For my first two years at USC, I lived in on-campus housing. This year, that is not the case.
I loved my experience in on-campus housing and made some of my best friends through USC Housing. However, I wanted to get an apartment with my friends, and I knew getting a third year in the USC village with roommates of my choice would be difficult. I made the decision to live off campus in the beginning of my Sophomore year (roughly 10 months ago), and I began the apartment hunt shortly after.
If you want to get a house near USC, you have to have a group and a lease setup very far in advance. Since this was not the case for me, I had a little bit more time to decide where I wanted to live. I found my apartment in January of this year and signed the lease by mid February.
I currently live in a 3-bedroom apartment with two of my close friends, and I am absolutely loving it. Given the circumstances of this year, I am grateful for the chance to safely live in LA and continue to build my independence (a.k.a. cooking and cleaning). Although the apartment was not furnished, I was able to find reasonably priced furniture on websites like Wayfair, Overstock, and IKEA. Things like dishes, cookware, and living room furniture were decided as a group.
I would not change my apartment experience thus far for anything. With that said, there are a lot of tips I would like to pass off to any future apartment hunters:
First, start looking for apartments early. There are WAY more apartments around USC than you would think, and it can be overwhelming to call leasing office after leasing office. I would recommend going on google maps, finding a desirable location, and going onto google street view to see if there is a building with a phone number on the side (you would be surprised how many buildings have their office contact information on the side of it).
Second, make a list with your potential roommates about what you are looking for in an apartment. Whether it is price-point, parking, or even AC, making a list of priorities is imperative in whittling down the list of buildings you will want to contact.
Third, take a tour of the buildings you like. Seeing photos and visiting in-person are two different things.
Finally, don’t be discouraged if the first apartment you want is unavailable. While it seems like that one apartment you like is the make-or-break place for your next year, there are a lot of places to live around USC, and a lot of places that you will be able to call home.