I remember when I first walked onto campus—it seemed like a resort. The campus was sunny and students were bustling in preparation for midterms. Aside from USC, I barely toured any campuses simply because I had no idea where I’d end up. But when I first stepped onto USC’s campus, I knew I would be happy here. The VSAs that hosted me were super excited about showing me the campus and speaking about their experiences.

Here are the key points why I chose USC and chose to stay at USC:

1. The People

Viterbi is EXTREMELY collaborative. Students love sharing their connections and studying together. Even computer science, which tends to be more competitive at other universities, remains highly collaborative.

2. Student Organizations

I wanted to stay involved in college. Clubs have been a fantastic way to get to meet people. While they’re competitive, I have found joining clubs to be extremely fulfilling and one of the highlights of college!

^ Break with friends at the beach!

CAIS++ retreat ^^

3. Research

USC is a top-tier research organization. I knew I wanted to pursue research in college., with the intent of pursuing grad school. Currently, I’m working in the Charleston Chiang lab at the Center for Genetic Epidemiology, part of Keck School of Medicine!

One thing that stood out to me was when I spoke to an admission counselor—at the time I was between a few west coast universities. Ultimately what struck me was he focused on if I would be happy at USC rather than comparing USC programs and statistics. College decisions are about deciding what YOU want to do with your college career: Do you want a more insular program? Or rather a program where you can explore multiple interests? How about a competitive environment? Or do you prefer a collaborative community where you work together with your classmates?

As you all enter college decision season, I highly encourage you to think about what you want your college experience to look like. College is a critical time to discover yourself. At most universities, you can earn a great education. But not all universities will offer you a culture where you feel you can belong and thrive. Reflecting on the end of my first year of in-person college, I am truly grateful I came to USC. Through meeting a wide variety of people, I have learned so much about myself. These experiences surpass any projects I’ve contributed, papers I’ve published, or grades I received.  I can’t wait to continue my experience at USC and see what the future will bring.

Jordan Cahoon

Jordan Cahoon

MAJOR: Computer Science YEAR: Class of 2024 HOMETOWN: Seattle, Washington PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @itscahoon On campus, I lead the Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society's Student Branch (CAIS++). Outside of this, I spend the majority of my time conducting undergraduate research in population genetics at the Center for Genetic Epidemiology, part of Keck School of Medicine. In my free time, you can find me baking a yummy treat or scribbling notes in my bullet journal!