I’ve taken personality tests that reveal that I am neither right-brained nor left-brained, but am actually split 50-50 between the two.  This is both a blessing and a curse, because it means that I am a person with a variety of very different passions.  I love math and science and problem solving, but I also love art and music and culture.  When I was looking at where I wanted to go to college, I wanted a school that somehow allowed me to have all of these things. I wanted a “balanced brain”.

The first thing I researched when I was beginning the college search was top engineering programs.  The second thing I researched, when I found a list of these schools online, was what kinds of arts programs they offered.  The schools that offered both an engineering program, as well as arts programs, were sent to the top of my list.

Then the college visits began.  At every engineering presentation I went to, my question was, “Can you take classes outside of engineering?”.  I received a lot of answers like, “Yes, but it’s complicated”, “You have to apply for them”, “No, you won’t have a lot of room in your schedule”, and “Well not a lot of students choose to do that…”  At USC, however, the answer was different.  In fact, I didn’t even have to ask the question because when I went to the presentation, I learned about “Engineering Plus”, the idea of “doing more with your engineering education”.

At USC, not only was I allowed to take writing classes, art classes, film classes, music classes, dance classes, but I was actually encouraged to do so.  Not only could I get involved in the film fraternity, in Jewish life, in community service, in research, but I was actually encouraged to do so.  Not only could I get a top engineering education while taking advantage of the variety of other resources USC has to offer, but I was actually encouraged to do so.



I was looking at a lot of good schools – Washington University in St. Louis, Georgia Tech, University of Pittsburgh (to which I received a full scholarship).  It was not an easy decision to make.  The choice for me became obvious, however, when I realized that USC would provide me with the “balanced brain” I was looking for.


Samantha Kaplan-2015

Samantha Kaplan-2015

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2015, Learn more on her profile here!