What Matters in Admissions: Perspective from USC

John Marfield, Associate Director of Admission at USC, spoke to our students about the admissions process at USC on October 11. He noted that standardized test scores make up a very small part of the review process, and that he spends about 10 seconds to review the numbers. He reminded students that scores are viewed in the context of a range, so, for example, a score of 1500 and 1530 are essentially the same.

Per the College Board, "Score ranges show how much your score might change with repeated testing, assuming that your skill level remains the same. Usually, section scores for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and for Math fall in a range of roughly 30 to 40 points above or below your true ability. Colleges know this, and they receive the score ranges along with your scores to consider that single snapshot in context."

Much greater attention is spent on the essays written by the applicant. In this video, Mr. Marfield gives advice on writing college essays.