We sent our first round of admissions out a few weeks ago now; I’m sure a ton of you have been checking this site out and fantasizing about USC (I know I was). Two years ago, I was in the exact same position as you, and hopefully, with this post, I can give you a bit of a run down for ExploreUSC, our scholarship interview/day at USC process.
You’ll come to campus, stoked and ready to see what college life is like. Next week should be sunny and beautiful, hopefully you get to walk around and see how incredible the USC campus is before you attend all the different lectures and presentations about life as a Trojan. You’ll walk around Trousdale, see the iconic Bovard auditorium, stop for a quick bite at Campus Center where you can find restaurants like Panda Express, California Pizza Kitchen, Verde and more, right in the middle of campus, and take a picture at Tommy Trojan. The best part about Explore however, is the host process.
If you’re reading this blog, I’m assuming you’re an engineer, and consequently, you’ll be matched with an engineer host. Someone, most likely in your major, will basically take you under their wing and take you around for the rest of the day, showing you their favorite places, introducing you to their friends, taking you to meals and hosting you overnight. You, as a student, will get unlimited access to the student experience- my first tip is to ask your host EVERYTHING. Hosts are open books, and usually love to talk to you guys about school. Ask them anything and everything you want to know, they’ll answer. If there’s any places you want to see specifically, like certain buildings or cool spots on campus, ask them, they’ll be happy to take you!! Develop a good relationship with your host– I hosted several students last year, and I’ve kept in touch with all of them. One even plays frisbee with me now, another works in my research lab!!
Now, for the part I’m sure you’re all stressing about- the interview. The structure of the interview is a panel, which basically means that there are three people in front of you, asking you questions. One is usually an admissions officer, one is a professor, and one is an undergraduate student. This might sound intimidating or stressful, but seriously, this interview was one of the best, most relaxed ones I had in the entire college application process. You’ve already been admitted, we know you deserve to be here and how incredible and accomplished you are. With the scholarship interviews, we simply want to get to know you better, and the interview ends up like a conversation between friends. It was extremely relaxed and fun for me; I remember talking about Harry Potter for half my interview. Tip #2: don’t stress the interview– don’t try to prepare and memorize your application essays or the USC guidebook. Instead, peruse it, see if you have any questions about student life or academics, and ask questions. The reason three people are in there interviewing you is because they represent the USC resources: administration, professors, and your fellow students. Navigate the conversation and stay relaxed, ask questions throughout and definitely have one ready for the end.
There will be several opportunities to meet other students throughout the Explore process- do it!! Go out and socialize, these are some of the smartest and brightest high schoolers from around the country (and believe it or not, that includes you). Make friendships, make connections, and hopefully, you’ll fall in love with USC along the way. Explore is an incredible experience, and is the reason I ended up coming to USC. Enjoy the ride :’)
That’s all I have, be sure to reach out/comment if you have questions!! Fight on 🙂