Probably the defining feature of college, beyond the classes and the majors and the clubs, is finally living on your own! Needless to say, this changes everything, and is probably your greatest source of change from high school to college and the rest of your life. So when you do finally go off and live on your own, you definitely want to make sure your living arrangements are good ones! I’ll walk you through the three main “stages” of living at USC here.


  1. Dorm life! Freshman year, everyone lives on campus in the various dorms—one freshman dorm in the Village, a couple by Parkside, and most of the rest closer to the center of campus. Your choice in dorm is honestly pretty arbitrary in the long run—you’ll meet friends wherever you are! But there are some living arrangement differences. McCarthy (in the Village) is suite-style with air conditioning, as are the Parkside dorms. Most others have no AC and are a more traditional dorm experience, which can be just as fun! Everyone I talk to has great memories of their freshman year in these places, even without the AC.
  2. “Intermittent phase.” I call it this because sophomore year, many people will continue to live on campus (in the Village, suites with AC!), while many others will shift off-campus to nearby apartments, or even sometimes houses! I myself lived on the bottom floor of a house my sophomore year, and it was great.
  3. Final phase. In junior and senior year, pretty much everyone will be living off-campus, the most independent you get! It’s so nice to finally have a stocked kitchen and a living room—real adult living! This is also usually when you’re able to nab the nice leases right by campus. I’m leasing a house (pictured above) with 6 other friends on 29th St right next to campus next year, and couldn’t be more excited!
Derek Jones

Derek Jones

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Los Gatos, California PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @dmannjones On campus I have conducted environmental engineering research on water distillation methods, and you can currently find me serving as Vice President of my social fraternity and playing on the club volleyball team.