Anne’s Admission Advice: Applying to USC Kaufman

September 12, 2022

Man and woman in red and yellow dance attire outside at USC Village.

Jackie Schiffner and Juan Posada Penagos (BFA '19) in the USC Village | Photo by Heather Toner

Prospective students often ask me, “Am I applying to USC or Kaufman or both?” Each college dance program has its own process, requirements and timeline—so I get that it can be super confusing. In short, when it comes to applying for USC Kaufman, you are actually just applying to the University of Southern California. You then declare dance as your intended major and submit some additional documents for the dance faculty to review (before going on to the live audition). Let’s walk through the process.

The USC Undergraduate Application

The first step in applying to USC Kaufman is completing the USC Undergraduate Application. This includes the Common Application. You must apply “Regular Decision”. Be sure to select dance as your intended major—which will generate a link to SlideRoom where you will begin your USC Kaufman Portfolio. Please note that current USC students applying to our program do not need to complete the USC Undergraduate Application.

The USC Kaufman Portfolio

You must upload a number of materials to SlideRoom as a part of the USC Kaufman Portfolio. This includes:

  • A headshot, which need not be professional
  • An action shot showcasing your favorite dance form or personality
  • A one-page dance resume in our requested format
  • A 250-word written response to the prompt: The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance is uniquely positioned as a conservatory embedded within one of the world’s leading private research universities. How will you take advantage of the many academic, artistic and social opportunities available at the university as a whole?
  • A 30- to 60-second video response to the prompt: USC Kaufman’s Affirmations include five values that guide the school: excellence, belonging, risk taking, community and integrity. How do you see one of these values impacting the future of the dance field?
  • Two contrasting solos of no more than one minute (plus a description of how you see them as contrasting)

Both the USC Undergraduate Application and USC Kaufman Portfolio are due by December 1, 2022. Please note that we are not participating in Early Action, so our deadline is NOT November 1, 2022.

The live audition

Our faculty committee will review all USC Kaufman Portfolios and invite a small number of finalists to a live audition on campus. All applicants will receive a decision via their admission portal about the live audition in mid-December. Students who are not invited to a live audition will go back into the general application pool and receive full consideration for the other major listed on their applications.

The live audition lasts a full day, since we do not have cuts. Finalists will take ballet, contemporary, improvisation/freestyle, and hip-hop classes. After a lunch break, finalists will have about 10 minutes to chat with our faculty and present a two-minute solo. To answer a question that often follows: Yes, you can show us a longer version of one of the solos from your USC Kaufman Portfolio.

Final admission decisions

After the live auditions, faculty will recommend students to the USC Office of Admission. There will be a back and forth between the Office of Admission and USC Kaufman about each candidate’s talent, academic preparation and fit for our community. Students who are not recommended for the dance program will go back into the general application pool and receive full consideration for the other major listed on their applications.

All applicants will receive a final decision by April 1, with scholarship information to follow in early April.

Financial aid

While you’re waiting to receive a final admission decision, you should finish your financial aid application (by mid-February). This includes the FAFSA, CSS Profile and other information requested by the USC Financial Aid Office. Check your FAST account regularly, since you may be asked for additional documents or information. You want to take care of all financial aid matters before receiving an admission decision so that (1) we can administer any scholarships you receive and (2) you have a full month to consider your offer of admission while knowing what it will cost to attend USC Kaufman.

Final thoughts

We know that we’re asking for a lot of content and that it will take a lot of time for you to compile all of these materials. However, we hope that you’ll think of each component of the application and part of the process as an opportunity to tell us about yourself. We can’t wait to meet you!

By Anne Aubert-Santelli, Associate Dean of Admission and Student Services