Staying at USC 2 nights-- alone?
So I just realized that Explore USC starts at 10am on the first day. Do most people who fly in stay over the night before? I imagine it would be too exhausting to get up at 4am to catch a 6am flight to USC to get there by 10, especially considering I'd have to interview the next day and would probably be pretty sleep deprived at that point.
What do most people do? Stay in a hotel the night before? I don't really know anyone at USC I could stay with, and my parents aren't coming with me. I'm so confused as to how this is supposed to work!
My son went alone.(first visit to campus and to LA) flew in day of check in ..stayed 2 nights..and flew out at 7am Saturday morning. The admission department matched him up with student to stay with during that time but he had to book his own shuttles . If you want a hotel..I would recommend Raddison which is across the street for proximity. My son said he was tired and if he did it again he would fly in weds and leave on red eye Friday night. However..he got bumped up after interview.Kudos to you for going alone.:)) best wishes!!
Ice- you will be quite safe at the Radisson. It is right across the street from the campus and was part of the USC dorm system (not sure if it still is). I would feel very comfortable with S doing it alone. Highly suggest going the night before and make sure your shuttles are booked- I believe USC is running a shuttle back to LAX after Explore (cant remember what it says about arrival) but you can call STA number in your packet for more info.
The Radisson is not a dorm anymore, but you will love it! I love the Radisson. Campus is literally right across the street. It's very convenient.
Definitely make sure to book early, though, as I'm sure you aren't the only person who wants to stay there during Explore.
Thanks guys! I'm thinking I would stay at the Radisson the night before it starts to ensure at least one good night's sleep before the interview... since I doubt I'll get much in the dorm, haha.
One other question. I know most people go with their parents, so I'm wondering: is there a lot of downtime throughout the program when kids meet up with their parents and wander USC with them? I'm afraid it'll be awkward if that's the case, and at meals and such, because I don't really know anyone currently at USC with whom I could mingle in the interims between activities. That's the only reason I might bring a parent.
Any insight about that from past Explore USCers would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance :)
Downtime? Parents who have been to the 2-day Explore can tell you that "downtime" did not appear on our agendas. Plenty of other students will be there without parents, and there will be no better time to just walk up to strangers and start talking - they are in the very same situation as you.
USC sees you as an adult, so they don't let any of the candidates stay glued to their parents for long. After the welcome in Bovard, the students are instructed to get up and make their escape from their parents - and USC staff stands at the exits barring anxious parents from following their kids out - seriously! The parents are then kept VERY busy for the rest of the day with only a short break to change for dinner. The kids do not join the parents for dinner - they are off with their student hosts. Parents and students do not meet up again until the following morning.
So you will not feel at all awkward without your parents there.
As for a "good night's sleep" before the interview, that is probably not going to happen. As I recall, the candidates and hosts were criscrossing campus all night long on various adventures. In the morning worried parents were issuing wake-up calls and we all were sure that our student would be a groggy mess for their interview or sleep right through it after staying up most of the night. Then the kids started striding in after interviewing - looking like a bunch of confident young professionals. We parents just stared in amazement at the "kid" we had brought...
You will have a great time.
icesk8girl-I agree with alamemom. Start talking to people! If a P/T candidate came over and started talking to me, I'd absolutely answer their questions. Most people will. We love the school and want to see you come join us and be happy!
Also, be sure to just explore the campus. Want to see the inside of the Philosophy Library? Go explore! Get to know your host. I WISH I'd volunteered to host in time. Oh well. But the other hosts are all awesome and they want you to have fun.
Please do remember to ask other students about any questions you have-if your host's roommate is a Sociology major and that's what you want to study, make sure to discuss it with her! Don't be afraid to get your questions answered, too-just because you're there for an interview doesn't mean that you should stop thinking about all of your college options.
I know you'll have an amazing time! Just embrace the experience and enjoy it.
Thanks so much for all the input guys! You've really reassured me that going without my parents won't be awkward.
One more question: The Radisson is ~$150 a night, and we can't get a deal through Travelocity because I'm only staying there one night (and the package deal would entail staying there for 2 nights, since my flights are 2 days apart, but of course I'll be in the dorms one night). So my question is: what other, cheaper hotel could I stay at the night before, that would be easy to get to USC from? For example I know the Vagabond Inn is also adjacent to campus, right? And that's only $80-90 a night. I don't want to mess with taking a cab or whatever to get to USC-- I want it to be as easy as possible. Suggestions?
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Just stay at the Vagabond otherwise. It isn't fancy but people visiting usc stay there all the time also.
How does the "staying overnight" part of Explore USC work? I've read that we're expected to bring our own sleeping bag... I'm not an expert on plane travel but this doesn't seem very feasible (correct me if I'm wrong). Is it mandatory that we sleep in another student's room, or is a nearby hotel an option?
@iceskate - I have stayed at the Vagabond twice to visit USC with S. We have it booked again for this trip in March. It is very safe and quiet. They have strict 10pm no noise policy. Includes a VERY light breakfast but bagels, juice and coffee is all we need. It is 1 block from the Campus on the Jefferson side. Mainly students around the area. We walk past a new CVS and the new student residence apartments/Thornton practice rooms before you hit the edge of campus. But you will be very safe at the Vagabond. I'm sure it will be all families/students that are going to Explore (we were there for music auditions and there was music coming out of many rooms!)
XCyoungX - We have traveled with sleeping bags packed in a roll on. Yes, they take up space but it can be done. I think you wouldn't want to miss the host overnight. I would think they hand pick the host students.
Vagabond is a great choice!
In southern California, a very light sleeping bag will do just fine for the dorms. Walmart and other discount stores sell them for ~$10, and they are flimsy enough that they will fit easily in a suitcase or carry-on. [url]http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-40-60F-Sleeping-Bag/14504291[/url] (They are also available in-store.)
I stayed at Radisson. It was convenient and safe. Sorry, I have no personal experience with the Vagabond, though have read/heard it is cheaper.
So I'm not crazy about schlepping a sleeping bag for my D on the flight for Explore. Will there be a WalMart or Big 5 nearby where she can pick up a cheap sleeping bag then leave it with friends? We're staying at the Vagabond and arrive kind of late (9 pm) the night before.
Also, someone mentioned the kids will be tromping around campus until late into the night. Do they all do this? D is good at staying up but I - only half jokingly - say that she's always ideally needed 11 hours of sleep. And an interview situation probably warrants an ideal amount of sleep. Obviously, this will be her choice but I'm curious how active they are during the night.
What they do varies greatly depending on which host they are matched with and which dorm or apartment they are in - there is a planned evening activity after dinner and then ??? The kids I saw criss-crossing campus appeared to be engaged in scavenger-hunt-type activities, though my daughter's host did not offer that. My daughter was placed in an off-campus apartment (don't get worried - it was one of the USC-owned complexes right across the street), and there were two hosts and two scholarship candidates in her room, as well as others on their floor, so they all talked about USC and college life late into the night.
If you aren't driving in or renting a car, I would recommend bringing the sleeping bag with you - there isn't a discount department store within walking distance. I keep thinking one of those enterprising current students will think to buy a few dozen of those cheap $10 sleeping bags and re-sell them to the kids staying overnight for $20!
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