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The University of Southern California

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityC Faculty AccessibilityB+
Useful SchoolworkB+ Excess CompetitionA
Academic SuccessB+ Creativity/ InnovationB
Individual ValueB University Resource UseC
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA FriendlinessA
Campus MaintenanceB Social LifeA-
Surrounding CityB Extra CurricularsA
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Arrogant, Approachable, Closeminded

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Helpful

Super Brilliant
Lowest Rating
Highest Rating
Excess Competition
She cares more about Safety than the average student.
Date: Jun 23 2012
Major: Biology (This Major's Salary over time)
I came to USC from out of state, and I suppose you could say I made that decision based on the elaborate show USC puts on to admitted students to get them to commit. I was top of my class in high school, and was hoping to find an academic, intellectual environment when I came to college. My disclaimer with this review is that I am not the "party type". I would rather go to a coffee shop and watch a band play than get wasted and make out with random strangers on the weekends. Also, I love learning and love attending classes—I don't just go to college to get my degree and move on.

I found that the environment at USC was not what I was looking for. Although many kids were very smart and hardworking, a great many seemed not to care about classes or learning and were not too academically oriented in general. I had some amazing classes, but mostly just OK classes. My general education classes were all huge lectures, and with the exclusion of maybe one or two all of them were taught in a relatively superficial manner. I guess the best way to put it is I didn't feel like I was being challenged to really think. I was just trudging through classes, doing what the professor demanded of us to get the grade. And being the nerdy-intellectual type that I am, I was greatly dissatisfied with this way of learning.

Aside from the non-intellectual environment, I was not happy with USC's location. Put simply, I hate LA. Unless you have a car on campus and can leave frequently to find things to do, the area around USC has little to nothing in the way of non-USC activities. There are a handful of restaurants, one bar, and some fast-food joints. No cute coffee shops. No arts venues. I don't know what I expected, though, since it was obvious when I visited USC that it wasn't in a college town. Moreover, despite USC's vamped-up efforts at improving safety, the area simply isn't safe—last year two graduate students were shot and killed, and there were a number of armed robberies and muggings. Just be sure you are OK with this risk before you attend.

Otherwise, USC is an OK school. The student body is extremely diverse, and it is true that there is no one "typical" USC student. (I will say, however, that the Greek atmosphere is at times overwhelming—I got very sick of the arrogant, a-hole guys and the superficial girls that seemed to populate the Greek system.) Everyone is involved in a million different extracurriculars, and passion seems to be a commonality among all students, especially for community service. Our campus is beautiful, some of the teachers are exceptional (hit or miss), and the university does a lot for its students. Nonetheless, in the end I just wasn't happy here. I did not feel the education I was getting was worth what I was paying in any regard.

One last note—it pissed me off how all of these huge donations kept coming in, but little of it translated to academic programs. It all seemed to go to the football program or incoming student scholarships (not continuing student scholarships). And everything here, too, is extremely expensive.

USC is what you make of it. For some, it will be the perfect school. For me, and for other intellectual types out there, it was disappointing.

commentUSC is what you make of it "super brilliant" just as any other school. As with any other university, USC's location is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand you have the wonderful weather that is Southern California. On the other you have the fratty ratty bratty types who are attracted to it.

Ultimately, it sounds to me as if you expect for the university to hand you the dream environment on a platter without having much as budged a finger to create it for yourself. I was, much akin to you, disappointed by the general absence of a nucleus of intellectuals (legitimate or pseudo) because I assumed that USC owes me something, namely, that environment. Once I got over the initial disenchantment, however; I found it really easy to network with other students and build up a group of people who are more academically inclined or at the very least run a healthy balance of "Thirsty Thursday" and "Deep Discussion."

I encourage you to do the same and turn this challenge into an opportunity. Los Angeles is a great place to learn the art of squeezing lemonade, USC is just the first step towards perfecting this skill.

commentAs a current USC student, I feel almost exactly what you describe. While the campus is big enough to the point where you can't really complain about there being too many of one type of person, the overwhelming environment is fratty and uninterested in academics. Location is terrible, etc etc
questionHey, You sound a lot like me, so I was wondering where would you have chosen to gone instead?
responseI am currently a student at USC and completely agree with everything you said. No nature, dangerous surroundings, and no car makes this place feel like a prison. True, the connections will probably do me good later on in life but I honestly wish I would have chosen a different school.
questionI read that you described yourself as not the "party type", and I share that same characteristic. Did you ever feel alienated for not wanting to go to parties and get drunk, or was there a good mix of people who also weren't into partying?
responseAs a recent graduate of USC who didn't want to ever get drunk, I want to answer the question of whether or not I felt alienated because of my choices. The answer is no. I didn't notice or care if there were other students who felt the same way I did because I didn't think that it was anyone's business what others do, as long as they're not hurting me. I minded my own business and loved my time at USC. At least USC is known for its excellent education throughout the world.
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