Deciding on which college to attend is tricky business because you have to weigh many different factors. When I came to my senior year of high school I had seen a lot of different schools. I have two older brothers and I went with each of them on their respective college visits. So I had a wide array of schools to think about, but I was somewhat unsure of what I wanted in a college. I knew I wanted a fairly big school and that I was interested in Chemistry, but other than that I was pretty lost. I planned to apply to a few Ivies as well as a few in-state schools (check out my post on my college application story for more info about where and how I applied) but there was no one school that I was particularly excited about. I didn’t actually stumble upon USC until about halfway through the first semester of my senior year. A few friends of mine who had already graduated from high school and who attend USC convinced me to come out to California for the weekend to check out the school. I came for the weekend thinking I was just going to have a fun college weekend, but that perception soon changed.
The first thing about USC that attracted me was the feel and look of the campus. I had been used to being on east coast college campuses that had an older feel. But everything about USC felt new, fresh, and exciting. The whole campus looked pristine with beautiful architecture and landscaping. On top of that I really got a good feel of the “trojan spirit” that every one talks about. I was on campus for a football game and was blown away by the school spirit that pervaded the campus. Everyone was decked out in cardinal and gold and was cheering and getting pumped up for the upcoming game. I also spent time exploring LA and saw that it was quite an amazing city. The idea of attending college in the city always appealed to me, and LA certainly has a lot to offer culturally and socially.
At the end of the weekend, as I was flying home to Virginia, I knew I had to add this school to my list. However, I didn’t really know much about the school’s academics. I also wasn’t sure what I wanted to study but I knew I was interested in Chemistry and Theater. The possibility of studying engineering had always been in the back of my mind because my brother was a Mechanical Engineer and he had talked it up a lot. However, I had always written this idea out of my mind because I had heard how rigorous the requirements were for an engineering degree and I didn’t think I could study Engineering and Theater simultaneously.
In late October, I attended a USC info session in D.C. At the session I ended up talking to one of the Engineering admissions directors. I mentioned that I was interesting in engineering but that I really wanted to minor in Theater and didn’t think I could do both. He practically laughed at me and proceeded to tell me all about USC’s programs that would allow interdisciplinary study, especially for someone who wanted to study engineering. He then told me that Theater was the 4th most popular minor for engineers. Once I left the session, I researched the Viterbi School of Engineering online and got more and more excited about the school. I loved that the school really supported students who were interested in multiple areas of study. I was sold, and the rest is history.
Don’t stress too much in your college decision making process. The most important thing is to go wherever you think you will be happiest. Trust your gut and everything else will fall into place on its own. Good luck and fight on!