If you know the idiom/meme about “everything but the kitchen sink”, then you’ll probably see where I’m going with this. USC quite literally put everything that a college could and then some. Allow me to explain, I swear it’ll all make sense.
This was a big one. I’ll talk about academics in a minute but I think the vibe of a school is infinitely important to picking a college. From the first moment I got here, there was something in the air, almost eerie. If you ever look at the faces of USC students, and yes even engineering students, they genuinely look happy. In the design team lab, the dining hall, and the dorms, people generally had smiles on their faces and were friendly. When I came to USC for my scholarship interview, I ate my breakfast that day in McCarthy dining hall, and 3 engineering students came over and sat with me to talk to me and calm me down about the interview. They had no motive or inventive to help me, but they just did it anyway. Now that’s a big tell-tell sign about people here – they were friendly and wanted to help.
The region “Southern California” isn’t anything to scoff at. I love Chicago as my home, but I really wanted to get away and try something new. SoCal was the perfect spot for that, especially as an engineer. This is where innovation is happening, and it’s a great spot to be for the engineering industry. Don’t let me get started on the city itself. I’m not sure if I could live in LA forever (I still like seasons) but it’s probably the best place for college. I’ve been able to try new foods, try hiking for the first time, visit a “real” beach (since people think Chicago doesn’t have real beaches), and so much more because of what LA is.
Ironically, this one was the easiest thing to realize for me. It’s a great school academically, I’ve been able to get a quality education so far that has gotten me internship offers at Chevron, Microsoft, Google, and McKinsey, so I’d say it worked out pretty well.
The other thing was flexibility. I came in a mechanical engineering major and swore I’d never switch. Now I’m CS and business, and that took a 15-minute appointment to complete the switch. No other place advertised this and originally I never though I’d need this type of flexibility, but I’m sure glad it’s here.
The X Factor
I know there’s a show by this same name, that I don’t watch, but regardless, this was the one place for stuff that put it over the top.
School spirit- The amount of Trojan merch and pride I see from people is something I couldn’t live without, and I don’t think I want to
D1 Athletics – I’m a big basketball fan and can vibe with football, so to think I almost didn’t go to a D1 school baffles me. We get into every sport except football for free (and football tickets are heavily discounted, saving us some major $$$)
Weather – Sunny and 70 is always nice since you don’t have to cancel plans because of rain
Skateboarding – We board everywhere, so it’s pretty nice to have a flat campus (and if you come you’ll learn how to ride sometime in your 4 years)
If you read through all that, 1) thanks, and 2) I hope you realize how important it is to like where you’ll go. Most schools at this level will have similar academics so it’s all up to what you like in a school and how your financials lool (since that was big for me too).
But I know that you’ll do good wherever you go so don’t stress, just relax and dream about all the fun you’ll have over the next 4 years!