Los Angeles, CA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 2199 total reviews with an average rating of 3.8

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5 College Senior

Athletics: Great Football Team! The USC Trojans are awesome and the other sports are very nice too.

5 College Senior

Diversity: Very Diverse – This school is known for diversity and it definitely shows if you actually get to know the people and talk to them.

4 College Senior

Greek Life: Its Cool – Can be fun but don't get much from them that bugs me

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Academics: Film Studies – It is really good. The teachers are always there and classes are hands on.

3 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Off campus housing can be difficult to find especially when looking for reasonable prices. Students typically begin looking early on in the spring semester for the fall. Unfortunately, many of the leases cover 9-12 months and this can be problematic, however students typically find others to sublease.

3 College Junior

Campus Housing: Student housing on campus can be expensive, although well-kept. The maintenance of campus housing keeps up with the lives of students. Some buildings, such as Trojan Hall and Marks Hall, are older dorms but are being renovated over time. Off campus or near campus housing suffer from expensive rent costs and unfair leasing opportunities. However, if you do your research, you will have less difficulty finding off campus housing.

3 College Junior

Computers: The availability of computers on the University of Southern California vary according to where you are on campus. If you are part of specialized schools, such as the Gerontology School, you have access to a better selection and typically less crowded computer lab. At other times, the computers are crowded usually during midterms and finals periods. The large libraries, such as Leavey Library, suffer from over-crowding.

4 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Something for everyone – A lot of incoming freshman think that all the dorms at USC are the same, which is not true at all. If you are a partier, you'll love New/North. If you would rather have peace and quiet when studying, Parkside might be for you. I think Birnkrant should be on the list of best dorms. I live in Birnkrant now, and it is very social but you can still get work done. It's also a hell of a lot nicer than New/North.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Overall Experience: The Perfect School – What do you want in a college? Strong academics? Check. Fantastic nightlife? No problem. Insane college sports and school spirit? USC's bread and butter. Diversity? We have the most international students in the country. Great teachers? USC has some of the best in every department. (I've taken classes from ESPN columnists, world famous film critics, working politicians, and successful authors.) The best career hook-ups in the world? That's what USC is known for. From top to bottom, USC is a great school and has a place for everyone, and it keeps getting better.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Transportation: Safety First – There aren't a lot of great options in terms of getting around town without a car, but in terms of late-night/around-campus transportation, USC is great. There are buses running all the time, including late-night in some places. There's also a program called campus cruiser, which will take you anywhere in the area for free, no questions asked, at night. The only problem with campus cruiser is it can take a while, and they often direct you to a bus stop...which isn't quite as safe.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Nightlife: Lots of Options – Around USC, there are tons of options for nightlife. LA and Hollywood have a lot of options if you dont mind a cab ride or having a designated driver. Greek life is pretty big here, so a lot of people party on The Row. Theres also a local bar, the 9-0, that generally lets fake IDs slide. The only people who have any trouble finding nightlife are non-greek guys under 21 (guys aren't allowed in to most frat parties), but even then its not hard to find a house party on any given night.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Decent Selection. As for freshman dining halls: EVK is horrible; Parkside offers so many more delicious options. But it's a trek to get to if you live on the opposite side of campus and don't have a bike. The Lot and Cafe 84 offer other great options if you have the dining dollars, and there are lots of food chain restaurants along Figeruoa. Can't complain.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Campus Is Safe, but Don't Walk Around South Central Alone. Campus itself is pretty safe. DPS (Department of Public Safety) is always around, and I've never felt uncomfortable walking around. Outside of campus is a different story. Especially as a girl, I wouldn't walk around by myself.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Freshman

Scholarships: Hard to Get Money If You're Past a Certain Cut Off – From what I've heard, USC can be very giving. But I think it is a headache for anyone middle to upper-middle class to get any aid. I didn''t receive ANY financial aid, and while I'm not dying for it, it would have been nice. It seems like they either give you lots of aid or basically no aid, with very little in between.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Weather: Sunny California! When it does actually rain here, you'd think there was a snow storm outside: people bring out their rain boots, parkas, hats, and mittens. It's funny to see. But we don't see much bad weather here, it's sunny pretty much year round.

4 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: Not Strict – USC's rule about drinking/drug use seems to be this: do as you please, just don't let us catch you.
Drinking is technically not allowed in the dorms, but the RA's don't check and are usually cool enough not to write you up. Many RA's simply laugh at their drunk residents and tease them about it in the morning. At frat parties, where almost everyone is wasted, campus police do not interfere unless things look like they could get ugly, which is rare.
The school is stricter about drug use though. RA's will write you up if they smell weed coming from your floor or room.

3 College Freshman

Drug Safety: Drinking, Smoking, Little Else Is Evident – Drinking is extremely common. Smoking cigarettes or weed is very common. Other drugs like Vicodin or cough syrup are somewhat common. I haven't personally come across many people who take it further than that, but I'm sure you could find some if thats what you're looking for.

3 College Freshman

Greek Life: Greeks=Parties. and Thats About It. They have the occasional philanthropy event and all the other things for insiders only, like invites and dinners. But at USC, no one will treat you any differently if you are or aren't Greek. I can see there being pros and cons of going Greek, it just depends on where you pledge.
HOWEVER, I would suggest guys pledge a frat that is known for throwing parties. This is because guys CANNOT get in to frat parties unless:
1. they are in that particular frat
2. they are VERY good friends with someone already in the frat who has pull
3. it is a registered party and someone in the frat put them on the guest list

5 College Freshman

Athletics: The One Thing That Brings the WHOLE Student Body Together – USC Football --> enough said.
No matter how good/not so good we are each season, all of Los Angeles supports our team. Spirit couldn't be any bigger.
Even outside of football, athletes get pretty great treatment. There is a special dining hall strictly for athletes, and certain sports even get special living arrangements. Teachers are more helpful too, from what I hear.

4 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: They're All the Same, but Different – Most of the girls dress (or try to dress) like they're straight out of The Hills tv show: think nordstrom and the higher up department stores, h&m, urban outfitters, and american apparel. Others dress more casual, but still cute: sweatshirts with designer jeans and boots/moccasins. Uggs are a must here, you'll see at least 25 pairs on your way to class in the fall/winter months. Athletic girls tend to wear sporty gear, and no one gives them a hard time about it. It's like school is a fashion show, but if you choose not to walk the runway it's no big deal.
Guys dress in a wide range from prep, skater, metro, and urban. Think urban outfitters, heritage, american apparel, and nordstrom. Vans are common, as well as moccasins and boat shoes. Ray-bans are also a must, for both sexes.
Random hookups are not uncommon around here, but casual and long-term relationships happen almost as often. It all depends on your preference.
Partying is also big here, especially on the Row, which is a street where all the big Greek houses are. The weekend starts on Thursday, so try not to schedule any classes early Friday morning!

4 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Diversity: Diverse in Some Ways, Not So Much in Others – Racially: USC is somewhat racially diverse. The majority of the student population is White, followed by Asians, then Blacks, then Latinos, then Indians.
While the diversity isn't huge, race relations are not negative. Most people seem to be very accepting of other races, and are willing to make friends with many people of different groups. So even though USC would only get, say, a B- for having a diverse campus, it gets an A- for having students that interact across race lines.
Socioeconomically, most USC students seem to be upper-middle class, with the next most prominent group being middle class, then the filthy rich, then the lower class. Money status doesn't really come up much at all though, and it's only evident through clothes and name brand items. It helps to have money if you plan on going Greek though; those dues and fees are expensive.

5 College Freshman

Facilities: Creative Majors, Un-Dying School Pride – Say all your life you've wanted to be...oh I don't know, a Doctor specializing in treating dance and understanding how dancing can affect the body. Most schools, including USC, don't have a single major that will cover both of those passions. SO to solve this problem, USC will allow you to major in Dance and Kinesiology, and will help you create a curriculum that fits you. It isn't really like double-majoring; it's more like a major fusion. And the best part is, you'll still graduate in 4 years.
Also, one of the things USC is best known for is its enthusiasm about sports and school pride. Whether or not your interested in going to every game and dressing in USC gear all the time (although you may very well do just that once you get here), pride for USC runs deep across the board. Alumni from 40 years ago still come out at 8 am for every home game to tailgate and route for USC. The Trojan family runs deep, and the spirit never diminishes.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Parking: USC is an expensive school, and parking is no exception. The cost for a parking permit is about $750 per semester, as of 2009. But parking is $5 a day for a daily pass, and $20 on weekends, so it's less expensive to just get a permit. Generally, you are assigned to a lot or garage near where you live, but other arrangements can be made if you go to the Transportation Office. It's a pretty fair and convenient system.
Getting tickets isn't uncommon, and they are usually given by campus police, not LAPD. However, tickets can be fought at the Transportation Office, and I've seen them get waived many times.
Parking permits are especially convenient on game days, when USC fanatics come on campus and tail-gate. They will park in the garages and fill up the spaces; the only way you are guaranteed a spot is if you have a permit.
At USC, I wouldn't say you absolutely need a car, but it helps. LA is a great place, and it can get complicated to try to explore it without a car. However, I'd say about 1 in 5 people have cars, since a big part of the student body is local, so if you don't bring a car, chances are you'll be friends with someone who did.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Not Exactly a "College Town" but Is Close to LA Excitement – USC gets a bad rap for being "in the ghetto," and many people assume it is dangerous around campus; I was even a little worried before I got here. On the contrary, USC is immediately surrounded mostly by off-campus student apartments and is not in the ghetto at all! Campus police patrol the surrounding area blocks away from campus just as much (if not more) than they do on campus. Students walk around off campus all the time, and problems almost never arise. The area surrounding USC doesn't exactly cater to the desires of college students; the across the street "University Village" is tiny and only has a Baskin-Robbins, Starbucks, 21 Choices, a small movie theater, and a few other small shops and eateries. But USC is right off of Figueroa Ave., and is therefore literally just a few blocks down from Downtown LA, the Staples Center, and LA Live, which has all sorts of hip restaurants and nightlife; you could walk if you really wanted to, or drive there in less than 2 minutes. So to put it short, the area directly surrounding USC is completely SAFE, but isn't exactly bubbling with exciting things to do, but being in such close proximity to REAL downtown LA life makes it worth it.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Scholarships: Willing to work with you – The Financial Aid Office was very willing to work with myself and my family. They listened closely to our individual situation and revised their initial recommendation after speaking with us and hearing our personal problems. Advice I would give -- be your own advocate. USC does a really good job at ensuring their students get the financial aid they need. I know many people whose financial aid was cut down for their second year there, but they went back the FAO and explained how that amount was not enough, and the FAO adjusted it. It's not the easiest process, but you can definitely get what you need if you are willing to fight for it.

1 person found this useful Report

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Tommy Trojan
Tommy Trojan
Tommy Trojan Tommy Trojan USC's mascot, Tommy Trojan.
Photo by alexoftroy

Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

BJ Grip
Colorado Springs, CO
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Students from Southern California usually love USC from the beginning and strengthen their bonds with the school as time passes. Students who travel to USC from longer distances tend to adapt more slowly, dealing at first with the culture shock that inevitably comes with a first impression of LA. Universally, those who can survive the transition into the USC way of life fall in love with the school after first semester. Typically, students entering school with a skeptical mind-set ends up getting the most pride out of being a Trojan. At the very least, they come away with a new affinity toward college football.

The opportunities on campus are plentiful, and in LA, opportunities are endless. Time flies for everyone at USC, and changes in living conditions, academic standards, and career goals come quicker than newcomers might expect. USC graduates are sure to look back on a college experience that could not have been offered anywhere else. Basically, the more that students are willing to explore the opportunities available to them, the more they endorse the idea that USC is the perfect school for its time and place.

Admitted Students' GPA/Test Scores More on admissions . . .

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