UGA Honors program vs. USCarolina Honors program?

My son is running out of time to decide between these 2 honors programs.
He wasn’t able to visit USC because of Covid so we have no clue.

He thinks he wants to study engineering (biomedical vs. mechanical), but he’s not even sure about that.
Does anyone have a bias of one over the other?
UGA would be about 10k more/year than USC.
Thank you in advance.

My daughter was admitted to both USC Honors and UGA Honors as well, but we live in Athens so UGA is cheaper for us. My daughter has just committed to UGA.

I don’t know anything about the engineering programs at either school, unfortunately, because my daughter is planning on veterinary school. But, I graduated from USC’s law school eons ago and, since we currently live in Athens, I can give you my thoughts on the differences in campus culture and the differences in Athens and Columbia as cities.

Let me know if you’d be interested in that kind of information and I’ll be happy to PM you.

yes, PLEASE! if that’s easier

UGA does not offer Biomedical Engineering. USC does, but it is my understanding mechanical is a very broad degree that would allow for work in the biomedical field.

yes, he would study ME at UGA (but might switch majors anyway). I didn’t realize that UGA Honors was a Program (enrichment) versus USC Honors is an actual college. Still researching for information to make this decision. THANK YOU!

@dtenhulzen - I decided I’ll just post my thoughts here and that way anyone with more recent or relevant information can also chime in. I attended USC law school 25 years ago, so a lot of my impressions may be outdated and I never attended UGA, so my impressions on it are just as a local and, of course, knowing lots of kids/professors associated with the school. My daughter and I did tour both schools and their honors programs, in particular. That being said, here are my thoughts:

Both campuses are large with a defined campus and lots of green space. I think they’re both beautiful campuses. Both campuses also are right next to the downtown areas of their cities. Columbia is a much larger downtown area and students tend to congregate in the Five Points area of Columbia where there are great bars/restaurants rather than in the downtown business area. In Athens, the bar/restaurant scene frequented by UGA students is the downtown area. They both are connected to their cities by proximity, but Athens is much more of a “college town” than Columbia. UGA’s campus is larger and more spread out than USC’s. Athens would be easier to navigate as far as finding stores, movie theater, etc. Both cities offer great things to do and nearby hiking/boating options. Columbia would likely offer more internship/job opportunities - particularly in engineering.

My impression is that UGA’s culture is slightly more Greek and slightly more preppy than USC, although UGA is becoming increasingly less Greek/preppy every year. When I was there, USC didn’t have Greek houses, but I think they do now. I suggested USC to my daughter as an alternative to UGA because I thought she would prefer the slightly smaller student body and I found USC’s student body to be very laid-back and welcoming and I thought that would appeal to her. Also, the USC Honors college is outstanding and the Honors dorm is great. The honors dorm had its own cafeteria and many honors first year classes are held in classrooms right there in the honors dorm. My daughter loved that. Football is a bigger deal at UGA too. USC’s football stadium is away from campus while UGA’s is right in the heart of campus. Students at USC care about sports and I found (even as a law student) that there was lots of school spirit. But, it’s just not as intense as it is here in Athens. That can be a negative or a positive - my D is not a football person, so the heavy sports culture at UGA was a negative to her. However, if your son is into football, being in Athens on a game day is pretty special.

I felt like my daughter would be happy at either school because they have a lot of similarities. UGA won out for my daughter because of finances and because it is stronger academically in her area of study. But, we both felt like USC’s Honors College offered a bit more than UGA’s. That being said, UGA’s Honors Program is really great - they offer funded study abroad opportunities, extra advising and mentoring, and the honors dorm, Myers Hall, is in a great location.

Let me know if I can answer any other questions!

@Emmycat THANK YOU for this great information!
very helpful to us (especially when we can’t visit).

I agree with what Emmycat said. I’m from Pittsburgh but graduated from USC’s MBA program in the early 90’s. We visited both campuses. I encouraged my S20 to apply to both USC and UGA for business but he wanted to be in a city. He’ll be going to Georgia Tech.

Two things to consider. First, 40% of USC undergrads are from OOS so there will be many kids in the same boat as your son. Not sure about UGA. Second, UGA has had an engineering program for a long time but only in the last few years did it get ABET accredation. Not sure how much that matters. Either way your son has excellent choices. Good luck.

Congratulations to your son! My son also wanted to be in a city. He grew up in Athens. He has just finished his first year at Georgia Tech and has loved every minute! I don’t think you can beat it! My oldest son is an engineer but my middle child will be applying for business next fall. He has lots of friends and fraternity brothers in the business school. It is great!