Daniel Marques of Brazil receives direction during the check-in of prep students at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. (Photo/David Sprague)


First group of students arrives at USC International Academy

A new program will help students with SAT preparation and English-language skills, giving them the tools to pursue higher education in the U.S.

August 26, 2014 Becky Meza

The USC International Academy has welcomed the first cohort of students into its Undergraduate Preparation (UP) program, the first of four planned avenues of study. The immersive program is aimed at helping these students take the necessary steps to gain admission to USC or other U.S. colleges and universities.

The group includes students from Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. The program offers SAT test preparation, academic English-language instruction and admissions counseling. It also allows up to 12 units of coursework for the students at USC.

The international undergraduate prep students will take part in a distinct experience by being fully immersed in a traditional U.S. university environment.

Whitney Sherman

“No other top U.S. university has ever provided such complete support for prospective international undergraduate students,” said Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Anthony Bailey. “In fact, I’m not aware of any similar program in the scope and depth of services provided to our UP students.”

The academy will also offer a pre-master’s program that extends conditional admission to nearly 100 master’s programs at USC.

“What attracted me to the USC International Academy is the opportunity to gain the skills to further my education in the U.S. in hopes of one day becoming a global citizen and a film producer or director,” said Daniel Nakajima Marques, an undergraduate prep student from Brazil. “My educational interest lies in the film and communication fields.”

In addition to developing a student’s academic language and test-taking abilities, the undergraduate prep program is designed to immerse students in university and comparative cultures while honing their research and communications skills. Advanced-level students are also eligible to take USC general education courses that can be applied or transferred toward a bachelor’s degree in their chosen field.

Overcoming obstacles

Counselors will help the students attempt to overcome obstacles encountered by other international students, including the mastery of interviews and the proper way to make college applications stand out.

“The international undergraduate prep students will take part in a distinct experience by being fully immersed in a traditional U.S. university environment,” said Whitney Sherman, manager of university admissions advising and placement for the International Academy. “They will be treated as any other USC student while adapting to a rigorous academic environment led by expert faculty. No other U.S. program can offer this experience.”

For 12 years, USC has topped the list of U.S. colleges and universities with the most international students, according to the Institute of International Education. It’s also been one of the top producers of Fulbright student grant recipients. In 2013, USC sent 12 scholars for a year of study in countries such as India, Mexico and Vietnam.

USC’s global presence encompasses offices in Mexico (Mexico City), Brazil (São Paulo), China (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing), Taiwan (Taipei), South Korea (Seoul) and India (Mumbai). The USC International Academy was established in 2013 under the auspices of the USC Office of Global Initiatives, currently led by Bailey.