What do you think of USC?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: May 2003 Archive: What do you think of USC?
By Aurelia (Aurelia) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 02:06 am: Edit

As the title says, what do you think of USC?

By Creatorcat (Creatorcat) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 03:29 am: Edit

University of Spoiled Children

other than that, it's obviously prestigeous, with reasonably good academics and overall opportunities, good social life, beautiful campus and great city L.A. nearby...

but it reall depends on the major you're taking, I'd say.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 11:25 am: Edit

University Second Class

Historically, it's been for academic doofi with well-heeled parents. For about the past 10 years, it's been on the up-tick and admissions is getting more competitive, though they still play games with some of their published comparisons...and aren't alone in this.

Some of the grad schools--Film, Music, Dentistry--are outstanding. The undergrad music is supposed to be pretty good. A lot of the undergrad business majors are weak stuff from what I've heard, including from students and employers.

There's virtually _nothing_ to do in the area around campus, which--while some of the crime reports are hysterically overblown--is not the kind of place that you want to walk around casually after dark; so you will want/need a car.

Greek life is fairly active. It's got to be one of the top ten most obnoxious colleges in the country with respect to its sports teams.

I'd demurr from Creatorcat's "obviously prestigious" (obviously expensive, yes) but go along with "reasonably good academics" (but not stellar) and "reallly depends on the major."

By Creatorcat (Creatorcat) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 12:45 pm: Edit

yeah, I was more referring to "expensive" when saying prestigeous... but also, look how many ppl in in this forum are damn eager to FIND OUT whether they got into USC, like it's this big GOAL in life, like if they got into USC it's tops, superb, amazing, like... uhm. catch my drift?
I'd just say none of that anxiety and excitement is for any justified reason.. the school is, from what I know, FAR FAR away from an Ivy or schools alike.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 12:57 pm: Edit

Good take.

By Wadad (Wadad) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 01:15 pm: Edit

I agree with the other posts about USC's academic prestige. But having working in the LA area, USC does have an active alumni network. If job market connections in Southern California are an objective of your college education, USC may be a better choice than its purely academic quality would imply.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 01:54 pm: Edit

Wadad, I've talked to some disgruntled sc alums who say that the connections aren't what they're cracked up to be. I know it's something they market a lot, gives it the veneer of the rich old-boy network.
I suspect that in any job there's got to be an opening, you've got to have the skills, and you've got to be competent. Fwiw, I know of sc grads working at UCLA and UCLA grads working at sc.

By Militarygrade (Militarygrade) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 02:46 pm: Edit

Here's my take on USC -

I was talking to some relatives who live on the east coast. They are fairly successful in life, with great educations and solid careers.

I told them I might consider applying to USC.

Their response: "Why on earth would you want to go to the University of South Carolina??"

That kinda sealed it for me. I checked around, and found that the school is not exactly what it touts itsself to be. About the only "great" thing about the school is the greek life, and I could honestly care less about that crap.

It's not a bad school - in fact, it's a fairly good school. But I can't justify spending the prices they ask for a "good" school. And I plan on getting the hell outta SoCal when I'm done with my education, so I could care less about the "connections" it offers.

One final note - a pal of mine graduated from USC with an MBA and like top 5% of his class about a year ago - still jobless. So much for the connections.

By Troy (Troy) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 05:01 pm: Edit

With exception to the UCLA vs USC football game, I would say SC fans are pretty tame (I'm talking about actual students and alums)...when you say obnoxious I'm thinking oregon, oregon state, ohio state, and the stanford band...and don't even get me started with the SEC and florida schools. Overall, we are probably as 'obnoxious' with our football team as UCLA is with their basketball program. When a team has a tradition of being successful, obviously you're going to bump into some very 'proud' fans now and then. Regardless, I've seen how SC fans treat visiting fans...and I've seen how other schools treat visiting fans...trust me I wouldn't even put us in the top 30 in terms of obnoxious...

As far as connections is concerned, I personally haven't had a problem with the SC network (and I come from a poor, minority, blue collar family backround)...actually, a lot of the opportunities I've had are a direct result of SC alums getting my foot in the door.

And finally, whatever your impressions of SC are (or any other school for that matter)...I'd say just go where you feel comfortable and who cares what people think. I've personally been chastised by people (not my friends or family) for choosing SC over certain schools in the east and up north but I felt at home at SC so I went there.

In closing, don't be a 'prestige casualty' (i.e. going to a school because of a certain image and feeling miserable because you don't fit in for whatever reason) and just remember cream always rises to the top (no matter what school you go to).

By Militarygrade (Militarygrade) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 05:08 pm: Edit

Hey Troy - I wasn't trying to knock your Alumni...no offense intended.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 05:59 pm: Edit

I'll give you Oregon State and much of the $EC for being obnoxious, along with OU and Nebraska.

But sc thinks that one year means "they're back" and they live a lot in ancient history.

I can't figure out which I hate worse of the mascot team: the horse's ass or the horse's ass riding the horse's ass.

By Aurelia (Aurelia) on Saturday, March 08, 2003 - 02:50 am: Edit

Thanks for the opinions, guys.

By Pdydy (Pdydy) on Sunday, March 23, 2003 - 01:35 am: Edit

Creatorcat said that it depends on the major~ so how is biology or some bio related major over at USC?

By Crackcorn (Crackcorn) on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 09:29 pm: Edit

That "University of South Carolina" remark has to be an anomaly. USC has a world-wide reputation thanks to its glory days of football (even if those days are long gone.) That's why its becoming increasingly difficult to get into. Wealthy families from all over the world want to send their children to college in sunny Southern California. And with out-of-state admission to UC so difficult, USC is their natural choice. Especially if their little Princess' grades aren't quite top-notch.

As for the USC network, I think it may even have more influence than the Ivies - if you want to work in Southern California. But it may not carry much weight on the East Coast.

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - 02:22 pm: Edit

The USC film school, he was accepted on Friday, the weather, and the feel of the campus, large but not too large is drawing my son. I sent in his deposit yesterday.

By Erin (Erin) on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 05:01 pm: Edit

Well USC film school is entirely different from its other undergraduate programs. The film school is excellent, you can't get any better, and a lot of Hollywood's best directors are alumni. Unfortunately, they only accept a very small number of students every year- I heard 25 but I don't know if that's accurate. The application is something like 40 pages long.

As a northern California girl, I would say that USC has a pretty respectable reputation, in the state at least. My OWN personal opinion of it is that the four years of college would be great- very active social life and an athletic legacy- but after that, a diploma from USC isn't going to carry that much weight.

By Kow (Kow) on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 07:11 pm: Edit

overrated... your gonna be paying as much as ivy kids (unless on scholarship)... UCLA, UC Berkeley cheaper and better... so don't overpay, not worth it

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 03:39 pm: Edit

The film school application is not 40 pages long. It is an addition to the regular application but it consists of a listing of your portfolio and a couple of essays. These are important to the reviewing process because USC does not want to see your portfolio. They want to determine your passion for film and your artistic possibilities. They don't expect you to be a 17-year old Lucas. They want to see if you have the potential and the desire to be made into a great filmmaker, writer, or critic/academican.

Some of the second level film schools, University of Central Florida and CSU-Northridge for example, actually want to see your portfolio. My son found that a turn-off.

By Scenicroute (Scenicroute) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 05:22 pm: Edit

50 production students get into the film school, 25 for screenwriting. I'm not sure about the other divisions. Production letters were sent out two weeks ago, writing have not, as far as I know. And the application for screenwriting that I sent actually did cumulate to about 50 pages of writing material.

By Scenicroute (Scenicroute) on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 05:25 pm: Edit

Crackcorn--"Especially if their little Princess' grades aren't quite top-notch."

I resent that. I have top grades and test scores and I'm going to USC even if it turns out I didn't get into the film school because I didn't get into Brown or Northwestern.

By Crackcorn (Crackcorn) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 12:55 am: Edit

Scenicroute, I certainly wasn't referring to you or anyone else in particular. I really didn't mean to offend you and I don't want to make this personal. Sorry about that.

By Scenicroute (Scenicroute) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 01:36 pm: Edit


By Shitakirimusume (Shitakirimusume) on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 02:53 am: Edit

Here comes the UCLA film school.

Better Luck Tomorrow

Full Review Justin Li made this dazzling debut with a fistful of credit cards and his UCLA film school thesis. That won't happen again. He'll get all the money he needs for his next project. An effortless tour d force, Li's tale of high school over-achievers who are too smart for their own good is deft, confident and wise. The cast is Asian, but everyone will be hooked by the slick plot twists and turns. Li is a budding superstar.


Justin Lin's "Better Luck Tomorrow" has a hero named Benjamin but depicts a chilling hidden side of suburban affluence that was unseen in "The Graduate." Its heroes need no career advice; they're on the fast track to Ivy League schools and well-paying jobs, and their straight-A grades are joined on their resumes by an improbable array of extracurricular credits: Ben lists the basketball team, the Academic Decathlon team and the food drive.

Justin Lin, who directed, co-wrote and co-produced, here reveals himself as a skilled and sure director, a rising star. His film looks as glossy and expensive as a megamillion studio production, and the fact that its budget was limited means that his cinematographer, Patrice Lucien Cochet; his art director, Yoo Jung Han, and the other members of his crew were very able and resourceful. It's one thing to get an expensive look with money and another thing to get it with talent.

Lin keeps a sure hand on tricky material; he has obvious confidence about where he wants to go and how he wants to get there. His film is uncompromising and doesn't chicken out with a U-turn ending. "Better Luck Tomorrow" is not just a thriller, not just a social commentary, not just a comedy or a romance, but all of those in a clearly seen, brilliantly made film. BETTER LUCK TOMORROW

By NY Post

The script by Lin, Ernesto M. Foronda and Fabian Marquez - loosely inspired by the 1993 case of a California teen bludgeoned to death by his fellow Asian-Americans - veers toward melodrama and implausibility approaching the end.

But mostly this is a frightening look at a nihilistic, amoral subculture where adults are rarely seen - and when they are, they tend to be like the ineffectual teacher played by Jerry "Leave It to Beaver" Mathers.

Lin not only got uniformly excellent performances from his cast, he directed this slick-looking, low-budget feature with such polish and panache that it's the first independently produced flick to be distributed by MTV Films.

"Better Luck Tomorrow" marks Lin as a talent to watch

By Divingin (Divingin) on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 09:03 pm: Edit

nope- good athletics but the campus is awful. far too cramped and stuck together. BUT its research is pretty decent and it's in LA (but in the downtown area). whatever, weigh the pros and cons.

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 08:22 am: Edit

It's all a mater of how things strike you personally. My son found UCLA had the biggest "wow" factor of any school we visited, but he thought it was too big and too congested with the dorms too far away from the classroom buildings.

USC, where he is going to go, struck him as much more accessible. The campus is smaller and more compact and you can easily walk from one part of the campus to another with out a problem.

These things tend to be very subjective and what one person sees as something great another may see as a drawback.

The crime stuff, as implied by Divingin, doesn't bother me as a parent. I checked the crime statistics for USC on the US Department of Education website and they are similar to those of UCLA.

By Sun (Sun) on Thursday, April 17, 2003 - 03:34 am: Edit


You applied to the screenwriting school? You must be getting very anxious about now. What do you mean 50 pages? I turned in 37 and that's basically the max. Do you know much about the applicant types for this, or stats? Been wondering who else is out there... applying.

By Maverick824 (Maverick824) on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 09:54 pm: Edit

Does anyone have a comment on comparing USC film and UCLA film (other than connections)? And does anyone have a comment (maybe an alumni that has already applied to graduate school) about going to USC versus studying abroad, i.e. would anyone know if graduate schools would prefer one to the other in terms of experience?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 11:01 pm: Edit

According to One Who Knows, who happens to have an ABD MFA in Film from UCLA, two different philosophies:

USC film school: you propose a film and have to get approval. If you get approval, they give you funding, assign students as crew, take a heavy hand in casting, and have some claim to the finished product. Kinda like the industry works.

UCLA film school: ze auteur zeory of film making. You have access to equipment, sound stages, etc., but are in a much more controlling and entreprenurial position with respect to funding, crew, cast, etc. Also UCLA admits very few undergrads, something like 30, to film school each year.

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 07:35 am: Edit

Please note that Thedad, while one of the best contributors to this board, has a blind spot when it comes to USC. He dislikes it intensely so take his comments with a grain of salt. My son is entering USC film school, which thrills us, but not having any actual experience with it we cannot comment.

Thedad is right though about the size. UCLA is much smaller than USC, which has numerous majors within the film school. Moreover, you can enter USC is some of the majors any semester during your first two years. At UCLA you can only enter the first semester of your third year. So you risk the possibility of spending two years there and not being admitted to the film school.

Having said that, I don't think you can go wrong with either school.

About the studying abroad thing. My son was entranced for a while with the idea of studying film in Prague at FAMU, http://www.amu.cz/?r_id=199, which is supposed to be one of the best film schools in the world. They have an abbreviated program for English speakers, but if you want to really learn there you have to be fluent in Czech, an extremely difficult language.

By Midnightdanzer (Midnightdanzer) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 02:48 am: Edit

"One final note - a pal of mine graduated from USC with an MBA and like top 5% of his class about a year ago - still jobless. So much for the connections."

*~*~*My take*~*~*

My aunt went to DUKE undergrad and graduated from HArvard Business with an MBA and also was in the top 5 percent of her class...I believe she graduated magna cum laude

This was 20 or so years ago...

She is 40 years old and struggling while looking for a job

My father went to Trinity undergrad and didn't get into Harvard for graduate school...went to USC Business...Doing pretty well if i do say so myself. Won't specify his profession...but he is doing very successfully

USC DOES have a great alumni network especially in southern california, and even in Silicon Valley...The company my dad works for gives great preference to USC graduates

I honestly don't think it's fair to generalize or label a person's success by what college they went to. It all depends on the person, you can go to harvard or any ivy league and be jobless, or go to a not so prestigious place and make become President of a Fortune 500 company. It's all about hard work, charisma, and character...not just your "masters degree." Going to an ivy league gaurantees you a very sophisticated and well-rounded education, but far from gaurantees success in your life. That's up to YOU

there are many INCREDIBLY smart and creative people in the country...not all of them walk the halls of Ivy Leagues..never understimate people

let me also say that many of the great presidents of this very country didn't go 2 ivy leagues..or in abraham lincoln's case didn't go to college at all

i'm not saying College isn't important, but don't let it label who you are as a person.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 10:45 am: Edit

Good post.

By Mr_Park (Mr_Park) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 05:16 pm: Edit

Great post midnightdanzer, and thanks for your reply on my post in another area.

I was just wondering, how you all think of USC for electrical engineering. They say Virginia Tech is above USC in the usnews ratings, however I really wanna go to USC because of the diversity and the beautiful city of LA. Please tell me anything you can about the major and the choice that I am about to make. thanks.

USC-electrical engineering
Vtech- electrical engineering
or Purdue - electrical engineering technology

(waiting on)
UMich - industrial engineering
GaTech - industrial engineering

By Scenicroute (Scenicroute) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 06:21 pm: Edit


By Thedad (Thedad) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 09:37 pm: Edit

Congrats, Scenicroute.

As Tsdad will no doubt comment on my partisan anti-sc bias, I'll say that film is one of the few majors where *I* would probably pick sc over UCLA. Not quite sure, because I have misgivings about different aspects of each.

By Mr_Park (Mr_Park) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 10:56 pm: Edit

to TheDad,

I'm writing to ask you if your hatred toward USC is really due to reasonable opinions, and not other things. I am in the middle of a very difficult, very stressful, and life changing decision, and USC is apart of it. I read your posts on other areas and they are very insightful. I was hoping that you could inform me about USC if you really know a lot about it, and please tell me the truth. I might enter as a sophomore there for the electrical engineering program, and I really want to make the right decision. I know you've seen my posts before asking anyone for more information, please help me out. My other choices are VTech - electrical engineering, UMich- industrial engineering, GaTech - industrial engineering. However I wish to be an electrical engineer. I will pick industrial if the other choices aren't that great in electrical. Thanks. And again, please speak the truth about USC, I really like it from what I heard, I just can't understand your hate for it.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 12:22 am: Edit

Park, it depends on major and, as I've said elsewhere, I don't believe that engineering is one of usc's strong points. I have a great deal of respect for their film and music programs.

A lot of their more mainstream majors--such as business and communication--don't impress me and I've met far too many students and alumni who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. I will stipulate that in this matter I am somewhat biased but there are enough correlating opinions that I don't lose sleep over it. And, like all sweeping generalizations, there's plenty of room for exceptions and error.

I find the "Trojan family" concept to be a lot of hype...I've heard of too many athletes being cut adrift when their usefulness had passed, cf., hired help. If you do content analysis on what Trojan students and alumni tend to brag about, it's about making money...as opposed to any sort of intellectual achievement. There's nothing wrong with making money but there sure is more than life, and a lot more to college, than looking for dollar signs. Trojan values...ptui.

Now that I think of it, it's almost a parody of the popular image of the Ivy League schools but devoid of intellectual content.

Finally, you shouldn't let my distaste--"hate" is far too strong a word--talk you out of going there. There's a story I can tell about that another time. You need to follow your own path.

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 08:04 am: Edit

Mr. Park:

I can't comment on VT's engineering program as compared to USC's. We are Virginia residents and my son did apply to Tech as his safety school. He would not have been going to it for its science programs.

When my son's first acceptance came in January, to UNC, he said: "This means I don't have to go to Virginia Tech, right?" I said yes.

College choices are very personal, and he had a very strong negative reaction to Tech. I'm not going into detail, but he didn't find the school very diverse, and he and I were both turned off by the admissions item that asked about your "church" activities. Tech did not feel very welcoming to my son. USC is quite different in this way and was specifically recruiting students, such as my son, who were not involved in "church" activities.

Beyond that, VT is very rural and located 4-5 hours from NoVA and DC. The town of Blacksburg is very small, but pleasant, and the university is physically attractive. The architecture is university gothic and all buildings are built with "Hokie" stone from university-owned quarries.

The students seem pleased with their education. Two kids across the street go there and really like it according to their parents. It seems to be a good buy for the dollar.

By Mr_Park (Mr_Park) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 03:09 pm: Edit

Thanks TheDad and TsDad for your insights. I plan to incorporate your responses into my decision, however I definitely do understand it is my choice overall and I must make the best of it. However I do appreciate you're information since I'm only a sophomore at UVA and I don't really know about anything outside of Virginia since I've been living here my whole life. I guess my choice will probably be to leave USC alone, since it is too expensive first of all, and I'll probably earn a similar degree at Virginia Tech or maybe decide to take up industrial and systems engineering at Umich or GaTech. I plan to attend graduates school for engineering, business, and then law school if I have the taste for patent law, but for now, I'll think in a consverative manner. If anyone has anymore insight, I'll be waiting with open ears. And again, I want to say this website and it's forums are excellent. I don't think there has been a more useful resource for my college decisions other than going and visiting the school itself. ;)

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 03:29 pm: Edit

Keep in mind that the University of Michigan is very, very expensive for out-of-state students. I think it costs nearly as much as USC.

My son was accepted to UVA after we made the commitment to send him to USC. When my wife saw the total cost for UVA, which would be even cheaper since we have the prepaid tuition plan, she almost fainted. As nice, and as cheap, as UVA is, it's not, sigh, the right school for my son.

By May_1 (May_1) on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 07:17 pm: Edit

Does anyone have any comments regarding the quality of its Biochemistry major as opposed to Chemical Engineering?

By May_1 (May_1) on Sunday, May 11, 2003 - 05:03 pm: Edit


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