Nearly 67,000 students applied to USC last fall. Only a record 11 percent got in.
"The most selective in our history," Interim President Wanda Austin said, as she announced the numbers this weekend.
USC acceptance rate has declined for years. Last year it was 13 percent—the year before, 16 percent. In the late 1990s, 45 percent.
The trend has some high school students worried about their odds.
"It's really scary and stressful and I feel that when applying you can only apply to so many schools and so many of them can only take a percentage," high school junior Dominique Singer said.
These low numbers come as dozens of families are accused of bribing their way into colleges across the country. Among those schools, USC had the most people indicted.
The whole process of getting into college is more competitive. One college counselor says that can hurt low-income students.
"It's so expensive to look good for colleges now that not a lot of students have the ability to do so," said YI Chang, President of My Education Guru.
Many high school students are already at a disadvantage when they can't afford tutors and other resources.
"The education sector in general, especially the college level education, has been monetized in a way where students aren't able to have the access they used to have," Chang said.
USC offers generous financial aid. Nearly two-thirds of students in last year's entering class received it.
USC admissions officials did not respond to our requests for comment.
But data from the national association for college admission counseling shows students are applying to more schools.
That's partly due to how easy it is to send out more college apps online. Like with the common app – where students can apply to more than 800 schools.
"When you apply 10 or 15 schools, it gives you the option to increase your chances of admissions at least into three or four schools, at least," college and financial consultant Sean Gabay said.
The need to apply to so many is a result of anxiety about not getting into any at all.
"From high school, it's all about competition, all about being a valedictorian, all about doing better and better on the SAT and better and better on the acts and its very stressful on the student," Gabay said.
So much stress that some are left wondering how far this competition will go.