This will be one of many blogs trying to explain the question every person is trying to get at when they attend information sessions, Admitted Students’ Day, or interact with any of our content really. You want to know what makes USC different from every other elite engineering school in the country. The US news or Niche.com can tell you ranks and you can view campus tours, but there’s really nothing that can tell you what each school is really like and what parts will matter to you. That said, we’re going to give it a shot.
Starting with how I’ve always answered the question of why I love USC, it starts and ends with the Trojan Family. The network it connects you to is fantastic and spread throughout a number of different industries. When I was trying to decide on what career path I wanted to take out of biomedical engineering (BME), I was able to contact people in every feasible field one could go into from BME, and with just a few emails, I was able to set up meetings and learn more about my options. It was an amazing resource to have. That portion of the USC community has made much less of an impact on my years in college though than my actual peers. You’ll find amazing and interesting people at every college. What I believe makes the students at Viterbi different is the passion with which they approach things entirely unrelated from their studies. Everyone you meet has something completely unique that they could speak on for hours. Those experiences you can gain in just speaking to your classmates feels unique to the USC experience, and I’ve learned from and been inspired by my peers in so many ways.
The experience of living in Los Angeles is also something unique to USC. There is something to be said for college towns. They are incredibly fun with the whole city being designed and sculpted to house college students. Being in a cosmopolitan city like Los Angeles though brings with it untold opportunities to connect with different cultures through either food, museums, or the people that you’ll meet. The opportunities I’ve had to try and experience surfing, skiing, or basically any activity you could propose. I will say that I have no intention to return to Los Angeles, but college is a time to try new things and Los Angeles offers more opportunities than almost anywhere else.
Finally, what I truly think is unique for USC compared to most other universities is its size. I was hesitant to attend a larger university especially because there is a strong correlation between smaller sized universities and the rank of the institution in official channels. USC specifically is elite while maintaining an incredibly large staff and supporting a vast and diverse student body. I’ve been incredibly happy with my ability to continue in the Classics through my minor. For any program you want to explore USC has the opportunity to explore it at an elite level. As someone who is both incredibly curious and indecisive, I find that to be an unmatched benefit of going to USC.
USC isn’t for everyone. The things that make it great for some people make it worse for others. In my opinion, USC is incredible in the ceiling it possesses in what you can do. If you are driven, curious, and passionate you will find opportunities around every corner. If you take a more passive approach to your learning and want to be able to grow into your activities and classes USC may not be perfect for you. USC is a school that is going to make you uncomfortable and push you; if that is what makes you work at your best, there are very few schools that could support you better than USC.