Today, a prospective student asked me to describe USC in a word. ¬†After taking a minute to think (it’s hard to describe something so amazing and multi-faceted in just one word), the word I landed on was “inspiring”. In this blog, I’ll try to explain why.

When I was deciding between colleges, I wanted a top notch engineering education. What I realized after visiting various schools was that an engineering education is pretty similar from school to school – they all require similar courses in order to graduate. What I began to look at, then, were the opportunities available outside of the curriculum. I looked for places where I could do Undergraduate Research, places where I could pursue interests outside of engineering, and for places where the spirit of the school fit my personality.

USC was the only school on my list that fit all of these requirements. It was the school where academics were the priority, but a “full college experience” was equally important. It was the school with amazing opportunities for Undergraduates to perform research, connections to employers from the industry, outstanding athletics, and multiple opportunities for involvement both within the engineering school and outside of it. I saw these qualities when I visited, and I knew it was the school for me.

Since coming to USC, it has absolutely lived up to my expectations. I have been challenged both inside and outside of the classroom, and the challenges I have faced have not been impossible, but rather, they have been opportunities that have helped me to grow.

The students here are incredible. USC not only has top notch Engineering, but also top notch film, business, art, music, humanities, etc. I believe that personal growth stems from learning from others. Being surrounded by the best engineers, the best filmmakers, the best artists, the best writers, etc. challenges people to better themselves, to explore other interests, and to pursue new things. My life, since coming here, has taken a completely different path than what I expected. I have been exposed to new ideas, new cultures, new topics, and as a result I have grown so much as a person just by being open to these things. Each day I am inspired to be better, to match the level of my peers and my school, and to grow into the best possible version of myself.

The best advice I can give a student when they are deciding on which Engineering program to attend is to look at what opportunities are available to them for inspiration, and to look at what opportunities are available to them for personal growth. College is not just about academics, it’s about figuring out who you are and how you’re going to fit in the world. Academics should not be compromised in favor of this, but rather, they should exist in harmony, so that a person can grow both academically and personally. There is no better place in the world to do that than USC.

Samantha Kaplan-2015

Samantha Kaplan-2015

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