Undergraduate Admission Blog

Follow the Official USC Undergraduate Admission Blog for information, advice, and a behind-the-scenes look at our process

February 16, 2016

STUDENT BLOG: Get Excited to Explore USC!

Ashley Sacks

Attending Explore USC was definitely one of the highlights of the college application process! Let me begin by saying it is absolutely okay if you do not know other students attending. I did not know anyone, and it was a really great opportunity to meet new people that were also considering or planning to attend USC. Whether you are arriving on your own or with other friends, I strongly urge you to interact with the other students around you – they may become your classmates, your friends, or even your future roommates!


I attended the Explore program in March for students being considered for merit based scholarships. The opening session on the first day is super exciting! It is an engaging introduction to the program, but rather than spoiling the fun, I encourage you to attend and experience it in person. The rest of the day consists of touring USC and interacting with current students who can give you a more in-depth understanding of what life is like as a member of the Trojan family. Perhaps the most memorable moment for me was being matched up with the current student. Because I was interviewing for a scholarship, I spent the evening in that student’s dorm room.


After being matched with my host, the night mostly consisted of getting to see USC in action. I was paired with another student attending Explore USC, and the chances are that you will be too, as well as a USC freshman in whose dorm we spent the night. Our host showed us the different styles of living on campus – suite, apartment, and residence hall – which helped me to decide that living in a residence hall would be best for me. She then took us to dinner in the dining hall with a bunch of her friends (and the students they were hosting for Explore USC), which truly helped me to feel like I was experiencing a normal night as a student. We then walked to the south quad of campus to Ground Zero, one of USC’s coffee houses and concert spaces. Ground Zero is known for its delicious milkshakes, so don’t forget to try one! They were hosting an open mic night, so we were able to see different students perform with their bands, read poetry, do stand up comedy, and so much more. As a current student, I still go to Ground Zero quite often, so I am thankful my host introduced me to it!


For those attending a scholarship Explore USC, the second day mainly consists of breakfast, the scholarship interview, and a few other optional programs. Let me correct myself there; the day mainly consists of breakfast and a more in-depth conversation with a member of the admissions team, a current student, and a professor. I changed it to “conversation” because while it is technically called an interview, it is very comfortable and relaxed and is centered around getting to know you a bit more than what the written words on an application can provide. If I can give you any advice, it is simply to reread your application before you go in because that is what they will mostly be asking you about. Show them that what you wrote matters to you and explain why. If you can do that, you are going to be absolutely fine! I promise, it is not scary at all. Fun fact – when I attended Explore USC, it poured the morning of my interview, and I walked in soaking wet!


Once Explore USC was over, I felt a little relieved because, like you might be, I was very nervous. But more importantly, I felt excited because it solidified that USC was the school for me. My host did an amazing job introducing me to student life and making me feel comfortable, and I felt that the “conversation” allowed me to show them why I was so passionate about what I wrote in my application.


If you have not signed up to attend Explore USC, I strongly recommend you do so as soon as possible. And if you have, get ready to experience USC in a new and incredibly exciting way. Hope to see you on campus soon!

By: Ashley Sacks

Current student, Class of 2019


  1. Trevor Caulder says:

    I am writing on behalf of my son, Lain Caulder.

    Not sure if this is the correct venue, so please point me in the right direction if it is not.

    Lain is in his junior year in High School. He plans to apply to the School of Cenimatic Arts this fall.

    We would like to get “plugged into” the program and visit. Appreciate any pointers for next steps. We are up near Sacramento.


    Trev and Lain

    • Hillary Higgins says:

      Hi Trev and Lain! Thanks for your comment. I recommend signing up for our Meet USC program. You can include an academic information session from our School of Cinematic Arts as part of your visit. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Submissions are moderated.