Perhaps it’s the warm weather and sunny days that almost replicate Indonesia’s climate. Or perhaps it’s the massive amount of Asian food that many Indonesians crave for during their stay in the United States. For various reasons, Los Angeles remains one of Indonesians’ favorite destinations in the United States, and University of Southern California (USC) is perfectly nestled at the heart of it!
A Glance of USC
Founded in 1880, University of Southern California, better known as USC, is one of the world’s leading private research university. As a research university, USC is not only a place to gain knowledge, but also a place where new knowledge is being developed. Most professors teach and conduct research at the same time. Students can either participate in the various researches or start their own research projects on campus. Meanwhile, as a private university, USC operates as a non-profit institution. Unlike public universities, both local American and international students pay similar tuition fees at USC. Many American students take advantage of the numerous amounts of scholarships and financial aid USC offers, while international students can opt for merit-based scholarship or USC Payment Plan among other options.
USC is also particularly well known for its athletic program and the USC Trojans football team. USC has a gold-medal-winning Olympic athlete in every summer Olympics since 1912, the one and only in the world. The football team, the USC Trojans, has many great talents that end up playing in the National Football League. Across the different sports branches, USC famous’ rival is UCLA Bruins. Both campuses are roughly only 12 miles apart in the same city, so their rivalry remains competitive and exciting to watch.
Talking about USC, you can’t miss mentioning Trojan Family. Most students list Trojan Family as one of the reasons they pick USC, so what is Trojan Family?
“Trojans” is a term typically used for everyone within USC community: students, faculty, staff, athletes, and even sport fans. However, Trojan Family usually refers to networks of USC alumni across the globe. Trojan Family is special, as it is known to include many influential people all over the world who used to attend USC and it implements high sense of community within each member. Many distinguished alumni give back by making donations that go towards facilities and programs. The community aspect is very rewarding because, to put it simply, when you meet a fellow Trojan Family member, you two feel somehow instantly connected.
Trojan Family spirit runs even within the Indonesian community. Current Indonesian students at USC form close-knit relationships through ASIS (Association of Indonesian Students), while Indonesian USC alumni stays connected through AUSCI (Alumni USC in Indonesia). Trojan Family members may have graduated from USC, but most carry the school pride and spirits throughout their lives.
Are you a good fit?
As one of the top schools in California and United States, expect to compete with thousands of fellow applicants with great academic performance when applying to USC. The average GPA of admitted transfer students is 3.7, but don’t let it put you down. Take the chance to tell the admission staffs how you are a good fit for USC in your essay to enhance your application.
Your application essay is very important to USC. When I attended the USC campus tour, one admission staff mentioned that when it came down to several applicants with similar qualities, the admission staffs re-read their essays and made the final decision afterwards.
The undergraduate admission website mentions that they “…look for those students we believe would be an ideal fit for, and thrive in, the challenging academic environment USC provides.” Consider how you are going to be a good addition to the Trojan Family or how you relate to the five traits of an ideal Trojan: Faithful, Scholarly, Skillful, Courageous, Ambitious. Reflect on USC’s “Fight On” motto and how you “fight on” in life. Talk about your experience when visiting USC campus if you have the chance to do so. Learn about the various programs and opportunities USC offers that interest you. If applicable, bring up how the Trojan spirit runs in your family (having family member who attended USC). These are some ideas you can incorporate in your essay, but the main logic is to imagine yourself as a key, USC as a lock, and how your key fits into USC’s lock.
The Technical Aspects of Transferring
USC Undergraduate Admission website provide tons of information about USC and the transfer process, but what I find really helpful is the Transfer Planning Brochure. Make sure to read through the application process and checklist. Transfer application process to USC is conducted online, although you do still need to send sealed physical copy of high school and current college/university official transcripts. For Indonesian students without English high school report, make sure to have your reports translated officially.
Like many other United States universities, USC uses Common Application. There are two types of essays: Common Application essay and USC supplemental essays (typically two essays). Remember that the Common Application essay will be sent to all the universities you apply via Common Application, while only the supplemental essays will be sent to USC. You will also be asked to create an account at youSC to check your application status.
Remember to reach out if you have any questions about the application process. Admitted students, previous applicants, academic counselor, or USC admission counselor are some of the resources available. I personally received a lot of input and support from people around me during my application process. I couldn’t have succeeded to transfer without them, so I definitely recommend prospective transfer students to seek for help when needed. Also, read every email you receive from USC Admission during your application process. You may be asked to send updated version of your transcript or other documents that can affect your admission decision.
The Good News
USC is welcoming towards transfer students and international students. C.L. Max Nikias, current USC president, famously advocated for transfer students in an article for Washington Post. Admission rate for transfer students increases from 28% (1,465) in Fall 2014 to 29% (1,650) in Fall 2015. More than 50% transfer from California community colleges. On the other hand, USC has the second-most international students in the United States. There are currently 10,321 (24% of the student demographics) international students studying at USC, 174 of them have Indonesian nationality.
The admission process to USC is selective, but don’t be discouraged if you are not accepted or waitlisted in Fall semester. Instead of waitlist, USC offers Spring admission! USC only opens application for Fall semester, but every applicant is considered for both Fall and Spring. Note that there is no Spring application. I am actually a Spring admit myself. I can say that I didn’t experience any difficulties beside the fact that Los Angeles was pretty cold when I started school!
Photo credit: www.usc.edu