What is the point of a college application? If you’ve started working on your applications this may be a question you’ve asked yourself either out of reflection or perhaps frustration. We ask you for an application because we want to get to know you and get a sense of how you may thrive academically and personally at USC. We don’t have time to sit down and talk to every applicant one on one so we ask you to give us a variety of information to try and gain a sense of who you are. As you complete your applications, ask yourselves if the content reflects who you are, not just as a student but also as a person.
Writing a personal statement is stressful. Up until this point, I’m guessing most high school students have only written academic papers. You’ve been asked to analyze works of fiction, economic trends, historical events, etc. but likely no one has sat you down and asked you to write about yourself. Given the goal is to give admission counselors a sense of yourself, be authentic and genuine in content and tone. Write about things that are important to you. This is mostly for sophomores and juniors, as seniors have obviously already written and perfected their essays (right!?).
Another important aspect is showing your interest and fit for each school you are applying to. As I’ve mentioned before, you should have specific reasons why you are excited about and applying to a school and convey that through the writing supplements. Even if you haven’t had the chance to visit a college, you can learn a lot by reading student blogs and looking at the projects coming out the departments you are interested in.
I once heard an admission counselor talk about an application being like a museum. You get to curate the museum to show us all of the awesome things about yourself. If you wanted someone to get to know you by walking through your museum, what things are most important to showcase? Lots of times, people are uncomfortable talking about themselves. This isn’t about bragging, but rather showing us the best parts of yourself that you have worked so hard to cultivate and develop. Show us your accomplishments but also tell us why they matter to you. We aren’t looking for one specific thing or one type of person. My favorite part of working at USC is all the different kinds of students we get to work with!
With our December 1st scholarship deadline approaching, make sure you’re taking the time to thoughtfully and thoroughly put together an application that presents you in the strongest light possible!