Deciding if and where to attend college is a difficult and important decision for any high school senior. As many of you begin to prepare your college applications, you are probably starting to think about what kind of schools you would like to attend, and maybe you are even assembling a list of attributes you want in a school. To offer you some clarity in this stressful and overwhelming time, here are the reasons why I chose USC:

1.) Spirit

I attended a small, arts-intensive, high school, which I loved, but in no way did I get the classic high school experience.  In college, I wanted a school with football, a big band, and a vibrant spirit. I wanted the “college experience,” and I knew I would get that from USC.

2.) Size

At USC, you get the perks of a big school, like large amounts of research capacity and a diverse student body, with the attention of a small school. The USC Viterbi School of Engineering has a freshman class of around 400 students. All of my classes are small enough that I can personally get to know my professors, but I still never feel like the school is too small — there are always more people to meet and more connections to make!

3.) Art

While I ultimately decided I didn’t want to pursue art as a profession, I still wanted to be involved with art as it made up a huge part of my life before college. USC has world class programs in art through its drama, dance, cinema, music, and art schools. Some of my best friends I have made at USC are in these schools, and I am so glad I have the opportunity to go to their shows. I feel as though I am still part of an arts community even though I am an engineering student.

4.) Research

As a Viterbi Fellow, I knew that I might have an opportunity to do research at USC. This became a reality. I started doing research the first semester of my freshman year in a robotics lab. I am still working in this lab and have developed so much relevant project experience because of it. Research is incredibly accessible at USC for undergrads, whether you are a Viterbi Fellow or not.

5.) Study Abroad

As a prospective student, I thought that the Viterbi Summer Overseas program was the coolest study abroad program I have ever heard of. Each summer, USC professors go with approximately 40 students to a rotating destination in Europe to teach the same class that they would on campus, but in 7 intensive weeks. I was lucky enough to experience this program over the past summer, and I can confirm — Viterbi Summer Overseas is the coolest study abroad program out there.

Studying abroad at USC is a real possibility, even for engineers. The same cannot be said for all engineering schools. If you are looking for a global context to your engineering education, I’d encourage you to look into the international experiences available through USC Viterbi.

6.) People

When I visited USC, the students were warm, friendly, and willing to help a small, overwhelmed high school senior (me) find her way around this bustling campus. These were the sorts of friends I wanted to make in college, and these are the sorts of friends I have made at USC.

7.) Flexibility

As a student with little exposure to engineering in high school, I wanted to make sure I was not locked into studying a certain engineering discipline. When you are admitted to Viterbi, you are admitted to all its majors, so it’s incredibly easy to switch between them.

8.) LA

I think LA is the most exciting city in the world right now. Its culturally vibrant with free art museums, a rich music scene, and deep connections to television and film. The city embraces cultures from around the world. Los Angeles is eclectic, beautiful, and has a great climate. Because I am regularly able to explore LA as a USC student, I am fortunate to say that this city has become my campus.

From this list, you can probably tell what was important to me when deciding what universities to apply to, but of course, everyone has different priorities. I encourage you to do your research on all the schools you are thinking of applying to and see which ones align with your interests and values.

Audrey Roberts

Audrey Roberts

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2021 HOMETOWN: Denver, Colorado PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @audrey.roberts On campus, I lead outreach for the USC Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, do materials research in the M.C. Gill Composites Center, and am the Academic Chair of my sorority.