How to Write the USC (University of Southern California) Supplemental Essay


How to Write the USC (University of Southern California) Supplemental Essay

The University of Southern California receives thousands of applications every year. It allows you to pursue your academic interests, regardless of what those are, so it’s one of the most desired colleges in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, with its acceptance rate of only 11%, many students never get to attend this school. 

If you want to make sure that your college application gets accepted, you need to write superior USC supplemental essays. This is never easy and will challenge you in more ways than one. 

So, take a look at this guide that will guarantee that your university application gets accepted. 

Overview of USC supplemental essays 

USC supplemental essays are an additional part of your university application. They allow the admissions counselors to learn more about you, your personality, interests, and experiences. You’ll write them in the same manner that you would any other Common App essay, be it an NYU supplemental essay, MIT, MSU, or anything in between.

This means that you should use the essays to stand out, be different. Showcase your abilities, highlight the intended academic focus that you plan to pursue. Feel free to address your first and second choice major and explain why you’re interested in learning at USC.

If you have interests outside of your intended academic focus or have different background experiences and perspectives, mention those as well. Anything that will have you stand out from other students applying to the University of Southern California. 

USC supplemental essays will include a few distinct prompts limited to 250 words. You’ll also have to answer 12 questions that require short answers of up to 100 characters. Don’t think of these as your creative writing assignments that you got used to in high school. High schools and colleges have many differences, and the way you approach writing is one of them. Here, it would be best if you kept it short, concise, genuine, and above all — engaging. 

Make sure that you stay within the word limit. A few words over or under are just fine, but don’t go overboard — that’s a sure way to get your application denied. 

USC supplemental essay prompts 

While writing the USC supplemental essay seems simple enough because of the small word limit, it’s much more complicated than it appears. So, don’t wait until the very last minute to provide your answers. Make sure to start early. You’ll need time to brainstorm and find the best way to present yourself. 

When you start, you will be given three prompts, and you should choose one to answer. It doesn’t matter which one you choose; all will allow you to highlight your strengths if you answer properly. 

Essays about love are often preferred and can make your application stand out. But regardless, you should pick a topic that resonates with you. Something that you know much about, or something that can shine a light on your character. 

2019-2020 examples 

In 2019, the students encountered 3 USC supplemental essay prompts on Common App. Those were as follows: 

  1. Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. 
  2. USC faculty place emphasis on interdisciplinary academic opportunities. Describe something outside of your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning. 
  3. What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you? 

Keep in mind that all of them have a limit of 250 words, so be very concise. 

2019-2020 answers 

The first prompt essentially asks you why you chose this school and this major. This isn’t your typical “I love LA and was interested in this major since I was five years old”. If you take a closer look, you’ll see that they want to hear about your future. How can this university help you achieve your goals? 

Focus on USC specifically, the courses and programs they offer, and even the extracurricular activities and clubs that are of interest to you. Before you answer, it’s best to do thorough research about USC and find out precisely what the university can offer you. 

The second prompt is perfect for highlighting that you’re a well-rounded person with many interests. This can include both your academic interests and general hobbies. It’s not necessary to explain what the hobby is, but why you’re interested in it. 

Again, it’s a good idea to research the clubs, events, and activities at USC. Describe something outside your major, but related to what USC can offer you. 

Lastly, the third prompt is perfect for emphasizing different areas you’re interested in, but haven’t discussed through the Common App. The topic is focused on you, so including anecdotes and personal experiences will make you stand out from other students. 

Elaborate on what it is that makes you different and how. Say why you like this quality and how it’s affected your life so far. 

It isn’t very easy to explain it all within 250 words, so take some time for brainstorming. Organize your ideas and prioritize them.

Short Answers 

Besides the supplemental essay, you’ll also have to write short answers to 12 questions for your USC application. You’ll encounter a variety of different questions, and all of them serve to distinguish you from the other students. 

The questions can be as follows: 

  • What is your theme song? 
  • Describe your dream trip. 
  • What is your dream job? 
  • Which TV show will you binge-watch next? 
  • If you had the opportunity to teach a class, which topic would you choose? 
  • What is the best movie of all time? 
  • What is your favorite snack? 
  • Describe yourself in three words. 

You have a limit of 100 characters with these questions. Try and keep them sweet and showcase your personality. Make a joke, or include a rhyme. Anything that will make your answers different and interesting. 

Writing a USC supplemental essay that’s different and unique is much more complicated than it seems. It requires creativity, and in the middle of writing college applications, attending interviews, and planning your prom, it’s hard to be creative. 

If you need assistance with your USC writing supplement, you can use writing services that will ensure your essays present you in the best light. Be different, unique, and creative with a pro essay that will bring you a step closer to your college acceptance letter.