Rather than posting about the happenings of my week, this post is going to outline some of my key factors when I was selecting schools, and where USC stood in these factors.
First off is the Academics: The only reason I went to college is to learn more, ultimately. The quality of the engineering program of a school was one of the first things I considered in my applications. Of course, you all know the drill of looking it up on the net, asking friends and family, touring, etc. so I’ll spare you my details, but USC consistently was ranked and regarded as an excellent engineering program lead by world class professors and researchers.
Secondly is the Location: I’m from Palo Alto which is in Northern California, and I knew from the get-go that I wanted to stay in California for school. I’m close with my family and I didn’t want to move too far away, though of course I didn’t want to stay too close. I think some of the more important things you’ll learn in college will come from living on your own and away from home. Most of the other schools I applied to were UC’s, though I applied to Northwestern and Rice to appease my parents (remember that regardless of your scholarship options, your parents will still be helping you out and supporting you through college – make them happy). USC’s location was prime for me; in-state, so flying home only takes an hour (3 hours door-to-door from USC to home), but far enough away from home that I wouldn’t be tempted to visit home whenever I wanted to. Going to school in a city appealed to me as well; I’m from a somewhat rural area and I wanted to experience the hustle and bustle of a city during college. And you simply can’t beat Southern California’s weather!
Next is School Spirit: I came from a high school that had a lot of school spirit. The students were passionate about our school and were always involved in homecoming and sports game and spirit days. I wanted to go to a school that had good school spirit and at least one good sports team. This criteria didn’t really help me when I was picking colleges, but it did help when I was trying to decide which ones I wouldn’t apply to. One of my favorite things about USC to this day is how much school spirit their is. Students here are proud of the University and proud to be Trojans, and they aren’t afraid to show it. And, of course, we have a world-class football team (I’d argue #1 in the PAC12 by a long shot). Game Days are some of the most fun I’ve had at USC! You can’t help but feel the spirit when you look out over a sea of cardinal and gold on game days.
The next is Fun: While my number one priority was education, going to a college where I’d have fun was pretty important to me. One of the reasons I liked USC so much after I toured was that everyone looked happy. Everyone that I met in Viterbi weren’t stereotypical antisocial engineers. They all had personality and were outgoing and friendly with me. This wasn’t true at most of the other schools I had toured. Make no mistake engineering is hard – making and having friends will help you stay unstressed. I figured that that would be easiest at a school where the students were friendly and happy.
There were naturally many other factors to my decision, but these were the ones that really mattered to me. At the end of the day what really sold me on USC was that it was the only school that gave me that je ne sais quoi, that certain panache of a school that can speak right to you and excite you. The day I came out to tour the school was a beautiful April day and I just fell in love with the campus and with the school.