USC as an undergrad is more complex than simply getting
a degree: it's getting life experience. I might have been
academically challenged with more consistency at a smaller school like
Amherst or Pomona, but the courses I took at USC,
coupled with living in LA, made me feel ready to
take on anything by the time I graduated. And my
time at the school has already paid off, professionally and
personally. You'll face so many existential challenges while attending SC
that by the time you've received your diploma, post-college life
may seem...well, a trifle dull.
That being said, let's get
to the pros and cons.
Excellent professors and
teaching staff, particularly in the College of Letters, Arts, and
Sciences, and the School of Cinematic Arts - where I
received a film studies minor.
Part-time campus jobs are easy
to come by if you're like me and want to
make some extra cash for weekly/weekend expenses.
is absolutely gorgeous, and wonderful for strolling. Despite the surrounding
neighborhoods, I felt quite safe most of the time.
diversity of the student body is unprecedented. True, the majority
of students come from privileged backgrounds, but the variety of
thought and background here still surpasses most other schools. You're
guaranteed to make friends at some point or another.
work-party balance here feels perfect. It's always easy to cut
loose on the weekends, but you don't have to worry
about being kept up by your neighbors' kegger on a
USC's financial aid program is very generous, and
basically made it possible for me to attend, thanks to
The student housing situation is pretty
lousy. After freshman year, you're basically on your own, and
thanks to less than stellar intervention from the university, area
housing is abhorrently expensive.
Some of the students here are
painfully idiotic and/or arrogant, coming from very insulated, affluent communities.
Thankfully, they're mostly concentrated to the Greek System.
the Greek System has engulfed much of the social life
at USC, which is unfortunate. But hey: there's a great
reason to leave the neighborhood and discover all that LA
has to offer!
You have to pay a lot of
money for your graduation robes. That might sound like a
pithy complaint, but I found it pretty unreasonable, seeing as
UCLA - our rival - doesn't charge its students for
To borrow a cliched line, what you get
from your USC experience depends upon how much you put
into it. You can coast by if you wish. No
one is going to hold your hand and lead you
down the path to academic accomplishment. But if you put
yourself out there and take an active interest in your
education, chances are you'll graduate with high honors and higher