USC Welcomes Trojans Back to Campus

In March 2020, USC’s physical doors closed and virtual ones opened. As of this August, USC is thrilled to welcome new and returning students back home. USC’s return to campus this fall is exciting, the campus is alive and buzzing. With new faces to meet and places to explore, our return to campus has been nothing short of thrilling.  

We kicked off our return by welcoming incoming undergraduates from the Fall 2020 and Fall 2021 admitted classes at our annual Fall Convocation. The campus was electrified with cardinal and gold clad students in their embroidered USC gowns, sitting with their academic departments. Their families documented the enormous tradition from Alumni Park, all awaiting their confirmation into the Trojan Family.  

Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism students cheer their school at the new student convocation August 19, 2021 at USC. Photo by David Sprague/USC

Convocation commenced with a welcome from President FoltFolt opened with powerful words for our incoming students and their families,  USC is a place of new beginnings and fresh starts-of big dreams and kinetic energy bouncing off people – a place where you belong, where you’re valued and where you will make your mark.” Folt supported their first steps into the Trojan family, “you are the fresh faces of tomorrow-you’ll take the first-rate education you receive here, to become inspirational doers, thinkers and leaders across the world-just like legions of Trojans before you.” Folt confirmed Trojans share a passion for USC which is legendary, and left us with the questionshow will you create and what will you stand for? 

USC President Carol L. Folt speaks during new student convocation, August 19, 2021. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Then Varun Soni, Dean of USC Religious Life, led the crowd through a blessing of the cell phone  a first for me, offering inspiring and important words “may our cell phones and smart devices be sources of creativity and connection as opposed to outrage and anxiety…May our devices enlighten us to new and different perspectives, worldviews, and realities instead of just amplifying and reinforcing what we might already think and believe.” 

Students raise their cell phones to be blessed at the new student convocation August 19, 2021 at USC. Photo by David Sprague/USC

 Next, we heard from a variety of students and campus leaders leaving words of wisdom as our students entered campus. Finally, the deans of each academic unit welcomed their respective inductees, confirming what their students will contribute to society as well as their rights and responsibilities as USC learners.  

Students from each of the schools bear their school flags during the processional at the new student convocation August 19, 2021 at USC. Photo by David Sprague/USC

Currently we are in the midst of the beginning weeks of our fall semester. USC has kicked off welcoming students back to campus with events like Glow Yoga, Welcome Back Concert, Light Up the Night SC and (my favorite) the Spirit Rally! Trojan Marching Band Spirit Rally is an unofficial required induction to the many Trojan traditions. Gathering in the stands of the Cromwell Track and Field stadium, the USC Marching Band, Song Girls, and Spirit Leaders prepare new Trojans with cheers and USC fight songs to support our teams on to victory this Fall!  

The USC Song Girls perform during the Trojan Marching Band spirit rally, August 20, 2021. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Wondering what to do on campus upon returning? Check out some recommendations from our USC Student Ambassadors! 

“I am excited to go back to class, sounds very simple, but it’s really quite fun just walking from one class to another and actually commuting. You run into your friends on the way to class, you say hello and see people you haven’t seen in a couple of weeks. It’s just heartwarming! I would personally recommend going to the Coliseum which is located just south of USC, ideally go during a game day. You will see people wearing cardinal and gold, everyone is jumping, everyone is chanting it is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Go Trojans!”
Felipe, Junior from Bogota, Columbia majoring in Civil Engineering 

I am most excited for the football games because I am into athletics and so having that energy again is so exciting. I would say go to the bookstore because everyone loves getting some USC gear even if you don’t go to USC everyone’s going to have it.”
Princess, Sophomore from Maywood, IL majoring in Musical Theater

If you are a new student you should bring the Hammock in McCarthy Quad, enjoy the California sunshine with your friends.” 
Priya, Senior from Apple Valley, MN majoring in International Relations (Global Business) 

“I am most excited to see my friends and classmates, I am ready to get back to in person learning.”
Rachel, Senior from Pleasanton, CA majoring in Sociology

“I’m excited to see people rehearsing in the Queen’s Court. Where to visit? I like listening to the squirrels, in Founders Park there’s always a bench in the shade.”
Jozeline, Sophomore from Long Beach CA, majoring in Music Industry 

Welcome back Trojans and Fight On! 

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!  

USC Hidden Gems and Favorite Spots: Staff and Student Picks

Want to get the insiders scoop of all the great places to study, eat and hang out at USC? Our students and staff are ready to dive in and reveal some of the best spots on campus


“My go-to order is an iced blueberry matcha latte from Dulce Cafe in the village. It’s the perfect twist to a regular matcha latte!”
-Naomi, Cupertino (CA), Sophomore, Business Administration major and Cinematic Arts minor

“My absolute favorite spot to grab a coffee/chai tea before class is Dulce in the USC Village! I love their tea lattes and their breakfast sandwich, and one of my favorite things to do is to meet a friend here and have breakfast together before classes!”
-Abby; Bartlett, IL; Junior; Linguistics, Spanish

Literatea! Absolutely love the pun with the name and the thai tea boba brings me major joy anytime during the semester! The courtyard outside is also super nice to enjoy that LA sun and get some studying in.”
-Audrey, Orange, CA, Senior, Business Administration/minor: Music Industry

“Literatea (hidden behind Doheney Library)”
-Haley Rosenspire, Admission Counselor for City of San Diego, Phoenix, Oklahoma

“I love passing by The Illy Café in our Wallis Annenberg Hall! They have delicious macaroons, and if you ever go, I recommend trying the Chocolate or Caramel flavors!”
-Aime; Porterville, CA, Junior; BA Psychology, BA Spanish, and Minor in Education and Society

“Orange Mocha from Illy in Annenberg. Its my fav and I miss them dearly.” 
-Hayley Camin, Admission Counselor for the Central Coast of California and Canada

“Cammereli Cafe in Verna and Peter Dauterive Hall. Always quiet, and a great courtyard to hang in outside”
-Cal Jensen, Admission Counselor for Orange County, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire


“Queens Courtyard”
-Pj; Winter Park, Florida; Sophomore; Psychology and Economics Major with a Minor in Environmental Studies
“My favorite hidden gem on campus is the Special Collections section in Doheny Memorial Library! I feel like I’m on a secret mission when I visit and it’s so cool how we have rare artifacts on our campus!”
-Aime; Porterville, CA, Junior; BA Psychology, BA Spanish, and Minor in Education and Society

“My favorite hidden gem is actually Traditions in Tudor Campus Center (TCC), not very hidden, but good food and great memories! I remember eating $1 wings almost every Monday night with my 2 best friends during my sophomore year. I just absolutely love the vibes and the memories I made there.”
-Audrey, Orange, CA, Senior, Business Administration/minor: Music Industry

“My favorite hidden gem on campus is the little courtyard outside of Mudd Hall. Here you’ll find this beautiful fountain surrounded by palm trees and flowers and only about 3 tables or so, and it’s right on the edge of campus, so it’s the perfect place to study if you want somewhere outside and quiet.”
-Abby; Bartlett, IL; Junior; Linguistics, Spanish

“It’s not super hidden, but I love hanging out on the lawn in the Thornton Courtyard! It’s pretty quiet, secluded, and has shade!”

-Adrika, Santa Clara, Junior, Political Science/Psychology minor

“My favorite study spots are the study rooms in the upper levels of Fertitta Hall because through the windows I can see downtown’s skyline!”
-Naomi, Cupertino (CA), Sophomore, Business Administration Major and Cinematic Arts Minor
“Hoose Philosophy Library – get some absolute silence away from the otherwise hustle and bustle of campus”
-Neelam Savla, Associate Director

“Town & Gown! It’s so gorgeous with it’s beautiful chandeliers, large fireplace, and the open layout that you can’t help but feel very fancy when you are inside. And when it’s decked out for Christmas…*heart eyes*”
-Dylan Goodwill – Admission Counselor for Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, Utah & California (San Bernardino, Riverside, Ontario area)

“The upstairs balconies of the School of Cinematic Arts are perfect for people watching and a nice hideaway in a busy part of campus! You’ll often overhear students talking about their latest projects and upcoming film assignments. Also totally accessible to students not in the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA)!”
-Natasha Hunter, Admission Counselor for Santa Clara, CA and Upstate NY


“At least once every weekend my friend (who is now my roommate!) and I would meet up and sit on the windowsill of 6th floor Pardee Tower to talk about our nights and usually eat a late-night snack. We did it so often that other people on our floor knew they could count on us being there and would come by and say hi before going to bed.”
-Adrika, Santa Clara, Junior, Political Science/Psychology minor

“McCarthy Quad Farmers Market on Wednesday mornings, especially the pupusas”
-Cal Jensen, Admission Counselor for Orange County, CA, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire

“My favorite part about living on campus is the community events that happen through Residential Education. This year, I’m a Virtual Peer Mentor, which means I plan a ton of virtual events for USC students, and I absolutely love the opportunity to attend these events, meet new people, and get the chance to take a break with other people and spend some meaningful time with others.”
-Abby; Bartlett, IL; Junior; Linguistics, Spanish

“My favorite memory about living on campus was when I studied with my friends during Finals Week! In my first semester of my sophomore year, my friends and I would claim one of the study rooms and make it our private “home”. We brought snacks, drinks, and motivated one another when we were struggling to study!”
-Aime; Porterville, CA, Junior; BA Psychology, BA Spanish, and Minor in Education and Society

“My favorite memories on campus involve USC sports in any capacity, with my friends to tag along! The basketball games are the absolute best and so fun, even for someone like me who is not a huge sports fan. Baseball games are also super fun, especially with free hotdogs or free sweatshirts to incentivize me and friends to go.”
-Audrey, Orange, CA, Senior, Business Administration/minor: Music Industry
“The people! I appreciate my coworkers so much, as they make this job so fun and amazing. But even reaching out to the Faculty and Students shows you how awesome the Trojan community is!”
-Dylan Goodwill – Admission Counselor for Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, Utah & California (San Bernardino, Riverside, Ontario area)

“The Village is always a great place to meet up with friends and coworkers after class or after work. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch one of these sunsets while sitting on the Village couches!”
-Natasha Hunter, Admission Counselor for Santa Clara, CA and Upstate NY


“One USC memory I will always remember is my first USC concert put on by concerts committee, Springfest, since I was a spring admit. I remember seeing so many amazing artists. It was so fun to get all the free goodies and listen to some awesome bands/music from all genres.”
-Audrey, Orange, CA, Senior, Business Administration/minor: Music Industry

“I will always remember when the first time I performed in the pre-game, half-time, and post-game shows during our first home football game. I was one of the Silks in our Trojan Marching Band, and even though I was really nervous to be in front of thousands of fans, the energy inside the Coliseum was infectious and exhilarating. What made it even better was that my mom and sister were in the crowd and were able to experience that moment with me too!”
-Aime; Porterville, CA, Junior; BA Psychology, BA Spanish, and Minor in Education and Society

“Football (and bigtime collegiate athletics) was a deciding factor in why I chose USC and I will never forget the day I walked into the Coliseum for my first USC football game my freshman year. It was an earlier game I think noon kickoff, but walking through the tunnel to our seats and seeing the Coliseum open up on a sunny, warm day with the red seats popping everywhere combined with the green grass and cardinal and gold everywhere is a highlight of my time at USC. Made me way more excited for football and I knew I made the best choice. ”
-Whitney Rollerson – Admission Counselor for Long Beach, CA

“My favorite memory was walking to the Native American Student Assembly (NASA) center and eating frybread with the members. We ate home food while we all talked about home. I have a huge soft spot for my Native students and being with them makes me so happy!”
Dylan Goodwill – Admission Counselor for Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, Utah & California (San Bernardino, Riverside, Ontario area)

“One of my favorite USC memories was when my best friend and I got to attend a Spanish film premiere in the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Blvd! At this time, I was a part of a Spanish film and culture class, and for our final project, we were supposed to go out into LA and attend some type of cultural event. I asked my professors if she had any recommendations for an event, and she ended up giving these premiere tickets to me and my friend for free! Because of this project, I was able to walk on the red carpet, watch an incredible Spanish film, listen to a Q&A with the directors and actors who flew in from Spain that day, and even attend the reception after the event. It was quite honestly one of my LA dreams come true!”
-Abby; Bartlett, IL; Junior; Linguistics, Spanish

“Years ago I had a very long layover in Incheon, South Korea and decided to go on a guided city tour. There were 4 people total on the tour and another couple were USC alumni – we bonded immediately since I was wearing my USC sweatshirt and had a great time talking about USC football and exploring Incheon for those few hours in between our flights!”
-Neelam Savla, Associate Director

Ready to visit these spots on campus? Let us know if you tried them in the comments!

Fight On!