right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: ak2018 is a rising junior at Virginia Tech having transferred from George Mason University. He'll answer any question, including about his studies abroad or his research at NASA. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our July Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

USC vs UPenn (Engineering)

xBudderpupperxBudderpupper 7 replies2 threads New Member
I am still fairly new with using college confidential, but I have decided to create a thread so that I could get people's input before making a final decision. I do think better with having other people's insights for a situation.

A few months ago, I got accepted into USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and I was beyond ecstatic. I ended up committing to the school. Recently, I got accepted off the waitlist to the University of Pennsylvania, and I was truly shocked. Now I am in a dilemma about which school to attend. I have less than 2 weeks to make this decision.

After researching a lot, I am still torn between these two schools; however, I am starting to like UPenn a lot more.

In terms of financial aid, I haven't receive my package from Penn yet, but I am assuming that Penn's FA will be around the same or even better than USC's (I didn't receive any merit aid from USC).
I also believe that Penn will offer greater opportunities for research, especially since it has a smaller population and a huge endowment. Will Penn's reputation be prominent for recruitment in California though? I also want to minor in something business related as I do believe this will be a good complement with my engineering major, and studying in Wharton would be incredible.
Additionally, I find the students at Penn have a lot more similarities to me. I connected with a lot of them more than I did with USC students (based on Facebook). The football spirit that USC prides itself in, I honestly don't really care about. I'm also okay with partying, but I feel like USC has such a strong emphasis on frats/sor and partying that I don't think I'd fit in with. (I don't know though, this is based on what I've read).

On the other hand, Penn does have some cons. In terms of weather and location, Penn will be a huge transition for me. USC is only 30 minutes from where I live, so in a sense, I will have a place of security from my family. I'm also used to the warm weather in California, and I cannot handle the cold. However, this would be a brand new experience for me, and it will be an opportunity for me to gain independence. I also know USC alumni network is a lot stronger in California than Penn's. I don't know how important an undergrad degree will affect graduate school.

After undergrad, I do want to pursue a higher education and attend grad school. My top grad school choices would be at MIT or Stanford. After grad school, I want to settle back in California. Another thing is, I do consider prestige as an important factor, but I don't emphasize it as much.

So I am not sure which route I should take, and I would appreciate the input from everyone! Thank you so much.
edited July 13
18 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
· Reply · Share

Replies to: USC vs UPenn (Engineering)

  • badgolferbadgolfer 241 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Go to UPenn.

    It sounds like you haven't reached any firm conclusions about your career goals. You've applied to an engineering discipline, have indicated an interest in premed in another thread, and would like to take some business classes too. In other words keep all the doors open and kick the can down the road about making a decision. In that respect you aren't too different from the majority of HS students who either haven't made a decision, or if they had change it once in college. I'd say the likelihood you end up pursuing engineering is on the low side; it takes a lot of effort and dedication to get thru the program and it doesn't sound like you have this for engineering. Nationally 40% of those starting as engineering majors switch to something else. If you do switch then being at UPenn will be a boost in how many employers see you compared to USC (a fine school, but not quite an Ivy).
    After undergrad, I do want to pursue a higher education and attend grad school. My top grad school choices would be at MIT or Stanford.
    Funny thing is, most grad school applicants care about the quality of the program for the specific sub-area they'll study. HS students like to name drop.
    · Reply · Share
  • southerngal3southerngal3 11 replies2 threads New Member
    I’m in the same position and I think I’ll be staying at USC. Good luck with your decision!
    · Reply · Share
  • badgolferbadgolfer 241 replies9 threads Junior Member
    to flesh out the last bit of my post a bit more, it is almost de rigueur for HS students to say they plan on a grad degree. But the majority of undergrads don't go on to grad school. Even at schools like USC and UPenn. To have already picked out the grad schools is like icing on the cake. I hope when the time comes and if you decide to go to grad school that you pick schools for the training they'll actually give.
    · Reply · Share
  • bluebayoubluebayou 28013 replies206 threads Senior Member
    edited May 25
    For the same price, go east. The experience of truly going away to college itself will be life changing. Yeah, it can be cold, but by a warm coat. Traipsing from the dorm to class is no biggie. Getting a job back in CA should be no problem.

    Congrats.

    btw: it woudn't hurt to contact 'SC and inquire if you might be eligible for any merit money.....the worst they can say is no. If so, Go East, young person.
    edited May 25
    · Reply · Share
  • xBudderpupperxBudderpupper 7 replies2 threads New Member
    @southerngal3 I was wondering what your reasonings are for sticking with USC? (Just so I can get more valuable inputs)
    · Reply · Share
  • NCKrisNCKris 279 replies1 threads Junior Member
    If it is the same price, then go to Penn.
    It will be great to go to college in a different environment. Besides, it is not that cold in Philly.
    Penn Engineering is hard, so be prepared to work hard.
    · Reply · Share
  • southerngal3southerngal3 11 replies2 threads New Member
    edited May 25
    Yeah sure! I haven’t completely decided yet, but I’m leaning towards usc because of conversations i’ve had with different alum from both schools and things i have read. i just feel like alum leave usc and they see it as more than just a place they went and got a degree versus penn i just didn’t see that same excitement/love for their school when talking with them. usc just has the overall college experience i am looking for i think. also i prefer la to philly and usc is better for my major (communication).
    edited May 25
    · Reply · Share
  • boudersbouders 2688 replies187 threads Senior Member
    You are making some big assumptions about Penn.
    In terms of financial aid, I haven't receive my package from Penn yet, but I am assuming that Penn's FA will be around the same or even better than USC's (I didn't receive any merit aid from USC).

    Big assumption.

    I also believe that Penn will offer greater opportunities for research, especially since it has a smaller population and a huge endowment.

    Another big assumption. Universities like to hoard their endowments like shoppers hoard toilet paper.
    I also want to minor in something business related as I do believe this will be a good complement with my engineering major, and studying in Wharton would be incredible.

    Looking over the available minors in Penn engineering, I don't see any in the Wharton school.
    Additionally, I find the students at Penn have a lot more similarities to me. I connected with a lot of them more than I did with USC students (based on Facebook). The football spirit that USC prides itself in, I honestly don't really care about. I'm also okay with partying, but I feel like USC has such a strong emphasis on frats/sor and partying that I don't think I'd fit in with. (I don't know though, this is based on what I've read).

    Have you visited either school?
    · Reply · Share
  • simba9simba9 3372 replies20 threads Senior Member
    I live in the SF Bay Area and have an Masters in Industrial Engineering from SC. If you want to work in California after graduation, then either school is fine. You'll end up with the same opportunities. If you think you'd prefer Penn, then go there.
    · Reply · Share
  • bluebayoubluebayou 28013 replies206 threads Senior Member
    Yeah sure! I haven’t completely decided yet, but I’m leaning towards usc because of conversations i’ve had with different alum from both schools and things i have read. i just feel like alum leave usc and they see it as more than just a place they went and got a degree versus penn i just didn’t see that same excitement/love for their school when talking with them. usc just has the overall college experience i am looking for i think. also i prefer la to philly and usc is better for my major (communication).

    yeah, but you said that you are not a fan of sports? And Greek scene?
    The football spirit that USC prides itself in, I honestly don't really care about. I'm also okay with partying, but I feel like USC has such a strong emphasis on frats/sor and partying that I don't think I'd fit in with.

    yes, teh Trojan Family is a thing, but to earn that badge, it helps to hang out in the Coliseum on Saturday afternoons and join the social activities, which includes Greek. It seems that socially you are a better fit at Penn. OTOH, if you love sports and like D1 Saturdays, then 'SC is an excellent choice.
    · Reply · Share
  • DebbeutDebbeut 27 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Being close to home is nice during a pandemic though....!
    · Reply · Share
  • xBudderpupperxBudderpupper 7 replies2 threads New Member
    @bluebayou Yes, you're correct, I did say that I am not a fan of sports or Greek life. The first section you highlighted is a response from another person. But thank you for your input on USC! I greatly appreciate it!
    · Reply · Share
  • xBudderpupperxBudderpupper 7 replies2 threads New Member
    @bouders Yes, I understand that I am making big assumptions about Penn. A lot of the information I've gathered from these schools are based on what I find from the internet. I know that I am assuming Penn's FA, but I am trying to make a decision disregarding FA for now (since I am still waiting on the package). Obviously, if the cost to Penn is more expensive, I would weigh that into my decision.

    The mistake is on my part; I may have read the minors for Wharton incorrectly. The "minoring at Wharton" thing isn't that important in my decision-making, since I still am not sure if that's the path I want to take. However, I will definitely research more into minors at Penn.

    Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to visit Penn due to the Pandemic and personal reasons. I have visited USC once, but I didn't have time to interact with the students there or explore the campus in-depth. For these reasons, I am on College Confidential seeking inputs from those who are familiar with the schools' campuses and culture.
    · Reply · Share
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7390 replies34 threads Senior Member
    I would look past the superficial. What school has activities /clubs etc that you would partake in and be an active part of their community?

    My son's at Michigan in Industrial engineering and really thought about a business minor. Then he started his own organization on campus that turned into a side full time job per se. It's a very active club run like a business. Then went on to get grants and leadership activities through different organizations on campus. His minors are sustainability and entrepreneurship,through the business school, which at his school leads to project based activities with businesses.

    So my point is, there are many different ways and activities on campus to reach your goals. One school might actually have a better path for you. At Michigan minoring at Ross is very difficult to get. Wharton most likely is the same. But taking classes or activities that they have for engineering students or the like is what I would look into and see if your interested in that
    Maybe a call to both engineering and the business school is in order to see how realistic your plans are.
    · Reply · Share
  • bluebayoubluebayou 28013 replies206 threads Senior Member
    as an aside, I'd call Penn FinAid today and inquire when they might expect to have processed your app (given their COVID work restrictions).
    I also know USC alumni network is a lot stronger in California....

    Correction, Southern California.
    I don't know how important an undergrad degree will affect graduate school.

    None (between these two schools).
    · Reply · Share
  • southerngal3southerngal3 11 replies2 threads New Member
    Did you decide?
    · Reply · Share
  • xBudderpupperxBudderpupper 7 replies2 threads New Member
    @southerngal3 I just got my FA from Penn, but I think I may end up choosing USC. You chose USC too?
    · Reply · Share
  • southerngal3southerngal3 11 replies2 threads New Member
    edited June 4
    I didn’t decide yet. Let us know what you end up choosing! You can’t go wrong.
    edited June 4
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity