Over the past few months, 8,500 high school seniors have received the happy news that they have been accepted to USC. About 1,000 others, though, received slightly different letters — they have been admitted, but not for the fall.
Instead of using a waitlist, USC chooses to admit a handful of students for the spring semester.
Some of these students are eventually bumped to fall admission, but many, if they choose to attend USC, have to wait an extra four months to begin their college experience.
For prospective Trojans, being admitted for the spring is often bittersweet.
Catherine Sutcliff, a high school senior from Georgia who was admitted for the spring 2011 semester, said she was initially taken aback.
“It makes choosing what to do next year a lot harder,” Sutcliff said. “I was angry at first, before I realized that I was at least fortunate enough to be offered a spot. I finally realized that if I turned down my first-choice school then I would always be wondering ‘what if’ and regretting not waiting until the spring.”
Another spring admit, Betsy Schull, had similar feelings.
“I was so excited because USC was my number one school. When I discovered my admission was for spring, I was pretty upset,” Schull said. “But after talking to current USC students about my situation, it helped me to know that other people successfully started in the spring and were still able to make friends and get the necessary amount of credits to graduate on time.”
Schull said she wants to attend USC, but the decision is harder now that she would be starting in the spring.
“If I had been accepted regularly, I would have most likely chosen USC. If I do choose to attend, it would be because I am absolutely in love with USC,” she said. “My decision hinges on me finding something worthwhile and productive to do in the fall without overstepping my financial boundaries.”
Sutcliff said that although she has the option to attend the University of Georgia for free, she thinks there are better opportunities at USC.
“If I chose the easy option and just went to UGA, it would be a lot like high school, and I wouldn’t gain any new perspectives,” she said.
Past spring admits who have chosen to attend USC said they think waiting is worth it, although it does alter the college experience.
Kevin Steen, a freshman majoring in linguistics, said he is happy he chose to attend USC as a spring admit for both academic and financial reasons.
“I’m glad I’m here as opposed to other places because there are so many more opportunities here,” Steen said. “I’m also glad being a spring admit because I saved money.”
Annie Biggs, a freshman majoring in business administration, said the school’s location and the Marshall School of Business made waiting an extra semester worth it.
“This is the place for me,” Biggs said. “Because of the opportunities that USC offers their students, I don’t think other schools compete. Also, it’s a city full of opportunities, and, of course, Marshall has a great business program.”
Other students, however, expressed some regrets about waiting the extra semester to attend USC.
Matt Herrick, a freshman majoring in communication, said that looking back, his other options seem appealing.
“I kind of regret not going to University of British Columbia,” he said. “That would have been a cool experience.”
Herrick said the transition to USC in the spring was harder than expected.
“[At USC], we didn’t get an adequate welcome initially,” he said.
Herrick noted, however, that as the semester has progressed, he has felt more comfortable pursuing his academic and social interests.
“The academics here are so much harder than what I’ve been exposed to in the past, but the communication school is a lot more diverse and gives you more freedom,” Herrick said. “Socially, it felt like I wasn’t really associating with everybody at first. But through clubs, it’s just getting better the more I’m here.”
Other students also said the transition was somewhat difficult, but for different reasons.
Biggs, who went to Nicaragua for three months to do community service during her semester off, said the transition back to the United States was hard.
“It was a bit of a culture shock going from Nicaragua to L.A., but in terms of transitioning from high school to college, it was smooth,” Biggs said.
Steen was also worried the transition would be hard, but noted that he wasn’t worried for long.
“At first, I was nervous that being spring admit would mean not fitting in with everybody,” he said. “There were so many spring admits, though, and the friends I made here were very helpful.”
Steen said that he made a lot of friends at the spring admit orientation.
“I have a tough time remembering who is a spring admit or fall admit, which is kind of cool. USC has a really good support system,” Steen said.