Is USC Ivy League? Ranking, Acceptance Rate, and More

The University of Southern California is one of the most prestigious universities in the entire world.

Its alumni have made notable contributions spanning every significant field. Thanks to its location near Hollywood, many famous alumni include actors, actresses, and filmmakers. Talents like LaVar Burton, Forest Whitaker, Judd Apatow, and Robert Zemeckis call USC their alma mater.

Additionally, politicians and even astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, all went to this famed institution.

USC is known for its high quality and voluminous research and has had a huge economic impact on LA country. It is also a very selective school, with thousands of aspiring Trojans vying for a spot every year. It is no wonder it is often confused as an Ivy League School. 

USC is located in Los Angeles, a world-famous metropolis that is synonymous with the entertainment and media industry. LA is also famed for its beaches, food, cultural and ethnic diversity, and amusement parks. 

Today, we talk about USC, its ranking, acceptance rate, and other pertinent information. Shortly, we also answer whether USC is, in fact, an Ivy League school.

Is USC an Ivy League School?

University of Southern California
EEJCC, Bovard Auditorium at dusk, University of Southern CaliforniaCC BY-SA 4.0

Despite its impressive profile, USC is not an Ivy League school.

While the Ivies are synonymous with selectivity, illustrious histories, and academic prestige, the actual definition is narrower and more technical in its application. Also, it happens to be the case that all eight official Ivies are private liberal arts universities located in the Northeast. 

But, contrary to popular belief, selective admissions and world-class scholarship are not part of the technical definition of the Ivy League. The term is more specific and narrow in its origin; it comes down to college sports. Yes, sports. 

Nowadays, when people hear “Ivy League,” they think of academic prestige and schools that are very hard to get into. It is a common assumption that the official Ivies are automatically the highest-ranking schools in the nation. 

However, it turns out that being an Ivy does not automatically mean being top ten. In fact, there are esteemed lists, such as the US News & World Report, on which non-Ivy schools do consistently outrank Ivy schools. In sum, Ivy League schools are not always the best schools. USC outshines them in numerous areas. 

Why Is USC Often Confused As an Ivy League School?

USC has an outstanding profile, rivaling that of any of the Ivy League schools that we have mentioned earlier. 

World-class faculty, high-achieving alumni, and prolific & impactful research activity are among the characteristics that make USC a high-caliber school, on par with the Ivies. 

According to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (CCIH), USC is a top-tier, R1-Doctoral research university with “very high research output.” 

Faculty have made significant contributions in a wide variety of fields, putting the school in the national and international spotlight every year. 

In 2021, 17 are members of the National Academy of Sciences, including Dr. Steve Kay, whose research has advanced our understanding of the genetic basis of circadian rhythms and the relationship between the body’s metabolism and circadian rhythms. 

USC boasts 16 members of the National Academy of Medicine and an impressive roster of faculty who are members of the renowned National Academy of Engineering. This is just STEM faculty; the university’s arts and humanities faculty are just as stellar. 

In fact, many arts and humanities faculty are members of the oldest and internationally renowned learning society in the US, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 

Schools that are Ivy in all but name produce their fair share of outstanding alumni, and USC is no exception. Rhodes scholars, Marshall scholars, Nobel laureates, and Turing Award winners have graduated from USC. 

Most notably, the school has graduated more Emmy and Academy Award winners, such as the late actor and comedian John Ritter. Other famous alumni include George Lucas, the Star Wars film franchise creator, actress American Ferrera, and Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi. 

With such accomplished alumni and faculty, it is no wonder that USC is often regarded as an Ivy. 

University of Southern California: Ranking, Acceptance Rate, and More

Perhaps USC is often lumped in with the Ivy League schools because of its rankings and highly selective admissions process. 

US News & World Report ranks USC as the 24th best school nationwide, tied with the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. 

According to this same source, USC’s engineering, accounting, business, and computer science programs are among the highest-ranked in the nation. 

USC earned the highest marks from Niche, which gave the school an overall grade of A+. and straight A’s in each category (academics, diversity, athletics, value, campus, and party scene). It is also one of the best schools for design, film & photography, business, international relations, kinesiology, and performing arts. 

For the Fall 2020 admission cycle, USC received over 60,000 applications, a historically high number for the school. Approximately 16% of applicants were offered to be part of the class of 2025, making USC a highly selective school. 

Recap: USC Is Not an Ivy League University. However, It Is One of the Best Universities in the Nation

University of Southern California
Padsquad19, Zumberge Hall of Science, CC BY-SA 3.0

USC is not an Ivy, but it is inarguably one of the best schools in the country and, we dare say, in the world. Its achievements, academics, and resources make the school a formidable rival to any of the Ivy League schools. 

Outstanding faculty, a diverse and talented student body, state-of-the-art facilities, and a prime location means that Trojans are equipped to enter the world with the knowledge, tools, and experience they need to succeed and make an impact. 

USC is one the oldest private universities in California and has cultivated a unique profile since its founding. 

Around 90% of graduates are employed within a year after graduation, finding gainful employment in tech, consulting, education, and finance. 

The average post-graduation salary for a Trojan is a decent $74k for the first job. What more can we say about USC as one of the best schools in the nation? 

While the Ivy Leagues do offer education of the highest quality, they do not monopolize high-quality education. USC has a reputation for academic excellence and will continue to climb the ranks of the best schools, eventually outranking some of the “real” Ivies.

Previous articleIs UVA Ivy League? Ranking, Acceptance Rate, and More
Next articleIs Boston College Ivy League? Ranking, Acceptance Rate, and More