One of the many perks of being a USC student is access to a multitude of academic resources. Whatever help you need, USC will have it. These resources have really helped me in my studies, so I’d like to share the wealth and encourage you to use them! Oh, and did I mention that all these services I will be talking about are completely free of charge? Yes, $free.99! There’s no better deal than that, so definitely check them out.


Resource #1: Writing Center 

All freshmen are required to take Writ 150, a writing class on a topic of their choice. In my class, I was graded on four essays, with the final essay as the most important one. I knew I wanted my final essay to showcase all I had learned during the semester, so I visited the Writing Center for help polishing up my essay. 

The Writing Center’s consultants are Ph.D. and graduate students passionate about writing and reading. They are trained specifically to help you edit your paper to what you want it to be. They can help any step of the way, from brainstorming ideas to polishing up a final draft. The consultant I met asked me questions on what I wanted the paper to convey and what specific skills (organization, conciseness, clarity, etc) I would like to focus on. From there, she was able to help me specifically in places I needed guidance on. From this session, not only did I now have an essay I was more confident in, but I also learned skills that I could apply to my future writing classes. 

Screenshot of the Writing Center website 


Resource #2: Supplemental Instruction (SI) Sessions 

In the first two years of college, engineering students learn the foundations of calculus, physics, and more. These topics can be challenging, but it is necessary for these problem-solving skills to become second nature so we as engineers can go on to take the fun, major-specific engineering classes. 

SI sessions meet weekly and are led by a student who took the class an earlier year and did well. These meetings involve a worksheet reviewing content learned in earlier lectures. Additionally, when it is exam season, SI will host exam reviews. There are a variety of SI sessions, mainly for general education classes like calculus, chemistry, and physics. By attending SI sessions, you will get extra practice and a better understanding of your class’s content. 

And perhaps the best feature of SI is that the instructors will include memes on the worksheets. If anything, do the SI worksheets so you can see the memes (and along the way, you’ll learn the material so win-win).

A sheet from Chem SI last semester

Resource #3: Viterbi Learning Program (VLP)

If you would like more personalized help in your engineering courses, Viterbi offers VLP exclusively for students in the engineering school. You can schedule a 1 on 1 appointment with a peer tutor. When I was completely lost doing math homework, I would meet with a tutor. These sessions are especially helpful for asking specific questions. They are one hour long, so plenty of time to work through practice problems with guidance. 


All in all, I’m thankful for all the resources USC offers because they have been a great help so far. From writing to STEM, there is a variety of tutors and mentors for you. If you need even a little help in a subject, don’t be afraid to use these resources. They are here specifically for you! 

Jocelyn Tsai

Jocelyn Tsai

MAJOR: Civil Engineering YEAR: Class of 2024 HOMETOWN: Marin, California PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @jocelyn_t I am part of the Global Challenge Scholars Program and American Society of Civil Engineers, and I am a tutor in the Asian American Tutorial Project. Outside of school, I love swimming and baking.