When I was notified that I had been accepted to USC, I was greeted with a charming folder full of USC paraphernalia showcasing all the school had to offer. I immediately planned a visit, read through all the materials I had received and went online to research the university even more than I already had in the application process.
With USC, it’s the small gestures it takes that persuade prospective students to choose USC over other universities.
According to Ruthie Pyles, the Admission Center manager and associate director of admission at USC, the three most popular admission programs for prospective students at USC are Explore USC, Preview USC and on-campus discussion programs. These programs allow students to see the campus learn important information about the different academic departments here. In addition, the Office of Admission offers a spring open house program, which allows prospective admits to look at dormitories.
“We offer more events than many other universities in the U.S. We offer one [program] almost every single day … in April,” she said. “The programs can be extremely expensive, such as the Explore USC program, where they’re basically here all day long … or they can be here for a half-day, which is our Preview program.”
The events are geared toward making students feel comfortable and part of the large USC community.
“Some [events] are alumni-related, some are just admission-related. We really want to give students multiple opportunities to get to know the university on a variety of levels,” Pyles said.
Students admitted that those programs helped them picture themselves living and learning on the USC campus for four years.
“They had an event where they brought out the marching band and I got to see all the accepted families,” said Diana Toma, a freshman majoring in international relations. “I also really liked the atmosphere — that was just an emphasizing point and it drove it home for me.”
This same event made me feel like I was being inducted into the Trojan cult. After watching the marching band and raising my fingers into the Fight On position, there was no turning back.
The Explore USC program also helps students make the decision to attend USC.
“I think it was the combination of both the fact that I received the Presidential Scholarship as well as the Explore overnight program because I definitely had a different path in mind for me, but that really changed my perception of the school into the whole package that it really is,” said Ian Nelson, a sophomore majoring in business administration and accounting.
The tour guides at the Admission Center said they use the tours as a way of showing potential students places on campus where they would especially be interested in visiting.
“We switch up our tour route to kind of tailor it to the students,” said Emily Munson, a tour guide and senior majoring in economics. “After the tour, we write individualized notes. Sometimes I include my personal e-mail address with the groups I had a lot in common with … so that I could personally help them with the transition from high school to college.”
Those precise qualities and programs helped me acclimate well to the large community at USC and made me feel welcome from the get go.
Besides the positive qualities that USC cannot take credit for — such as the school’s ideal location in California and temperate climate — students agreed that USC’s programs, faculty and alumni base help sell the university to potential students.
“I got the impression that there were teachers here that really valued the undergraduate education,” said Stephen Lamb, a junior majoring in history.
When it comes to reaching out to prospective students, USC goes above and beyond its call of duty as an academic institution and does its students right by providing as many resources as it can to make students’ college experiences superior to other schools. This experience starts at the initial level of just welcoming potential future students to the campus.
Because of all the work and effort USC puts into giving prospective students a look into their possible futures at USC, the school has students who are happy to be here and excited to learn and thrive.
The process starts at the beginning, and if it had not been for the exciting USC programs I took advantage of during my final two years of high school, my college experience might not have been as valuable and wonderful as it have been.
Danielle Nisimov is a sophomore majoring in public relations. Her column “On the SCene” runs Thursdays.