I can still remember the stressful month of April during my senior year, trying to look at the schools I was accepted to and trying to decide on a university I would attend for the next four years of my life. It was not until a couple days before May 1st when I finally decided on USC. Now, as I finish up my last month at USC, I can confidently say that I made the right choice. I thought it might be useful to anyone who is still on the fence about coming to USC to see why I decided to attend.
The most important factor in my college decision was finding a research university. I wanted to go to an institution that is conducting groundbreaking research. Most of the universities I applied to though, were research universities. Therefore, it really came down to what I would get out of going to a research university. I felt that, at USC, I as an undergraduate would be able to get involved in this research and help make a difference. Over my four years, I have gotten involved in research and was able to work with a PhD student studying the combustion properties of different fuels. I think USC offers great opportunities for students to get involved in research if they are proactive.
The second factor in choosing USC was that I wanted to experience the benefits of going to a private university. I wanted to be in classes taught by faculty conducting research on that topic. I wanted to establish a personal relationship with the department and I did not want to feel lost as a member of the campus community. I feel as though during my time at USC, I have been able to establish close relationships with certain professors and feel as though I can email or drop in to see my staff advisor when I want to, and they are more than happy to help me with whatever I need. It is also nice to have certain resources, like free one-on-one tutoring, supplemental instruction programs, and resume workshops, within arms reach.
My final factor in choosing USC was the student life experience. When I first came to campus the end of my sophomore year, I noticed a certain vibe walking through campus that I had not felt anywhere else. The campus seemed to be a real community, where students watch out for each other. The campus is very beautiful and not so big that you feel lost. I also was very excited to join the USC Trojan Marching Band, as I was involved in marching band in high school, and wanted to continue that activity into college. Finally, USC is located in one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world, and I was excited to go exploring. My experience outside of the classroom has been amazing, and I believe that I would not have had as great of an experience anywhere else. USC was the place for me!
I hope getting a glimpse into my college decision helps you make yours. I would offer up a tip: No one can tell you what the best university is. It is not in the rankings, it’s not where your friends are going. It’s where is the best fit for you. Figure out where you would like to spend your next four years, inside and outside of the classroom.