If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a high school student thinking about what schools you should apply to. Maybe you’ve already applied, and maybe you’ve even already been accepted; regardless, you’re in the process of trying to figure out what school is right for you. In fact, you’re probably in a very similar situation that I was in just two years ago. Since I know just how stressful the whole college process can be, I thought it’d be helpful for you to hear some advice from someone who went through it all quite recently, and – though it might feel impossible – made it to the other side.
USC is obviously a school you’re considering (you are on our website, after all), so it’d be appropriate for me to talk about some of the factors that drew me to USC as a high school student. I knew I was interested in science and engineering, and wanted to study this at a top tier university, so I applied to USC, as well as several of its competitors. When admissions season rolled around, I was fortunate enough to have several excellent options. However, I soon realized what USC offered that many other schools didn’t – the opportunity to have a college education and experience defined by more than just engineering.
As much as I love STEM, I wanted my college education to include more, and to develop me into a well-rounded person who can solve complex engineering problems, but also be able to intelligently discuss world affairs, engage in fine literature, and analyze social issues, in a very Renaissance fashion. So far, I’m grateful that I’ve had every opportunity to explore material outside the confines of my major – to pursue a minor, take humanities coursework, and have time to be more than an engineering student.
When talking about the factors that drove me to choose USC, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the influence of the Trojan Family and USC network. As an applicant, I kept hearing anecdotes regarding the unparalleled connections USC offered, and while I figured the connections were authentic, I had my reservations regarding their extent and influence. Well, I was wrong. The fact that USC is strong in so many fields, and has developed countless connections since its inception, has resulted in some pretty great opportunities being offered to students, ranging from ridiculously high-profile career fairs, to exclusive advanced screenings of Hollywood blockbusters.
But to me, the most important part of USC – more so than the diverse coursework, prestigious ranking, and impressive amenities – is the feeling I get when I’m on campus. The community is so alive, with everyone having such diverse interests and personalities, but the one commonality is that everyone seems to be happy.
Students and faculty alike are friendly and pleasant to be around; professors are willing to talk to you, and take the time to know your name. Everyone is so passionate about so many things, but also knows how to relax, have fun, and balance their studies, hobbies, and free time. Being a top-ranked school like USC means a lot of things, including international prestige, world-class faculty, and excellent research opportunities. But it doesn’t always mean extracurriculars, a cohesive community, or happy students. To sum it all up, the reason I chose USC is because, to me, it’s the only school that truly has it all. I’ve been able to join a research lab, take incredible classes, have an Alternative Spring Break volunteering experience, become involved in multiple student orgs, and find a great group of friends, all by the end of my freshman year. No other school would have offered such a complete educational and student experience, and I’m thrilled with the decision I made. Knowing everything I do now, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t give it a second thought.