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University of Southern California (USC)
In a Nutshell
The University of Southern California is a private institution located in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles Judge Robert Maclay Widney was instrumental in the foundation of the school, envisioning the creation of a local institute of higher education in what was at the time a rural town. First opened in 1880, USC was built on land donated by three men: Ozro W. Childs, John G. Downey, and Isaias W. Hellman.
Though USC is a private university, it is formed as a non-profit organization, and quite a large school. An enrollment of about 17,500 students in the undergraduate school, the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, gives the graduate and professional schools a slight majority, with a total of 20,500 students, making for a total student population of about 38,000. With this emphasis on graduate and professional studies, USC has become known for its focus on research, both in the Graduate School, and its seventeen professional schools.
USC has produced a large number of notable alumni, ranging from writers to athletes to scientists and actors. USC is also home to a long list of famous faculty, connecting students with an impressive network of people.
USC is a prestigious school and a fairly difficult school to get into, with an admission rate of 20 percent to its undergraduate programs. High ranking programs in the professional schools of law and business, and USC’s recognized cinematic arts program (with famous alumnus George Lucas) draw many students to apply every year.
Despite being a rather large university, USC has a student to faculty ratio of just nine students to every one faculty member, and the average class size just twenty-six students, which makes building strong relationships with professors a sure bet. Undergraduate students at USC can choose from over 150 majors and 130 minors and are encouraged to double major.
Most undergraduates enroll in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, which is the liberal arts school of USC and has 70 majors and nearly 70 minors across disciplines. There are seventeen professional schools at USC, some of which offer both undergraduate degrees and graduate programs. The professional schools at USC are the Leventhal School of Accounting, the School of Architecture, the Marshall School of Business, the School of Cinematic Arts, the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, the Rossier School of Education, the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Roski School of Fine Arts, the Davis School of Gerontology, the Gould School of Law, the Keck School of Medicine, the Thornton School of Music, the School of Pharmacy, the Sol Price School of Public Policy, the School of Social Work, and the School of Dramatic Arts.
Bang For Your Buck
Tuition at the University of Southern California costs about $43,722, including mandatory fees, with room and board at a rate of $12,440. After the addition of books, supplies, and other expenses, the total cost of attending USC is estimated at $60,033 annually.
USC offers a number of methods of financial assistance, including grants, scholarships, loans, and a work study program. Merit-based scholarships are offered by the university to students who have demonstrated leadership abilities, study skills, and have set themselves apart in some way. These scholarships range from small scholarships that will cover the costs of books, to the student’s entire tuition for all four years. Other scholarships are based on need, athletic or artistic abilities, or have excelled in a particular area of study.
Students at the University of Southern California are not required to live on campus, even as freshmen, though the vast majority of freshmen do. Plenty of campus housing options are available, including suites, doubles, and even singles. There are over forty housing units on and around campus – twelve are directly on campus and the rest are adjacent to it. Residence halls can be themed based on academics, interests, or cultural groups. These housing units are a great place to meet like-minded students or broaden perspectives by meeting a diverse group of new friends.
USC boasts a diverse student body, with the majority of students from minority backgrounds. With about 7,200 international students, USC has enrolled more internationals than any other university in the United States, which come from around 115 countries around the world, especially China and India.
Over 700 student organizations are available, in addition to recreational sports and community service opportunities. The Greek system at USC has a large presence, making up about a fifth of the student population.
Sports are a major aspect of USC, which is known for its athletes that compete in the NCAA Division I Pac-12 Conference, and have won many national championships. In fact, the men’s teams have won more national championship titles than any other school in the country. USC football has been highly ranked, competing in many championships and winning many awards.
Location, location, location!
The USC campus, known as University Park campus is right next to downtown Los Angeles, offering an unbelievable amount of activities and opportunities for students. The campus itself provides a traditional college experience, with a residential and socially active student body and plenty of campus facilities, like libraries and labs.
Off campus, a whole world of excitement awaits, with entertainment, restaurants, shopping, museums, and more. Aside from the city lights of LA., beaches, mountains, and plenty of outdoor activities are just a short distance from the USC campus.
Student internships and summer jobs can be arranged with or without the assistance of USC, and there are plenty of opportunities in the greater Los Angeles area.
Why USC Made Our List
USC has it all: excellent academic programs in a wide variety of fields, prestigious faculty and alumni, a location in the heart of one of the top cities in the world, beaches, highly ranked athletic teams, and a strong sense of community. With a fairly diverse student population and surrounding city, and its many international students, those who attend USC will have the opportunity to broaden their perspectives and have a well-rounded college experience.