I’m a huge planner, but I had no idea what I was looking for in a college. I applied to all different types of schools: large and small, east coast and west coast, rural and urban, etc. because I honestly had no idea what would work best for me.
Which college you go to is a big decision, it determines what kind of education you get, therefore what kind of job you might have, what opportunities you are exposed to, what hardships, and what friendships you will have for 4 years of your life. I will briefly summarize the main factors that I used to judge my decision:
Location: I grew up in Indiana, and I wanted to see someplace new and meet different kind of people. Los Angeles is a very diverse and interesting place where really awesome things happen. Case in point: I wrote a blog about how I sang backup for Jennifer Hudson. Where else could that honestly happen? I also love sunshine and being in one of the sunniest places on Earth worked for me. Honestly, I miss the trees, quiet, and open spaces of my hometown, but for 4 years, this was a good decision for me, location wise
Academics: There is a fine line between being challenged and pushed to the peak of your ability and being pushed over the edge into stress and failure. I am very aware of my academic prowess. Back in high school, I was easily one of the best students, but college is a totally different game. I was looking for a college that would present a difficult challenge to me amoung students who were my academic peers, however, I didn’t want to be so overwhelmed that I lost my self-confidence or my genuine enjoyment for engineering. USC gave me a very challenging curriculum that avoids becoming overwhelming by emphasizing teamwork and eventual success in the workplace. (Also, I was specifically looking for and Astronautical Engineering department, because I love space technology)
Extra-curriculars: Originally, I wanted to do a minor in musical theater, haha. I quickly realized that I was way outclassed in the acting department and instead auditioned for the USC choirs. I was extremely nervous that I wouldn’t fit in, but I was welcomed for my ability and my diversity. Many different majors compile the USC Concert Choir, and we all enjoy taking a break 4 hours out of the week to make music together. Other than that, I really just enjoy the ability to keep my plate full with things other than classwork. While I love all my classes, I really can’t focus on them 24/7. Instead I’ve found fulfillment within the Society of Women Engineers, which I joined right away upon coming to USC and have made great friends and met awesome people in the community. I tried my hand at research and worked with scientists in biology, chemistry, mechanics, combustion, etc. I did a semester of self-defense and tennis classes. I recently joined the USC Equestrian Team and renewed my love of horses and riding. My life if busy, but I love being in a place where I can still do things that I love to do, while not sacrificing anything else.
Honestly, those were the three main things. Thankfully, USC also saw enough in me to help me out with a scholarship, otherwise none of that would have mattered and I would currently be studying at Purdue University (which is a great school, but I hate one-way streets and Layfayette drives me crazy!)
Anyway, I feel that many Trojans would agree with me in saying that they never regretted their decision to come to USC. I’m not saying its for everyone, because its definitely not, but its become my home in so many ways, and I can’t picture myself anywhere else. Good luck in your decision, and have a great week! Fight On!