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The University of Southern California

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Prior to matriculating at USC as a freshmenNot so brightChemistry
Prior to matriculating at USC as a freshmen in fall of 2002, I was thinking that USC was a college that really kicked a$$. Unfortunately, as time went by, I have to agree with a lot of the negative comments other students have posted here. USC may be a top 50 college, according to US News, but really should be in the second tier category,...and I'm not kidding. I think I would have had a better experience at a Cal-State or a small private institute (i.e. Univ of Redlands) where the students are not snobby, close-minded and are friendly. When I visited a Cal-State campus, as well as Pomona college to see my friend, I was surprised as to how friendly the students were. At USC, students (not all ..but a good handfull of them) are close-minded, and the student body seems to be segregated by the frat scenes. It's not only the frat scenes that segregate the student body...not to play the race-card....but also your ethnicity that's a label as to whether you're accepted in the Trojan "elite club" or not. USC's life is based on football, sports, and other shallow things. Academics seem to be placed on the back-burner. I will do one thing for sure....never to send my kids to USC in the future.
4th Year Male -- Class 2006
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Many here have bashed USC and also praisedQuite BrightAccounting
Many here have bashed USC and also praised it. What I hope to do with my commentary is provide an unbiased view of what really is happening at USC. First off, I'd like to comment that USC Career is exceptional, especially if you come from the Business School (excluding the soft bus. majors) and certain majors. That said, the school is great if you wish to learn in an applicable environment, meaning that the faculty and the school's focus is primarily in teaching you applications of the theorys in today's market. A caveat, however, is that I'm speaking from a B-School perspective. While learning applications is great and all, I was hoping for a more intellectual environment fostered by the professors. All they teach you, and what they probably pride themselves on, is the mastery of rote memorization. If you're an individual that needs to be spoon-fed on how a theory works inside-out and how one can bend a rule to his/her own will, this definitely is not the school for you. There are no budding John Nashs or future Nobel prize winners at this school. That's not to say that everything here is negative. You are guaranteed to at least get a guaranteed job that pays 35k a year.

Earlier, I mentioned something about the intellectual environment. I can't speak for other schools, but the B-School is keen in attracting the dumbest of the dumb. I don't know about Frat people in general, but the ones I know are dumb as nails and, given the curve, I wish to hell that I have each and everyone of them in my classes as they help lower it to a more managable level. In addition, many people seem to have their minds stuck on social ventures as many have pointed out here. But to each his own, I say. I, too, go out every now and then and wish to hell that I can ditch my next class. Heck, I'm a guy that ditches many of my classes because of the lack of intellectual learning. If I wanted to plug and chug, I can just wait till the midterm. But again, to each his own. Many people actually go to class to learn applications when one simply has to read the book...

The social environment here is not too bad. But as one person mentioned earlier, the frat people seem stuck up. That's not to say all of them are stuck up, just the ones associated with certain groups. I have personally met with many wonderful fraternity and sorority people that are actually down to earth and have likewise met many undesirable personalities within the Greek system. It wholly depends on the timing and person of who you're meeting.

As far as safety, you have to be street-smart. Meaning, don't walk home at 2 a.m. in the morning through a dark alley. Seriously, some of these out of staters are dumb as hell when it comes to basic safety issues. Heck, they probably wouldn't find their way out of a one-lane maze if their life depended on it... But that's another story.

The weather is good, but can be a bit erratic at times. One day it's raining and the next it's sunny all over again.

Overall, I like USC, but I don't like it to the point that I would go through my experience all over again. I would very much have liked to go my first choice school, but that discussion is for another time and place. I think USC did its part in that its provided me with many employment opportunities. Socially, I think it could be better, but I'm not one to whore myself to others, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. A disclaimer should be made about employment: If you want top jobs, you have to be at least in the top 15% of your class. If you want decent jobs top 25%-33%. A crap-ass job? Anything below that. No firm digs deep into the school, except the Big Four into accounting. But that school has only about 200 students at any one time, and only about 150 graduating per year. 150 out 15000 from one employer that digs deep. You do the math.

3rd Year Male -- Class 2006
Education Quality: A+, Extracurricular Activities: C
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I am a freshman this year and soBrightUndecided
I am a freshman this year and so far, I love it. It's not easy by any means and we all work very hard. It is competitive but by no means do we try to bring each other down. Switching majors/ minors is not too difficult unless it's between schools. Those changes require an application process and fulfilled prerequisites. I was undeclared pre-med but decided that I didn't love chemistry enough to continue with it for another 3 years. I am now pre-business and I still have to apply to Marshall. The GEs are not that bad and some can be really eye opening. The teachers are generally helpful and all of mine speak English fluently. I have one professors that isn't the most friendly guy but he's incredibly smart. Office hours are really helpful, as are organized study sessions taught by Supplemental Instruction leaders.

We do have a good time when we are not working or studying. Game days are so much fun and the social scene is abundant. Our football team this season has been less successful than past years but overall, we are very good. Home games and tailgating are great and the campus is so spirited. I am not a drinker/ smoker but still find something to do every day of the week. I did not rush this year but am considering doing so next year as like 20% of the campus is Greek. It seems like a great way to meet new people and the sorority girls are generally really down to earth. There are a ton of choices for extracurriculars, ranging from sports to clubs to volunteering. A lot of the students from around LA go home on the weekends but there is always something to do on campus. The random roommate pairing has worked out really well for me and the dorms are generally really spacious and nice. Some buildings are older than others but the freshmen housing is fine. Your social life depends on how much effort you put in. The open door policy for the dorms is very conducive to meeting new people and the dining halls are a great chance to catch up with others. The dining halls are not that bad and the meal plans provide you with more than enough food. Meals roll over from week to week and I have way too many left over. Starting fall 2010, the new campus center will be done so more dining options are available. While USC does have a reputation for not being in the best area, it's really not bad at all. I haven't felt unsafe and actually took voluntary free self-defense classes the last month. DPS (department of public safety) does a great job of keeping us safe. Trojan Alerts sends out mass texts/ e-mails when there is an emergency and we get crime alert e-mails when an incident occurs. While USC is really expensive, it does give a lot of financial aid and work study, and there aren't any hidden costs that I have encountered. Overall, while USC seems too focused on football and partying, we really are hard-working, driven students who are trying to get the most out of our college experience.

1st Year Female -- Class 2013
Education Quality: A+, Individual Value: B
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