used to sharing small quarters!

9. Favorite Book

What is your favorite book? Did a certain book change your life?

10. If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be?

What are you passionate about? Do you nerd out about something? What would you love to speak to people about? You can also be creative with this answer and choose a course that does not exist! For example, the “psychology of aliens” which requires a trip to outer space! 

Also see: How to respond to the Common App prompts

Essay 4: Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences applicants only – 

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? (250 words)

The first thing that came to your mind when reading this essay- that’s what you should write about! You’ll want to select a topic that really fascinates you. You should be able to talk about this for hours and hours – not just 10 minutes. 

This is an extremely open-ended essay, so there are an infinite number of topics you could choose to write about. When deciding what to choose, remember to select something that has not already been shared on your application. 

Some ideas of things to write about for this essay: 

  • A social issue 
  • A lesson you have learned 
  • Other cultures
  • A controversial take (do not select something too controversial!) 

These are just a few examples to get your mind turning. Remember, there is a lot of freedom here, so you can pick any topic you want! Just be sure to use narratives and anecdotes to make your story shine through. After all, you want the USC admissions officers to learn why you are passionate about a topic, not just what the topic is. 

Essay 5: Viterbi School of Engineering applicants only – option 1

“ The student body at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering is a diverse group of unique engineers and computer scientists who work together to engineer a better world for all humanity. Describe how your contributions to the USC Viterbi student body may be distinct from others. Please feel free to touch on any part of your background, traits, skills, experiences, challenges, and/or personality in helping us better understand you. * (250 word limit)”

To answer this essay, you need to select a personal characteristic that distinguishes you from the other engineering students. Therefore, this trait or aspect of yourself should connect back to Viterbi and how you will make a difference in the school. Start out by brainstorming and asking yourself some questions.

  • What aspect of yourself have you not mentioned so far in your USC application? 
  • What are you passionate about? 
  • When you have free time, what are you doing? 
  • How have you prepared yourself to become an engineer? 
  • Why does engineering interest you? 
  • Why USC? Why USC engineering? 

Essentially, you want to write to USC detailing how you are a stand-out applicant who is different from the rest. So, narrow in on what makes you special. However, it is important for the Viterbi supplemental essay that you are also acknowledging how you will thrive in this environment because of your uniqueness. 

Essay 5: Viterbi School of Engineering applicants only – option 2

“ The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and their 14 Grand Challenges go hand-in-hand with our vision to engineer a better world for all humanity. Engineers and computer scientists are challenged to solve these problems in order to improve life on the planet. Learn more about the NAE Grand Challenges at http://engineeringchallenges.org and tell us which challenge is most important to you, and why.* (250 word limit)” 

For this response, you should be sure to read through the NAE Grand Challenges. This will provide you with valuable background information. Once you have read through all of the NAE Grand Challenges, think about the challenge you find to be the most important. The most important thing about this response is not what challenge you choose to write about. Rather, it is the way you justify your response. 

For example, you can choose “provide access to clean water,” however, you need to be creative in your justification. Start out by making a quick list of questions to ask yourself. 

  • Everyone wants clean water – so how will accessing clean water affect you? 
  • What would you do if you could create an invention that gives everyone access to clean water?
  • Why is clean water important? 

It is critical that you are creative in your justification, no matter which challenge you deem the most important. 

Final thoughts on responding to the USC supplemental essays

We understand that the USC supplemental essays can be quite overwhelming. Therefore, just take it one essay at a time and space out writing your responses. Figure out which options most interest you and select those. 

After you write your USC supplemental essay responses, ask a trusted individual to read over your responses before you submit your application. Ask them to check for any spelling errors and also  that you have not repeated yourself at all. Remember, each USC essay is the opportunity to reveal more about yourself. 

Take a deep breath! You got this. Remember to have fun in your responses and remind yourself of what you are working towards… a great education located in sunny California! 

Next steps after applying to USC

Congratulations! It is time to submit your flawless USC application! Now that your application is submitted, be sure to check the following for any updates to your application status: 

  • Your Email 
  • Any USC social media accounts

Additional resources

Scholarships360 is here to help you navigate the challenging terrain of the college admissions process. Are you curious about what looks good to submit to colleges ? We have a guide for that. Wondering if you should send your SAT/ACT scores ? We have a guide for that. Confused on how many schools to apply to ? We have a guide for that too! 

Also see : How to choose a college

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How To Answer The USC Supplemental Essay Prompts For 2022/23

How To Answer The USC Supplemental Essay Prompts For 2022/23

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California (USC) is home to a large student body, incredible research advancements, and a large football stadium and culture. USC is ranked one of the best public universities in the US. It boasts a competitive admissions process with an acceptance rate of just 11%, meaning only about 1 in 9 students gets accepted.

USC Supplemental Essay Prompts

Essay 1: please respond to one of the prompts below. (250 word limit).

  • 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?

Essay 2: (250 words limit).

Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections.

Essay 3 (optional)

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.

Short Answers Questions

  • Describe yourself in three words. First Word: (25 characters), Second Word: (25 characters), Third Word: (25 characters)
  • What is your favorite snack? (100 characters)
  • Best movie of all time: (100 characters)
  • Dream job: (100 characters)
  • If your life had a theme song, what would it be? (100 characters)
  • Dream trip: (100 characters)
  • What TV show will you binge watch next? (100 characters)
  • Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate? (100 characters)
  • Favorite book: (100 characters)
  • If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be? (100 characters)

How Anushka Got Into USC with Crimson

How to Answer the Short Essay Questions

Usc believes 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 another point of view challenged your beliefs*. please discuss the significance of the experience and its effect on you.*.

The first supplemental essay (and its three prompt options) asks you to speak from experience about a non-academic moment of growth or the formation of a particular value. While the first prompt is the only one that demands you narrate a specific experience, a solid response to any of the three prompts should describe a particular instance and unpack its implications .

In generating a topic, the experience you choose does not have to be overly serious, but the analysis should show how it speaks to your growth in a powerful way that does not feel too grandiose. USC admissions officers are looking for applicants to demonstrate their understanding that learning is not just sitting in class and pursuing academics but is also significantly impacted by personal growth and a transformation of values .

If you choose this prompt, consider the different circumstances that caused you to change your thinking about a particular issue .

  • Maybe it was a passing conversation with a stranger or friend,
  • an experience engaging with a social
  • a civil issue in your community,
  • Or even a slightly more rigorous debate or academic setting.

Whatever topic you choose, vivid language that examines how events made you feel in the moment will be essential to drawing out moments of actual growth . Remember that genuinely changing an established view is hard work, so please be honest with yourself as you look over the depth of these implications. Whether you write about how your experience attending a protest deepened your empathy for a particular cause or how a dare with your friend caused you to deactivate Facebook and rethink the role of social media in your life, try to craft a narrative story with clear consequences.

USC faculty place emphasis on interdisciplinary academic opportunities. Could you describe something outside your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning?

Responding to the second prompt should show that your intellectual curiosity expands beyond your professional aspirations . Try to recall when you were surprised by how an experience outside your area of expertise affected you. This experience could be anything from how your experience on a safari led to an unexpected interest in endangered species preservation to finding meaning in a collection of poetry you were required to read. Your essay should construct a narrative demonstrating genuine intellectual curiosity in an area outside your prospective academic focus.

A response to the third prompt can take on a variety of topics. Whether you explain the influence of a familial structure, a hobby, an experience as part of a larger community, or even some other unusual facet of your expertise, your narrative should discuss how this influence has positively shaped you .

Again, this is not a spot for arrogant essays about accomplishments and ambition. Instead, it’s for examining a topic that will lead the admissions committee to fully understand you and how you hope to use a USC education. Ideally, the topic will be distinct from your Common App essay topic (which can be similar). It will explain an aspect of your thinking or reasoning that’s not in any other part of your application.

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

The second supplemental essay question helps the admissions committee understand why you are interested in USC instead of another school . The question requires you to research USC’s specific offerings. You’ll use this knowledge, alongside language that introduces your main academic interests and their origins, to explain why USC is a perfect fit for you. Evaluators want to see a response that shows you are attracted to their school and how you have thought deeply about the particular ways USC would help you realize your academic goals.

Tip 1: set the stage by anecdotally introducing your academic interests

Talk about how your struggles with precalculus and the extra time spent working with a teacher sparked a blooming interest in mathematics or how your experience watching the nightly TV news with your family compelled you to intern for a political campaign and learn about the history of international relations.

Tip 2: Reference USC Resources

Once that framework is established, you should reference specific USC resources — classes, notable professors or researchers, proximity to specific professional opportunities, or extracurricular activities — that will help you pursue your interests most effectively.

An excellent place to start is by checking the extensive list of possible majors posted on the USC website and identifying departments that closely match your academic preferences. Then, you can go to departmental websites to identify class offerings and professors you can reference in your essay. Resources like the Undergraduate Research Program in the School of International Relations , or the chance to work with a figure you admire in a specific field, are good examples that help you realize certain career aspirations.

Tip 3: Relate USC Resources to your interests

Finally, relate the USC resources to your interests. Suppose you began by writing about watching the news. You can describe how the “Visual and Popular Culture” within the “American Popular Culture” major would help you answer questions about the power of television news you’ve had since you were young.

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How to Answer the Short Answer Questions

It’s easy to try and impress examiners with your short answers. Instead, use these prompts to give the readers an authentic representation of yourself .

Tips for Option 1

The first prompt (three words that best describe yourself) is one of the hardest to answer without sounding ingenuine or fake.

First, avoid descriptors like “ambitious” or “hardworking.” There are far better forums in your application to express your academic accomplishment and drive.

Second, spend time reflecting on the elements of your experience that have forced you to learn something new. If you can identify a quality, like humor or levity, and reflect on how that affects the lens through which you approach the world, you should include this quality.

Otherwise, think about the activities you engage with most and what type of qualities they foster. Maybe your experience doing debate after school has made you “community-oriented,” or your growing interest in running live DJ sets has made you more “adaptable.” Whatever your experience, finding descriptors to reflect your experience (which you’ll write about in other parts of the application!) will help you avoid overly generic descriptions and stand out from other applicants.

Tips for preference-based prompts

For the preference-based short answer questions, you’ll want to dwell similarly on your past experiences, especially pivotal moments of growth, sidestepping the temptation to answer to impress. It may be hard to think of the most technically proficient movie you’ve ever seen. Still, it will be easy to remember movies that have significantly impacted your life or personal development.

Unless you’re an established film academic, you probably can’t humbly claim you think the best movie of all time is Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane or Godard’s Breathless. It’s more likely you feel that it’s a movie you used to watch with your family when you were sick or an accessible old classic that opened your eyes to the aesthetic possibilities of cinema in a new way. The character limits are restrictive but don’t limit yourself to one word. Begin the question with your answer, then use your remaining space to offer a brief piece of context for the preference that speaks to your background or passions.

How to Stand Out in Your USC Supplemental Essays for 2022/23

The essay components of the application are crucially important to make sure you stand out among the rest! The USC application has several essays prompts, especially short answer questions .

Knowing how to approach the supplemental questions for the USC application can take time and effort. The various questions, ranging from short-answer responses to short essays, ask a lot about your personality and academic or personal aspirations . But if you’re not careful, your answers to these prompts might appear insincere or common.

Supplemental questions give you space to demonstrate genuine passion, personality, and growth in your personal and academic life that arises directly from lived experience and suggests an apt fit for USC. Below are several strategies and ideas for each prompt designed to avoid common mistakes and stereotypical answers and create responses that can help present your authentic self to the admissions office.

How Crimson Can Help You With Your USC Supplemental Essays

Crimson takes a personal approach when helping students with their supplemental essays. Advisors get to know their students first. Then they show them how to incorporate their dreams, aspirations, goals, and any unique story aspect into their supplemental essays.

Final Thoughts

Writing supplemental essays for USC, as with any school, should attempt to present the sense of a complete, ambitious person engaged in the business of thinking about the world, one who goes beyond grades and a resume, to the admissions committee. When you write, please remember the more prominent themes of what you are trying to communicate, and rewrite or remove anything that feels extraneous or inauthentic. If you follow the tips above, you should be well on your way to generating a USC supplement that you can be proud of — best of luck!

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What Makes Crimson Different

Key Resources & Further Reading

  • Acing your College Application Essay: 5 Expert Tips to Make it Stand Out from the Rest
  • MIT Supplemental Essay
  • Harvard Supplemental Essay
  • Columbia Supplemental Essay
  • Princeton Supplemental Essay
  • Cornell Supplemental Essay
  • Brown Supplemental Essay
  • Upenn Supplemental Essay
  • Dartmouth Supplemental Essay
  • Johns Hopkins Supplemental Essay
  • University of Chicago Supplemental Essay
  • NYU Supplemental Essay
  • Northwestern Supplemental Essay
  • How to Tackle Every Type of Supplemental Essay
  • 2021-22 Essay Prompts Common App Essay Prompts
  • What are the Most Unusual US College Supplemental Essay Prompts?

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Tackling USC Supplemental Essays for the 2023-2024 Admissions Cycle

Picture of Admit Hero Team

Navigating the complex process of college applications can feel overwhelming, especially when dealing with supplemental essays. The University of Southern California (USC), renowned for its top-tier programs and vibrant campus life, requires applicants to submit multiple supplemental essays as part of their application package. In this blog post, we provide you with specific, targeted advice for each prompt, ensuring your responses effectively convey your individuality, drive, and fit for USC.

General Prompt

Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC. (250 words)

This is an opportunity to exhibit both your academic fervor and genuine interest in USC. Don't just list courses and professors that interest you; instead, connect your intellectual curiosity to specific opportunities at USC. Showcase how USC's academic resources, interdisciplinary approach, or specific programs align with your aspirations.

Example Essay

As a child, I spent countless hours immersed in a world of Legos, building intricate structures that stretched my creativity and tested my patience. As I matured, this hobby evolved into a passionate interest in urban planning and sustainable development.

At USC, I intend to pursue a major in Urban Studies and Planning, as it perfectly combines my interests in sustainability, urban design, and sociology. USC's unique interdisciplinary approach provides a robust exploration of these areas. I'm particularly drawn to the Real Estate Development program, which ties in the business perspective necessary for practical implementation.

Moreover, the Capstone Project in the senior year promises hands-on experience, allowing me to connect the theoretical knowledge with real-world applications. I'm excited about the possibility of working with professors like Dr. Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, whose research on the economic impact of cultural trends aligns with my interest in urban cultures and their influence on city development.

Overall, the blend of academic rigor, innovative research, and practical exposure at USC provides the ideal platform to deepen my understanding and contribute significantly to urban development, shaping a sustainable future.

Optional Prompt

Has there been a time when you've had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? (250 words)

Approach this prompt by picking a specific belief, discussing its origin, and illustrating how it was challenged. Show your maturity and capacity for growth by explaining how this shift in perspective impacted your values and actions. Remember, this is about your development, not just the belief.

Growing up in a tightly-knit community, I held a firm belief in the strength and unyielding support of unity. However, when I began volunteering at a local homeless shelter, my belief was challenged.

In the shelter, I observed a strong sense of community, yet it wasn't flawless. Disputes arose often, support waned in challenging times, and unity was occasionally overshadowed by personal interest. This realization shook my idealistic view of communal harmony.

Rather than distancing myself from the shelter, I chose to immerse myself deeper. I initiated open discussions among the shelter residents, providing a safe space to air grievances, forge stronger bonds, and foster empathy. I learned that unity is not inherent but cultivated, demanding patience, understanding, and active engagement.

My time at the shelter reshaped my belief in unity. I learned that it's not always harmonious, yet the pursuit of it is a testament to our collective strength and resilience. I'm eager to bring this nuanced understanding to USC, contributing to and learning from its diverse community.

Short Answer Questions

Short answer questions are all about brevity and impact. Each answer should reveal something unique about your character.

What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you? (25 words)

In only a few words, share an intriguing insight about your character, passion, or unique trait that could stimulate a reader's curiosity.

Describe your dream job (25 words).

This answer should echo your long-term ambitions, aligning with your prospective major or indicating an innovative perspective on your future career.

Prompts for Specific Schools

The School of Architecture: Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design. (250 words)

Detail the architectural or design element that inspired you, focusing on the emotions and thoughts it evoked. Conclude by connecting this experience with your decision to pursue architecture at USC.

Walking through the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, I was captivated by the innovative design that defied traditional architectural conventions. Frank Gehry’s fluid design, interplaying with light and reflection, created an experience as moving as the artwork it housed.

The swirling titanium facade, reflective of the nearby river, sparked a deep appreciation for the transformative potential of architecture. It created a conversation between the built environment and nature, manifesting a symbiosis rarely achieved in modern urban design. This ignited in me an aspiration to create spaces that transcend functionality, embodying a dialogue between man, nature, and the built environment.

Studying architecture at USC, I look forward to learning the principles that can turn these aspirations into reality. USC's School of Architecture's emphasis on sustainable, forward-thinking design resonates with my desire to create spaces that not only serve humans but also respect the natural world.

The School of Cinematic Arts: In what ways do you believe your personal experiences and background shaped you as a creator? (250 words)

Narrate a personal story or experience, illustrating how it has influenced your creative process or style. Connect your journey to USC's School of Cinematic Arts, showing how it will enhance your evolution as a creator.

Growing up in a small Midwestern town, I often found myself starved for diversity, leading me to seek varying perspectives through cinema. This craving developed into a passion for filmmaking, with a goal to spotlight untold stories.

My experience volunteering at a local community center introduced me to a diverse range of experiences and narratives, fueling my desire to amplify marginalized voices through my work. From the resilience of a single mother to the inspiring journey of an immigrant teenager, these stories challenged my worldviews and inspired me to capture them in film.

At USC's School of Cinematic Arts, I aim to refine my storytelling skills, adding depth and nuance to my work. I am particularly drawn to the school's emphasis on diverse narratives and its commitment to social justice. I believe the experiences and perspectives I bring will add to the rich tapestry of creativity at USC, and I am excited to grow as a creator among fellow storytellers.

Viterbi School of Engineering: How do you intend to leverage engineering to make a significant societal impact? (250 words)

Highlight a social issue you're passionate about and propose a potential engineering solution. Showcase how Viterbi's resources, network, or curriculum can help you bring this vision to life.

From observing my grandmother struggle with mobility issues, I developed an interest in Biomedical Engineering, intending to design assistive devices to aid the elderly.

At USC Viterbi, I plan to leverage the school's robust research facilities, renowned faculty, and focus on technological innovation to make this vision a reality. I am particularly excited about the Health, Technology and Engineering program that merges medicine with engineering principles, preparing its students to tackle pressing health issues.

I aspire to create affordable, user-friendly devices, ensuring accessibility for all. With the aging global population, I believe such innovations are timely and crucial.

My ultimate aim is to combine empathy with engineering, utilizing technology as a tool to improve quality of life and uphold human dignity. I'm convinced that the Viterbi School of Engineering, with its innovative approach and community impact focus, is the perfect place for me to embark on this journey.

To ace these essays, remember that they're a platform to highlight your uniqueness, intellectual curiosity, and alignment with USC's values. Research thoroughly, infuse your essays with personality, and most importantly, be genuine.

Best of luck, Trojans!

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4 University of Southern California (USC) EssaysThatWorked

Ryan

Applying to USC in 2023 means that you are facing a lot of competition.

Luckily, one of the most effective tools you have to stand out from the crowd is your essays and responses to USC's writing supplement.

In this article, I've gathered 4 of the best essays from students admitted into the University of Southern California so that you can get inspired and improve your own USC essays.

What is University of Southern California's Acceptance Rate?

This past year, a record 70,971 students applied to USC and only 8,804 students were offered admission. That means USC had an overall acceptance rate of only 12.4%.

If you're trying to maximize your shot of getting into USC, writing essays that show why you should be accepted is one of your best strategies.

USC Acceptance Scattergram

The more competitive a school admissions is, the more heavily your essays are weighed. Let's check out the USC prompts for this year.

What are the University of Southern California Supplemental Prompts for 2022-23?

For its application this year, USC requires students to respond to three short essay questions and ten short answer questions.

USC has an intensive writing section, which means its even more important for you to make your responses the best they can be.

Here are the University of Southern California prompts for 2023:

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) (1-250 words)

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. (0-250 words)

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?

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?

4 University of Southern California EssaysThatWorked

Here are 4 of the best USC essays that worked for this years writing supplement.

Below you can read how admitted USC students answered the short essay and short answer questions. In addition, I've included some Common App personal statements examples recently accepted students.

See exactly how students got into USC and get inspired:

USC Essay Example #1

Usc essay example #2, usc essay example #3, usc essay example #4.

Prompt: What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you? (250 words max)

If I had a fatal flaw it would be loyalty. Of all the things I value, the one thing I value the most is my family. Coming after family is my friends; I consider my friends to be an extended branch of family. My close friends know that I value my friendship and that I would do almost anything for them if they asked me. I am very trusting with my friends, because I know that if I am there to support them, they will be there to support me. Without my friends, I would not be who and where I am now, as they have helped me through my years and shaped me to be the trusting and loyal person I am.

Very often, I put my friends before me, and this is because I know that if I were in the same situation as them, they would opt to help me. My loyalty to my friends helps them understand why I do what I do, and it helps me make even more friends. Wherever I go, I want to go with friends, because I believe that I can go farther when I have others with me rather than going fast and alone, but not as far.

The sounds of my knife striking kale unnerves my cat asleep in the corner. He quickly runs over to examine the situation but becomes instantly uninterested when he sees green and smells bitterness. Unfortunately, my family has this same reaction every day of every week.

They question, “It’s bad enough that you’re going to eat kale, but do you really have to massage it?” I respond with a deep breath, during which I recall information from nutritionfacts.org. I begin to explain, “Well you see, it takes away the bitterness, because kale is composed of cellulose, so when you massage it with a strong acid–”but as I continue to delve into my rather scientific and oftentimes molecular rationale behind transforming myself into a masseuse to make a salad, everyone begins snoring. I guess no one has ever understood my immense love for the science behind cooking (and probably never will).

Sure, my family, friends, small, undiverse and traditional high school all look at me like I am crazy, but I guess that is because I am. I do not look at kale and think “dark green, bitter, disgusting plant.” Instead, I see proteins and anticarcinogenic properties--analyzing the anatomy of food seems to occupy my mind.

Cooking is an art, visual, creative and instinctive. My favorite nights are spent with knife in hand and sweet potatoes in the oven. Food is my artist outlet, and one of the few things to feed my soul (and my stomach, too).

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Prompt: 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. (250 words max)

All throughout my life, I always loved doing math no matter what the concept. My love for math led to me taking advanced math classes for my grade. I even had to take a bus to a high school when I was in middle school to take an advanced math class. I always knew that I would want to pursue a career dealing with mathematics, but I was not really sure until my junior year. I had not decided what I wanted to be in the future, so my uncle suggested being a CPA, and I looked into it. When I did my research, it interested me as they made a decent amount of money and they worked with numbers.

At USC, I would like to major in accounting and gain the opportunity to possibly receive an internship at one of the big accounting firms in Los Angeles through the networking of USC. If I were able to get an internship, I would be able to gain experience for when I graduate and search for a job. I would also consider going for a Masters of Business Administration as I know that USC has one of the best business programs in the country.

I had never considered traveling across the country to pursue an education. In fact, living in Pittsburgh all of my life and growing up with people who are so adamant about staying put, forced me to believe that I too had to box myself into this small, yet evolving city. However, now I can confidently tell my friends and family that I want to travel to California for college (and ignore their odd looks).

What strikes me most about USC is its ability to maintain uniformity despite its diverse student body--in interests, ethnicity, and opinion. There are not many schools where I could be best friends with filmmakers, artists, photographers, chemists, potential CEOs, and writers. Although all of these people are spread across different schools, they still seem to maintain a cultural unity. Being surrounded by such a distinct trojan pride combined with the ambitious atmosphere would be both inspiring and propulsive.

At USC, I would not have to confine to merely one of my interests. I have always had aspirations of becoming a doctor and pursuing neuroscience, but have never felt comfortable ignoring the humanities. As a Trojan, I could pursue research at the Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center or even take part in PIBBS, while also honing my writing skills through the intricate Writing Program.

Much like the students, my interests could somehow be molded into a diverse uniformity, and I could prove my fellow Pittsburghers that perhaps they need to move around more.

What Can You Learn From These USC Essays?

If you want to get into the University of Southern California, you'll need to answer the USC writing supplement questions as best you can. To help improve your essays, you can read these 6 essays that worked for USC and see how students got accepted.

Let me know, what did you think about these USC essays?

Ryan Chiang , Founder of EssaysThatWorked

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Princeton Admitted Essay

People love to ask why. Why do you wear a turban? Why do you have long hair? Why are you playing a guitar with only 3 strings and watching TV at 3 A.M.—where did you get that cat? Why won’t you go back to your country, you terrorist? My answer is... uncomfortable. Many truths of the world are uncomfortable...

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MIT Admitted Essay

Her baking is not confined to an amalgamation of sugar, butter, and flour. It's an outstretched hand, an open invitation, a makeshift bridge thrown across the divides of age and culture. Thanks to Buni, the reason I bake has evolved. What started as stress relief is now a lifeline to my heritage, a language that allows me to communicate with my family in ways my tongue cannot. By rolling dough for saratele and crushing walnuts for cornulete, my baking speaks more fluently to my Romanian heritage than my broken Romanian ever could....

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UPenn Admitted Essay

A cow gave birth and I watched. Staring from the window of our stopped car, I experienced two beginnings that day: the small bovine life and my future. Both emerged when I was only 10 years old and cruising along the twisting roads of rural Maryland...

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How to write the usc supplemental essays 2020-2021: the perfect guide (examples included).

University of Southern California (USC) is a private university located in downtown Los Angeles, California.

With its warm weather and beautiful campus, USC has been a prime film location for many films and television shows.

  • If you’ve seen Forrest Gump, Legally Blonde, Love & Basketball, The Social Network , and the C ., you’ve seen USC.

Boasting over 21 colleges, academies, and schools of study that offer hundreds of majors, and thousands of courses, USC offers plenty of variety for even the most curious students.

USC’s acceptance rate has been sitting at a thin 13% for the past few years.

With such a low acceptance rate, you’ll need to write excellent essays to be considered for admission at USC.

USC uses the Common App , which means you can access all essay questions on the Common App portal.

Though you’ll need to make these essays count, you shouldn’t worry. This guide is here to help you through the entire process, so you can show the USC admissions team that you deserve to be a part of their upcoming class through thoughtful and well-written supplemental essays.

What Are USC’s Supplemental Essay Requirements?

USC requires that students answer multiple prompts as part of the application process. You will find both on the Common App.

USC Supplemental Essays: How to Write Them!

Click above to watch a video on USC Supplemental Essay.

For the first prompt, students must choose one of three potential essay questions . These questions assess the student’s diverse experiences, interests, and characteristics. This type of question is also commonly referred to as the “diversity essay.”

The prompts for essay #1 include:

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?

For the second prompt, students must describe their intended major and what motivated them to make that choice.

The question is as follows:

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.

USC also has a short answer section, in which you are expected to write extremely short, 1 sentence (or even 1 word) answers. These questions are designed to better showcase your personality.

These questions are quite random, so prepare yourself to answer with authenticity and a bit of thought, so the best version of yourself is represented.

Creating a compelling application to USC requires well-written essay responses that reflect critical self-reflection and self-understanding.

On top of perfecting your mechanical skills, work to condense and hone your writing so that every word adds to your main point.

In addition to helping admissions counselors get to know you better through writing, you should pay attention to your organization, spelling, and grammar.

Simple mistakes in those areas can outshine your true potential.

We’ll look into each of the prompts in detail below, to help you submit the best version possible

Get personalized advice!

Usc supplemental essay prompt #1: new ideas.

“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.”

In this prompt, USC tells you that they value diversity.

Not only do they value diversity, but they also value people who can appreciate diversity and are open-minded to new ideas, experiences, and perspectives .

First, it’s vital that you truly understand what diversity means.

  • According to Merriam-Webster, two definitions are “the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization” and “an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities.”

To answer this question, you will have to reflect on past experiences during which you faced a different idea or belief that somehow challenged yours.

  • You will then have to tie your experience and lessons learned in with USC’s values.

USC’s values are found underneath the Applicant Admission Process tab on their website.

In the Personal Qualities section, USC states: “We look for students who possess the potential to contribute to our diverse and vibrant campus life, who represent a vast array of interests and passions, and are leaders unafraid to speak up in class or fight for a cause.

We value students who make us think….”

  • In other words, not only does USC want you to be open-minded and appreciative of diversity, they also want you to be a leader and contributor to their community. They want you to own your uniqueness and share it with others in a way that is mutually beneficial to the community and to you.

Before you begin generating ideas, let’s take a deeper look at the question to fully understand what USC is asking for without going overboard in your response.

  • “Tell us about A TIME you were exposed to a new idea OR when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view.”
  • Your essay response only needs to include one story and does not need to include both components mentioned in the prompt.

To start brainstorming, think of a few times where you heard something or had a conversation that introduced you to a new perspective, changed your perspective, or called it into question.

  • How did you feel?
  • Why did you feel that way?

Once you have generated a list of experiences, pick the one you feel offers the deepest experience with diversity in your life.

Reflect on this experience and discuss how it affected you in a positive way.

  • How did those experiences change your thinking or your outlook on life for the better?
  • Did the experience cause you to question or reflect on other beliefs you possess?
  • If your perspective didn’t change, what did you appreciate about the other perspective on the issue/idea/belief?

It’s helpful to write down thoughts and notes before you begin crafting your actual essay.

After doing this, take what you have written and summarize that into a brief thesis statement.

  • Then, expand to help the reader to understand your challenge just as you were experiencing it.

Your telling of the experience can flow similar to how you would tell someone out loud, but you’re limited to 250 words.

  • For example, “My discussion with Person X did not change my views on the problems associated with income inequality, but it did help me to better understand and sympathize with some of the issues self-made wealthy individuals face…etc.”

Pick your most poignant experience and make a story out of it.

Help the reader to experience your challenge just as you were experiencing it.

Be sure to showcase your individuality and your open-mindedness. Once you’ve written your personal statement, be sure to have someone read through and edit your response.

This will help make sure your point was made and avoid spelling/grammar errors you may have overlooked.

USC Supplemental Essay Prompt #2: Outside of Your Academic Focus

“USC faculty place an emphasis on interdisciplinary academic opportunities. Describe something outside of your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning.”

With this prompt, USC wants to see that you are able to demonstrate open-mindedness.

  • It’s great that you want to study mathematics, but are you open to learning from the field of music?
  • What about psychology?
  • Maybe you want to be a doctor and are inspired by literary doctors like Oliver Sacks and William Carlos Williams. In this case, you’d explain how you plan on studying literature in addition to pre-medical courses.

They want to know that you care about things outside of your immediate focus.

Having more than one interest makes you more well-rounded on a personal level, and it can help you on professional and academic levels as well.

  • For instance, USC wants to produce skilled doctors, and they would prefer to produce good doctors who also understand the healing power of narrative. You’ll want to have a focus but also a breadth of diverse interests.

For this question, you will also need to be genuine.

Even if your other interest is not an academic field or major offered at USC, it’s okay.

  • The prompt doesn’t state it has to be an academic interest – it just has to be outside of your intended academic focus.
  • You may decide to minor in another area, but you should not feel restricted to discuss academics only.

Consider writing about opportunities offered at the university that exist outside of the classroom.

You could try researching the different clubs, activities, or events that exist or happen around campus.

  • For example, you may major in political science but also want to become a better musician.
  • You might sign up for a voice class at the university and join choirs and singing groups to improve your musical ability.

Or, maybe you are a STEM major, but you’ve also been learning ASL. You could write about your interest in USC’s American Sign Language Club, as it would help you better practice your sign language.

  • What are your other interests?
  • Try writing them down and writing about the one that means the most to you (or shows a side of you that is not yet on your application).

Here is another example:

  • If you plan on majoring in bioengineering, you’ll want to think beyond biology and engineering, as this is implied in the name of the major. You could be interested in a humanity like anthropology, which works to explain how human cultures work – an interest that may inform and enrichen your primary focus.

If you can’t think of a particular interest that would be completely new to you, consider a topic outside your academic focus that you want to become better versed in.

In this case, you’ll express why you want to continue learning more about that interest. In other words:

  • What is something you want to learn more about?
  • Why do you want to learn more about it?

While there’s no wrong way to answer the question, a great way to approach the question is using your interest to unconventionally further your understanding in your academic focus.

  • For instance, if you’re a physics major with a passion for music, you might write about using music as practical applications of some physics principles regarding vibration and sound transfer.

If there’s a particular story behind your interest, share that in a way that helps the reader connect with you.

Telling a short story about your interest will help you effectively use more of your 250-word limit.

Overall, try to be authentic and show USC that you’re a well-rounded individual who will add to their campus community in more ways than one.

USC Outside of Academic Focus Essay Example

“Hi. My name … is Bobby … and I will be playing Fur … Elise … today.” The audience sat still as I stuttered through my introduction, approaching the lavish grand piano for my freshman-year recital. As chords flowed through my hands, my fingers began to slip, missing notes along the way. My stage fright had gotten the better of me. When I enrolled at GSA the next year, my friends dragged me to drill practice in preparation for the Clash of the Halls dance competition. I was reluctant, but upperclassmen convinced me to represent my hall at the most popular event at school. Although I had performed at multiple piano recitals, participating in choreographed dancing was a new challenge. Passion gradually outweighed my fear as I became more comfortable with the challenging choreography. Dancing became less of a commitment. I slowly became obsessed with making sure our team hit every note, rhythm, and beat. When I began leading practices, rising from apprentice to teacher, the moves became muscle memory and excitement pumped through my veins. After months of practices, I led my hallmates into the gym, exuding hall spirit and assuming our formation. The fear that once possessed me completely vanished. We went on to give an unforgettable show. Having discovered my newfound passion, I went on to choreograph my school’s Diwali dance for the next two years. I look forward to pursuing my love for dance by joining the USC Zeher Bollywood fusion team in the near future.

USC Supplemental Essay Prompt #3: Essential to Understanding You

“What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you?”

This is the equivalent of the “tell me about yourself” question; the same one that you will be asked during almost every interview.

This question is broad, so you want to be particular.

The best way to be particular is by utilizing a story you haven’t already told in another part of your application. This story should also highlight one of the characteristics you feel is essential to who you are as a person.

  • Think of a story that demonstrates your values, a perfect day, an activity you enjoy, or an important relationship.

You’ll want to be able to pinpoint that one thing throughout your story.

  • The key is to answer the question concisely (within the 250 word count maximum) and genuinely.

Another great way to approach this question is to ask yourself a question and answer through a free-write.

Examples of questions you could ask yourself include:

  • What do I value?
  • What does my perfect day look like?
  • What could I do every day and not get tired of?
  • Who are the most important people in my life?
  • What’s my ultimate life goal?
  • What motivates me?

Write whatever comes to mind for your questions.

Don’t be afraid to include a negative experience if it significantly affected your life, goals, or personality.

This is where you can find beauty in the darkness to show how you’re unique.

Do the same free-write exercise with these questions.

  • What struggle do I work most to overcome?
  • What is something only those closest to me know about how I’ve become who I am?
  • What do I avoid at all costs?
  • What am I terrified of?

You are not being asked to share your most tragic story or deepest darkest secret, but it’s important to appreciate that we don’t only grow from positive experiences.

We grow from all experiences, so write about one (positive or negative) that has shaped you most.

The next step is to ask yourself why. This is very important.

USC wants to know what is important to you and why it’s important.

  • If your answer is “I don’t know,” take some time to think about it or move on to the next idea on your list.
  • Ask friends and family for their thoughts (but remember that you have to create an essay with your own thoughts and not those of someone else).

Here’s an example of breaking down a meaningful story to pinpoint the specific characteristic that is essential to you being you.

  • Interest: I love traveling by train.
  • Why? I like the rhythm and cadence of the wheels on the tracks, the sound of the whistle, watching the diversity of the landscape as I travel in and out of urban centers.
  • What does it say about me? I pine for a quieter, slower time and love to find ways to balance the rush and grind of the city with habits of slow living.
  • What characteristic does this give me? This says something about how I’m contemplative.
  • How do I use this characteristic? I spend time contemplating choices longer than most and dislike being rushed to make a decision.

When you’re able to come up with the answer to “Why?” write down as much as you can without judging yourself. You’re the only person who knows the truth about what is essential to understanding you.

When you’re able to identify what you would like to write about, frame it within a story.

Remember you only have 250 words to spare, so it won’t be a full-blown story.

However, two to three sentences about the background behind your topic will be helpful to the reader.

  • For example, if you want to write about your involvement in sports as an important part of who you are, write about how you became interested in sports in the first place.
  • Maybe your grandfather taught you how to throw a football. Maybe he came to all your games.
  • Let the reader know the story behind what you’ve chosen to write about.

As always, have someone read your essay to ensure that it is error-free and genuinely reflects you.

USC Essential to Understanding You Essay Example

My grandmother likes to tell the story of three-year-old me in the grocery cart, screaming in Vietnamese the names of passing vegetables, much to the amusement of shoppers. Back then, Vietnamese was enough. In kindergarten, I faced my first language obstacle. At the toilet, I couldn’t undo my double-ring belt. How embarrassing would it be to interrupt the teacher in the middle of class and silently point to it, hoping she would get the message? I chose to sit on the toilet and cry. That was the first day I peed my pants in class but the last time language would ever come between me and going to the bathroom. I made learning English my mission. By third grade, I was reading stacks of books almost as tall as I was every week. Language is meaningful to me. While volunteering in the hospital, when I ask a lost elderly couple if they speak Vietnamese, their eyes light up in relief. When a Spanish-speaking woman hurriedly calls her child over to translate, I tell them in Spanish not to worry, empathizing with the child who has the same role I once did. Language doesn’t just communicate information. For me, it has been a tool for insight, allowing me to connect with others. Throughout my schooling, I’ve taught my parents a lot of English, and I still teach them new words every so often. When I make the occasional error, I jokingly but affectionately blame it on English as my second language.

“Why USC?” Supplemental Essay: How to Answer The Intended Major Question

“The intended major question states: Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections.”

This is another version of a “Why This College” essay .

Sometimes when high school students are asked about their major, they get overwhelmed because they aren’t 100% confident about what they want to study.

Consider major selections to be a road trip, not a death sentence.

You are allowed to change your mind, but it helps if you know what you want and why. So, take some time to think about it:

  • What do you enjoy studying?
  • Why do you enjoy studying it?
  • Are there other subjects you enjoy as well?

Think about your experiences in school up until this point.

Sure, interests change, but, often, there are things within our lives that remain constant.

Maybe you never cared about history class, but you enjoyed reading novels and analyzing characterization and plot techniques.

  • Or, perhaps you hated having reading assigned for class but enjoyed acting out scenes from different novels and plays.

These are things to take note of.

Another way to help you figure out your intended major is to look through USC’s website.

  • Remember, this question functions as both a question about your intended major and a question about your intentions for applying to USC. Your answer is best suited when tailored to USC’s unique features that other colleges may not offer.

Does Biomedical Engineering sound interesting to you? Check out USC’s Biomedical Engineering program. Look at the courses you will have to take. See what excites you.

Still struggling to come up with your intended major?

Working backward is another helpful strategy.

  • Think about where you will want to be 5 to 10 years from now.
  • What do you want to be doing every day?
  • Are you passionate about reading and analyzing large amounts of information and communicating it in a way that makes sense to other people?
  • Do you want to teach people how to handle their finances?
  • Are you interested in helping other people live healthier lives?
  • Do you want to develop your passion for writing into a career?

Look at careers that match the types of things you will want to be doing every day. Then, look at the type of knowledge that will be required to get those jobs.

That knowledge may be found in more than one major. If that’s the case, you will need to look through the department websites for your intended majors.

  • Once you’ve done the necessary background research, tell your story.
  • Lean into a story of what your major will be and own it, but, remember, it’s not binding or contractual.

The more you learn about different majors, the clearer your intended major may become, so spend a couple of hours clicking deep into the website:

  • Start with the programs related to a chosen field.
  • Then, look at the types of courses that are offered and learn about some of the professors teaching the courses.
  • You’ll also want to look at news or research coming out of the department.

Consider ways in which you will grow and flourish academically and programs to which you might contribute as a student at USC.

If you have a career goal, it can help.

  • Describe how your major in narrative studies will help you realize the goal of becoming a documentary filmmaker.
  • Explain how you will be prepared in a program that balances traditional studies in English literature with film theory, writing classes, as well as the study of popular culture and ethnicity.
  • Write about how a degree in social work will help shape you into the type of politician you want to be in the future.

Write the vision for your life and write how your first (and/or second-choice) major will help you get there.

It would be an added bonus if you can talk about extracurricular activities you might be interested in joining to further supplement your learning.

Remember, learning takes place outside the classroom as well.

Take time with this essay to make sure you’re confident in your future goals, and then share them with the admissions team. When you’re authentic and have a plan for the future, you’re sure to write a compelling essay.

Why USC and Why This Major Essay Example

8 p.m. – I sat in the peer tutor room, waiting for underclassmen to approach me for academic help. An hour-long shift passed without any students stopping by. At this moment, I realized the immense lack of organization within the peer tutoring program at GSA. Students could neither find available tutors nor schedule time with them despite needing support for challenging courses. I knew there had to be a better way. I spent the next few months teaching myself Android Studio programming and developed EngTutor, an app that streamlines the process of finding academic help connecting students with available tutors. I will use the resources available at USC to turn EngTutor into a commercial venture. In the classroom, I aim to take advantage of USC’s advanced computer science program to broaden my knowledge of robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. I am excited to take courses such as Advanced Natural Language Processing to understand AI concepts. At USC, I intend to take advantage of the focus on interdisciplinary studies and enroll in elective courses at the Marshall School of Business to complement my skills developed at USC’s LavaLab. By receiving mentorship from professionals in entrepreneurship and computer science and gaining experience pitching my ideas to judges, I will be ready to participate in the Blackstone LaunchPad. Here, I aim to collaborate with like-minded individuals to enhance my entrepreneurship capabilities. Through these academic and extracurricular programs, USC will provide me with the resources necessary to embark on my entrepreneurial journey.

The USC Short-Answer Questions

The USC Short-Answer Questions include:

  • 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?
  • 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?

While most universities that include a short answer section limit your word count to 100 words, the USC short answer questions only require one or two sentences to fully answer them.

  • Be sure to answer the “why” implicit in the question.
  • Treat it more like a conversation or an interview – monosyllabic responses don’t bode well for a conversation, and they don’t look great on your application, either.
  • Instead, add a little context to your answers.
  • After all, the USC admissions department should better understand you after reading your short answers.

There are two kinds of questions – Listing something that you feel describes yourself, and answering generic “break the ice” questions.

  • For the questions in which you describe yourself, try asking friends or family for some perspective.
  • Most importantly, make sure that you don’t choose vague adjectives – Each word should reflect a specific part of your personality.

If you are having a lot of trouble thinking of words that best describe you, don’t be afraid to get creative. For example, if you are a Harry Potter fan, consider using traits that describe your favorite Hogwarts house.

  • For instance, if you consider yourself a Ravenclaw, you might use the words “analytical, quizzical, and creative.”
  • A Slytherin may use “ambitious, hardworking, and clever.”
  • Whatever method you use, make sure that these words tell USC about you.

For other questions, begin with the answer, then explain the why.

Also, remember that the admissions team at USC is not looking for the most sophisticated student, they just want introspective students.

  • For instance, don’t just say that your favorite movie is Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Twelve Angry Men – explain why (briefly).
  • Perhaps you’re interested in the themes of privacy versus security, or the film made you interested in the law or political science.

With every question, bring along a little insight into your life, your beliefs, and your ambitions.

USC Short Responses Examples

1.Describe yourself in three words.
2. First Word: Self-motivated
3. Second Word: Analytical
4. Third Word: Mindful
5. What is your favorite snack? Raisins and almonds: nutritious, portable, and delicious
6. Favorite app/website: Spotify
7. Best movie of all time: Avengers: Infinity War
8. Dream job: Founder/CEO of my assistive robotics technology company
9. What is your theme song: Believer – Imagine Dragons
10. Dream trip: Road trip on historic Route 66 from Chicago to LA with my friends
11. What TV show will you binge watch next: The Office
12. Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate: Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings
13. Favorite book: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
14. If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be: Facing Your Fears: Public Speaking

Conclusion: Writing the USC Supplemental Essays

As we mentioned at the beginning of this guide, well-written responses to those prompts require self-reflection, critical self-analysis, and research.

Start early to give yourself enough time to research your intended majors, write high-quality responses, and have time for revisions.

You have a 250 word limit for each of the supplemental essays, so use them all to create a lasting impression on the admissions officer reading your application.

By following the above guidelines, you can create a shining admissions package that will set you apart from other applicants.

Don’t forget to have fun, be a little creative, and show the USC admissions team who you really are. Your best chance to get into USC depends on it.

Learn how we can help you with college and career guidance! Check out our YouTube channel!

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September 12, 2023

2023-2024 USC Supplemental Essay Prompts

The Doheny Memorial Library at USC

The University of Southern California has released its supplemental essay prompts for applicants to the Class of 2028. In addition to the Personal Statement on The Common Application , USC applicants will be required to answer one 250-word essay and several 100-character short answers. If an applicant took a gap year or their education was interrupted, they’ll need to answer another essay prompt in about 250 words as well. So, what are this year’s USC supplemental essay prompts, and how should they be approached? Let’s dive in!

2023-2024 University of Southern California Essay Questions and Short Answers

Essay questions.

Applicants should respond to the first prompt in approximately 250 words. Applicants who have a gap in their high school education should respond to the second prompt in approximately 250 words as well (this essay should not be completed if there is no gap in a student’s secondary education).

1. 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.

This is a hybrid essay prompt: Why Major and Why College . To address the first aspect of the essay question, it would be beneficial for applicants to express to USC’s admissions committee why they wish to study one or two particular disciplines at USC by sharing the origin story of their interest in these disciplines. The origin story should always stem from an applicant’s high school experience. Too often, students choose instead to share anecdotes from their middle or elementary school years.

For the second aspect of the essay question, applicants must capture genuine specifics about why USC is the ideal institution to pursue this course of study. So many applicants choose to list classes and name-drop professors in Why College essay prompts when they should instead capture the enduring specifics of a course of study at a school. These enduring specifics could focus on programs, institutes, lecture series, traditions, etc. And every sentence in this portion of the essay should be tailored to USC. If a sentence is generic, it should be stricken from the record.

2. 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.

This essay fits into the only if applicable category. So, if a student has no gap in their high school studies, the essay should be left blank. If, however, a student has a gap in their high school studies, they should articulate it here. And ideally, it will be filled with no excuses and only positivity.

Short Answers

With the exception of the first short answer, which should be addressed in three total words, the short answers should be addressed in 100 characters or less.

1. Describe yourself in three words. 

First Word:

Second Word:

Third Word:

USC truly wants three words for these answers. While applicants can theoretically include 100 characters, that would defy USC’s instructions. Hopefully a student’s answers will capture their love of learning and desire to leave a mark on the world in a meaningful way.

2. What is your favorite snack?

While this short answer prompt may seem silly, we encourage applicants to give thought to their answers so they don’t read as merely silly. It could be an opportunity for an applicant to teach admissions officers something they don’t know about food.

3. Best movie of all time:

Applicants shouldn’t just name the movie. They should explain why. And hopefully the movie showcases their passions and fits with how they think. Also, applicants should avoid movies that could rub USC admissions officers the wrong way.

4. Dream job:

An applicant’s answer should fit neatly with their hook that they’ve hopefully presented in their activities and their essays.

5. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?

Applicants will ideally choose a song that shows some intellectual curiosity and, just like with the movie choice, applicants should avoid choosing a song that could rub USC admissions officers the wrong way.

6. Dream trip:

Don’t be afraid to keep it local! Traveling around the world can be perceived as privileged.

7. What TV show will you binge watch next?

Applicants should approach this short answer the same way they approach the movie choice — show how they think, avoid mindless TV, and don’t choose a show that will rub admissions officers the wrong way. If a student is an environmental activist,  Our Planet  could be a good choice — so long as the applicant explains why.

8. Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate?

Applicants should dare to choose someone USC admissions officers haven’t heard of and teach them something. And don’t just name the person. Applicants should explain why they’ve chosen the roommate.

9. Favorite book:

Students should avoid choosing books that are required reading in classrooms across America, are intended for younger audiences, or have been adapted into films and television series. After all, that would not demonstrate that an applicant reads for pleasure — which is vitally important to express. And students shouldn’t only name the book. They should explain why it’s their favorite book.

10. If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be?

The choice of topic should be consistent with the applicant’s hook as expressed in their activities section and, ideally, in their essays. Applicants should choose a pithy title for the course and, if there’s any room to explain what the course is about, by all means!

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with USC Essays

If you’d like to optimize your case for admission to the University of Southern California by submitting compelling essays, among other things, fill out Ivy Coach ’s free consultation form , and we’ll be in touch to outline our college admissions counseling services for applicants to the Class of 2028.

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How to Write the University of California Essays 2023-2024

The University of California (UC) school system is the most prestigious state university system in the United States and includes nine undergraduate universities: UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, UC Riverside, UC Merced, and UC Irvine.

The University of California system has its own application portal, as well as its own deadline of November 30th—a full month before the Common Application is due. All nine universities use one application, so it is easy to apply to multiple UCs at the same time. 

The application requires you to answer four of eight personal insight questions, with a 350-word limit on each prompt. This may seem daunting at first, but we provide this guide to make the prompts more approachable and to help you effectively tackle them! 

usc supplemental essays 2023 examples

University of California Application Essay Prompts

Note: There is only one application for all the UC schools, so your responses will be sent to every University of California school that you apply to. You should avoid making essays school-specific (unless you are applying to only one school).

You might want to start by deciding which four of the eight prompts you plan on answering. The eight prompts are:

1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.

2. every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem-solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. describe how you express your creative side., 3. what would you say is your greatest talent or skill how have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time, 4. describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced., 5. describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. how has this challenge affected your academic achievement, 6. think about an academic subject that inspires you. describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom., 7. what have you done to make your school or your community a better place, 8. beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the university of california.

As you begin selecting prompts, keep the purpose of college essays at the forefront of your mind. College essays are the place to humanize yourself and transform your test scores, GPA, and extracurriculars into a living, breathing human with values, ambitions, and a backstory. If a specific prompt will allow you to show a part of who you are that is not showcased in the rest of your application, start there. 

If nothing immediately jumps out at you, try dividing the prompts into three categories: “definites,” “possibilities,” and “avoids at all costs.” “Definites” will be prompts that quickly spark up a specific idea in you. “Possibilities” might elicit a few loose concepts, anecdotes, or structures. And “avoids” are prompts where you honestly cannot see yourself writing a convincing essay. Next, take your “definites” and “possibilities” and jot down your initial thoughts about them. Finally, look at all of your ideas together and decide which combination would produce the most well-rounded essay profile that shows who you are as an individual.

Of course, this is just one way to approach choosing prompts if you are stuck. Some students might prefer writing out a list of their values, identifying the most important ones in their life, then figuring out how to showcase those through the prompts. Other students select prompts based on what they are excited by or through freewriting on every prompt first. Do not feel constrained by any one method. Just remember:

  • Do not rush into prompts at first glance (though trial writing can be very valuable!).
  • Make sure that you consider potential ideas for many prompts before making final decisions, and ultimately write about the one with the most substance.
  • The prompts you select should allow you to highlight what is most important to you.

Check out our video to learn more about how to write the UC essays!

The 8 UC Personal Insight Questions

“Leadership Experience” is often a subheading on student resumes, but that is not what admissions officers are asking about here. They are asking for you to tell them a specific story of a time when your leadership truly mattered. This could include discussing the policies you enacted as president of a school club or the social ties you helped establish as captain of a sports team, but this prompt also gives you the freedom to go past that.

Leaders are individuals with strong values, who mentor, inspire, correct, and assist those around them. If you don’t feel like you’ve ever been a leader, consider the following questions:

  • Have you ever mentored anyone? Is there anyone younger than you who would not be the person they are today without you?
  • Have you ever taken the initiative? When and why did it matter?
  • Have you ever been fundamental to positive change in the world—whether it be on the small scale of positively impacting a family member’s life or on the large scale of trying to change the status of specific communities/identities in this world?
  • Have you ever stood up for what’s right or what you believe in?

Leadership is a concept that can be stretched, bent, and played with, but at the end of the day, the central theme of your essay must be leadership. Keeping this in mind, after your first draft, it can be helpful to identify the definition of leadership that you are working with, to keep your essay cohesive. This definition doesn’t need to appear within the essay (though, if you take on a more reflective structure, it might). Some examples of this include “being a positive role model as leadership,” “encouraging others to take risks as leadership,” and “embracing my identities as leadership.”

Here are some examples of how a leadership essay might look:

  • You’ve always loved learning and challenging yourself, but when you got to high school it was clear that only a certain type of student was recommended to take AP classes and you didn’t fit into that type. You presented a strong case to the school counselors that you were just as prepared for AP classes as anyone else, enrolled in your desired classes, and excelled. Since then, AP classes have become more diversified at your school and there has even been a new inclusion training introduced for your district’s school counselors. 
  • When you were working as a camp counselor, the art teacher brought you two of your campers who were refusing to get along. To mediate the conflict, you spent long hours before bed talking to them individually, learning about their personal lives and family situation. By understanding where each camper came from, you were better equipped to help them reach a compromise and became a role model for both campers.
  • As a member of your school’s Chinese organization, you were driven by your ethnic heritage to devote your lunch breaks to ensuring the smooth presentation of the Chinese culture show. You coordinated the performers, prepared refreshments, and collected tickets. You got through a great performance, even though a performer didn’t show and some of the food was delivered late. You weren’t on the leadership board or anything, but exhibited serious leadership, as both nights of the culture show sold out and hundreds of both Chinese and non-Chinese people were able to come together and celebrate your culture.

Like the last prompt, this prompt asks about a specific topic—creativity—but gives you wiggle room to expand your definition of that topic. By defining creativity as problem-solving, novel thinking, and artistic expression, this prompt basically says “get creative in how you define creativity!” 

Additionally, this broad conception of creativity lets you choose if you want to write about your personal life or your academic life. A robotics student could write about their love of baking on the weekends or their quick thinking during a technical interview. A dance student could write about their love of adapting choreography from famous ballets or their innovative solution to their dance team’s lack of funds for their showcase. You have space to do what you want!

That said, because this prompt is so open, it is important to establish a focus early on. Try thinking about what is missing from your application. If you are worried that your application makes you seem hyper-academic, use this prompt to show how you have fun. If you are worried that you might be appearing like one of those students who just gets good grades because they have a good memory, use this prompt to show off your problem-solving skills.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to describe any skill in creative pursuits as you answer this prompt. The prompt asks you how you express your “creative side,” alluding to creative instinct, not creative talent. You could write about how you use painting to let out your emotions—but your paintings aren’t very good. You could write about dancing in the shower to get excited for your day—but one time you slipped and fell and hurt your elbow. Experiences like these could make for a great reflective essay, where you explore the human drive towards creative expression and your acceptance that you personally don’t have to be creatively inclined to let out creative energy.

Some examples:

  • A math student writing about a time they devised a non-textbook method to proving theorems 
  • A creative writer describing how they close-read the ups-and-downs of classical music as an attempt to combat writers’ block and think of emotional trajectories for new stories
  • An engineering student writing about cooking as a creative release where numbers don’t matter and intuition supersedes reason
  • A psychology student writing about the limitations of quantitative data and describing a future approach to psychology that merges humanism and empiricism.

This is the kind of prompt where an answer either pops into your head or it doesn’t. The good news is that you can write a convincing essay either way. We all have great talents and skills—you just might have to dig a bit to identify the name of the talent/skill and figure out how to best describe it.

Some students have more obvious talents and skills than others. For example, if you are intending to be a college athlete, it makes sense to see your skill at your sport as your greatest talent or skill. Similarly, if you are being accepted into a highly-selective fine arts program, painting might feel like your greatest talent. These are completely reasonable to write about because, while obvious, they are also authentic! 

The key to writing a convincing essay about an obvious skill is to use that skill to explore your personality, values, motivations, and ambitions. Start by considering what first drew you to your specialization. Was there a specific person? Something your life was missing that painting, hockey, or film satisfied? Were you brought up playing your sport or doing your craft because your parents wanted you to and you had to learn to love it? Or choose to love it? What was that process like? What do these experiences say about you? Next, consider how your relationship with your talent has evolved. Have you doubted your devotion at times? Have you wondered if you are good enough? Why do you keep going? On the other hand, is your talent your solace? The stable element in your life? Why do you need that?

The key is to elucidate why this activity is worth putting all your time into, and how your personality strengths are exhibited through your relationship to the activity. 

Do not be put off by this prompt if you have not won any big awards or shown immense talent in something specific. All the prompt asks for is what you think is your greatest talent or skill. Some avenues of consideration for other students include:

  • Think about aspects of your personality that might be considered a talent or skill. This might include being a peacemaker, being able to make people laugh during hard times, or having organization skills.
  • Think about unique skills that you have developed through unique situations. These would be things like being really good at reading out loud because you spend summers with your grandfather who can no longer read, knowing traffic patterns because you volunteer as a crossing guard at the elementary school across the street that starts 45 minutes before the high school, or making really good pierogi because your babysitter as a child was Polish.
  • Think about lessons you have learned through life experiences. A military baby might have a great skill for making new friends at new schools, a child of divorce might reflect on their ability to establish boundaries in what they are willing to communicate about with different people, and a student who has had to have multiple jobs in high school might be talented at multitasking and scheduling. 

Make sure to also address how you have developed and demonstrated your selected talent. Do you put in small amounts of practice every day, or strenuous hours for a couple of short periods each year? Did a specific period of your life lead to the development of your talent or are you still developing it daily? 

The purpose of college essays is to show your values and personality to admissions officers, which often includes exploring your past and how it informs your present and future. With a bit of creativity in how you define a “talent or skill,” this prompt can provide a great avenue for that exploration. 

This prompt offers you two potential paths—discussing an educational opportunity or barrier. It is important that you limit yourself to one of these paths of exploration to keep your essay focused and cohesive. 

Starting with the first option, you should think of an educational opportunity as anything that has added value to your educational experience and better prepared you for life and your career. Some examples could include:

  • participation in an honors program
  • enrollment in an academy geared toward your future profession
  • a particularly enlightening conversation with a professional or teacher
  • joining a cultural- or interest-based student coalition
  • plenty of other opportunities

The phrasing “taken advantage of” implies the admissions committee’s desire for students who take the initiative. Admissions officers are more interested in students who sought out opportunities and who fought to engage with opportunities than students who were handed things. For example, a student who joined a career-advancement afterschool program in middle school could write about why they were initially interested in the program—perhaps they were struggling in a specific subject and didn’t want to fall behind because they had their sights set on getting into National Junior Honor Society, or their friend mentioned that the program facilitated internship opportunities and they thought they wanted to explore therapy as a potential career path.

On the other hand, if an opportunity was handed to you through family connections or a fortuitous introduction, explore what you did with that opportunity. For example, if a family member introduced you to an important producer because they knew you were interested in film, you could write about the notes you took during that meeting and how you have revisited the producer’s advice and used it since the meeting to find cheap equipment rentals and practice your craft.

If you choose to write about educational barriers you have faced, consider the personal characteristics and skills you called upon to overcome the challenge. How did the process of overcoming your educational barrier shape you as a person? What did you learn about yourself or the world? An added plus would be talking about passing it forward and helping those in your purview obtain the knowledge you did from your experiences.

Some examples of educational barriers could include:

  • limited access to resources, materials, technology, or classes
  • lacking educational role models
  • struggles with deciding on a passion or career path
  • financial struggles

One example of an interesting essay about educational barriers:

As a student at a school that did not offer any honors classes, you enrolled in online lectures to learn the subject you were passionate about — Human Geography. Afterward, you spoke to your school administrators about high-achieving students needing higher-level courses, and they agreed to talk to the local community college to start a pipeline for students like you.

Either way that you take this prompt, it can be used to position yourself as motivated and driven—exactly the type of student admissions officers are looking for!

This prompt is three-pronged. You must 1) identify a challenge 2) describe the steps you have taken to overcome the challenge and 3) connect the challenge to your academic achievement.

When approaching this prompt, it is best to consider these first and third aspects together so that you identify a challenge that connects to your academic life. If you simply pick any challenge you have experienced, when you get to the third part of the prompt, you may have to stretch your essay in ways that are unconvincing or feel inauthentic.

That said, remember that “academic achievement” reaches far beyond grades and exams. It can include things like:

  • Deciding your career goals
  • Balancing homework, jobs, and social/familial relationships
  • Having enough time to devote to self-care
  • Figuring out how you study/learn best
  • Feeling comfortable asking for help when you need it

You should begin brainstorming challenges and hardships that you have experienced and overcome. These could include financial hardships, familial circumstances, personal illness, or learning disabilities. Challenges could also be less structural—things like feeling like you are living in a sibling’s shadow, struggles with body image, or insecurity. While it is important that your challenge was significant, it matters much more that you discuss your challenge with thoughtful reflection and maturity.

Some ways to take this prompt include:

  • Writing about how overcoming a challenge taught you a skill that led to academic success — for example, a high-achieving student who struggles with anxiety was forced to take time off from school after an anxiety attack and learned the importance of giving oneself a break
  • Writing about a challenge that temporarily hindered your academic success and reflecting on it — for example, a student who experienced a death in the family could have had a semester where they almost failed English because reading led to negative thought spirals instead of plot retention
  • Writing about how a challenge humbled you and gave you a new perspective on your academics — for example, a student with a part-time job who helps support her family missed a shift because she was studying for a test and realized that she needed to ask her teachers for help and explain her home situation

As you describe the steps you have taken to overcome your selected challenge, you will want to include both tangible and intangible steps. This means that you will need to discuss your emotions, growth, and development, as well as what you learned through overcoming the challenge. Was your challenge easy to overcome or did it take a few tries? Do you feel you have fully overcome your challenge or is it a work in progress? If you have fully overcome the challenge, what do you do differently now? Or do you just see things differently now? If you were to experience the same challenge again, what would you have learned from before?

Here are some detailed examples:

  • Your parents underwent a bitter, drawn-out divorce that deeply scarred you and your siblings, especially your little brother who was attending elementary school at the time. He was constantly distraught and melancholy and seemed to be falling further and further behind in his schoolwork. You took care of him, but at the cost of your grades plummeting. However, through this trial, you committed yourself to protecting your family at all costs. You focused on computer science in high school, hoping to major in it and save up enough money for his college tuition by the time he applies. Through this mission, your resolve strengthened and reflected in your more efficient and excellent performance in class later on.
  • Your race was the most significant challenge you faced growing up. In school, teachers did not value your opinion nor did they believe in you, as evidenced by their preferential treatment of students of other races. To fight back against this discrimination, you talked to other students of the same race and established an association, pooling together resources and providing a supportive network of people to others in need of counseling regarding this issue.

The first step for approaching this prompt is fun and easy—think about an academic subject that inspires you. This part of the essay is about emotional resonance, so go with your gut and don’t overthink it. What is your favorite subject? What subject do you engage with in the media in your free time? What subject seeps into your conversations with friends and family on the weekends?

Keep in mind that high school subjects are often rather limited. The span of “academic subjects” at the university level is much less limited. Some examples of academic subjects include eighteenth-century literature, political diplomacy, astronomy, Italian film and television, botany, Jewish culture and history, mobile robotics, musical theater, race and class in urban environments, gender and sexuality, and much more.

Once you’ve decided what subject you are most interested in and inspired by, think about a tangible example of how you have furthered your interest in the subject. Some common ways students further their interests include:

  • Reading about your interest
  • Engaging with media (television, film, social media) about your interest
  • Volunteering with organizations related to your interest
  • Founding organizations related to your interest
  • Reaching out to professionals with your academic interest
  • Using your interest in interdisciplinary ways
  • Research in your field of interest
  • Internships in your field of interest

While you should include these kinds of tangible examples, do not forget to explain how your love for the subject drives the work you do, because, with an essay like this, the why can easily get lost in describing the what . Admissions officers need both.

A few examples:

  • You found your US government class fascinatingly complex, so you decided to campaign for a Congressional candidate who was challenging the incumbent in your district. You canvassed in your local community, worked at the campaign headquarters, and gathered voter data whilst performing various administrative duties. Though the work was difficult, you enjoyed a sense of fulfillment that came from being part of history.
  • Last year you fell in love with the play Suddenly Last Summer and decided to see what career paths were available for dramatic writing. You reached out to the contact on your local theater’s website, were invited to start attending their guest lecturer series, and introduced yourself to a lecturer one week who ended up helping you score a spot in a Young Dramatic Writers group downtown.
  • The regenerative power of cells amazed you, so you decided to take AP Biology to learn more. Eventually, you mustered up the courage to email a cohort of biology professors at your local university. One professor responded, and agreed to let you assist his research for the next few months on the microorganism C. Elegans.
  • You continued to develop apps and games even after AP Computer Science concluded for the year. Eventually, you became good enough to land an internship at a local startup due to your self-taught knowledge of various programming languages.

With regards to structure, you might try thinking about this essay in a past/present/future manner where you consider your past engagement with your interest and how it will affect your future at a UC school or as an adult in society. This essay could also become an anecdotal/narrative essay that centers around the story of you discovering your academic interest, or a reflective essay that dives deep into the details of why you are drawn to your particular academic subject.

Whatever way you take it, try to make your essay unique—either through your subject matter, your structure, or your writing style!

College essay prompts often engage with the word “community.” As an essay writer, it is important to recognize that your community can be as large, small, formal, or informal as you want it to be. Your school is obviously a community you belong to, but your local grocery store, the nearby pet adoption center you volunteer at, your apartment building, or an internet group can also be communities. Even larger social groups that you are a part of, like your country or your ethnicity, can be a community. 

The important part of your response here is not the community you identify with but rather the way you describe your role in that community. What do you bring to your community that is special? What would be missing without you?

Some responses could include describing how you serve as a role model in your community, how you advocate for change in your community, how you are a support system for other community members, or how you correct the community when it is veering away from its values and principles.

Here are some fleshed-out examples of how this essay could take shape, using the earlier referenced communities:

  • A student writes about the local grocery store in his neighborhood. Each Sunday, he picks up his family’s groceries and then goes to the pharmacy in the back to get his grandmother’s medication. The pharmacist was a close friend of his grandmother’s when she was young, so the student routinely gives the pharmacist a detailed update about his grandmother’s life. The student recognizes the value in his serving as a link to connect these two individuals who, due to aging, cannot be together physically.
  • An animal-loving student volunteers one Saturday each month at the pet adoption center in their city’s downtown district. They have always been an extremely compassionate person and view the young kittens as a community that deserves to be cared for. This caring instinct also contributes to their interactions with their peers and their desire to make large-scale positive social change in the world.

Your response to this prompt will be convincing if you discuss your underlying motives for the service you have done, and in turn, demonstrate the positive influence you have made. That said, do not be afraid to talk about your actions even if they did not produce a sweeping change; as long as the effort was genuine, change is change, no matter the scale. This essay is more about values and reflection than it is about the effects of your efforts.

Lastly, if you are discussing a specific service you did for your community, you might want to touch on what you learned through your service action or initiative, and how you will continue to learn in the future. Here are a few examples:

  • Passionate about classical music, you created a club that taught classical and instrumental music at local elementary schools. You knew that the kids did not have access to such resources, so you wanted to broaden their exposure as a high school senior had done for you when you were in middle school. You encouraged these elementary schoolers to fiddle with the instruments and lobbied for a music program to be implemented at the school. Whether the proposal gets approved or not, the kids have now known something they might never have known otherwise.
  • Working at your local library was mundane at times, but in the long run, you realized that you were facilitating the exchange of knowledge and protecting the intellectual property of eminent scholars. Over time, you found ways to liven up the spirit of the library by leading arts and crafts time and booking puppet shows for little kids whose parents were still at work. The deep relationships you forged with the kids eventually blossomed into a bond of mentorship and mutual respect.

Be authentic and humble in your response to this essay! Make sure it feels like you made your community a better place because community is a value of yours, not just so that you could write about it in a college essay.

This is the most open-ended any question can get. You have the freedom to write about anything you want! That said, make sure that, no matter what you do with this prompt, your focus can be summarized into two sentences that describe the uniqueness of your candidacy.

The process we recommend for responding to open-ended prompts with clarity involves the following steps:

1. On a blank piece of paper, jot down any and every idea — feelings, phrases, and keywords — that pop into your head after reading this prompt. Why are you unique?

2. Narrow your ideas down to one topic. The two examples we will use are a student writing about how her habit of pausing at least five seconds before she responds to someone else’s opinion is emblematic of her thoughtfulness and a student whose interest in researching the history of colonialism in the Caribbean is emblematic of their commitment to justice.

3. Outline the structure of your essay, and plan out content for an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

4. Before you start writing your essay, write one or two sentences that summarize how you would like the admissions officers to perceive you based on this essay. These sentences will not be in your final product, but will help you to maintain a focus. For our examples, this would be something like “Natalie’s habit of gathering her thoughts before responding to other people’s opinions allows her to avoid undesired complications and miscommunications in her social interactions. This has not only helped her maintain strong relationships with all the staff members of the clubs she leads, but will also help her navigate the social environments that she will face in the professional world.” A summary for the student writing about their interest in the history of colonialism could be “Jonathan has always been highly compassionate and sympathetic by nature. When they found out about the historical injustices of colonialism in the Caribbean through the book The Black Jacobins , they realized that compassion is what is missing from politics. Now, they are inspired to pursue a political science degree to ultimately have a political career guided by compassion.”

5. Finally, write an essay dedicated to constructing the image you devised in step 4. This can be achieved through a number of different structures! For example, Natalie could use an anecdote of a time when she spoke too soon and caused someone else pain, then could reflect on how she learned the lesson to take at least five seconds before responding and how that decision has affected her life. Jonathan could create an image of the future where they are enacting local policies based on compassion. It is important to keep in mind that you do not want to be repetitive, but you must stay on topic so that admissions officers do not get distracted and forget the image that you are attempting to convey.

As exemplified by the examples we provided, a good way to approach this prompt is to think of a quality, value, or personality trait of yours that is fundamental to who you are and appealing to admissions officers, then connect it to a specific activity, habit, pet peeve, anecdote, or another tangible example that you can use to ground your essay in reality. Use the tangible to describe the abstract, and convince admissions officers that you would be a valuable asset to their UC school!

Where to Get Your UC Essays Edited

With hundreds of thousands of applicants each year, many receiving top scores and grades, getting into top UC schools is no small feat. This is why excelling in the personal-insight questions is key to presenting yourself as a worthwhile candidate. Answering these prompts can be difficult, but ultimately very rewarding, and CollegeVine is committed to helping you along that journey. Check out these UC essay examples for more writing inspiration.

If you want to get your essays edited, we also have free peer essay review , where you can get feedback from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by editing other students’ essays.

You can also receive expert essay review by advisors who have helped students get into their dream schools. You can book a review with an expert to receive notes on your topic, grammar, and essay structure to make your essay stand out to admissions officers. Haven’t started writing your essay yet? Advisors on CollegeVine also offer  expert college counseling packages . You can purchase a package to get one-on-one guidance on any aspect of the college application process, including brainstorming and writing essays.

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usc supplemental essays 2023 examples

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USC Essay Examples

USC Essay Examples

The USC essay examples show you how to write a college essay to convince the University of Southern California that you are a good fit for them. These essays are meant to probe into your personality and find out more about you and why you would be a great addition to the USC campus.  Let’s review some of the top USCE essay examples so you can write your own!

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 7 min read

Usc essay prompts.

USC has three prompts and a section for short-answer questions. The first and second prompts are required, while the third one is optional.

The second prompt also has three optional sub-prompts, and candidates need only choose one to answer.

There are then a series of ten questions, also required, that are to be answered with 100 characters or less.

Check out how to write your essay:

It is time to delve into each prompt and have a look at some USC essay examples that you can learn from.

Prompt 1 (Required): 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 (250 words).

Ever since my parents bought me my first computer at the age of 6, I’ve been fascinated by what happens inside these machines. That’s why I want to be a computer programmer – to understand the inner world of computers.

My journey into coding started when I realized I could write programs to make the device perform tasks I wanted done. Soon, I was reading every single book I could get my hands on about programming and spent my days watching YouTube videos about writing machine-level code.

Within two years, I’d become the go-to kid in my high school regarding computer issues. Topics like new gadgets and software releases were all I was interested in.

I want to build on my self-developed knowledge by attending the Computer Science program here at USC. The university’s well-known for its research in this field. I want to understand the inner logic of computers and USC will help me plant deep roots in science – I want to possess in-depth knowledge and understanding behind the 0’s and 1’s.

USC also offers a chance for students to delve into the entrepreneurial aspects of Computer Science. I intend to pursue these classes to gain knowledge on how to use my education to create the applications of the future – for my own and the public’s welfare.

Electronics, my second-choice major, will also help me achieve the same goals, albeit with a slightly different approach. Studying the underlying technology will give me a deeper insight into realizing my digital dreams. (250 words)

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As you have probably grasped by now from the USC essay examples above, the prompts are intended to bring out as much information as possible about you. They are questions that you answer in the first person.

Now, although the prompts may seem easy, you always need to make sure that you have the best essay before you even think of submitting it. Give yourself at least 6 weeks to plan and write your essays.

The best way to do that is to either learn how to write an essay yourself or find college essay advisors who can help you with your submissions.

Want to learn more about college essays?

USC is one of the leading universities in America and a highly ranked one in the world. This means it is also one of the toughest universities to get into.

But that shouldn’t concern you too much. You need to instead focus on creating a complete application package, writing all required essays, and sending in your application on time.

If you find it overwhelming, you can also find college advisors who can guide you through the process.

You better get good at it – and fast. Applying to top universities like USC means you need to be on your toes all the time. The reason they – and all other top-ranked universities – are selective is because they want to make sure they take in students who will keep up with their intense course flow.

And the scrutiny begins at admission time – with your application.

Alternatively, if you think your essay isn’t up to par, you can use college essay review services to help you with your submissions.

They are very important. The universities use essays as a way of collecting information about you. The admissions committee members pore over the essays to get a “feel” of the kind of person you are. They gauge you as they read each word. And if they find you lacking, your application could be rejected.

Therefore, make sure you invest time and effort into writing each of the college essay topics .

Please use the academic essay structure, with an intro, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

The most important thing to focus on is the story itself. It should make the admissions committee members take notice of what you are trying to tell them.

Dig deep to find that story, tell the truth, and make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors, and you should have an essay that stands out.

The values and traits that the university is looking for include bright students who can cope with the curriculum, integrate into the diverse student body with ease, and contribute positively to the college community as a whole.

The best way to go about it is to find a balance between both. It shouldn’t be so casual that it makes the readers wince, and it shouldn’t be so formal that it would look like it was written in Olde English.

Use short sentences to convey clear, concise ideas and cut words that add no value to the sentence or story and you should have a great essay.

The USC prompt has been pretty standard over the past few years – with just a question or two being changed. With that being said, the important thing is check for the prompts on the official USC website the year you are applying.

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usc supplemental essays 2023 examples

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Supplemental Essay Guide 2023-24

What do the 2023-24 supplemental essay prompts really mean, and how should you approach them? CEA's experts are here to break them all down.

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Agnes Scott College 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

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Alvernia University 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide  

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IMAGES

  1. How to Write the USC Supplemental Essays 2022-2023

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  2. Usc 2023 Supplemental Essays

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  3. USC Supplemental Essays 2023-24 Prompts and Tips

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  4. Uva 2023 Supplemental Essays

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  5. How to Write the USC Supplemental Essays: The Perfect Guide (Examples

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  6. Usc Supplemental Essays 2024-2024

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write the USC Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    Prompt 1: 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 (250 words). Prompt 2 (Optional): 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 ...

  2. How to Write the University of Southern California Supplemental Essays

    Essays. Mistake #1: Writing about the school's size, location, reputation, weather, or ranking. Mistake #2: Simply using emotional language to demonstrate fit. Mistake #3: Screwing up the mascot, stadium, team colors or names of any important people or places on campus.

  3. USC Supplemental Essays 2023-24 Prompts and Tips

    2023-24 USC Supplemental Essays - Required Prompt #1. 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. ... For example, you could jazz up Ranch-flavored Bugles as follows: "Ranch-flavored Bugles, ...

  4. University of Southern California (USC) 2023-24 Supplemental Essay

    The Requirements: 2 or 3 essays (depending on major selection) of up to 250 words; 2 short-answer lists. Supplemental Essay Type (s): Why, Oddball, Short Answer, Community. Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 word limit)

  5. 3 USC Essay Examples By Accepted Students

    Applying to USC? Check out these essay examples for inspiration! Schools. expand_more. Explore schools Rankings Best colleges for Pre-med Admissions calculator. ... How to Write the USC Supplemental Essays 2023-2024. January 24, 2024 Essay Guides 2023-24, University of Southern California. 3 Superb Santa Clara University Essay Examples.

  6. USC Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    USC Supplemental Essays 2023-2024. The University of Southern California (USC) offers a unique and vibrant academic environment, drawing students from diverse backgrounds with its rich array of programs and opportunities. As part of the application process, USC asks prospective students to complete supplemental essays.

  7. How to Get Into USC: Strategies and Essays that Worked

    Part 3: 2023-2024 USC supplemental essays (examples included) USC requires applicants to write a 250-word supplemental essay and ten short-answers in addition to the Common App essays. For the first essay, USC gives students a choice of three essay prompts. Below, we'll provide an example essay for the main prompt and explain what makes it ...

  8. USC Essay Examples

    The USC application only requires you to write one or two 250-word supplemental essays depending on your choice of major. You'll also complete 10 short answer essays and one optional 250-word essay. You should mostly focus on the required USC essay (or essays). Most students will only complete the required USC essay prompts.

  9. How to Write the USC Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    Our writers and consultants come from the nation's top schools, such as Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. Having gone through a rigorous vetting process, our team is ready to support college-bound students with personalized essay feedback and admissions advice. We've broken down the USC supplemental essays for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle.

  10. USC Supplemental Essays

    USC Supplemental Essays 2023-24. Are you interested in applying to USC? Strong USC supplemental essays can make all the difference in the application process. ... For example, some Why USC essays might discuss a high-powered research lab on campus. Alternatively, other Why USC essays might focus on the unique studio culture found at the USC ...

  11. How to Respond to the 2023/2024 University of Southern California

    Breaking down the USC supplemental essays. Be prepared to write, because USC asks for a lot of USC supplemental essays responses! However, this should not deter you from applying, rather, it should make you more excited! Essays offer you the opportunity to show who you are to the USC admissions officers. Here is a list of essays to respond to:

  12. How To Answer The USC Supplemental Essay Prompts For 2022/23

    Essay 1: Please respond to one of the prompts below. (250 word limit) 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 ...

  13. Tackling USC Supplemental Essays for the 2023-2024 Admissions Cycle

    Tackling USC Supplemental Essays for the 2023-2024 Admissions Cycle. Navigating the complex process of college applications can feel overwhelming, especially when dealing with supplemental essays. The University of Southern California (USC), renowned for its top-tier programs and vibrant campus life, requires applicants to submit multiple ...

  14. USC Supplemental Essays 2022-2023

    The USC supplemental essays 2022-2023 allow applicants a certain amount of freedom when choosing their supplemental essay topic, but we're going to look at the essay prompt and discuss the best way to respond. ... Most of these are sample or portfolio based. For example, the USC Film School requires that applicants submit a short film for ...

  15. How to Write the USC Supplement 2023-2024

    USC is test-optional for the 2023-2024 application cycle, and the school has recently introduced an Early Action application option (still no word on if they will ever add an ED option). Last year, USC hit a record-low acceptance rate of 9.9%. With rates as low as this, the USC supplement has never been more critical.

  16. 4 University of Southern California (USC) EssaysThatWorked

    4 University of Southern California EssaysThatWorked. Here are 4 of the best USC essays that worked for this years writing supplement. Below you can read how admitted USC students answered the short essay and short answer questions. In addition, I've included some Common App personal statements examples recently accepted students.

  17. How to Write the USC Supplemental Essays 2020-2021 (Examples Included!)

    Start early to give yourself enough time to research your intended majors, write high-quality responses, and have time for revisions. You have a 250 word limit for each of the supplemental essays, so use them all to create a lasting impression on the admissions officer reading your application.

  18. USC Essay Prompts

    The University of Southern California has released its supplemental essay prompts for applicants to the Class of 2028. In addition to the Personal Statement on The Common Application, USC applicants will be required to answer one 250-word essay and several 100-character short answers. If an applicant took a gap year or their education was ...

  19. How to Write the USC Supplement 2022-2023

    We have a kind of formula for this type of essay. The first step is to tell a short personal story about when you realized what you want to study in college. For example, if you want to pursue the Law, History, and Culture major at USC, you could write about interning at a local law firm or taking an online History of Law course. You want to ...

  20. How to Write the University of California Essays 2023-2024

    3. Outline the structure of your essay, and plan out content for an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 4. Before you start writing your essay, write one or two sentences that summarize how you would like the admissions officers to perceive you based on this essay.

  21. USC Essay Examples

    USC essay examples. It is time to delve into each prompt and have a look at some USC essay examples that you can learn from. And, so…. Prompt 1 (Required): 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 ...

  22. Supplemental Essay Guide 2023-24

    What do the 2023-24 supplemental essay prompts really mean, and how should you approach them? CEA's experts are here to break them all down. ... University of Southern California (USC) 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide. ... College Essay Examples. Academy and Worksheets. Waitlist Guides. Blog.