While the acceptance rate for admitted undergraduate students increased, the university had more applicants, admitted more out-of-state and international students and remained fairly consistent in its acceptance of underrepresented applicants, according to statistics released by the university Monday.This year, the Office of Admission accepted 9,304 of 47,279 applicants for a class size of 2,650 students. USC reported an admission rate of 19.7 percent. Last year, USC reported that it admitted 18 percent (or about 8,265) of 45,917 applicants for the same projected class size.Timothy Brunold, the university’s dean of admission, said the incoming class is a very competitive group of students.“USC’s fall 2013 entering freshman class is shaping up to be the most impressive in the university’s 133-year history,” Brunold told USC News. “The group of students we have selected is characterized by unprecedented levels of diversity: ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic. I am confident that our faculty will be pleased to teach this incredibly bright, talented and impressive group of young adults.”Though the acceptance rate seems to have gone up, other measures of admitted students’ academic achievements are largely the same. Admitted students for the classes of 2016 and 2017 school years mostly come from the top 10 percent of their high school’s graduating class; for both, 75 percent have test scores at or above the 95th percentile. USC also reported the same average unweighted high school GPA for this and last year’s accepted students: 3.82 on a 4.00 scale.USC’s slow-but-steady increase in the percentage of out-of-state students has not waned. About 45 percent of admitted students are in-state, compared to 47 percent last year. The current sophomore class was USC’s first-ever class of 2015 to have less than half of its student hail from California, at 49 percent.The number of admitted international students has increased by 4 percent from last year, rising to 17 percent. With international offices in India, China and Brazil, the admissions office has been gradually increasing efforts to reach more students worldwide, as reported in previous Daily Trojan articles.While geographic diversity is increasing, racial diversity has remained nearly constant between this and last year’s admitted students statistics. The percentage of the admitted class that identified as Asian dropped from 30 percent to 26 percent and the percent of the admitted class that identified as black increased from 6 percent to 7 percent. The percentage of admitted students that identified as Latino or Native American/Pacific Islander stayed the same, at 12 percent and 2 percent, respectively.The university reported that it accepted more first-generation college students than most other private university in the country, with 11 percent of admitted students being the first in their family to attend college, compared to 12 percent last year. USC enrolls 3,398 first-generation students as of fall 2012, or 19 percent of all undergraduates.The most-represented metropolitan areas in the U.S. outside California are nearly the same compared to last year, though Dallas and Boston are now better represented than Washington, D.C. The most represented foreign countries for undergraduates are still China, South Korea, India and Canada.
Isaiah Pola-Mao didn’t know he would be starting his first college football game until Thursday. The redshirt freshman was forced into action at safety after sophomore Bubba Bolden, who was supposed to start, was taken out of the lineup two days before the season opener against UNLV for an undisclosed reason.Bolden’s loss was Pola-Mao’s gain. Pola-Mao, who redshirted last season after sustaining a shoulder injury, made a statement on his very first play, forcing a fumble on UNLV’s opening play from scrimmage.“I was overwhelmed with a lot emotions, and I was very sad for what Bubba was going through but I had to lock in and focus and clear my mind, get ready for this game,” Pola-Mao said.Pola-Mao stripped UNLV running back Lexington Thomas of the football deep in the Rebels’ territory, setting up a short field for the USC offense, which produced a field goal that would get the Trojans on the board first. The Trojans easily won 43-21 at the Coliseum.Pola-Mao said he was nervous before the game.“Being away from football and not actually playing in a game, it’s a big difference,” he said. “Coming into my first college game, I was very anxious, so I just had to get the jitters out. Happened to be a big [play].”It quickly endeared Pola-Mao with the veterans on the defensive corps.“That was big, that was big, that was dope for him,” said redshirt senior cornerback Ajene Harris.Senior linebacker Cameron Smith said the situation could not have played out any better for the first-time starter.“Anytime after that first play or that first series, you just calm down and just say, ‘It’s football,’” Smith said. “That’s what he needed to get him going and I thought he did a really good job for us today.”There’s no better way to calm down than by forcing a turnover seconds into the game.“I don’t think he saw me so I came in and just tried to punch it as hard as I could and landed right on,” Pola-Mao said on forcing the fumble.Pola-Mao was originally slotted on the depth chart behind senior Marvell Tell at free safety, but slid over to strong safety once Bolden was unavailable. Head coach Clay Helton declined to provide details on Bolden’s situation after the announcement was made on Thursday, though a University spokesperson confirmed he was still on the roster.The Phoenix native starred in high school at Mountain Pointe High, named to the Max Preps All-American first team in 2016. He also has football royalty in his blood – Pola-Mao’s uncle is former USC and NFL star safety Troy Polamalu and his great uncle, Kennedy Polamalu, played for USC from 1982-85 as a fullback and is now an assistant with the Minnesota Vikings.Now, it’s Pola-Mao’s turn. Though he had nerves heading into his debut, the redshirt freshman said he had a good feeling in his heart the night before the game.“I was thinking about it [Friday] night,” Pola-Mao said. “I saw the opportunity and just took it.”A reporter asked him to elaborate on what he felt.“I felt me making a play, changing the game,” he said.