Believe me when I say this, USC wasn’t my first choice… or my second; yet here I am and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Let me take you back three years ago to when I was deciding on where to attend college. Choosing a college is a monumental decision; you basically chose your life, your friends, and more likely than not where you’ll end up after college. It may be hard to see looking from the outside , but I’ll shed some light on some of my favorite parts of being a student here and how it would be impossible for me not to choose USC if I were to do it over.

All the schools I was choosing between were pretty comparable in costs and academics, so I would say the best parts of USC are the opportunities available to students, flexibility, location, and the alumni.

The amount of opportunities that are available to students are unmatched. I knew I wanted somewhere that I could get hands on experience and be able to study abroad. I have been able to do both of those during my first year as an undergraduate, where I got a research position in a lab as well as studied abroad for a summer in Paris! Studying abroad was by far my best experience in college and I was glad that it was as easy to go as it was promoted when I made my decision.

Coming into USC, I had no idea which major I wanted to pursue. I knew that I wanted to be in engineering but didn’t know which one. USC Viterbi allows you to switch majors with ease are you are not locked into your major like at some other schools. You also start taking engineering classes as soon as you arrive on campus rather than your junior year so that you know if it is something you like. The best part about flexibility in course scheduling is that it allows you to fit in a minor or do a progressive degree,  which is why I decided to add a Product Development Engineering Masters to my schedule, where I will get my Master’s degree in one additional semester.

Nothing get better than being in LA for college; nothing. I love being in a city because there are many things to do on the weekends that are effortless, like going to the beach or concerts, that I probably wouldn’t get/ would be a challenge somewhere else. I also never check the weather because I know it will be nice outside. Being situated in LA is also very beneficial for finding internships, as many employers for aerospace/tech are in the LA area. I was able to get my internship in LA this past summer through the Viterbi career fair, and opportunities like this are great avenues to potential full time positions after graduation.

Last but not least, the Trojan Family is incomparable (like I knew it was good, I just didn’t know HOW good until I got here). Alumni really go above and beyond to help current students in any way that they can. Many job recruiters are USC alums and come back to USC to hire fellow trojans, making it a lot easier in interviews since you almost always have similar experiences to talk about.

In reality, I would have been happy at any college I chose to attend. Knowing what I know now about the student life and experience’s I’ve had, I wouldn’t change that decision for the world. You’re going to make the most of your time at any college, I just hope my experience can help you decide if USC is the right place for you!

Mark Parent

Mark Parent

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Diamond Bar, California PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @mvparent On campus, I am part of the National Society of Black Engineers and was a Resident Assistant for the McCarthy Honors College. I have also conducted research in the Immersive Audio Lab and have a Sports Business & Management Minor!

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