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2023 USC Valedictorian/Salutatorian Selection

Congratulations! Based on your stellar academic record at the University of Southern California, you have received a link to this page as an invitation to submit an application to be considered for the position of University Valedictorian or Salutatorian at the 2023 Commencement Ceremony.

Every university has its own set of traditions for selecting commencement speakers and honorees. At USC it is the custom to name one student to serve as the University Valedictorian and one or more students to serve as University Salutatorian. The Valedictorian delivers a five-minute commencement address; the Salutatorian(s) are included in the platform party, but do not have a speaking role.

The USC selection process differs considerably from that at most high schools, where recognition is based solely on cumulative grade point average and where, as a rule, the valedictorian and salutatorian are the first- and second-ranking students in the graduating class. The USC process recognizes the very highest levels of academic achievement, but it is also more holistic.

A panel of senior faculty drawn from across the university serves as the Valedictorian and Salutatorian Selection Committee. The committee members have an extremely difficult task. They are advised to base their selection on the following seven factors:

    1. grade point average
    2. number of course units completed at USC
    3. breadth of the academic program, taking into account the widely varying degree requirements of individual majors
    4. challenge of the academic program considered as a whole
    5. contribution to university and community life
    6. quality of essay submission
    7. willingness to accept the award and, in the case of the Valedictorian, ability to deliver a short high-quality commencement address

Please complete the online application only if you received an invitation to apply.

The application requires a one- or two-page résumé and a reflective essay on your college experience. The submission deadline is Sunday, February 5, 2023.

Once again, congratulations on all that you have accomplished at the University of Southern California.