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Why Do People Hate USC?

PEALS-05PEALS-05 Registered User Posts: 585 Member
edited April 2011 in College Admissions
So, why are CC message boards so full of people who seem "prejudiced" against the University of Southern California?

Here's the reactions I've seen, both on CC and in real life:

USC is "merely":

1. A jock/football school
2. Their students are vastly inferior (mostly in comparison to UCLA)
3. Their curriculum is vastly inferior (see above)
4. It's severely overpriced
5. You must be sort of stupid if you attend USC, because that's probably the best school you could get into
6. It's terribly easy to get into USC

How is that fair? Why do people flaunt UCLA as so superior to USC when they are separated by FIVE spots by the US News and World Report rankings?

USC isn't the greatest school, but people seem to enjoy giving it no credit whatsoever. It eventually gets ridiculous when people start saying it's on-par with the lower half of the UCs.

My observation is that the people who keep dumping on Southern Cal.-- and there are a ton of them, and many on CC messageboards-- is that they haven't done their homework on its actual strengths, or their minds are too set on an unfounded prejudgement that it is an inferior place of learning.
Post edited by PEALS-05 on

Replies to: Why Do People Hate USC?

  • spoonyjspoonyj Registered User Posts: 344 Member

    I've heard the same criticisms of USC, and, to a certain extent, all of them hold true--or at least they used to. That's the bad news. But there is good news--a lot of it. USC is becoming much more selective, in part because the new President (I've forgotten his name) has taken it upon himself to improve the academic programs and turn the University into an academic powerhouse--and, unlike some other up-and-coming universities, his efforts are about much more than image and marketing. He has raised--and spent--a bunch of money toward his goals, turning heads in the world of higher education and receiving an official commendation from the USC faculty for his efforts. He still has a way to go to regularly attract the kind of students who tend to flock to UCLA, UCB, and Est Coast private schools, but he's heading in that direction. Don't fret. USC is getting more respect; its star is rising.
  • kfc4ukfc4u Registered User Posts: 3,415 Senior Member

    Why do (some) people revere USC so much?
  • uvajackuvajack Registered User Posts: 1,376 Senior Member
    I think usc is overpriced. What do you get out of paying private tuition costs? A university as big as the larger Publics!
  • PEALS-05PEALS-05 Registered User Posts: 585 Member
    "Why do (some) people revere USC so much?"

    1. Top film school in the country
    2. Top five accounting school
    3. Top business school
    4. Top journalism school
    5. Respected medicine and pharmacy programs, as well as well ranked in law

    1. #1 Football team
    2. Top five baseball team
    3. Top ten track team
    4. Good women's basketball (Lisa Leslie in a alumn) and volleyball
    5. Trojan men's teams have more NCAA championships than any other American university

    Other: USC is the only university in America that sends at least one of its students to the Olympics EVERY Olympic Games (since the early 1900s)

    School Pride:
    1. Almost 2.5 billion dollar annual endowment
    2. Highly publicized "Trojan network"-- jobs related
    3. Since it's a large school, it has almost 200,000 living Alumni. 30,000-40,000 of those are OUTSIDE the US
    4. Many alums just really enjoy graduating from USC. Drive around LA and try to count all the USC Alumni license plates you see

    Other Perks:
    1. A Hollywood favorite (think Ron Howard, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg). Also, since 1929, at least one USC grad has been nominated for an Oscar every single year.
    2. With a giant endowment, it gives a LOT of financial aid and scholarships. The idea that USC is overly expensive is an old idea. USC always fufills demonstrated financial need for its accepted students
    3. Volunteer opportunities: USC, despite being in the middle of South Central LA, is known for its many students who actively volunteer to better their surrounding community

    4. Extremely diverse (white population under 50%). Has substantial Asian and Latino populations, and good representation of African-American students
    5. Though it's a large school, it's still a PRIVATE school, which means more individual attention and care than giant, public, undergrad university-mills. Many small classes avaliable.
    6. It's location. The "ghetto" idea is bunk. The immediate surrounding area of USC is pretty safe. Four miles away is downtown Los Angeles. Close proximity to Beverley Hills, Hollywood, the beaches etc.

    7. Is academically-respected and competitive but not known as cutthroat. Many in the student body are known for sharing a certain type of spirited, tight-knit, community mentality.
    8. Cool alumni (that's a perk): There are a HUGE range of famous 'SC alums such as John Wayne, Neil Armstrong, R. Howard and G. Lucas, Frank Gehry, LaVar Burton, Will Ferrell, the creater of Kinkos, the owners of the Dodgers and the Lakers, Frank Gifford, Lisa Leslie, Mark McGwire, Dr. James Dobson, General Schwartzkopf

    There are a lot of reasons to revere USC. A lot of people refuse to acknowledge them. That's often because they simply don't know what they're talking about, such as uvajoe.
  • PEALS-05PEALS-05 Registered User Posts: 585 Member
    Oh, and the USC marching band is pretty awesome, too. They like to bill themselves as the Best Marching Band in the History of the World, and that's not a terribly unjustified statement. They're the only marching band to have earned two platinum records (actually, to have earned a platinum record at all). They've performed with Fleetwood Mac, the Offspring (lead singer is an alumnus) and Outkast at the Grammys.

    Number one ranked football team + incredibly talented and famous marching band= really, really, really fun football games USC students can look forward to and experience.

    Add that to the "perks" list I made.
  • mcjaamminmcjaammin Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    maybe there is just a lot of ucla students on cc
  • PEALS-05PEALS-05 Registered User Posts: 585 Member

    Also, I think a huge "problem" is the prevalence of overly zealous UC students/alums/supporters as well. Since the UCs are public schools, tuition is far lower than what it is at USC. While USC is NOT an inferior school (only five spots separate it from UCLA in the rankings, despite all of the Bruins' harping on "superior" academics/curriculum etc), it is not in the most upper echelon of California institutions (Stanford, Caltech, Pomona). It is lower ranked than Berk and UCLA (but not by a terrible much). Therefore, many Californians view it as basically insane to pay huge tuition at a "lesser" private school (USC) than to just attend a good UC.

    What they FAIL to realize is that for out of state students, the tuition is the SAME. Would people prefer a slightly less ranked school that gives a PRIVATE education (USC) to a somewhat more prestigious, huge, often cited for being impersonal PUBLIC school when it costs the SAME? Yes.

    The hatred and bashing of USC on CC is most often found from Californians who are avid supporters of the UC system. They don't understand that to the rest of the US (i.e., practically every other American on earth), the UC system is respected but not like an Ivy. People on CC often treat the UC system like their own, in-state Ivies when they're not.
  • dominodomino Registered User Posts: 190 Junior Member
    USC is an excellent school and still on the rise.
  • shrek2004shrek2004 Registered User Posts: 3,460 Senior Member
    people in arizona dont look at it too highly either....(well my school anyways). its regarded as a "fun party sporty jock" school where u will have a "good time" in college rather than going to a university to learn. we have around 14 students attending from my school next year, most of them planning to party 24/7. im not quite sure how it got that reputation but a lotta people, as PEALS has said, view UCs as superior. many people classify UCs as among the best universities in the country (which they are berkeley and ucla are very very good), and people fail to see why pay so much for usc. also, usc has a poor reputation for having a lotta rich snobby kids (hence the name university for spoiled children). this also stirs a lotta trash talk.
  • IcarusIcarus Registered User Posts: 4,336 Senior Member
    2. Highly publicized "Trojan network"-- jobs related

    I wish I knew why people think this so-called "Trojan network" is so impressive. It is really non-existant outside of Southern CA.
  • PEALS-05PEALS-05 Registered User Posts: 585 Member
    "It is really non-existant outside of Southern CA."

    No duh, Bruin. One estimate put the number of Trojan alumns in California at over 130,000. Most Trojans stay in CA. Only maybe twelve, thirteen thousand are in other states (mostly in Texas and Oregon). Thirty-forty thousand alumns are out of the country, mostly in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada.

    "I wish I knew why people think this so-called "Trojan network" is so impressive."

    Well obviously you wouldn't know why, because you're not a Trojan and wouldn't benefit or even know what the benefits are.
  • PEALS-05PEALS-05 Registered User Posts: 585 Member
    "also, usc has a poor reputation for having a lotta rich snobby kids (hence the name university for spoiled children)."

    Not true. USC gives 60% of its students some form of financial aid. That's fair over half. USC is also known for culling a substantial percentage of its student body from the lower third income-wise of Americans. There are many wealthy students at USC, but they are not a majority.

    REMEMBER that USC is a huge, research uni with 32,000 students. The ranges in income are very wide.

    "we have around 14 students attending from my school next year, most of them planning to party 24/7."

    Ancedotal evidence. Do you think the scores of students planning to attend Viterbi engineering or Marshall School of Business are hoping to party 24/7, too? Besides, do you not think that there are some people planning to party a lot at Yale? U of Penn? UCLA? Sure there are. In fact, many freshman going to any school are looking to party. Does that mean for sure that their college is a party school?

    Uh, no.

    If you want to use ancedotal evidence as proof that USC is some party school, than I should too.

    The past years the applicants, acceptees and enrolling-at-USC classmates at my school have had almost uniformly 4.0s, 1400-1500s and a wide range of ECs (from football to theater). They're not going to USC because they think it's merely a jock party school in the slightest. They were intelligent, talented, and felt they could get a great education and college experience at USC, that's why.

    Personally, I'm going to USC and I had a 1400 SAT and was editor of the school newspaper, editor of the literary magazine, played two instruments, did regular volunteer hours, was involved with community/religious organizations etc. I am not going there because it's a jock party school. You can't be a jock party school and be ranked 30th in the nation.

    Many people consider U of Penn to the "social Ivy" and somewhat of a "party school." Are you going to use that to degrade the academic reputation of Penn too?

    "people fail to see why pay so much for usc."

    People fail to see that for out-of-state students (or practically 50% of USC's student body), tuition is almost the same for any UC or USC.

    The people described by shrek2004 are CLASSIC examples of rather ignorant persons who are falsely prejudiced and misinformed against USC.
  • CalTech04CalTech04 - Posts: 441 Member
    its just rivalry against ucla
  • TritonBruinTritonBruin Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    "People fail to see that for out-of-state students (or practically 50% of USC's student body), tuition is almost the same for any UC or USC."

    The UCs limit their out-of-state students to 10% which makes it extremely difficult for non residents to gain admission. CA residents pay $7,062.23 compared to $32,008 at USC. Out of staters pay $24,882.23. I would not say tuition is "almost the same."

    Comparing UPENN and USC...not happening. Two different leagues. I don't understand the reason for this post. PEALS-05, are you trying to justify why you decided to attend USC? I see that you are really big on the rankings thing, always commenting on SC being ranked 30th in the nation. About 5 years ago, it was ranked in the 40s. The reason for the major jump boogles the mind. Research the number of nobel prize laureates and NAS members for UCLA, UCB or UCSD and you will see why they are revered as great academic institutions. Compare those numbers with USC and you will be in for a shock.
  • kfc4ukfc4u Registered User Posts: 3,415 Senior Member
    PEALS-05, i will attempt to answer your question. note these are not my opinions but just personal observations or self-drawn conclusions:

    "1. A jock/football school"

    Schools with good football programs are stereotyped as party schools or schools that aren't great for academics. USC happens to be #1 in football. That's just a negative side effect, that is, its peers in the eyes of the general public are Auburn, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Tennessee, etc. Or if you think of it this way.. rarely does a school that is known for academics fields a good football team. Speaking of which, before USC began its more recent focus to boost its academic status, that was what it was known for - football.

    "2. Their students are vastly inferior (mostly in comparison to UCLA)"

    It's only been around the past 5 years that USC has started heavily recruiting academic standouts. In the past (not too long ago), the vast majority of the better students chose several other schools (i.e. Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA) over USC. That's how it got the nickname "university of second choice." Yes, USC is improving, but it's not at the point where the public thinks it is more selective than UCLA, or at least the certainty of admission of a good student is more prevalent with USC than it is with UCLA.

    "3. Their curriculum is vastly inferior (see above)"

    This will always be a misjudgment because many people think that if a school has a good grad program in say, history, then that means it has a good undergrad program in history too. That's not always the case. And in terms of grad programs, USC isn't as developed, especially in comparison with some of its local colleges that it has cross-admits with undergrad (Berkeley, UCLA). But one also has to note that President Sample is trying to bring in more star faculty members (in academic areas) because that is one of USC's weaknesses.

    "4. It's severely overpriced"

    This is unfortunate for USC because it happens to be in California, where one could obtain a solid yet much cheaper education at the many UC's. To many of the California residents, they would rather take the UC. Another way to look at this is if you're going to pay $40k/year, where would you rather go, Stanford or USC? I don't know, perhaps Boston College faces this same problem when compared to Harvard. The second argument as to why USC seems to be severely overpriced is its reputation for having many rich students. Yes, I know you're going to argue that it is not be true in reality, but it is a reputation nonetheless, and one that was/is built on (partial?) truth. Hence the nickname, "university of spoiled children."

    "5. You must be sort of stupid if you attend USC, because that's probably the best school you could get into"

    See number 2.

    "6. It's terribly easy to get into USC"

    Also see number 2. But in the recent past, it was pretty easy to get into USC. Here's a personal opinion though... just from looking at its application, you'd think getting into USC would be a joke compared to some other colleges.

    "How is that fair? Why do people flaunt UCLA as so superior to USC when they are separated by FIVE spots by the US News and World Report rankings?"

    See number 3 (especially about people thinking departments are judged by graduate strength). Another reason why people think UCLA is superior to USC academically is because UCLA is well-rounded across the board. Many of its departments are strong and backed by strong faculty. USC does have its claim to fame in some areas, but many people aren't looking for film, accounting, business, or journalism (I'm citing what you listed as USC's strengths). I'm also looking at the strengths that you listed, and all of them are pre-professional majors. Colleges with good academic reputations in general are known for more than just its pre-professional majors; they are also very strong in academic majors such as the sciences, humanities, social sciences, etc.

    I also want to note on the side that US News shouldn't be used as the "bible" of college rankings.

    You don't have to go and defend or tear up every statement that I made here. I'm just trying to interpret the reasoning behind your cause of frustration.
This discussion has been closed.