The Transfer Experience: Common Questions Answered by Current USC Students

It’s that time of year when transfer students who applied to USC hear back about their Admission decision. If it’s good news you received, you likely have many questions about what it’s like to join the USC community as a transfer student. I was able to connect with a couple current USC students, Ellen and Anna-Sofia, to talk with them about their experience.  

Will: Thank you both for agreeing to chat with me. I’d like to start with probably the question I get the most: where did you live? Was it hard to get housing?  

Ellen: Getting university housing was a relatively easy process for me. I filled out the USC housing application and I was assigned to an apartment in Troy Hall, which is a graduate housing building off-campus, but the first-floor houses new transfer students. It was an amazing experience to be with people who were also new to USC. 

Will: That’s awesome Ellen. Did you live in USC housing too Ana-Sofia? 

Ana-Sofia: I never lived on-campus so I can’t say much about getting housing. I was offered on-campus housing but decided to live with some friends off campus. 

Will: Makes sense, Ana-Sofia. I’m glad it worked out for both of you! My next question is another really common one, that I think a lot of students may be afraid to ask. Did you struggle or feel overwhelmed when you started at USC?  

Ellen: At times, I did feel like I didn’t belong because I wasn’t used to the environment at USC, and even though I felt like this in the moment, in retrospect transfer students don’t really stick out. There’s always something to do on campus, and everything felt so new and fast paced.  

Ana-Sofia: My first month or two at USC were very nerve-racking as it was my first time leaving home.  Never in my time at USC have I felt like I stood out for being a transfer. All students are extremely supportive of one another no matter when they got to USC. 

Will: I appreciate your honesty and that you ultimately felt welcomed at USC . I’m curious, looking back now, where did you meet your closest friends? 

Ana-Sofia: I made some friends through my classes, labs and discussion. But I also joined multiple clubs and a sorority which helped me build a stronger network of people both inside and out of classes.  

Ellen: Because of the nature of my major, we all spent a lot of time with each other anyways, so it was a great starting off point in making friends. Outside of my major, I joined a couple of clubs, like Pan African Student Association, where I met friends as well. There’s also a Transfer Student Community, which is a club that I’d recommend for transfer students to meet and connect with each other! 

Will: You both just reminded me. I totally forgot to ask about your majors. How about you tell us what you study at USC, what it was like signing up for classes, and whether or not you changed your major ever? 

Ellen: I am a Film & Television Production major. Academically, my first semester coursework wasn’t too dissimilar than the work I was doing at my community college. I mainly struggled balancing my academic and social life because living on a college campus was new to me, but it just takes some time to find your own perfect balance. 

Since a lot of my classes are taken in a sequential order, I really didn’t have to struggle to figure out what classes I was taking every semester. I did pick up a minor in Entertainment Industry after my first semester, which was a super easy process because it was in the same school as my major and many of my major requirements overlapped with the minor. 

Ana-Sofia: I study Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in the Keck School of Medicine. Registering for classes for the first time was extremely stressful as I had no idea how to register but thankfully the staff that was there on the day of orientation were helpful navigating through the process. I switched my major my second semester at USC and found it incredibly seamless and easy. 

Will: It’s nice to hear that the folks at Orientation were so helpful. I always tell my students they can reach out to me if they need help picking class but both of you both make it sound like you were well taken care of. We’ve been chatting for a while, but before we sign off, can you give our newly admitted students one piece of advice?  

Ellen: Don’t be afraid to get out there! USC is a big campus with a lot of students, and it can be overwhelming at times, but USC is also a very social campus. You’ll find your niche eventually. Enjoy your time, the opportunities, and the environment USC provides! 

Ana-Sofia: Leave all doors open for opportunities or friendships. By being open minded I made some of my best friends here as well as landed an amazing internship.    

Will: Amazing! Thank you both so much for your time and advice. I hope you have a good and restful summer. Fight on! 

Ellen: Fight on! 

Ana-Sofia: Fight on!  

The Bus Tour Blog

Good afternoon folks and welcome to USC! Since we can’t ride the bus together around USC’s neighborhood, my colleagues and I wanted to turn the bus tour into a blog post. I’ll include some pictures too but don’t hesitate to Google some of these places to see what they look like.  

First, we’re going to drive down Exposition Boulevard where we’ll see Museum Row. A current Trojan once shared with me that one of their professors assigned each of their students different museum in Los Angeles to visit and report on. This assignment was made much easier by the fact that the world-class California Science CenterAfrican American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the almost finished Lucas Museum of Narrative Art are all a short walk from campus. The latter was placed less than two blocks from USC after the School of Cinematic Arts alum George Lucas chose Los Angeles over San Francisco and Chicago to house his private art collection, Star Wars exhibit and other film-centric memorabilia 

Next, we are going to turn right onto Figueroa to head towards the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  The Coliseum is home to USC football. I don’t know about you but going to a USC football game is at the top of my post-pandemic to do list. Because the Coliseum seats almost 80,000 people we’re actually really excited that we will be able to host in-person, socially distanced graduation ceremonies for the classes of 2020 and 2021 this spring. Fight on!  

Game day at the Coliseum

Some other major sports facilities to keep your eye out for are the wave-shaped Banc of California stadium that’s home to the L.A. Football Club soccer team and soon, Angel City, a women’s soccer team will start playing there tooLater, we’ll pass the Galen Center where the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams play. Then, our tour we’ll also pass McAlister field where women’s soccer and lacrosse play, as well as the Lyon Center which is home to not only the Uytengsu Aquatics Center for our swimming, diving and water polo teams but also the largest on-campus recreational fitness center all USC students can use. You’ll probably also see some Trojans playing pick-up basketball, soccer or tossing around a frisbee or baseball on the way as well.  

As we head north on Figueroa, you’ll see the Fertitta Hall where the Marshall School of Business is located. To the left, you’ll see many of the residence halls where freshman live. As you may have heard, USC students have many choices when it comes to housing. Did you see the Chipotle and Chick-fil-A before we got to the Coliseum? Above those restaurants are the Tuscany apartments, where many Trojans choose to live (even though USC doesn’t own that building). Another private apartment complex is University Gateway, conveniently located just across the street from campus. University Gateway is also the location of many practice rooms for Thornton School of Music students.  You know what that means: If you live at Gateway, you better like trombone. Kidding, only half kidding.  

Jill and Frank Fertitta Hall

As we turn left onto 32nd St. You’ll see the Shrine Auditorium which is one of the largest venues in Los Angeles. The Shrine hosts the Screen Actors Guild Awards and hosted the Academy Awards until 2001, when the Oscars moved to the Dolby Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Many big-name performers come to the Shrine on a weekly basis. Who knows, your first post-COVID concert could be at the Shrine?  

Next to the Shrine is the USC Magnet School which is the largest public magnet school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. It partners with USC to provide magnet programs in cinematic arts and engineering to high school students. Many USC students get involved working at the USC Magnet School through a service-learning experience with USC’s Joint Educational Program or by joining USC’s oldest and largest clubTroy Camp. Members of Troy Camp mentor and tutor students in nearby schools, like the USC Magnet School.  

At the corner of Hoover and 32nd you’ll see the Caruso Catholic Center and Hebrew Union College. Both are representative of the many institutions and houses of worship available for students to get involved with very close to campus. Just around the corner is a Mormon temple and you may have been able to see some of the minarets of the Masjid Omar ibn Al-Khattab Mosque that we passed while we were on Exposition. 

As we’ve been gone a while, and I’m ready for a Trader Joes snack, we’re going to end out tour today at the USC Village. First-year students who were offered a major merit scholarship can apply to live in the McCarthy Honors College Residence Hall located above the many retail locations in the Village. Maybe you want a Cava bowl, a Wahlburger, or a latte from Dulcethe USC Village has all of the above, including a Target and an Amazon Locker. Notice students are hard at work studying on their own or meeting for group projects at one of the many tables and outdoor sofas in the Village. As this is our last stop, you’ll definitely want to pick up some USC gear in the Target if you do not have enough already. You will also want to be on the look-out for our upcoming blog post on all the delicious dining options close to campus. We hope you enjoyed this bus tour blog and hope to be able to see you on campus soon! 

Alternative Break: Engage with Our Global Community  

Central to being a USC student and a member of the Trojan Family is caring for and learning more about not only the communities we are a part of, but also our broader global community. Those of you that recently applied to USC or read the Caring Counts in Crisis blog post know that, especially during this year’s Admission processwe looked closely at how you have cared for yourself and others in the communities you come from. The Volunteer Center at USC exists to empower Trojans to serve Los Angeles and our global community as well.  

In years when travel is not restricted, the Volunteer Center invites USC students and faculty to participate in Alternative Break during the Winter and Spring recesses from classes. The purpose of these trips is to explore social justice issues in communities outside of Los Angeles. Although the Volunteer Center will be hosting a virtual conference this year to continue to discuss issues in the areas of education, antiracism, public health, and environmental justiceThe Volunteer Center typically organize trips all over the world to places like Costa Rica, Utah, Tahiti, Navajo Nation, San Francisco, New York, and Louisiana.  

To see what Alternative Break is all about, all you really need to do is watch this short video that these USC students made after their trips. Basically, when students choose to travel on an Alternative Break trip, they are choosing to spend time learning more about and engaging with another community’s present struggle. For example, the group of students that traveled to Costa Rica not only learned more about the country’s commitment to education, but they also worked with children in a local elementary school. Students who traveled to Navajo Nation also had the opportunity to work with children in addition to learning about Navajo culture and the ways the Navajo have been economically and politically disenfranchised in the United States. 

We want all interested students to have the opportunity to engage in service-learning. Even though the cost of these trips is not included in the cost of tuition, there are grants and fundraising opportunities for students who need financial assistance in order to participate.   

USC strives to give its students knowledge and skills that help them better respect, appreciate, and serve others in a variety of ways. Participating in an Alternative Break trip is just one of the many ways members of the USC community can engage with our greater global community.  

Alternative Break in Guatemala
                       Alternative Break in Guatemala