Should I transfer to Notre Dame or USC

I will be sophomore transfer to either school and I was wondering whether had any advice on which school I should go to. I always wanted to go to a medium size school, so both schools fulfill that requirement. I am African American from the east coast. and I have always gone to pre dominantly white schools as I live in a pre dominantly white community so I do not mind going to either environment but until I got into Notre Dame I never would have seen myself there. For most of the year I wanted to go to USC but I got into Notre Dame first and I was pretty set on going there until I heard back from USC a couple weeks after my Notre Dame acceptance. Academically they both fulfill what I am looking for and money and location is not an issue. Where do y’all think I should go. I appreciate any feedback and suggestions.

Hard call. Both great schools.

The population of African Americans is slightly greater (4.7%) at USC than ND (3.4%), but you said that doesn’t matter. If so, why mention it in the first place? (don’t get me wrong, but maybe it’s in the back of your mind?)

What will you be studying?

Is Greek life important?

ND is less than half the size of USC. Bigger or smaller school for you? Also, USC is in a MUCH bigger city, although ND is 1.5 hours away from Chicago. LA is an amazing city.

The weather is another consideration. Even though you may be used to cold weather on the East Coast, South Bend’s weather has lake effect snow (lots of it), and lots of dreary days where the sun doesn’t shine.

As a Michigan grad who now lives in LA, it makes a big difference. (of course, maybe you will feel like studying more at ND)

Finally, what is the cost of each for you, or at least what is the cost difference? (I know you mentioned money is not an issue) That might be the most important consideration, unless you have great aid or you’re mega wealthy. They are not inexpensive schools, especially if grad school is in your plans.

I have friends that went to both schools. The ND grads were exceptionally bright, but the same could be said for USC grads too.


USC is in the back of mind because i see it as more a traditional college experience. I worry that ND may lack in certain areas due to religious affiliation yet I am still excited about ND and it’s possibilities. Cost difference is the same. I am in the college of arts and letters in both schools.

Are there any other considerations which might differentiate the two schools? Greek life, credits transferred, number of required courses, guaranteed housing, academic flexibility, large urban vs city-town, ease of travel/costs?

What is your intended major?

USC pros- academic flexibility, diverse location, diversity of thought

ND pros- Size, i think it may have stronger sense of community due to dorm culture.

To me the both excel and fail in certain like all colleges. I would be studying econ, stat, and data science at both. so i’m just looking any perspective that someone else can give me.

The geographic locations-and the weather that goes with them-couldn’t be more different; it gets very, very cold in South Bend.

And there is a significant, really predominant, Roman Catholic influence at ND(which only makes sense); that is something also to consider.

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I think the roman Catholic influence is making a little hesitant. However I really like the size of ND. USC it’s not a huge school but the size isn’t as great as ND. Only thing making me hesitant about USC is the size.

Another thing to consider would be your entering cohort of transfer students. Less than 100 students per year transfer into Notre Dame, whereas more than 1400 new transfer students enter USC each year. That represents only about 1% of the overall undergraduate population at ND, vs. about 7% of USC’s students. There’s something to be said for having a more robust transfer cohort to be a part of.

Will you get on-campus housing as a USC transfer?

It sounds as if USC is culturally a better fit. I understand the concern about the size, but especially as a sophomore transfer (whereas many transfer in as juniors), you should have plenty of time to find your niche.


thank you for all that has responded thus far. My head spinning trying to chose between these two great universities.

I might disagree with this. I went to USC, and the school spirit and sense of being part of the “Trojan Family” can be so over the top that sometimes it’s embarrassing.

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Thank you for that. That’s great to hear and know.

I think USC is your better bet. ND is a different place with a very strong culture, and its great for those who “get it”, but can be a bit much for those who don’t. Since you are undecided between these two, I’d say you arent in the pool of people will really love ND (for them there would be no choice to make )

Also, as noted above ND has few transfers and the social scene is oriented around people you meet in the dorms, most students spend all 4 years in the same dorms. As a transfer, you will sort of be fighting upstream a bit.


Best of luck to you if you are still wrestling with this. My perspective - my son is now a Senior at ND. We are from California.

Academics - Mendoza is a top 5 business school with several great analytics driven majors. Marshall at USC has a better reputation for grad school vs undergrad (IMO).

Culture - My son really appreciates the Hall culture. You have an immediate “family” when you step into the Hall. When we visited USC, that level of belonging was not readily apparent. ND’s motto is “Welcome Home.” There are no asterisks like “if you’re catholic”, “if you’re (insert description).” They are “unapologetically” catholic. That said, I do not get the sense that any student is pressured to become catholic. We are not catholic and it has not been a problem. If you are a vocal atheist, ND might be challenging. Any other preconceptions you might have about how LBGTQ, different ethnicities or faiths are treated, are most likely incorrect. The culture is truly welcoming to all.

Alumni Network - I feel this one is a push - both schools have phenomenal alumni networks and career assistance. Depending on the major, each school gets National Recruiters, as opposed to Regional or Local, for internships and job fairs.

Weather - you are from the East Coast so you are used to Seasons. LA doesn’t really have seasons. They have clear days or smoggy days. Once in a while they get some rain. ND will be more familiar in that respect.

I am biased and think if you are open to Notre Dame, the culture and experience will exceed your expectations. Plus, ND has a better Football team :wink:

OP has said that he would be in the Arts and Science college focusing on econ, stats, data science, which imo are stronger at USC. That and the diversity should make the choice USC.

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