I have heard many GREAT comments and many NEGATIVE comments about the students at USC. From wonderful, friendly, inviting people to very clickish, snobby, and unwelcoming. I would like to hear from those who personally know, their experiences and opinions about being a part of the USC culture and its students.
Hi....I am just a regular middle age mom whose son has applied to USC, awaiting the news like many of you. I grew up in Southern California and now live in Northern California. Over the years I have heard different opinions about the culture at SC and am mostly just wondering what it's like there now. I do agree that any campus has a broad mix of good and bad. About a year ago we took our own tour of the campus and talked to a couple of students who said they were disappointed that the people weren't as friendly as they had hoped. That's all...nothing subversive, just curious!
Well, my H has been on the math dept faculty since '86. In his opinion, the quality of the students has risen. There's much less of the "University of Spoiled Children" image than in the past.
This morning, he's interviewing candidates for the President, Trustee and Dean scholarships. He noted that the four his group (one faculty member, one member from admissions, one prior student recipient) are interviewing, at least on paper, look outstanding.
Hi, regular middle age mom, this is a regular middle age dad whose son started at SC in the fall ...
... and he absolutely loves it. He had heard the nickname "University of Spoiled Children," but I have to think that's a holdover from 20 to 30 years ago, before it decided to become a top-flight school. His friends seem to be a wonderful mix of smart, normal kids, as at any other good, big school. The only negative he has expressed (and it's not a huge deal) is not being in a "college town"; i.e., having a retail/dining district that one can safely stroll through, like most colleges have. But this is more than offset by the great experience he's having (and enjoying the SoCal weather; we're from out East).
Two big reasons: he's in the film school, which is tremendous and just getting better with a new building complex; and he joined the marching band, so he instantly had 300 friends. As with any big school, there are groups for everything, and bound to be kids with similar interests as your son's.
Hi Regular Middle Aged Mom, my son is a freshman at USC. He is pretty laid back, not in a frat, and does not go crazy for sports (i.e.- he likes the football games, but will miss them for another activity & will go to BB games sometimes). He is from Southern CA and got accepted to the top UC's, of which Berkeley was the only one he considered once he was accepted to USC. I mention that because many would consider a "Berkeley kid" as the opposite of a "USC kid." My son would have been a perfect fit up north and he is very happy and a good fit at USC. Here is what he thinks: 1) Everyone is "really nice, and super friendly," (He says this all of the time) 2) The classes are very challenging, the professors are helpful, 3) There are many different types of kids there- a cinema or video game major will be different than a scholarship football player than a business major than a pre-med major, but there are social activities for every type of student, 4) He LOVES USC (more than I thought he might), 5) the only negative is the lack of shops and restaurants and hang out spots for students. As noted above, there is not a "college town feel" once you get too far from campus. This affects the kids in a couple of ways: they need to be careful and use good judgment- i.e. no walking down the street totally drunk and alone in the middle of the night. There are fewer job opportunities for kids looking for a part time jobs since there are not as many stores and restaurants catering to students and a lot of campus jobs are reserved for work study kids (and rightfully so). The bonus of that is that kids tend to cluster together near or on campus, which is good for making friends. My son highly recommends USC when his younger friends ask about it. I think there is something for everyone at USC. My older son is now thinking about grad school at USC as a result of his brother's positive experience thus far. As a parent, I have found that every interaction I have had with the school has been positive. They are friendly, efficient, organized, and service oriented. That Trojan family feeling is in the air and it is VERY different from the large UC my other son attends. That may be just a private v. public comparison, but I've noticed that even the parking lot attendants are super nice at USC! Politeness abounds.
Bessie-I am glad to hear your son likes USC as does mine. However, I respectfully differ when you write that on campus jobs are rightfully for the work-study students. My son does not have work-study. He tried to find a part time job on campus and found that the jobs of interest were for work-study students and that it is very difficult to find something if you are not on work-study. My son had no problem finding part time work in high school-both paid and volunteer. Of course, the economy as it is will make jobs scarcer to find this year.
I concur with you that the opinions about USC are quite polarized. If you come here often and stay longer, you will find there are noticeable patterns about the 2 groups of people making these contradicting comments.
The ones commending USC mostly have family members going to USC, or know USC with personal experiences and updated knowledge. In a word, they are the people who KNOW USC. The naysayers usually don't even know the difference between USC campus and Watts. They got their opinions based on either OLD knowledge (stereotypes), or pure hearsays. Let alone some just wants to knock on USC out of their own interest. This probably is not a good generalization, but it rarely failed as far as I've seen.
As an international student at USC, I first got really baffled that some people here can talk how bad USC is like an expert, even though they know very little about this school. Then I realized this "talking about things you don't know like an expert" may be part of the American culture, at least in some not very well educated, informed folks, which are not a minority in this country.
My husband got his masters in Electrical Engineering at USC years ago. He is truly impressed with the "change" (popular political word now) he sees at USC and thinks it is a great university to attend. I think QW553 makes an excellent point that family members who know USC (alumni, their children attend the university) see its values and virtues.
Dear QW553 - I would be interested to hear of your experience and how you feel about being a student at USC. As a side note, I would agree, probably along with alot of other citizens, that you are thoroughly correct in your assessment of how people can behave here.