Applying to USC Kaufman

October 8, 2018

Woman focusing on laptop at desk

BFA student Alyssa Allen | Photo by Celine Kiner

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

Start at www.commonapp.org

The process starts with the Common Application. Select your application type (first-year or transfer) and add ‘University of Southern California’ to your list of colleges. In addition to the Common App requirements, first-year students will provide additional information on the USC Writing Supplement when applying.

Indicate your intended major in dance

When you have to select your USC major, be sure to choose “KSOD: Dance, B.F.A.” as one of your two choices. You’ll have to scroll down a bit on the drop down menu. From there, you’ll be asked to confirm that you are applying to USC Kaufman, which has a portfolio requirement. A new section titled “Portfolio” will magically appear along the left navigation when you click “Yes.”

Follow the Portfolio link within the Common Application

Click on the link to head over to SlideRoom. Here is where you’ll provide your USC Kaufman Portfolio of dance materials. You can work on your portfolio while working on the rest of your application to the university.

Submit everything by Dec. 1

You must submit your Common Application plus USC Writing Supplement (for first-year students) AND your USC Kaufman Portfolio by Dec. 1. We’re happy to accept your application before Dec. 1 too!

The Office of Admission reviews your university application while our faculty reviews your USC Kaufman Portfolio

The Office of Admission starts its review of your university application, while our faculty spend the first two weeks of December reviewing your USC Kaufman Portfolio. These two processes happen completely independent of one another at this point.

Get your live audition results in mid-December

In mid-December, you will get an email stating whether or not you have been selected for a live audition. Students who are not invited to a live audition go back into the general admission pool and will receive full consideration for their second-choice majors. Students who are invited to a live audition will be scheduled for an audition date based upon the preferences listed on their USC Kaufman Portfolios. Again, we haven’t talked with the Office of Admission about our finalists yet… except perhaps to say hello.

Audition in January

You’ll join us for an entire day on campus. You will take ballet, contemporary, improvisation and hip-hop classes. Then, you’ll have about 10 minutes to chat with our faculty and present a three-minute solo of your choice. To answer the question that often follows: Yes, you can show us a longer version of the solo from one of your videos.

Relax while we do our thing

Okay, that’s not entirely fair to ask of you. But, at this point, you’ve done all you need to do. After we’ve finished all live auditions, our 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 the candidates’ talent, academic preparation, and fit for our community. Students not recommended for the dance program go back into the general application pool and will receive full consideration for their second-choice majors.

Apply for financial aid

Actually, you haven’t entirely done all you need to do. Don’t forget to submit EVERYTHING for financial aid (FAFSA, CSS Profile and any other requested information) by early February. Don’t wait until you’ve been admitted. Be sure to check your FAST account regularly, since you may be asked for additional documentation.

Get your decision!

You’ll receive a decision by April 1 via snail mail. (I love that we still admit students the old-fashioned way!) If admitted to USC, your packet will indicate the major to which you’ve been admitted. Fingers crossed, that it lists B.F.A., Dance.

And then you get to make us sweat

We’ve made you jump through a million hoops up through your audition, and then you hear nothing from us for two months. Well, the tables have turned. Now you get to make us sweat it out while we hope that you’ll choose us by May 1.


By Anne Aubert-Santelli