EDITOR’S NOTE: The headline, caption and body of this article was updated to correctly reflect that USC is one of the most applied to private colleges in the United States. The article previously reported it was ranked first in the list. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.
The Class of 2023 is the most selective and among the most diverse in University history, USC News reported Friday.
USC accepted 7,558 students and enrolled about 42% of those students in Fall 2019, marking the highest yield rate in University history. Over 66,000 students applied, ranking USC among the most applied to private colleges.
With an 11.4% acceptance rate, the freshman class’ admissions cycle continues the University’s upward trend in selectivity. USC’s acceptance rate first dipped below 20% in 2014 with the Class of 2018 and has seen a decrease every year since 2015.
Female students make up 55% of the Class of 2023, a 7.8% increase from the past two years.
African American enrollment has also seen a notable change, increasing by 13% from last year’s freshman class. Otherwise, diversity with regard to underrepresented minorities remains about even with last year’s statistics, as an estimated one in four freshmen self-identifies as a member of an underrepresented minority.
Obi Onwuamaegbu, a freshman majoring in business administration, said the University’s diverse student body is a welcomed change from his hometown of Bethesda, Md.
“I came from a pretty homogenous background,” Onwuamaegbu said. “My city was predominantly white … It’s definitely been refreshing to come here and learn about different cultures and different identities.”
Onwuamaegbu, a member of the Black Student Assembly, said he has noticed the University’s diversity reflected in the organization’s membership, which he said numbers more than 100.
“You come in, and it’s more of a community,” Onwuamaegbu said. “I’m participating in the same type of things I would in high school, but the degree to which they’re affecting me and the degree to which I’m participating and [feeling] actively involved in [them] has changed.”
Geographic diversity has also seen a slight increase. The share of first-year students coming from California high schools dropped 4.9% from the previous year, and the proportions coming from other U.S. high schools and from international high schools have both increased slightly.
Catarina de Souza, a freshman majoring in architecture, said that USC’s diversity has already impacted her college experience.
De Souza, an international student from Salvador, Brazil, said the peers she has met through BRASA, a campus organization mainly composed of Brazilian international students, have helped her acclimate to campus life.
“I’ve met people from all sorts of backgrounds, and even if they are American, they usually have some type of background that is unusual or different,” de Souza said. “Many people have lived in more than one country before coming here, and many speak various languages.”
While the Class of 2023 comprises 15% first-generation students, a decrease from last year’s 17%, the University continues to rank high among schools of similar academic caliber, tying UC Berkeley’s first-generation enrollment. Socioeconomic diversity remains high, with an estimated two-thirds of freshmen receiving financial assistance, including 629 merit scholarship recipients.
With the levels of diversity and achievement reflected in this year’s freshman class, students hope the University continues to up its efforts to maintain a student body of varied identities, backgrounds and contributions.
“I hope that [USC Admission] continue what they’ve been doing in terms of building diverse incoming classes,” Onwuamaegbu said. “Just so that the different students coming into USC can learn about cultures and identities different from their own and help them grow as people.”