- Class: Alum
- Major: Business
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student: N
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.
I will speak of the business school, because that's what I know best. First of all, there used to be a strict curve to which all the business professors had to adhere. As of last year, this curve is no longer mandatory (professors are given the discretion to move the average up if they feel their group of students was particularly bright), but as far as I could tell, almost all professors are sticking to that curve. In most cases, the curve ends up helping you more than it hurts (when you get your first 60% on a midterm you will freak out, until you realize that curved it might be a B). The students at the business school are all about getting high-paying jobs, especially those students with a finance concentration. They have their eyes set on Goldman and Citibank and will stop at nothing. I personally loved the upper-level finance classes but hated the students in them- they were fiercely competitive, not collaborative, and uninterested in putting in a lot of work. They just wanted to get a good grade and figure out what they needed to know to get an internship at an I-bank. With that said, FBE 421, a valuation class, was extremely useful- I learned so much, and from that class I feel capable of researching and evaluating stocks without having to consult Jim Cramer. Although, as I said, students are fixated on getting the perfect job, I don't think professors have this focus in mind when teaching a class. They simply care about what they do and would like to impart this knowledge to others. Students grumble about the GE system, and I agree that it needs a little work. It seems that professors often get disgruntled that they are teaching students who have to take the class, and otherwise have no interest in the subject. Surprisingly, and quite refreshingly, USC often has some of its best and most engaging professors teach GEs. I had Craig Stanford for an anthropology GE, and he is one of the foremost anthropology researchers in the world. I also loved one of the GE categories; it's called Arts and Letters, which doesn't explain much, but it includes the most random subjects. I took one on Modern Russian Art- I thought I would hate it, but it was perhaps the most interesting class I took at SC. The GEs here are really meant to stretch you- they want you to take things that will make you an interesting, worldly thinker.
USC is truly a diverse campus, and not the kind of diverse where there are Asians, white people, and not much else. We have one of the highest numbers of international students, and there are also many financial backgrounds from which students come. Because SC is a private school, there are a higher proportion of rich students, and we also have a smattering of famous people. For every rich kid, though, there is a student paying his or her way through school with scholarships and part-time jobs.
The Best Things
It offers a well-rounded experience.
The Worst Things
It's in a horrible neighborhood.