First look at USC’s Class of 2023: diverse, hard-working and high-achieving

Among incoming students, 1 in 4 had perfect grades in high school and over 15% are first-generation.

October 04, 2019 Ron Mackovich-Rodriguez

More than 3,000 first-year students are on their way toward a USC degree, representing a new level of achievement, diversity and connection between the university and its first-year students. Those offered admission accepted at a higher rate than any previous cohort — indicating an exceptionally strong match of selection and aspiration.

Demand for a USC education appears to be stronger than ever. Over 66,000 applied, bringing this year’s acceptance rate to 11.4%.

The number of applications to USC was among the highest of any private university.

USC Class of 2023: A cohort of exceptional and curious scholars

incoming class 2019

A quarter of USC’s freshman class earned perfect grades in high school. Their average SAT and ACT test scores are in the 96th percentile.

Other statistics show academic ambition. This year’s typical USC freshman pursued a rigorous high school curriculum, with many completing eight advanced placement courses during high school.

As part of the application process, students are asked to select a few words to describe themselves. “Curious” was used most frequently. Other words repeatedly chosen included “loyal,” “empathetic,” “caring” and “tenacious.”

Students of all backgrounds well-represented — again

USC’s inclusion of students from traditionally underrepresented groups remains strong at 27%, matching last year’s impressive rate. The percentage of African American students increased 13% compared to last year.

First-generation students make up 15.4% of the class.

USC Class of 2023: All roads lead to Troy

incoming class 2019

The world continues to look to USC as a destination for higher education. International students increased by about 5% this year and make up about 15% of the freshman class. The highest number of international students come from China, followed by India, the United Kingdom, Canada and South Korea.

About 39% of U.S. freshmen come from California, followed by New York, Texas, Illinois, Washington and Florida.

The five high schools that send the most students to USC are all in Southern California, including Foshay Learning Center. Foshay is less than a mile from campus and has led or placed in the top five USC feeder high schools for four consecutive years. Foshay’s college preparation program, the USC Leslie and William McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative, is a partnership between USC and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Other top feeder high schools this year include Canyon Crest Academy, Loyola High School, Arcadia High School and La Canada High School.

National recognition

incoming class 2019

As fall freshmen were settling into their first semester, USC once again landed in the top 20 in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings. The studies that determine those rankings gave USC top marks for student engagement, resources, outcomes and environment. Within the West region, the university placed third out of 122 institutions, behind Caltech and Stanford University.

USC also ranks in the top 25 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Colleges, which lists the university at No. 5 on its list of the best colleges for veterans.