Hello there! I’m hoping that you chose to read this blog because you’re coming to an Explore USC program soon. In case that, congratulations on getting into USC! It’s not an easy feat and your four years of hard work were worth it! Explore started up last week and on Monday, I was able to meet some of the admitted students. They had lots of questions and they inspired me to write this blog – shout out to Angie! Explore was so helpful in my decision to commit to USC and I am just so excited for all of you to come and see what Viterbi has to offer!

Obviously the Explore program is designed for you to well, explore all that USC and Viterbi has to offer. So, you’re already going to have a pretty great and informative experience. But, there are definitely certain things that you can do to make sure that your visit gets you one step closer to making your decision.

#1 Ask every question imaginable.

I know this gets annoying, trust me. My mom was the parent in every group who asked questions all the time. Even if your parents are coming with you, use this opportunity to get all of your questions out of the way. You’ll get to talk to Paul, our undergraduate director of admissions, and you’ll get to meet a faculty member of your department and a lab director / faculty from the department as well! You’re meeting with people who are familiar with different aspects of the college experience at Viterbi, now is the time to have a face to face discussion, it’s definitely better than asking your question online (even though we completely love that – so keep reaching out to us!)

#2 Talk to the students

During Explore you will be interacting with current students all day long! You’ll get to meet students in your major as they hang out with you throughout the day. Ask them what helped them decide, why USC and Viterbi was the right fit for them. The two questions I asked to students I met during Explore were: If there is one thing you could change about Viterbi what would it be? What is something you’ve done during your time at USC that you never thought you’d be able to do?

#3 Talk to your peers

One of the reasons I’m so fond of Explore is because of the other admitted students I got to meet. In fact, the first person I met at Explore ended up going to USC as well and we are still really good friends! You can also get a sense of what your class will look like and what they’re passionate about. If you’re lucky, and you both happen to be going to USC, it’ll be really nice to have a friend to talk to throughout the summer, someone who can relate to your upcoming anxieties and fears. 

Ultimately, I could’ve summed these three tips with just one word: engagement. Be engaged! We definitely have lots of stuff planned throughout the day but it’ll only benefit you if you choose to actively participate.

One last note about visiting colleges in general – don’t look for the bad stuff. Obviously, it is important to know what aspects of a college you don’t necessarily like or agree with but if you choose to focus on what you do like, your experience is more likely to be positive overall. Wouldn’t you rather make your decision and choose the college that has so many positives that you could talk about it for days?

I lied – one more thing! Let your parents take all the photos of you – I know it’s embarrassing in the moment, but trust me, it’s really nice to look back at the day and those photos. Especially if you join the Trojan Family, it’ll be nice to remember the time when you knew USC was right for you. 

I apologize for the rambling but I felt it was important to let you know what made my Explore experience such a success. As always, please feel free to reach out to me (@mahimavara) and let me know if there is a particular topic you’d like me to address in my next blog! And when do you come to campus, please say hi!

Mahima Varanasi

Mahima Varanasi

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @mahima On campus I am part of OWN IT, a women's leadership team who plans an annual summit based on amazing women helping each other out. Outside of Viterbi, I am involved in political campaigns.