Skip over navigation
A Month-by-Month Guide to Your Freshman Year of College: April (IT'S FINALS! SEND HELP!)

Finals are the pits. Finals are the devil’s invention. Finals... More

A Month-by-Month Guide to Your Freshman Year of College: March

Happy March, Sparklefrosh! You know what March means—Pi Day, the... More

Never Been Kissed in Michigan: THE THRILLING CONCLUSION (Part 1)

Many, many moons ago I was one of SparkLife’s More

A Month-by-Month Guide to Your Freshman Year of College: January

Okay, show of hands—who’s currently wearing all the socks they... More

A Month-by-Month Guide to Your Freshman Year of College: December

Hey! Over here! Remember me? I’m your ever-present trusty guide,... More

What Your Breakfast Says About Your Study Habits

Your personality—the very essence of your being—is really just a... More

7 Great Cocurricular Opportunites for Meeting New People

Making new friends isn't easy. Wouldn't life be simpler if... More

A Month-by-Month Guide to Your Freshman Year of College: November

Since last we spoke, Sparkler freshmen, I trapped... More

Quiz: Is your college roommate trying to take over your life?

Whether you hand-picked each other or were randomly matched, living... More

Search colleges:

University of Southern California

the basics
University Park
Los Angeles CA 90089
Undergrad Enrollment
$ 37,100
Room & Board
$ 11,300
5 reasons it’s cool
  • The oldest private research university in the West, USC also has the oldest schools of medicine and pharmacy in Southern California.
  • The impressive range of professional majors includes business, cinema, music, and architecture, and many students double-major.
  • USC means movies. Grads such as George Lucas have created some of the greatest movies of all time.
  • Students’ love of leadership and spirit of volunteerism make a positive impact on the surrounding community.
  • The third most-winning athletics program in the nation brings the campus together.

Trojan scholars and urban warriors

Yeah, We’re Good at That—and That, and That, and That

A leader in many research and professional fields, USC is on the rise in the academic community and can offer ambitious students the chance to branch out intellectually and creatively. The College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and the seventeen professional schools at USC offer a staggering 150-plus majors and almost as many minors. The first year, during which students complete the required six-course core curriculum, can be less challenging than years two through four. For those who want to up the intellectual ante, there are the Freshman Seminars and the Thematic Option, general education honors programs that replace the core. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1, class sizes average twenty-six, and TAs often lead discussion sections and labs. Undergrads are encouraged to spend a year abroad; USC has several overseas centers and partners with other programs to send students to all corners of the globe.

The Essence of Troy

So how did a So Cal school get tangled up with ancient Troy? In 1912, a Los Angeles Times sportswriter compared USC’s athletes to legendary Trojan warriors, and the moniker stuck. A large stone from the city of Troy, a gift from the Republic of Turkey, sits near Taper Hall on campus, and the bronze Tommy Trojan sculpture is the embodiment of the Trojan spirit.

Strike Up the Fun

Trojan athletics make up a huge part of campus life: The Spirit of Troy, the USC marching band, leads the way to football games past the statue of Tommy Trojan and to the historic Coliseum across the street. Another athletic nucleus is the brand new Galen Center, home of basketball and volleyball games. Nearly half of USC’s undergraduates come from out of state. For some, USC life equals Greek life, but the great majority of students don’t rush. Students can pick from over six hundred campus clubs. They can also (and many do) spend time volunteering in the community or working on a creative project, big business idea, or the latest scientific innovation. Classes, libraries, and tasty food are never far away no matter where students are on the compact University Park campus. The city’s excitement draws many students out on the weekends, but there are still plenty of movie screenings and events on campus to keep life interesting.

It’s a Brick House

You don’t see lots of brick in earthquake-prone Los Angeles, but the Romanesque buildings on USC’s University Park campus are an exception, and their beauty makes the risk worth it. More modern and contemporary buildings also incorporate brick, but the lines are cleaner and less ornate. Recent renovations to the urban campus have brought more green space, adding tranquility to this big-city campus. Downtown is nearby, decreasingly sketchy Exposition Park is across the street, and still-sketchy neighborhoods are beyond. The original University Park campus is still at the heart of USC, but the university itself has major buildings and facilities throughout Los Angeles, including Los Angeles County–USC Medical Center and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and down into Orange County.