Simply, Thank You! 

This is the time of the year where we take time to reflect and think about the many acts of bravery and the selfless sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have made for this great country. Today, November 11, represents a day that we honor you, a community who not only heard the call of duty, but have also answered it. This is the day that we honor those who placed their lives in danger and performed their duties with acts of bravery and courage. Initially, this day was meant to acknowledge and celebrate world peace and the end of World War I in 1918. It has evolved to a day which celebrates you, current and former members of our military, –those who sacrificed all in the name of liberty and justice for all. This is a day where veterans across the nation come together to support and honor each other–all those who served, and those who are no longer with us. This is the day we salute you and honor you for your prodigious deeds.  

Initially known as “Armistice Day”, to later be renamed “Veterans Day”, I am reminded of the words of President Woodrow Wilson who proclaimed: 

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” 

To my fellow Veterans and to all of you who are currently serving, this is the day I say thank you for the many freedoms that you continue to provide, and to say how proud I am of you and your commitment to this country and to yourselves. This sentiment is shared by my colleagues in the Office of Undergraduate Admission as well as the entire community at the University of Southern California. With a proud tradition that extends back to 1914, our commitment to you has remained unbroken. At USC, we recognize your strengths and contribution to our institution. We remain steadfast in our support to you and we aim to empower you-the student veterans through the various resources that are in place to aid you in your success and experience as students at the University of Southern California. Because of your experiences, perspectives, skills, and contributions, USC is greatly enriched by our student-veteran population.

To continue to support the transition and success of our veterans, USC continuously creates new programs and resources for our student-veterans, active service members, and ROTC students – including academic, financial, and wellness support. Here is a list of resources to address the needs of this student population.

Departmental Support

Since 2014, the   USC Veterans Resource Center(VRC) has worked to support student veterans in all endeavors of campus life, including everything from outreach and admission to graduation and job seeking. The center collaborates between multiple student affairs offices and administrative divisions and helps serve nearly 1,200 veterans who enroll in USC classes each semester. The VRC provides students with a variety of benefits:

  • Study space with access to computers
  • Opportunities to socialize with fellow student veterans
  • Information about on-campus services
  • Check-ins with a designated veteran certifying officer on campus
  • Special programs, such as the advisement luncheons offered at the beginning of the semester
  • Professional advisement (resumes, cover letters, networking, and interviews) and a job recruitment fair
  • Other perks like catered luncheons and complimentary tickets for sporting events!

Clubs & Organizations

To help student veterans establish relationships and build social and professional networks during their time at USC and after graduation, there are multiple student and alumni associations to join. The USC Veterans Association is a student organization composed of undergraduate and graduate students and keeps members informed of various opportunities and resources. On their active Facebook page, students can find out about upcoming social events and workshops, job openings, and research opportunities and apply for leadership positions within the group. The Marshall Military Veterans Association is a group for student veterans pursuing their MBA at the Marshall School of Business. To provide ongoing support for student veterans in their transition to USC, the USC Student Veterans Support Network mission is to help current and former students, staff, and faculty connect with students. Lastly, the USC Alumni Veterans Network is open to all USC alumni who are veterans and are interested in staying involved with the Trojan Family long after graduation.

Financial Benefits

In addition to their G.I. benefits, student veterans have access to the same scholarships and financial aid resources utilized by all USC students. USC’s Office of Financial Aid and the Veterans Certification Office work with military veterans to help them understand their educational benefits and provide assistance with financial aid and other funding. Check out this video that explains this process more in-depth.

USC is also proud to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which is open to post-9/11 GI Bill recipients and covers up to one-half of tuition and mandatory fees matched dollar for dollar by the V.A. The Schoen Family Scholarship Program for Veterans was established in 1986 by William J. Schoen, a former U.S. Marine and USC alumnus (’60, MBA’ 63), to provide additional funding for student veterans at USC. This scholarship is available to new and continuing students in the Marshall School of Business and the Viterbi School of Engineering who have served a minimum of three years of continuous, full-time, active duty in the past ten years.

Research & Practice

With the desire to meet the needs of our student veterans on campus, the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) is also committed to research, education, and outreach for all veterans and their families. The CIR conducts a wide range of research projects, provides training seminars to behavioral health providers and clinicians, and works with community partners to address the issues that face today’s veterans and military families.

The University of Southern California has continued commitment and dedication to assisting veterans, service members, and qualified family members. USC is committed to providing the tools to successfully assist student veterans in navigating and integrating into the college environment while creating a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable campus environment for veterans. With this said, please take the time to review the resources in this blog post. Should you have any questions regarding the number of resources available or questions regarding admissions and the application process, please feel free to email me at emejia17@usc.edu.

USC Veteran Resource Center

ROTC & Veteran Benefits

Veteran Housing

USC Admission Contact Information

Transfer Tools

Transfer Information Session

For further information on USC’s Veteran Resource Center, check the FAQ’s – USC Veterans Resource Center.

Semper Fidelis and Fight On!

Written by Eric Mejia, Assistant Director

USMC Veteran

EdD Candidate




Transfer Talk Tuesday: Expectations vs Reality 

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 everyone! My name is Savanna Fakhoury, and I am a current junior studying Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. I was born and raised in Southern California, and I come from a very large and fun Jordanian and Syrian family. I enjoy traveling, spending time with family and friends, going to the beach, reading, listening to podcasts, baking, going to concerts, and watching reality TV. I hope to one day become a physician and work in underserved populations, specifically within displaced refugee groups. My journey to USC was quite an interesting one, and I am excited to share a bit about my experience and what I have learned so far.  

I went to an all-girls Catholic high school and was a part of the choir group at school. Our choir group was invited to perform at USC’s Caruso Catholic Center – my first-time setting foot on what I had not known would become my home. I remember telling myself not to get too attached to the school because I did not think USC would be an option for me. That was my first expectation that was far from reality. Little did I know, I was offered an opportunity to apply to transfer to USC for my sophomore year. Although I knew for quite some time USC was for me, I was worried about not assimilating into the school well. So many questions were at the forefront of my mind. I did not know what to expect, but as I have been here for a few years now, I thought I would share some things I learned along the way.  

Expectation #1: “It’ll be hard to meet people and form connections, especially due to the pandemic” 
Reality: This is SO not true. USC has more than 1,000 student organizations and so many opportunities to find people and organizations you mesh well with. I found my home in many different places: Keck Student Ambassadors, the American Medical Women’s Association, through my research on prostate cancer at the Keck School of Medicine, and with my fellow ambassadors at the Office of Undergraduate Admission. College is what you make of it. Put yourself out there, and wonderful experiences and people will come your way.  

Expectation #2: “USC is a big school, will I get swallowed in the crowd?”
Reality: No! Professors and the university really foster a welcoming environment and give many opportunities for us students to make connections. Class sizes are smaller, and our personal educational experience is of great importance to USC.  

Expectation #3: “It’s tough finding people who have similar interests and goals.” 
Reality: Not at all! USC aims to have a very diverse and inclusive environment for all students. The 1,000+ student organizations help students find a group with similar interests and goals.  

Expectation #4: “If I struggle in school, I am on my own.” 
Reality: This is so not true! There are so many resources USC offers to give us students support. Professors host weekly office hours, many classes offer free supplemental instruction, and we have the Kortschak Learning Center to help guide and support us through our academic journey.  

Expectation #5: “It will be easy to take a full course load, be involved in many organizations, and have lots of free time to spend with friends and family.” 
Reality: In all honesty, I thought I would be able to do it all. I have since concluded that academics at USC are very rigorous, and organizations require time and commitment. I have learned that the key to balance is time management. With a calendar, planner, and an optimistic viewpoint, college life will be very fulfilling and balanced. It’s all about being open minded!  

In conclusion, we all have expectations about what an experience will be like and how things will turn out to be – in every situation, even beyond college. Expectations are comforting, as they help us mentally plan for the unknown ahead, but they are also limiting.  

There is no standardized formula to have the perfect college experience because the college experience is different for everyone. Everything that occurs is unique to our own stories and paths, in order to help form us into the humans we are meant to become.  

Attending USC has been the best decision I have ever made. I have had many expectations, some aligning and some not aligning with reality. My advice to you: just go with it and enjoy all that is to come! 

Written by  Savanna Fakhoury, (she/her/hers), 3rd year at USC studying  Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. 



Transfer Talk Tuesday: Relationships with Advisor/Faculty

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 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 Ellie Chen and I’m currently a junior transfer student majoring in Business Administration and pursuing my master’s in Finance as part of USC’s Progressive Degree program. For those who are not familiar, the Progressive Degree Program offers selective master degrees to undergraduate students who want to pursue a master’s while still being an undergraduate. (For those who are interested in learning more regarding the Progressive Degree Program, click here). I transferred to USC after my freshman year at a smaller private university and spent my sophomore year online. As a junior, I’m so grateful to finally be on campus and I currently work in the USC’s Office of Admission as a Transfer Ambassador, which helps prospective community college students. 

Throughout my time at USC, my academic advisor has been so helpful with planning out my classes, exploring different minors, or discussing different upper-division classes to take. When I first transferred to USC, I wasn’t sure about which classes to take as a sophomore and the different career options within such a broad major like Business Administration. However, my Marshall academic advisor reached out to me the summer before my first semester to help me pick courses for the upcoming school year and create a tentative schedule of classes to make sure I fulfilled all of the requirements. On top of this information regarding classes, she also gave me tips on how to explore my interests within the realm of business both inside and outside of the classroom. As the semesters progressed, my advisor updated my class schedule and, if I had any problems, it was easy to schedule an appointment with her to get advice regarding which upper-division courses best fit my interests, whether or not to take some of my classes Pass/No Pass, or any other academic problems I faced.  

On top of guiding students with their academics, advisors are also incredibly knowledgeable in all of the resources offered by USC. For example, when I was first considering whether or not to apply for the Progressive Degree Program, my advisor encouraged me to schedule a one-on-one chat with a Marshall career counselor who is informed on the topic. (For more information regarding the Marshall Career Center, click here). The chat ended up being really helpful and, when I decided to pursue the program, my advisor worked with me to create a course plan that fulfilled both my undergraduate and graduate degree requirements.  

All in all, my advisor made such a big difference when it came to my transition to USC as she relieved so much stress I had regarding course scheduling and transfer credits. I’m so grateful for my advisor in supporting and guiding me in my academic journey here at USC and maximizing my college experience.  

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