Admissions decisions for USC's incoming class were sent in the mail yesterday, however, questions remain about how those decisions are being made behind closed doors.
USC's Vice President of Admissions and Planning, Katharine Harrington, met with faculty from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism on Monday, March 18. In that meeting, she told faculty that roughly 2 percent of applicants are flagged during the admissions process. This year, President Austin announced the university had a record of more than 67,000 applicants.
In an interview with Annenberg Media yesterday, Harrington gave a different response when asked about the flagging during the admissions process.
"Like most other institutions of our kind, if we have someone who has asked us to make sure that someone who is special to them, someone that we are aware of is in the applicant pool, we simply make a note of that," she said, "but those indications of interest have – are not related to the admission decision making process."
In that same meeting, Harrington also discussed the average GPAs of incoming students. For athletes, she said, it was a 3.5. For applicants in the general pool, it was a 3.9. One faculty member in the meeting, who has studied the GPA discrepancies for decades, challenged those numbers. He said they can be grossly inflated by athletes who are recruited and remain on the bench. He says they can also vary significantly on different teams.
When asked about the relationship between the athletic and admissions departments Harrington said, "There's not a lot I can say about that right now because there is an ongoing federal investigation and that is something that we're cooperating very closely with the FBI and the rest of the feds on that. And because there is also a very, what will be, a very thorough internal investigation going on."
USC is in the middle of a national college admissions scandal in which dozens of parents are accused of bribing university employees at schools across the country in order to help their children get into college. USC officials have said that six applicants from this year's application pool were denied admission for believed involvement in the scandal and that all currently enrolled students believed to be involved have been notified that their student status is under review.