Transfer Talk Tuesday: Transfer Journey – First Generation Student 

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. 

Eliana Cotom is a junior from Los Angeles, California, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Education and Society. In 2020, she transferred from Santa Monica College (SMC) to USC. In addition to being a Transfer Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Admission, Eliana is also a Dornsife Intern and is involved with student clubs at USC.  


Attending USC had always been my dream, yes I know…very cliche but true. Growing up around USC, I always wanted to attend and be a part of the Trojan family.  

Like many first-generation students, I was unable to ask parents or family members for guidance on what to expect from the college application process, how to answer certain questions, or how to consider what college was the best fit – so – I heavily depended on school and outside resources for guidance. There is an extra layer of stress, anxiety, worry, and pressure that many first-generation students can resonate with. This ranges from the stress, worry, anxiety of entering the application process on your own, how to attend college without being a financial burden on family, the pressure of being the role model for those who follow, and figuring out how to apply for scholarships and financial aid without much help. I remember having to navigate the application portal and figuring out financial aid on my own. There were many questions that I didn’t even know I had until I reached an issue, because I didn’t know what to expect from the application process. I went through the first-year application process almost completely alone, and the transfer process with guidance, but even with guidance I still felt anxious, worried, and stressed.  Applying and transferring to USC was a journey of its own but attending a community college was definitely helpful in learning to adjust to college courses, gaining independence, and growing as a student and person. During my time at SMC, I had a variety of resources at my disposal and was even able to have resources from USC specifically that helped me navigate through the transfer process more easily. One tip I will give for prospective transfers is to make appointments with your counselor, get to know them, and make yourself known. My counselor was very helpful in my transfer process. Many first-gens are lost in the first-year college application process already, and the transfer process is a completely new experience for many, so reaching out to your counselor is very helpful – you can even reach out to your assigned USC Admission Counselor. Another tip I will give, especially for those attending California Community Colleges (CCCs) is to constantly look at the articulation agreements that USC has with CCCs – this document was my best friend when looking for classes. I cannot emphasize this enough for CCC students. USC also has a handful of resources specific to transferring to USC, such as the Transferring to USC brochure

Many questions and worries that first-gens have when applying, including myself, are regarding finances and affordability. I am happy to say that USC has a handful of scholarships for admitted students and provides full USC determined financial need (please keep in mind that this number is determined by USC, not the student). USC has scholarships that are geared towards first-gen students and low-income students, such as the Norman Topping Scholarship and specific scholarships based on communities that one identifies with. More scholarships can be found here. Another worry that I had (I receive a lot of questions about this too) is about inclusivity and diversity here at USC. The school has a handful of resources and student organizations that provide students a space to feel at home and find support and “your people.”  

One key differentiator that USC has is definitely the Trojan Family. The USC logo is recognizable worldwide. I have heard stories about people being in different continents while wearing USC merchandise, seeing the “V for Victory” sign and hearing “Fight On” from random people. Explaining the Trojan Family is much harder than expected because it goes beyond words but simply put, it is a family that provides connections and support.   

Before attending USC I had already heard and known about the Trojan Family, but I had never truly experienced it until I was attending USC and began telling people that I was a USC student. I would create connections with people from simply stating I was a USC student.  

Lastly, I encourage everyone to apply to USC, especially first-gen and low-income students. Entering a new environment is scary, and being a transfer student and being first-gen makes the process a lot more nerve-wracking, but this should not discourage anyone from applying. USC has a multitude of resources for its students. If you’re worried about finances, apply to scholarships both in and outside of USC. If you’re worried about whether you’ll fit in because you’re a transfer student, a first-gen student, and/or low income, there are many clubs and organizations (such as the First Gen+ Center on campus where you can find community. ) If you’re worried about being seen differently because you’re first- gen or a transfer student, believe me – you won’t. Everyone here has their own journey. My overall piece of advice is to apply, apply, apply.   

Written by Eliana Cotom, (she/her/hers), 3rd year at USC studying Psychology.

 



USC Celebrates Pride Month

The academic year may have just ended and the summer is heating up, but Pride at USC is just getting started. USC has made sure that June will be full of pride celebrations, conversations, and events for the whole community. This year, USC celebrates ‘The Power of Community’ as its theme for Pride. Starting on June 1st, USC will host a variety of virtual and in-person events to empower our students, faculty, and staff in the LGBTQ+ community.  

Here are just some of the events that USC will host to celebrate and commemorate pride this month:  

  • Pride Month Celebration: Faculty, staff, students, and USC community members join President Carol L. Folt to kick-off the University’s month-long celebration of Pride Month and the Power of Community. 
  • Progress Pride Flag at Keck Hospital of USC: After the Pride Month Celebration kick-off with President Folt, Keck Hospital of USC will raise the Progress Pride Flag at the front of the hospital where it will remain for the entire month of June. 
  • Keck Pride & L.A. Pride: Keck Pride, which is for faculty, staff, and patients, will join the 52nd L.A. Pride Parade on June 12th.  
  • 2022 Morgan Stanley Asia LGBTQ+ Allies Virtual Coffee Chat: This virtual networking event gives current LGBTQ+ and Allied USC students the ability to network with current Morgan Stanley employees from the company’s Asia Pride and ally networks.  

Beyond celebrating Pride month, USC is committed to celebrating gender and sexual diversity every day of the year. The LGBTQ+ Student Center is the main LGBTQ+ hub on campus for students to seek support and build community. The center, which is located on the fourth floor of the Student Union Building, features the Lavender Lounge, a gathering space where students can spend time together, enjoy free printing, and indulge in free coffee and tea.  

The center also hosts a few student groups, including the First-year Advocacy Board (FAB), a group open to both first-year and transfer students and that focuses on helping students with the transition to USC. This is a wonderful way to get involved with the center right away. In addition to FAB, the center is home to a few other affinity groups that hosts weekly meetings and conversations.  

  • Bi+ Spaces: A closed group for students who identify as bisexual, polysexual, pansexual, and/or another non-monosexual identity  
  • Queer Fandom Fanatics: A space open to all to connect and “geek out” about pop culture.  
  • QTPOC (Queer/Trans Person of Color) Lounge: A closed space to QTPOC-identified USC students to connect and build community.  
  • Rainbow International: A closed space for international students who identify as LGBTQ+ to discuss their queer experiences around the world.  
  • Queer Book Club: QUATRO (Queer and Ally Trojan Readers Online): This an open book club for all USC students; the group reads and discusses one LGBTQ+ book per semester.  
  • Beyond the Binary: Beyond the Binary (formerly GNAF) is an intentional space for our Trans and Gender Nonconforming/Questioning USC students (& friends!) to get to know one another, destress, and debrief, as well as have a place to call their own, all while actively abolishing the binary and other oppressive systems. 
  • Ace/Aro+ Space: An intentional space for students who identify as asexual, aromantic, demisexual, or anywhere on the ace and/or aro spectrums. 

Check out the LGBTQ+ Student Center on social.  

As a prospective or incoming student, you might be wondering about the kinds of other programs and resources that USC has to offer around the LGBTQ+ community.  

You might want to check out some additional groups and resources for members of the Trojan Family:  

  • Mentorship Opportunities: LGBT Peer Mentoring Program allows current USC students to work with a caring, dynamic peer mentor on personal, social, academic, career and lifestyle goals.  
  • Professional Resources: OUTLaw, a networking club for LGBTQ+ students interested in pursuing Law; and Trojan Alliance, a pre-professional association aimed at bringing networking opportunities and resources to LGBTQ students at USC.  
  • Social Organizations: MedLambda: LGBTQIA+ Student Interest Group, a group that supports LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff in the health sciences through social events, activism, and programming; and Transgender Advocacy Group, a student-run organization for transgender USC students and their cisgender allies to mingle, discuss, and dismantle transphobia.  

For more information about the LGBTQ+ Student Center, programs, student organizations, and more, visit the LGBTQ+ Student Center website: https://lgbtrc.usc.edu/ and the Campus Organizations website for a full list of all registered USC clubs and organizations: https://campusactivities.usc.edu/organizations/.  

Written by Dylan Goodwill (Assistant Director of Admission) and Jamie Black (Assistant Director of Admission).  



GUEST BLOG: USC Celebrates Black History Month

Happy Black History Month! 

Every year, we celebrate the legacy and the history of the Black community across the African diaspora. Here on campus, we host various events and celebrations beginning on February 1st.   

This month I am especially reminded of Umoja, Swahili for unity.   

In the spirit of unity, there are ample ways that Black Trojans find their communities on campus. From clubs and organizations to campus spaces, you can pursue your passions and make your mark within your first few days as a USC student.    

Haven’t had a chance to visit campus and are looking for events, places, and spaces that are relevant to the Black student community on campus? Look no further, because the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs (CBCSA) and the Black Trojan Community have got you covered with a virtual tour of “BlackSC hotspots.”  

Highlights of the virtual campus tour include Sommerville Place, a special interest residential floor dedicated to cultivating community and identity across the African diaspora. It also features organizations such as the Black Student Assembly (BSA) that fosters connections, creates leadership opportunities for students, and provides programming and services to the community. Every Monday night, BSA hosts a weekly meeting in which students can gather to play games and discuss news and events relevant to the Black community. Additionally, the tour also highlights McCarthy Quad, home to one of the signature events of Black History Month, the Black History Month Festival. This new event features step shows and other performances and highlights clubs and organizations.   

Through events, organizations, and campus spaces we hope to create an environment in which every student can thrive while also honoring and acknowledging the Black student experience. This month and every month we empower and uplift the Black community on campus and beyond.  

So again, in the spirit of Umoja (unity), we invite you to celebrate with us and check out Black History Month events happening all over campus.  

Some events include the Black at USC: Mental Health and Tools to Thrive Edition talk which corresponds with this year’s national Black History Month theme: Black Health and Wellness, and the USC Fisher Art Museum will be hosting Films Reflecting Ourselves (F.R.O Fest) where the museum will be screening films by Black writers, producers, directors, and actors from USC. This annual festival provides a platform to tell and celebrate Black stories. This year’s theme is “Black Joy.” 

 To keep up to date with CBCSA events year round, follow their Instagram @usc_cbcsa

Written by:

Jonna German, Senior Assistant Director  – USC Office of Undergraduate Admission