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Unlike Most Private Colleges, USC Accepts Some 1,500 Transfer Students Annually

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Xavier Garcia sat at a welcome dinner the evening of move-in day at USC, shoulders straight, shirt tucked, hands folded over a notebook filled with questions to ask and people to meet.

USC student Xavier Garcia takes an organic chemistry class. He is the first in his family to attend college. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

With Ds in high school and no family with college degrees, he once had dismissed the possibility of attending a private school. But at Sacramento City College, he had buckled down. Now here he was, a transfer student at the so-called University of Spoiled Children.

Transferring into an elite private college is not easy. Princeton hasn’t taken a transfer in more than two decades, according to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics. In the fall of 2015, Stanford enrolled 15 transfer students; Yale, 24. Cornell and Georgetown University, known for accepting transfers, took in 497 and 186, respectively.

USC student Xavier Garcia transferred from Sacramento City College and is the first in his family to attend college. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

USC, by contrast, accepted 1,505 transfers from 350 colleges. They made up almost one-third of its new undergraduates. About 800, like Garcia, transferred from a community college. Many were the first in their families to attend college. Most were on financial aid.

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