What to know when submitting your written application
Pandemic adjustments Our written application process is staying the same in the pandemic.
Written applications are how we get to know you initially! We ask a lot of questions so you have a chance to show us who you are, your background, what you care about, and where being part of Spark's leadership fits into that picture. Here are all of the questions we ask on our written application each semester.
In Spark recruitment, each application is read three separate times by three different board members that do not know the identity of the applicant. All members read applications. Our Core Team facilitates the process and normalizes scores.
- What's your first name?
- What's your last name?
- What's your USC email address?
- When will you graduate?
- What are your majors and minors?
- How did you hear about Spark?
Application tip We recommend brainstorming and write out your application somewhere other than Typeform. It's super helpful to bullet-point everything you want to include, then workshop it all down into a few cohesive sentences that meet the word count.
- Tell us about a challenging experience that shaped you. 200-word limit.
- Where do you want to see yourself by the time you leave USC and how do you plan to get there? It's totally okay if you don't know where you want to end up yet, but tell us what you'll do to find out! 150-word limit.
- What's something you can talk about non-stop and why? We're interested in hearing about one of your hobbies, passions, or recent obsessions! 100-word limit.
- Several key aspects make Spark's board what it is today. Apart from our internal community, what resonates with you most about being a part of Spark leadership? Please note that you will not receive any points for this question by describing Spark's internal community. 75-word limit.
- Do you have any links/content you wish to share with us? Send us links to your photography or videography, personal website or LinkedIn, portfolio, blog, Twitter, favorite YouTube video or webcomic, resume, or whatever else you feel is relevant.
- Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Spark SC is committed to being a diverse and inclusive organization. The questions in this next section help us understand our applicant pool after recruitment ends. Your answers to these questions will not affect your application in any way.
- What are your preferred pronouns?
- How do you identify racially or ethnically?
- Are you a first-generation college student?
- In the past year, have you needed to work a part-time job while school is in session? We ask this question to understand how your time has been distributed in the past. However, we will not use this to speculate about your future commitments, nor will this negatively impact your application in any way.
After we close submissions, three Spark Board members will review and evaluate your anonymized application.
We anonymize, triplicate, and divide the apps among the Spark members who are available to read (20-30 people). Their job is to evaluate your responses along with the questions we listed above. When you apply, your reviewer can see the following information:
- Your graduation year
- Your major and minor
- Your responses to each of the questions
FAQ: Why do reviewers see my graduation year? Our reviewers need to understand how much time you have left to grow within Spark and impact the entrepreneurship community at USC. We typically admit people with three or more remaining semesters at USC including the semester of application. Most of our acceptances go out to freshmen and sophomores, though we've accepted up to four juniors in one semester.
FAQ: Why do reviewers see my major and minor? We don't recruit for or against specific disciplines like majors or minors. Your major and minor give us context for your responses as well as the disciplinary diversity we're seeing early on in recruitment.
Spark members evaluate anonymized applications using the following four criteria:
- Growth mindset
- Passion & drive
- Creative thinking
- Mission fit
Does this person demonstrate a desire to learn? A desire to fail upward? A desire to grow from experiencing challenges?
Do they have extensive knowledge about one or more topics? Have they shown a drive to pursue their passions through experience or expressed commitment?
Creativity is hard to define, but we like thinking of creativity as divergent thinking for the use of solving problems. Does this person demonstrate a desire to take unprecedented or experimental approaches when solving problems or completing a task?
Does this person demonstrate desires, passions, and values aligned with our mission? Does this person express a belief in expanding the definition of entrepreneurship for others? Does this person show interest in working on things that benefit or support others?
Written application decisions From a sheer score analysis, all applicants will hear about their application status about one day after applications close. If you've been selected to move forward, congratulations! You'll be moving on to 1:2 interviews.
If we don't ask you to participate in the next round of interviews, we hope you apply again! We're happy to chat with you more about entrepreneurship at USC and our events. Just send us an email at email@example.com and ask to grab coffee with a Board member.