What’s the difference between the Online Exploration courses and the Summer Programs courses held on campus in the summer?
The Pre-College Online Exploration Courses are designed for high school students to work through material at their own pace and can be accomplished during the academic semester of high school. All of the course content and assignments are completed online. Students who complete at least 70% of the material will earn a Certificate of Completion from USC and a transcript from the USC Pre-College Programs office.

Students admitted to USC Summer Programs take one academic course over a four-week period on USC’s campus and earn college credit. Most Summer Programs students stay on campus in the residential halls, however we can also accommodate students who live nearby and would prefer to commute to campus daily.

Both the online and on campus courses are taught by USC faculty and industry professionals.

How are the Online Exploration courses structured?
The Pre-College Online Exploration courses consist of material that is designed to be reviewed and completed independently. Course work will contain video content, assignments and a discussion board. Each course contains 20-25 hours of content that will be done independently.

Pre-Produced Video Content: 5-6 hours
Reading, Resources and Knowledge Checks: 7-9 hours
Assignments and Discussions: 8-10 hours

Are there exams in the Online Exploration Courses?
In order to assess understanding of the material, there is a Knowledge Check at the end of each of the five modules. The Knowledge Checks are multiple choice questions and students must earn at least a 70% in order to receive a Certificate of Completion. Knowledge Checks can be retaken as many times as is needed.

Do I receive college credit?
Students who successfully complete an Online Exploration course earn an official Certificate of Completion from the University of Southern California.

Students who are admitted to USC Summer Programs and successfully complete the four-week college-level course earn 3 college credits.

How many hours do I need to plan to be online each week?
The Online Exploration Courses have five modules and each module will take about five to six hours to complete. Courses typically take students two-four weeks to complete, however students have up to 90 days to successfully complete the material and earn a Certificate of Completion.

Are classes taught by USC faculty?
Online Exploration courses have been designed and are taught by USC faculty and/or trusted industry experts who work with our professional schools. Online discussions are hosted by USC Mentors, who are USC students, via the online discussion board.

Will I have the opportunity to interact with other students in the online courses?
Yes. Each course has a start date and a cohort of other students who are taking the online course at the same time. Students will engage in online discussions via the discussion board, all facilitated by USC Mentors.

How will I receive my Certificate of Completion and USC Pre-College Programs transcript?
Qualifying students (students who complete all content sections and pass all Knowledge Checks) will be emailed an official Certificate of Completion from the University of Southern California. In addition, the USC Pre-College Programs office will provide a course transcript, if requested.

How do I qualify to earn the Certificate of Completion?
Students can earn a Certificate of Completion for the Online Exploration Courses by completing all content modules and answering 70% of the questions correctly on the Knowledge Checks at the end of each Module. There are five modules in each course.

What happens if I don’t complete a module?
Students who successfully review and complete all content modules and answer 70% of the questions on the Knowledge Check associated with each of the five modules will earn a Certificate of Completion. Students must review all content and complete all five modules in order to earn a Certificate of Completion.

What do I do if I have questions about the course content?
Students can use the discussion board forum and connect with the USC Mentor to ask clarifying questions about the course content.

What are the benefits of attending USC Online Pre-College Exploration Courses?
As a high school student, there are many advantages to enrolling in one of our USC Pre-College Online Exploration Courses. By attending USC Pre-College Programs, you will:

  • Earn a USC Certificate of Completion
  • Add to your college applications
  • Make new friends and peers from around the world
  • Gain a better understanding of who you want to become during your college career
  • Try out a college major before committing to your undergraduate studies

Can enrolling in USC Online Pre-College Exploration Courses help me gain admission to college or USC?
While enrolling in a USC Online Pre-College Exploration Course can indicate your interest in the university and passion for a specific academic area, it does not guarantee admission or a special preference in the admissions process. Upon completion of your USC Pre-College Exploration Course, however, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion, which can be added to your high school resume and college applications.


What is included on the Online Exploration Course application?
We ask that you provide contact and demographic information for yourself and your parent or guardian, a short response on why you want to take the course and tell us a little about yourself.

Is there an application fee?
Yes. When you submit your application, you will be asked to submit a $35 application fee. When you submit your application payment be sure and write your first and last Name in the space provided.

How much does the program cost?
The tuition cost is $1990 per course, in addition to a $35 application fee.

When will I receive access to the course?
Students who have paid their tuition in full will receive an email with instructions on how to access the Online Exploration courses. We require students to be paid in full at least three (3) business days prior to the start of the course.

Is there an age requirement to participate in the courses?
Yes, in order to participate, students must be at least 14 years old or older and enrolled in a high school or secondary program.

Students who have graduated from high school and are taking a gap year and/or would like to take an online course prior to attending their first semester of college, are eligible for the online exploration courses.

Is there financial assistance or are scholarships available?
USC Pre-College Programs is proud to honor full scholarships for our Online Exploration Courses to students enrolled in the summer session of the USC Leslie and William Morrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative (USC NAI). Qualified and interested students who are enrolled in grades 9-12 can send an email for application and enrollment instructions to

What is the acceptance rate of USC Online Pre-College Exploration Courses?
When admitting students into USC Online Pre-College Exploration Courses, we look for candidates who have a dedicated interest in their chosen course topic and are motivated to add on to their current high school curriculum. We also seek students who want to deepen their knowledge in particular areas and are seeking academic exposure to their desired field of study.


Who should I contact if I can’t access my course?
Students can use “forgot my password” on our course platform to perform a password reset. The website will be shared with admitted students.

What if I have other technical issues?
You can also email with any other questions related to accessing your online course materials.

What system does the Online Exploration Courses use?
USC Pre-College programs has developed a very simple online learning platform for students to access course content, assignments, chat features and messages from USC Mentors and staff.

What type of computer do I need to access the Online Exploration course materials?
The course materials can be accessed from any computer, tablet or phone with internet and a web browser.