USC vs UCLA – Which College is BETTER? (Full Ultimate details)7 min read

A lot of comparisons have come on USC vs UCLA; both colleges are excellent in their ways and making waves all over the world. Moreover, there are lots of similarities like in the location (Los Angeles) and a lot of differences in the academic style, admission strategies and rate, financial aid, sports, and extracurricular activities. The first and foremost difference is, one is a Public school(UCLA), and the other is a Private school(USC).

USC stands for (University of Southern California) while UCLA stands for (University of California-Los Angeles).

Another similarity is that the highest degree you can get at USC and UCLA is a Doctor’s degree-research/scholarship and professional practice.

If you want to choose between the two colleges, in this article, I will give you the full ultimate details on USC vs UCLA, the differences concerning academic style, admission strategies and rate, financial aid, sports, courses, extracurricular activities, and many more. Then you can decide which school is better for you to enroll in.

USC vs UCLA (Campus)


There are two campuses in USC located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles; University Park campus and the Health Sciences campus. In the 226-acre University Park Campus (UPC), you will find:

  • USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
  • The USC Graduate School
  • Most USC’s professional schools

The 79-acre Health Sciences Campus has:

  • Keck School of Medicine of USC
  • School of Pharmacy


UCLA campus is five miles from the Pacific Ocean with a 419-acre Westwood campus, making it a famous tourist destination.

It is located between Beverly Hills and Bel Air and has more than 1000 clubs providing a lot of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment opportunities. UCLA is 17th in the world and number 2 among U.S. public universities attracting a lot of people from all over the world.

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USC vs UCLA (Academics)


It is divided into 23 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. The USC’s School of Cinematic Arts stands out as the number one on the Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 American Film Schools for seven years. They offer over 150 different majors and concentrations, and they encourage double majoring in two unrelated subjects. Some of the popular majors in USC are:

  • Letters, Arts, and Sciences
  • Accounting
  • Architecture
  • Art and Design
  • Arts, Technology, Business
  • Business
  • Cinematic Arts
  • Communication, Journalism
  • Dance
  • Dentistry
  • Dramatic Arts
  • Education
  • Gerontology
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Music
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Professional Studies
  • Public Policy
  • Social Work


They are offering more than 3,900 courses in 109 academic departments, including top-ranked programs and instruction in 40 different languages. They offer 125+ undergraduate majors through its seven academic divisions:

  • College of Letters and Science
  • School of the Arts and Architecture
  • Samueli School of Engineering
  • Herb Alpert School of Music
  • School of Nursing
  • Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • School of Theater, Film, and Television

USC vs UCLA (Application)


The application system used in USC (University of Southern California) is a Common Application commonly called “Common App.”

According to Shemmasian Consulting, the common app serves as a single application that over seven-hundred colleges, including every Ivy League school (e.g. Harvard, Yale, Princeton) and Stanford, share. It allows you to fill out things like your name, demographics, extracurricular activities, and more, just once for every school that uses it.

The common app is used to get valuable Personal statement about a student excluding the grades and SAT scores. Your Statement is the single loudest ‘qualitative’ element of your application. It brings to life the student you! behind your statistics and demographics.


The application system used at UCLA is the UC Application (University of California) which is similar to the Common Application of the USC.

Due to the high number of applicants to the University of California-Los Angeles, the admissions committees decided to use an examination system of not only SAT scores and grades but the personal insights of a student beyond the class. They take into account the extracurricular life of a student, leadership skills, and many other factors.

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When comparing UCLA vs USC, UCLA is harder to get into because both colleges put a lot of factors into consideration to reach students that have different strengths, weaknesses, and backgrounds.

UCLA vs USC (Financial Aid)


55% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid, and 45% receive grants and scholarships to cover their University of California system-wide tuition and fees. The UCLA financial aid professionals will make every effort to help you afford to pay for your education. 

According to UCLA Admission, there are Four Types of Financial Aid:

  • SCHOLARSHIPS – Awarded based on academic merit
  • GRANTS – awards that the recipient does not have to repay. Most are awarded based on need and require submission of the Financial Aid Application by March 2.
  •  STUDENT LOANS – In 2018, graduating seniors in the U.S. had an average student loan debt of over $29,800. But for UCLA seniors, the average was much lower, just over $22,390. And virtually all UCLA graduates 98% of them successfully manage loan repayment.
  • PART-TIME STUDENT JOBS – Having a part-time job can help pay for textbooks and day-to-day living expenses.


A large percentage of students study at UCLA on grants and scholarships. It’s a public school; thus, all funds come from the students, although it is one of the country’s most extensive financial aid programs and helps students meet 100% of determining financial need.

The similarity in UCLA vs USC on financial aid is that both are need-blind institutions, meaning that a student’s ability to pay is not factored into admissions decisions. A significant difference is in the cost of tuition.

$35,791 for California residents
$65,545 for out-bound

UCLA vs USC (Population)


Student EthnicityPercentage of Student Population 


Undergraduate EthnicityPercentage of Undergraduate Population 
Two or more races6%
African American3%
Pacific Islander< 1%
American Indian / Alaska Native< 1%
Domestic, race/ethnicity unknown2%
Total international12%

UCLA vs USC (Rankings)


According to the USnews, University of California-Los Angeles is ranked:

  • 20th in National Universities
  • 5th in best college veterans,
  • 76th in best Undergradaute teaching
  • 111th in best value schools
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According to the USnews, University of Southern California(USC) is ranked:

  • 22th in National Universities
  • 5th in best college veterans,
  • 56th in best college teaching
  • 37th in best value schools

UCLA vs USC (SAT Scores)

SAT score of about 1420-1540In-State SAT score of about 1300-1530
Out-of-State SAT score of about1440-1550
ACT score of 32-35In-State ACT of about 28-35
Out-of-State ACT of about 33-35

UCLA vs USC (Student to Faculty Ratio)


UCLA vs USC (Sports)


Being one of the top football colleges in California, USC has established national football power. The USC Trojan football team has won 11 national championships and produced seven Heisman Trophy winners, the award for the most outstanding college football player. 


UCLA is recognized as consistently being one of the top basketball programs in the nation. The UCLA men’s basketball team has won a staggering 11 national championships more than any other college in the country. 

They also have the UCLA women’s water polo team, which has won seven national titles and is doing well. Also, the UCLA women’s soccer team has dominated the Women of Troy.

Similar games on rivalry in UCLA vs USC

  • Fencing
  • Rose Bowl
  • Baseball
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo

Final tips:

In choosing the best college for you, in the aspect of USC vs UCLA, you need to check yourself and the degree you want. If USC offers the degree in the best way, then go for it. On the other hand, check your financial strength and how well you can cater for yourself in choosing from both great schools.

Awesome one, I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading this article.

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