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USC is an awesome school. Anything you want to do or learn about can be done at USC. Being in L.A., this means that any kind of food you want to eat any kind of show you want to see is 20 minutes away from your dorm (without traffic, lol). When you tell people in L.A. that you go to USC they automatically say "damn, that's a good school." People are nicer to you when you say you go to USC. They ask you do you go to football games? What's it like going there? Etc. Being from Texas where a lot of people think USC stands for University of South Carolina, I was shocked by how much prestige USC has in Southern California. There is a ton of school pride at USC and you will feel it the first time you attend a football tailgate on campus. People who went to SC' a million years ago show up to BBQ and party before the game. At the Coliseum people paint their bodies and yell until they loose their voices. You'll find yourself high-fiveing people you just met 10 minutes ago. The Alumni network is so great, especially if you are a business student. Companies in every field recruit SC' students. Graduating from SC' gets you a lot of perks.
Among my friends, if we could do college over again and had the choice of ANY college in the country, we would still commit to SC in a heartbeat. It is really rare to find a school so well balanced; we have incredible faculty but we also have a great football team; we have a vibrant Greek system and at the same time there are plenty of organizations to join if you don't want to get involved there. I'll start with why I love USC, and then I will go into its drawbacks. First and foremost, the school spirit here is AMAZING and lasts for the rest of your life. No matter where you go in the world, if you are a Trojan you are part of the family. You will have job opportunities, friendships, and other relationships that would never exist but for your membership in the Trojan family. I have experienced it countless times, from meeting an alum while on a community service trip in Ghana to finding a great internship through the alumni network. Many schools brag about alumni networks, but I have heard MANY times (through both USC and non-USC alums) that the Trojan network is simply unparalleled. To me, the meaning of this is more than just knowing it will be easier to find a job. It's really about feeling like you are part of a camaraderie- wherever I end up in the world, I know there will be people that have something in common with me and will greet me with open arms. Another thing I like about SC is that the size is perfect- it's not so small that you feel like you're living in a gossipy small town, but it's not so large that you feel like nothing but a number. Politically, I also think there is quite a good balance between liberal and conservative supporters. People sometimes think USC is very conservative, but I think they say that because we are just more conservative than the average college campus- overall, however, I would say the student body is more liberal than conservative. As for the bad... the first thing that comes to my mind is that we are not in a college town in any sense of the word. Frankly, we are in the ghetto. There are no cute boulevards with shops and restaurants, no streets with college bars. In fact, we really only have two bars: one on campus and one down the street. EVERYONE goes to those two. Surprisingly, though, my friends and I didn't really mind not living in a college town- the food around here is cheap and places like Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Manhattan Beach are all very close. I guess we just saved money. Another thing I didn't like about USC was that it was pretty dead on the weekends, particularly as a freshman in the dorms. While we have a great many students that don't live in southern California, many do, and they often go home on the weekends. That said, if you make friends with people who don't leave you will be fine.
The best thing about USC is the diversity of options. Because of USC's location and array of programs, you can really redefine yourself and spend your time doing what turns you on. Into sports? There's a club for you to play in, the Staples Center and Dodgers Stadium less than five miles away for pro sports and some of the greatest collegiate athletics in the country. Into music? The marching band's been featured on a platinum album, visiting bands play free shows for students on a regular basis (Mos Def, The Fray, Hot Hot Heat) and the student orchestra was conducted by John Williams last semester. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. The school is the perfect size. Big enough so that you're always meeting new people, but small enough so that walk past people you know all the time. The school pride at USC is incredible. Students proudly wear the Cardinal and Gold, especially on Gameday. There are some problems about USC though. There is no real "college town" surrounding USC. Sure, there are some college restaurants, but generally once you leave campus you're in some pretty dangerous territory. Other frequent complaints are that the school has a tendency to nickel and dime its students for every little thing it can. Food prices on campus are outrageous, and hours on restaurants can make it tough to live on campus during the weekends. The Trojan meal plan is a complete scam. Textbook costs at the book store are equally ridiculous. DPS steals more student bikes than actual bike thiefs do. The athletics department doesn't seem to care about students at all. Sometimes students can be apathetic about any sport that isn't Football or Men's Basketball, even when the team wins a National Championship (see Women's Soccer, Men's Water Polo). Despite all of this, I wouldn't trade anything or any other college for USC. I friggin' love this place.
The best thing about USC is it's location. We are in the heart of Los Angeles, and a much more interesting area of Los Angeles than our fellow LA school. From the USC campus you can get to tons of cool places around the city by way of a bus system that is much more convenient and efficient than LA gets credit for. One thing I'd change is the administration. Sometimes it is very difficult for students to work their way the bureaucracy to get help. I wanted a large school so I could study a wide range of topics and meet people with varied interests. I also wanted a school with strong spots in multiple areas. USC is precisely that. When I tell people I go to USC they usually mention how much the school has improved in the past fifteen years. The attitude towards and character of the school is evolving into one befitting an honorable and prestigious institution, while still maintaining its relaxed Southern California feel. I spend most of my time on campus in the big lobby of my wonderful dorm which is quiet enough to study in, but welcoming enough to socialize in. Los Angeles is a bit too big to be college-centered enough to be called a college town. The surrounding area is not very USC-focused, but as USC evolves it is getting more involved in the community and gaining the community's respect. The people I meet from around the campus all root for the teams and feel very close to the school, rather than as if the school is infringing on the community. My opinion of the USC administration is that it could do with a little more organization. The biggest recent controversy on campus was about seating at the Coliseum, where the football team plays. But I think the most important recent controversy was about the school apparel. Apparently, it is made in sweat shops. But there is a significant grassroots movement called SCALE working to change that. The administration isn't too receptive, but more and more students are getting involved and soon the administration will feel the pressure. As I have mentioned before, the merit of USC lies in its students and professors, not in the administration. There is a ridiculous amount of school pride, mostly spurred by the success of the football team. USC isn't too unusual. It is probably a lot more diverse than one would expect and than what one would find at another university. But everyone mixes together to make up a wonderful student body. The mix of people is representative of the mixed-up, blended, diverse nature of the city, Los Angeles, the greatest city in the world. I will always remember the first jazz performance I went to at the school's main auditorium. It was incredible. USC attracts an impressive selection of renowned artists to come and perform and it is always amazing. The most frequent student complaints are about things like housing and frustration with paperwork.
I like going to USC - everyone has at least heard of it because of our football team. But after the initial name recognition, they also know it for being a good school. I like the size: big enough to have all of the resources of a large university, but small enough that I recognize people when I'm walking across campus. The campus itself is also small enough to walk across in 20 minutes. Much more convenient than a huge sprawling campus that you have to take a bus across (though there are trams if you would prefer). And, the campus is beautiful. There are always flowers blooming somewhere, and there is almost always a fountain within view. There is a tremendous amount of school pride, which I knew I wanted in a college. You get the "college experience" here, with the football team, the clubs and organizations, the school pride, etc. The only thing missing is the "college town feel." The area immediately surrounding campus is void of fun/casual hangouts. There are restaurants and one bar, but not good ones. You'll have to drive across town to the UCLA area (it pains me to say so, as they are our biggest rivals) to get that college feel in Westwood. BUT, USC and Los Angeles are both working to revamp the University Park area and the downtown area, respectively. So, in the next few years, who knows what it could be like?
USC has the perfect blend of academics, extracurriculars, social life, and spirit. Whatever you want to do or see, you can find here. I would want USC to be a more residential campus because so many students commute, it feels like you lose touch with people once classes end. There is no centralized campus feel. The school is just the right size, but there are a lot of grad students. People have mixed reactions: the people who are up to date are impressed and the elitists are arrogant and smug. I spend most of my time in my apartment with friends or studying. There is no college town, but hopefully that will change. Certain departments are more susceptible to hearing students opinions but for the most part, Sample has us going in the right direction: up. There was a riot after a party. USC is one of the most spirited campuses in the country. If you don't wear something cardinal and gold once a week, you're out of the loop. USC has an unusually strong party scene. I will always remember freshman year when my professor said "I'me not going to spoon feed you what the book says. I'm going to teach you from my experienced. If you want the book read to you, go to Cal State Dominguez Hills" and that's when I realized I was in college, and a great one at that. Our gym is too small, too crowded, and doesn't have enough equipment.
Michael SophomoreReviews provided by: Unigo