Interviews Are Not For Everyone
Interviews are available to current high school students applying to USC as a first-year student only. A student does not need an application on file in order to interview. We do not conduct interviews for transfer students or younger high school students not yet applying. Interview appointments are limited, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis according to the available schedule. Interview appointments cannot be made by request outside of this schedule.
When to Interview
Applicants for Fall 2018 can interview at anytime through our interview season and do not need to have an application on file in order to interview.
The on-campus interview season runs from August 1 – November 22, 2017 with interview spots available on a first-come, first-served basis nearly every weekday.
Off-Campus interviews take place at select locations on specific weekends listed below.
You will need your ten-digit USCID in order to register for an on-campus interview. Your USCID is commonly found on mail or email sent by the university. If you do not know your USCID, just give us a call at (213) 740-4530 and we can look you up.
Schedule your interview on or off campus:
Did You Know?
Only about 5% of our applicant pool conducted an interview last year, and the grand majority of our admitted students did not have an interview.
Off Campus Interviews
You do not need to come to campus if you would like to interview! We send our staff around the country to conduct the same interviews at a number of locations around the country. Interviews will be held (typically during the weekend) at Off-Campus locations starting in late October through early December.
Admission Interviews FAQ
There are a number of misconceptions out there… Let’s try to clear those up!
There are three phases to interview availability:
First Week of July: On-Campus interview appointments are made available for the month of August.
Mid-August: Additional on-campus interview appointments are made available for September through November.
Early September: Off-Campus interview appointments are made available around the country for weekends in October through December.
Admission interviews are our chance to get to know you. They are not an information session on the university or a way to better get to know the campus or university programs (That’s called Meet USC – and its an awesome way to visit campus!). Interviews are typically 20 minute conversations led by one of our admission staff. They are not necessarily academic, nor do they test you on any particular knowledge. We want to get to know you. Questions you can expect are: “Tell me about yourself?” “What do you like to do for fun?” “How do you spend your time out of school” and “If you could be one cheese, what would it be and why?” (just kidding about the last one). The last few minutes are handed over you to ask any questions you may want to ask, but don’t stress – its entirely optional – you do not need to ask questions. But, I should repeat, this is not the best way to get to know USC or the Viterbi School – that is Meet USC (and it’s awesome).
To put it simply… Don’t.
Our admission interview is a conversation where our entire goal is to get to to know you better. It is not a test. We are not looking for particular elements, other than to get to know you the best possible way.
Questions such as “what are you involved in?” and “how do you like to spend your free time?” shouldn’t need preparation, should they? 🙂
No. We never recommend conducting an admission interview.
[pause … wait for reaction]
Let’s talk a little more about whether it is a good idea for YOU to sit for an admission interview – and we don’t know you (yet). Interviews are a very personal, one-on-one experience that can great for most people, but stressful for some. Sitting with someone like a member of our professional admission staff for 20-30 minutes answering questions about yourself may not be the best experience for everyone, and as such, probably not a good idea for everyone. If you believe an interview will be a positive experience in which you will be comfortable and enjoy – by all means, go for it. We want to interview as many students as we can in a limited schedule of availability.
Not necessarily. In fact, we admit more students without interviews! We get everything we need to make a decision on your application, in the application. Simply participating in an interview does not add “extra points” to your application. (in other words – don’t sign up just because you think you are supposed to do so) Interviews will never make or break admission decisions – and even if you are an amazing person who we just love when we meet you – a positive interview won’t necessarily trump poor grades or a weak application in comparison to our competitive applicant pool.
We never recommend traveling to participate in an admission interview. Remember, it’s around a 20 minute conversation and you will likely wonder whether it was worth it.
Everyone should know that interviews are optional. Entirely optional. We do not have enough availability to interview every single applicant. At best, we *maybe* get to 10% of the applicants. As such, you may think about scheduling an interview after everyone has already scheduled one, or it’s just too late. We do not hold waiting lists, and we do not hold interviews past the dates noted above.
If you miss the opportunity to interview – don’t give it a second thought. Read the question above (more get accepted without interviews). If you were hoping to learn more about the school, great – we offer the far more comprehensive Meet USC program year round – or just give us a call to talk. We are always happy to talk more about our programs and help you better understand the school and life as an engineering student at USC.
I see interview availability after the December 1st application deadline - are those still considered?
YES! We typically have interview spots available after December 1st due to the schedule of our off-campus locations – and those will always get added into your application. If you are looking to be considered for scholarships (and everyone should be) – you just need to submit your Common App and USC Writing Supplement by December 1st. An interview that we conduct after that date will still successfully be added into your application, and all will be fine.
The interview is a stand-alone process and does not refer back to your application. Do not worry about submitting your application before an interview….. sit for the interview whenever you can and just make sure to submit your Common Application and USC Writing Supplement before December 1st.