On January 20, the day before Chinese New Year, University of Southern California released an admission results for its Early Action applications. The admission rate during EA round was only 5.9%.
Up until this year, University of Southern California used to have only Regular Decision admission. This year is the first time ever it has adopted the Early Action application policy. Before the application season began, USC expects to admit 25% of the freshman quota in advance through EA. USC actually admitted 2,400 students, accounting for about 30% of the freshman class.
Source: USC Official Defer Letter
As can be seen from the defer letter, 40,600 students applying for USC EA, with another 40,400 Regular Decision round applicants. In total, USC received a total of about 81,000 applications in 2023 Fall, which is 17% more than the projected 69,000 applications, a breaking record for the eighth consecutive year.
This year's EA is quite unique. USC announced early on their official website that no applicants will receive a rejection letter on January 20 when the EA results re released. Instead, deferred applicants will receive their final admission decision together with Regular Decision round applicants.
Among all the RD and EA defer applicants, 5,500 students will be admitted, accounting for about 70% of the incoming freshmen class. The overall admission rate is still estimated to be around 9.75%, higher than that of EA round. So deferred applicants: don't lose hope and stay tuned!
Source: USC Official Defer Letter
USC also emphasizes that applicants who still would like to be considered by USC should fill out their EA Deferral Forms before February 1 and send the midterm grades to USC. But at the same time, USC won't be accepting any additional application materials such as essays, resumes, letters of recommendation, etc.
It is speculated that USC has not finished reading all EA applications before January 20. After all, it is the first year of Early Action, and perhaps USC simply did not expect such a large number of applications. This speculation is not unreasonable, because a notice of "no rejections" is extremely rare.
According to the school, last year it took 5.5 months and 30,000 hours for the 65-member admissions team to read through 69,000 applications.
Let's do the math together. According to last year's number, each application takes an average of 26 minutes. This year, USC received 40,600 Early Action applications and it should take 17,652 hours to read. Deducting holidays and weekends, it takes about 50 days, with a daily workload of 353 hours dedicated to reading application materials, which means 44 full time readers every day. So is USC really hiring 44 readers during Early Action round?
Of course, our projection will not change the Early Action admission rate this year. So if you're deferred by USC, don't lose hope!
As applicant pools for top colleges like USC grow exponentially every year, schools are also coming up with new admission policies by the year, and this can become complicated when students and their families try to navigate major choices, school choices, and application strategies.
At Enlighteens, as a group of realistic idealist educators, we provide our best knowledge and assistance to help students deal with just all of that. We dedicate ourselves to find the best way to optimize students' experience, their interest, and their goals through education planning and college application counseling, with the bigger picture in mind.