Transfer Talk Tuesday: Transfer Journey – Community College

Transfer Talk Tuesdays are a series of personal blogs where current USC transfer students dive deeper into their real-life stories, perspectives, and experiences in transferring to USC. Note that each transfer application is unique and there are no guaranteed paths to transfer. For guidance on how to put together a competitive transfer application, please review our Transferring to USC brochure. 

The transfer process was an immensely enlightening project that allowed me a chance to seriously consider my academic interests for the first time. Before my application to USC as a second-year transfer student, I applied to other colleges for freshman year admission, but the process was very haphazard. My mindset departed very little from the immature notion that college was a mere step towards a generalized ideal life path. While I received offers from several colleges with scholarships, my own uncertainty and doubt prevented me from ascertaining a sense of direction at any of the universities that admitted me. The year in community college where I took GE (General Education) courses and did my best to correspond my coursework with the guidelines laid out by USC gave me a needed boost of discipline, rigor, and confidence to confront the overwhelming question of, “what I want to do in college?”  Going into the application process with a much-needed sensible approach, I was able to truly envision myself at USC. With USC’s research focus, I realized the institution could allow me to continue my search for the greater truths within my academic interest. In many ways, students are scared to research their colleges in fear that research would reveal truths that shatter their idealistic illusion of college; but my maturation in community college has allowed me to shake away this unfounded fear. I applied to USC not because I became enchanted by their football games or culture, but because I developed a liking to their research focus in the realm of my historical interest and their generous financial aid. 

Overall, the process went without many issues. I attended a community college that had a Articulation Agreement with USC, so I was able to gain necessary counseling and advice through both in-house community college advisors and email communication my USC Admission Counselor. However, I must stress this notion that it is very much a necessity for you to do individual research on USC; there is plenty of available and accurate information on the USC website. While the act of talking and confirming with knowledgeable people is an amazing tool to fully understand whether USC is the right institution for your goals, please conduct your careful research of the school. 

Written by Tae Jin Suh (he/him/his), 4th year student majoring in History, transferred from El Camino College  

Transfer Talk Tuesday: Transfer Journey – Out of State 

Transfer Talk Tuesdays are a series of personal blogs where current USC transfer students dive deeper into their real-life stories, perspectives, and experiences in transferring to USC. Note that each transfer application is unique and there are no guaranteed paths to transfer. For guidance on how to put together a competitive transfer application, please review our Transferring to USC brochure. 

Hi! My name is Kamilah. I transferred from a large state school across the country to the University of Southern California. I am a Transfer Ambassador for the 2021-2022 school year and a third-year transfer student studying Business Administration (likely to emphasize in Leadership and Innovation).  

Part One: Headed to USC…just kidding…unless | The Transfer Journey 

My journey to USC started in 2019 when I received the QuestBridge scholarship during my senior year of high school. If you are unfamiliar with QuestBridge, they are an organization that seeks to connect “high performing, low-income students with prestigious universities.” There were 16,248 people who applied for the honor and 1,044 were chosen to receive it – myself being one of them. Receiving this honor also meant that I had received a ‘full-ride’ for college. I was beyond honored to get this award. I remember the elation of myself and everyone around me who had helped me get to that point in my life. A full-ride to college had been my goal for the past four years, but finally attaining it became…bittersweet. My joy began to transition to anxiousness as I looked up and down the list of 40-something schools but didn’t feel truly called to any of them. To make a long story short, I am the kind of person who doesn’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. In the end, I basically voided my scholarship and traded the prospect of a full-ride to go to my local state university.  

I know. You’re thinking, “are you insane?” Everyone around me thought the same, and many didn’t hold back on letting me know it.  

Circling back, it was a few days after we had to submit our college decisions for QuestBridge when I realized there was a school on the list I had never seen before: the University of Southern California. How did I miss this? I had scrolled through that list some 50 times and I had never seen USC. I began researching it and I realized this is what I had been looking for. It checked off literally every box I had for the college I wanted to attend. I hurriedly looked up the USC application deadline and saw it was only a few days away. I scrambled together the best app I could over those next 72 hours, but, ultimately I was denied admission that year. I loved my state university, so although I was sad about USC, I moved forward. What’s meant to be will be, I thought.  

A while later, I learned about USC’s transferring options and I was excited but again anxious. I was beginning to no longer feel like my previous university was right for me anymore. I thought “What if I get rejected (again)? USC is very expensive; how can I afford it without QuestBridge? How will I afford to get across the country multiple times a year?” and many more doubts. I had so many worries – so many that I almost didn’t even turn in my application. If not for the encouraging words from my USC Admission Counselor, I probably wouldn’t even be here. Fast forward, I was accepted to USC a few months later during the summer after my Freshman year. I am currently in my third year and I am now on campus.  

Part Two: Wait, y’all have airports in Tennessee? You don’t travel on Horse-back? | Being an Out-of-State Student 

I grew up in Chattanooga: the third largest city in Tennessee, but nothing compared to the size and diversity of LA. If you’re like me, and you’re from a city that is not LA or NYC, you may get the odd “do y’all still use candle-lit lanterns for streetlights” type of statements. Such comments are few and far between (and often harmless), but if I do get them I just quickly let them know that “I do read by candlelight, but only for the aesthetic” and move on. The point of this is to tell you much of what is in LA is also back home, and vice versa. It may be one concern for people moving from one city to LA, especially if those cities’ cultures are vastly different. Of course there are some places special to you and your town (i.e. mine and my friends’ beloved pizza place called Mellow Mushroom). However, I also have a beloved pizza place here in LA –  Blaze (my friends here love it too).  

As a Transfer Ambassador, I hear that many transfer students worry about adjusting socially. My advice is to just be you and do you- that’s how you will find your people. There are so many types of people here, don’t worry about fitting one mold or another.  

Another concern may be travel time and airfare costs. Personally, there is little we can do to mitigate travel time unless teleportation becomes real. Until then, you’ll just have to carve out a day or two to travel. For me, the time I spend traveling to and from school to home is about 12 hours, only about 6 are spent in the air. It is honestly very tiring, so I recommend you give yourself a day or two to get adjusted – especially if you’re crossing time zones. Regarding cost, I try to buy my tickets as early as possible so that I can get a good price on airfare. I recommended not booking your flight until the day after the USC academic calendar ends. This will help you mitigate any ‘take-my-final-exam-or-fly-home’ conflicts in case anything happens that you did not foresee. This will also give you more time to pack!   

Part Three: Fight On | My conclusion + advice to future Trojans 

Many places like to talk about their ‘school spirit,’ but the Trojan spirit and family are some of the most formidable ones I’ve ever seen. I feel very welcomed and proud to be a Trojan. Trojan alumni truly want to see you win and USC puts so much effort in crafting us into well-rounded, supported individuals upon graduation. I feel like there is no tool available that USC doesn’t offer.  

Even while dealing with a global pandemic, I am glad that I took the leap of faith and  transferred to USC. The 12 hours of flight time is worth it, 10 times over. I would fly 24 hours straight if it meant that when I touched down, I got to be a Trojan. 

Written by Kamilah Jones, (she/her/hers), 3rd year at USC studying Business Administration.  

Did Somebody Say Food?

If you are like me and love food, then I bet you are wondering about our dining options (heck, even snack options). Let me break it down for you:

At USC, there is always something that is just right for you, and it’s always easy to eat well. Over the years, our campus has experienced many updates to our traditional dining halls, which include Everybody’s Kitchen (EVK), Parkside, and USC Village Dining. These three dining halls are strategically located throughout our campus to give our students convenient options just steps from their dorm rooms. The dining halls provide a wide variety of dining options including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and more!  If you have food allergies, there is the Allergen Awareness Zone in Parkside that serves food that doesn’t contain the top eight allergens. If you have the time, I encourage you to check out what is being served at each dining hall, so you can pick a place to visit and eat your favorites. You can view each dining hall’s daily menu on the USC Hospitality Residential Menu site.  

USC also has halal and kosher options for students with religious dietary needs. Kosher entrees are available at Parkside (IRC) and at Seeds Marketplace. There’s also the SChalom floor in Parkside that facilitates Kosher cooking in resident kitchens. USC has expanded kosher options in recent years, including making hot kosher entrees available daily. Places like LiteraTea have fresh kosher salads available every day, as well. In addition to on campus halal options, there are also many outstanding halal restaurants in Los Angeles, given our large Muslim population. 

In general, you’ll find that we do our best to be inclusive of all food lovers.  For the health nuts and the junk food lovers, you will find something to suit your palette on campus. With salad bars, smoothies, wok stations, waffle makers, grills, and a variety of ice cream/frozen yogurt options, there’s something for everyone. The Tutor Campus Center (TCC) offers restaurants and cafes such as Seeds Marketplace that feature grab ‘n go options, as well as made-to-order sandwiches and salads. Panda Express, Verde, and Burger Crush serve familiar fare. And of course, what campus center would be complete without staples such as pizza and coffee? Students can order salads, pastas, and pizzas at The Kitchen or order a favorite coffee or ice-blended beverage at C&G Tea Co. And to make the food search even easier, USC Hospitality now uses a Mobile Ordering app!  

There is also my personal food heaven: the USC Village! It offers such a wide range of options from delicious dining to lifestyle shopping, fitness centers, and so much more.  You could get ramen from Ramen KENJO or tacos at City Tacos. Do you have a seafood craving? I recommend the clam chowder at Oceana Seafood. Or try Cava (the Admission Office’s favorite) for delicious, create-your-own grain bowls, salads, and pitas.  Don’t forget to try a churro from Dulce, too! Finally, our newest addition to the USC Village is…Insomnia Cookies!  There are so many more restaurants I could rave about in the USC Village, but I recommend your taste buds test it out for themselves. 

With all of these options for food, there are also a ton of options for COFFEE! Last December, the Office of Undergraduate Admission explored the various cafes on campus and reviewed some favorite cozy drinks. It’s safe to say that we were fully caffeinated (maybe too caffeinated – some of us were a bit jittery).  Check out the Cozy Campus Coffee Spots blog for the full reviews! 

Lastly, a real treat that is offered on campus is the Trojan Farmers’ Market that occurs every Wednesday on the McCarthy Quad at 11am-3pm. The Trojan Farmers’ Market is committed to offering healthy food to students, staff, faculty, and surrounding community members. There are over 30 local vendors who offer a variety of locally grown produce, handmade products, and fresh healthy foods. Some favorites among us current Trojans are fresh strawberries, homemade hummus, pupusas, and fresh salsa. 

Our students truly have a large variety of options when it comes to finding brain food on campus. The next time you visit, we hope you’ll grab a snack and experience a taste of what our campus has to offer! 

Written by: 

Dylan Goodwill, Assistant Director – USC Office of Undergraduate Admission