Two years ago today, I found out that I got into USC!! Although this was the day it all “began,” my decision was not made the minute I opened that envelope. With my extra time in quarantine, I wanted to share why I made one of the best decisions of my life and ultimately decided to attend USC.
Unlike many high school students, I didn’t have a dream college. Despite many hours of research, countless campus tours, and admissions presentations, going into senior year, I still had no idea where I wanted to spend the next 4 years. I am so indecisive that I applied to 13 schools located all over the country, only knowing that I wanted a school with reputable academics, a fully-integrated biomedical engineering program, big time football, and Greek life. It was important to me that I could have personalized, rigorous, and recognized academics yet also get the “complete” college experience from a big school environment.
Quite honestly, it was random that I applied to USC. I hadn’t even visited USC before I applied. On paper, USC checked all the boxes. It had a recognized engineering program, football, Greek life, and great weather. By the time my acceptance from USC came, my college decision had already kind of boiled down to a choice between 2 other schools. I had been admitted to both since December, so USC was not even in my mind when I received the acceptance package. I started thinking seriously about USC when my parents suggested that I join my twin brother at an Admitted Students Day in April.
My visit changed my perspective completely. I was enamored by the compact, beautiful campus set in the middle of the exciting city of Los Angeles. I loved that all the freshmen lived in the same area of campus and the community that it created. When I went to a Viterbi presentation, the tide completely shifted. An engineering curriculum had never been presented to me in a way that made me still feel human. I am a very social and outgoing person which does not exactly match the typical “engineer stereotype.” At a lot of the other schools I looked at, I felt like the rigorous engineer lifestyle would swallow me whole. At USC, I loved the way that the admission staff talked about how USC wants their engineers to be more than just their rigorous math and science courses. The Engineering Plus initiative really catered to my desire to explore many passions while at college and have the freedom to break the typical “engineering” mold. Being able to take classes in the different amazing schools that USC has to offer was something that was extremely attractive to me. At USC, I can take a Calculus 3 class and then walk directly to my class on African American Dance. How cool is that!! Also coming into college, I was looking for opportunities to get involved in research and have possible contact with a medical school for volunteering and shadowing. The proximity to the medical facilities positively impacted my choice.
In the end, my decision really boiled down to this: I was ready to take a risk. Based on my high school environment and Kansas City culture, one of my schools seemed to be a “no brainer” and the “easy” choice. I would be surrounded by people from similar backgrounds to my own, be in a similar Midwestern setting, and join a globally recognized university community. In fact, many people from home thought I was completely crazy for even considering another school. Although I am sure I would have loved it, USC beckoned me to stretch myself. In choosing USC, I knew that I would be in one of the biggest cities in the country, a member of a diverse campus environment, and have the opportunity to do things that I could never dream of. All these “unknown” factors of choosing USC excited me. In choosing USC, I made the choice to explore. Every day when I walk around campus, have the opportunity to go to the beach on weekends, hike up to the Hollywood sign or have dinner in the Arts District, I find so much joy in my “risky” choice. I relish the opportunity to have what I see to be a complete college experience within a framework of rigorous academics. I couldn’t be happier and I continue to grow so much as both a student and as a person.
This is a picture of my brother and I at Admitted Students Day as high school seniors! Throwbackkkkk