Undergraduate Admission Blog

Follow the Official USC Undergraduate Admission Blog for information, advice, and a behind-the-scenes look at our process

All posts by: Hillary Higgins

July 11, 2019

How I Talk to My Family About College

I’ve been working in the world of college admissions for about 5 years now (four years and eleven months exactly…but who’s counting?)  It’s a great start and the beginning of what I hope to be a long and flourishing career.  My family thinks I have a pretty cool and exciting job…especially my sister-in-law whose son is a junior in high school. My family members frequently ask me about how to get into college.  Many of them assume there is a determining factor in a student’s application that tips the scales in their favor.  Unfortunately, I can’t give them the “secret” to admission, because in reality, there is no precise pathway into a highly selective college.  What I can do is answer all of those terrifying “what if” questions with what I hope are some reassuring and calming truths.

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June 28, 2019

In My Day….Kelsey Bradshaw Edition

During spring break, my junior year of high school, I took a road trip to California to visit a bunch of colleges. We visited all sorts of different schools – big, small, urban, rural, public private, etc… I started to notice I would perk up when colleges mentioned certain topics, like involvement, student/faculty interactions, and opportunities outside the classroom. Being on a college campus, comparing totally different schools, and getting a better feel for what I was looking for was so valuable in helping me narrow my focus.

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January 31, 2019

(Way Back) In My Day…

This year we have decided to get personal with you and share about our experiences applying to college.  I get a ton of questions, when I am talking to applicants, about my student experience at USC.  Except here’s the thing, I have never been a student at USC (hear the audible gasp.)  I know, I know…I just work here.  While I can’t speak from personal experience about student life at USC, I can talk to you about applying to college.  My colleagues and I in the Office of Admission all have our “college application story” and we love to reminisce about those times.  I mean look at what we do for a living…it’s who we are.  A tale of how many schools we applied to, our “dream school,” and in my case, how many college admission counselors we stalked (are you still out there Chris Lucier?)  Please keep in mind as we roll out this series of “In My Day” posts, that this may be a “do as I say, not as I do” type of story.  I regularly counsel students on the college admission process and as the words are coming out of my mouth, I think to myself “this is exactly the opposite of what I actually did.”  Hindsight is 20/20, right?

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January 24, 2019

Why We Love SCelf-Care (and You Should Too!)

My own wellness and self-care journey is, like most people, a work in progress. In my previous role as a school counselor, one of the major expectations of my work with students and families included developing prevention and intervention strategies that worked for them. In the process of helping others, I too had to balance the multilayered demands of the profession through developing my own prevention and intervention plans for self-care. By day, I taught students different breathing techniques to calm their bodies, to practice strategies for emotional control, and to recognize feelings. By night, I was putting my own teachings to the test. These are still strategies I continue to practice in my role as Assistant Director of Admission through both recruitment and file review seasons. During my work travels, I make it a goal to drink a lot of water, get enough sleep and spend some time outside exploring my territory whether it means hiking the gorge in Niagara Falls or watching the sunset in Monterrey (shout out to Upstate NY and Santa Clara). When I’m feeling off-kilter, I organize my things, make to-do lists and have real conversations with people I love and trust. And on Sundays– I face mask.

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November 29, 2018

A Day in the Life of an OT Major

If you follow us on Instagram (you should, we’re pretty awesome) @USCAdmission, then you may have seen some stories this week from students studying Occupational Therapy (OT) at USC.  What is OT you ask? Well, occupational therapists help people live meaningful, healthy and productive lives through both physical and emotional therapy.  USC offers an accelerated 5-year program for students interested in becoming occupational therapists.  Watch this video to hear from Megan, a student in the Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s degree program, share about her daily life in the occupational therapy major at USC.

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November 15, 2018

USC Helenes Watch Hecuba and Tommy

It’s Conquest week at USC, and the campus is gearing up for one of the most anticipated football games of the season! People are playing Tusk on repeat and getting ready for the big Conquest concert on Thursday!

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November 8, 2018

Discover USC!

We’re getting excited! Sunday, November 18th we will host our on-campus Discover USC program.  This open house is jam-packed with activities for prospective students and families to learn more about what USC has to offer and figure out if USC is a good fit for them. We offer everything from tours to student life panels and even more in between! This is your day to discover, however, and we want to make sure you’re able to maximize your time. Perhaps you would like to attend…

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August 2, 2018

GUEST BLOG: Freshmen Year: Expectation vs. Reality

It seems almost impossible to encapsulate everything your first year of college teaches you about adulthood in one blog (which is great, because it should be). For awhile, I put off even trying–until I realized that, 12 months ago, I was exactly you. I didn’t care whether the author of the content I was reading felt self-conscious about the quality or relevance of her words. I needed answers, and I needed them before I spiraled into a black hole of doubt and what-ifs.

So without further ado, the following are four takeaways from my experience, yours to leave or take.

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June 15, 2018

All’s Fair in College Fairs

College fairs. We know them. We love them. Almost every student will attend at least one fair before they graduate high school. But, the current college fair format has been around since the 1970s and really hasn’t changed so much. We wanted to ask ourselves – are college fairs still valuable? Now that so much information is available online, what can we do to get the most out of college fairs?

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