Should I Go To University of Southern California?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Emily is a Los Angeles tutor specializing in SAT prep tutoring, Mandarin Chinese tutoring, Biology tutoring, and more. She is currently a senior at University of Southern California majoring in Business Administration. See what she had to say about her school:

VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?

Emily: University of Southern California is located in downtown Los Angeles. We have a compact university campus in the downtown location and also another location for our medical school. Students usually ride bicycles or walk to classes. The campus environment is relatively safe and transportation to LA Live, the beach, and tourist locations is pretty convenient. There are many buses and a train stop around the campus which creates more convenience for students.

VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Emily: Professors and TAs are very accessible to students. Academic advisers are both on appointment and walk-in basis. Students can also reach out to advisers through emails and phone calls.

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Emily: USC has typical college dorms but with multiple options, varied by locations and styles inside. Students can buy meal plans and eat on campus – we have two main cafeterias and a food court “campus center” with retail vendors. There are many social opportunities since we have more than 100 student organizations on campus and a Greek system.

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?

Emily: USC has strong Business and Accounting programs. Every year, many top students from these two programs get recruited to Fortune 500 companies. My major is Business Administration due to my strong interest in finance and management. The school provides many great programs and alumni networks to support me and get me a full-time offer eventually.

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Emily: It’s not hard at all. USC has one of the strongest Greek cultures among campuses in the U.S. and the school is supportive of the Greek system. As a freshman, everyone is open to making friends and exploring the campus and city of Los Angeles together. Freshmen and transfer students are also welcome to join any student organizations on campus where you can meet a lot of interesting people coming from very diverse cultural backgrounds.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus? 

Emily: The USC Career Center and many student organizations are very supportive of students during the recruitment process. Students are encouraged to take internships as early as freshman year. Many leading and top Fortune 500 companies are recruiting on campus, such as Bain, BCG, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, and so on.

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Emily: The main library, Leavey, is open 24/7. The student union operates on a normal work-hour schedule, also depending on each office’s separate operating hours. Dorm lounges are open all the time to all residents. During study times, libraries are usually packed with students but study rooms are also available for online reservations ahead of time.

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus? 

Emily: USC provides shuttles on weekdays to downtown LA Live where most restaurants, City Target, and movie theaters are located. The transportation from campus to downtown is very convenient and there are shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, and other entertainment in the downtown area as well. Many students like to go to downtown for fun activities, especially during the weekends. 

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Emily: The student body is big and we have one of the largest international study bodies in the U.S. Class sizes are relatively small, surprisingly, except for some fundamental classes where 100 students are expected to attend a lecture class. I’m pleased with the class sizes overall.

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Emily: My most memorable experience at USC was my class with a Harvard graduate professor for an investment class. He explained the stock market and investment methods from a sociological perspective that was different from the conventional angle. USC has many top scholars in the field and continually opens classes like this to create new opportunities for students to explore areas that we are interested in.

Check out Emily’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.