What does it take to transfer to USC?

Regular admission alternatives, like Trojan Transfer, set students up for higher rates of success.

USC’s soon-to-be-freshman class of 2027 earned their spot at University Park despite battling the school’s lowest acceptance rate on record. The 80,000-plus applications received by the university meant the standards for admittance were higher than ever before.

With that in mind, it begs the question: What if you weren’t accepted, but still want to come to USC? Considering that a mere 9.9% of prospective students were admitted for the fall semester, that left 70,000 high school students without a spot.

At least for the moment.

For those not accepted into the fall or spring semesters, USC offers a different method for non-standard admission: transfer applications.

One specific form of applying as a transfer student is Trojan Transfer planning meetings, which is an invite-only program. The admissions office invites all legacy applicants and other select applicants who “were not admitted but stood out during application review.” These meetings are designed to help those applicants make a plan to apply as a transfer.

One common misconception is that going through a meeting guarantees future admission, but that is not the case according to the USC admissions office. However, the USC admissions office says “we have found that students following our guidance are more likely to gain transfer admission.”

Wyatt Murrell, a sophomore studying business administration, was initially rejected from USC when he first applied. But, as a legacy applicant, he was offered a Trojan Transfer planning meeting. At the bottom of his admissions decision, he received the details of this meeting to help him apply as a transfer.

“This decision was especially difficult for us given your ties to the Trojan Family,” Murrell’s admission’s decision said. “Your eventual enrollment at USC is of great interest to us, so I invite you to consider a Trojan Transfer planning meeting, which will assist you in gaining admission to USC as a transfer student within the next two or three semesters.”

Murrell said the Zoom meeting he had with an admissions representative helped lay out his course plan for his freshman year at Golden West College, a community college in Huntington Beach.

“They just said, here’s what you should take there,” Murrell said. “Here’s what credits will transfer over to USC. Everything transferred over like they said, so it worked out perfectly.”

Most students who have the Trojan Transfer planning meeting choose to attend community colleges, such as Santa Monica Community College, or go abroad to cities like London, Rome or Paris. Santa Monica Community College sent 124 students to USC in the most recent transfer admissions cycle.

Murrell said the advisor he met with did not recommend that he attend a four-year university for his freshman year.

“We believe that community college is the best path for most students wishing to transfer and these [Trojan Transfer] counseling sessions will promote that as an appropriate pathway,” the USC admissions office said in a comment. “USC maintains articulation agreements with California community colleges, which allows for precise advisement, as well as specific and dedicated support for prospective transfer students.”

According to USC’s transfer admissions statistics, 36% of transfer students they accept are Scions, or legacy students. The statistics, however, do not offer any information about what percentage of those students went through a Trojan Transfer planning meeting.

Although it was not recommended to Murrell during his Trojan Transfer planning meeting, students may still transfer to USC from four-year colleges, although the acceptance rate from four-year university transfer applicants is slightly lower than applicants from two-year colleges.

In 2022, the fall transfer acceptance rate was around 24%, according to the USC admissions office. That’s almost double the acceptance rate of the traditional cycle. Of those transfers, 47% came from four-year universities, while 53% came from two-year institutions.

Justin Hindi, a sophomore trying to get into the civil engineering program, chose to attend the University of Oregon for his freshman year before transferring to USC. Hindi also went through the Trojan Transfer planning meeting and was told to go to a two-year institution rather than going to a four-year university like Oregon, but did not want to put all of his eggs into USC’s basket.

“I just wanted experience college all four years,” Hindi said. “And so Oregon is another big school like USC, obviously … So I just went to Oregon thinking that if I get into USC, obviously I’ll come. But I would not be disappointed if I didn’t get in.”

Many people did not get a positive admissions decision in this most recent cycle. But students still have the opportunity to get into USC as a transfer student. For more information about the USC transfer admissions process, go to