This year, most students will not have the chance to see campus themselves in person before they decide to apply. For me, visiting the school was a huge factor in deciding to go or not. While I can’t bring all of the elements of campus to you in a blog post, I will try my best to break down my feelings and thoughts while I was visiting and what to look out for on-campus and answer some of the questions I had during my college search.

Before I begin…

Let me tell you a funny story about my Explore ‘SC experience. For my Explore ‘SC I had to do an interview and after the interview, they gave us all little goodie bags with a bunch of Viterbi swag in it, including a really nice Viterbi Voices mug. As I was sitting down outside Tutor Campus Center before the closing lunch, I placed the bag down next to me and heard a crack. To this day I do not know how delicately placing a bag down caused this mug to break, but when I looked inside that bag the mug was broken. Now, I wouldn’t say that I am a superstitious person, but I was young and stressed and I immediately took it as a sign that I flopped on the interview and wouldn’t end up going to USC. It sounds stupid, but I really genuinely thought that was the universe severing its ties between USC and me, and I was extremely disappointed. I finished Explore thinking that there was no chance that I was coming back, but here I am! Thankfully, that omen was not real because I adore USC and Viterbi and could genuinely not imagine going anywhere else and I am extraordinarily grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had here. My point is, visiting schools even after you’ve been admitted is still stressful but ultimately things are going to work out no matter what you decide! Okay, onto some FAQs!

What does a bustling campus look like? 

A typical day at USC involves seeing almost all kinds of non-motorized transportation. Skateboards, scooters, bicycles line the roads and I’m consistently amused by some of the eccentric ways that students use to get from class to class. You’ll also see some amazing outfits and fashion on campus; so many students are involved in arts and fashion and it brings a real liveliness to the school.

How walkable is the campus?

USC famously has an almost entirely flat campus, making it extremely walkable and the longest you will have to walk to get from one edge of campus to the other is probably around fifteen minutes.

What’s the dining situation like?

Freshmen are given unlimited swipes to all three of the on-campus dining halls: Parkside, Everybody’s Kitchen (EVK), and the Village Dining Hall. Each dining hall has its own specialty: McCarthy has a great Vegan section and hummus bar, Parkside has really good comfort food (fries, etc), and EVK has some cool finds like their fruit water and some other stuff. It’s really good and you can take a look at the menu online ahead of time to decide which one you want to go to that day.

What does the lab space look like?

In terms of research, Viterbi has plenty across all its disciplines and extending into a wide variety of other fields. This interdisciplinary research lends itself to unique labs across campus that you can look into if you’re interested in going down the research track. For all you hobbyists out there: USC is opening up a new Maker Space that’s going to be open for undergraduate use in the Fall and I know for a fact that they’re going to have a Waterjet cutting machine and a bunch of other state-of-the-art equipment and they’ve actually been looking for student input on what else to get for the lab. In the meantime, there’s a solid fabrication lab and also if you ask politely most departmental labs will let you use their equipment (shout out to the Mech E senior design lab for helping me laser cut my electronics board).

What’s a typical day in the life of a Viterbi student? 

A typical day in the life of a Viterbi student involves a few hours of class, discussion, and lab sections, some club meetings, research work or other job work, and time for studying, eating, and decompressing. You’ll be kept fairly busy but not unpleasantly so, and it’s been a really fun experience so far.

Hopefully, this helped answer a few of your questions and helped make your decision a little easier. Good luck!

Emily London

Emily London

MAJOR: Electrical & Computer Engineering YEAR: Class of 2023 HOMETOWN: Mclean, Virginia PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @emily_london14 On campus, I am the director of outreach for USC Makers, conduct research for the Human-Robot Interaction Lab, and am a course producer for EE109. Outside of Viterbi, I am minoring in cultural diplomacy.

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