As I approach my last 30 something days until graduation, I have been thinking about this question a lot. Why USC? There are so many reasons that I am grateful to have gone to USC for my undergraduate degree (and i’m excited to continue my graduate studies here as well), but here are just a few.
First and foremost I chose USC because this was an environment that encouraged me to be more than just an engineer. When I made the choice to study engineering my senior year of high school I was terrified it would be like all of the stereotypes. The ones where engineers don’t do anything but study and spend all day doing homework or preparing for exams, but when I talked to USC engineering students at admitted students day I soon realized that stereotype was not what engineering at USC was at all. It was a place where the philosophy of engineering plus was embedded in every major. This idea was huge to me because in high school I was captain of the varsity dance team, on student government, and on our physics team so I really wanted to make sure I had the balance of both arts and science as I went to college. And now as a senior I can definitely say that is the truth. Here at USC not only do I get to study engineering, but I am also captain of the USC Spiritleaders, involved in Greek life, I helped start a club dedicated to sustainability, I was involved in residential life leadership, and many other activities. These are some of the things that have given me my favorite memories in college.
Second, I chose USC because of the school spirit. NO ONE does it like the trojan family does. The sight of 70,000 people decked out in cardinal and gold in the Coliseum on a gameday is something that truly warms my heart. The trojan spirit also isn’t something that you just find on campus. Even wearing a USC shirt in my community back home has prompted a stranger to stop and say Fight On! I also got my first summer internship after my freshman year from a conversation that started with “so I hear you are an engineer at USC, I am an alumni”. The network reaches far and wide and is truly something that lasts a lifetime.
Third, I chose USC because of the gender makeup of Viterbi. This was something I was looking for as I was one of 3 girls in my 35 person physics c class my senior year of high school. I wanted an environment where I could be empowered by and empower other women in STEM.
At the end of the day I also realized that in all honesty I would have learned the same curriculum at any top 10 engineering school, but it was how the curriculum was delivered and the resources that went along with that would be influential in my college experience. Not only was how the inside the classroom worked important to me, but also the experiences I could have outside of the classroom.
So as you make this decision I encourage you to make a list of what your ideal college would look like. Is it in a big city or a small town? What class size would you prefer? How easy is it to do research? What kind of weather are you most comfortable in? Do you want to go watch football with your friends on a Saturday? Can you continue that hobby from high school you really love?
And maybe once you ask yourself these questions USC will be the top choice for you like it was for me.