Last week, admissions letters for USC’s class of 2020 were sent out. Cardinal and gold envelopes were mailed all around the country — even around the world, and hopeful applicants tore them open to see if they had received an invitation to become a Trojan. Admission to USC’s freshman class was more selective than ever this year. Only 16.5 percent of applicants were accepted. The average unweighted GPA was a 3.84, and 44 percent of applicants scored in the 99th percentile on standardized tests, according to Admission Center data released last week. If I applied today, I’m not sure if I would have gotten into USC.
When the end of March 2012 rolled around, I remember the feelings of being overcome with simultaneous excitement, anxiety and dread each time I opened the mailbox or cautiously refreshed my email inbox. Only months earlier I had been rejected my from my top choice school, Northwestern University, where I had applied early decision.
While I was going through it, fall semester of my senior year of high school was the most stressful time of my 18-year-old life. I spent hours toiling away on my Northwestern application, hoping that I could get into a school that always seemed just out of my reach. When the decision email came in December, and I found out I had not been accepted, I was heartbroken. I felt like I poured so much time and energy into that one application and had already imagined the next four years of my life in Evanston, Ill.
Even more overwhelming at the time, was the fact of knowing that now I would have to wait months before I knew where I would spend the next four years of my life. What I didn’t know then, was that the process didn’t have to be so stressful.
In the end, I landed at a school that was a great fit, even if it was a fit I did not expect. USC wasn’t even on my radar until I went into full panic mode when I was rejected from Northwestern. Through this experience I learned that something good (albeit unexpected) often comes out of what seems like the “worst” situations. I’m trying to keep this in mind as I embark in the next major transition in my life — out of college and into the real world.
Since my senior year of high school at age 18, to senior year of college at age 21, not everything has played out as expected (actually, very few things have) but I’ve learned that nearly everything happens for a reason. I’ve learned to make the unexpected or undesirable situations work, and most often, come away from the experience having gained something.
When I think back to senior year of high school I remember how I imagined myself at a multitude of schools, none of which were USC. Yet now, I know how important USC has been to how I have grown as a person in the past four years.
Just like four years ago when I was staring at my first college rejection letter, a lot of aspects of my future are unknown right now. However, soon enough, I know that all the pieces of the puzzle will come together and hopefully the next four years don’t go by quite as fast as the past four years already have.
Emily Goldberg is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism. Her blog column, Diaries of a Second-Semester Senior, runs every Thursday.