Spring admits adjust to campus life

Some students have also had questions regarding whether certain majors are prioritized for spring admission over others. “I’ve seen a lot of film majors or theater majors that are in spring for some reason,” said Celeste Leendertse, a freshman spring admit majoring in economics. (Gina Nguyen | Daily Trojan)

USC admits new students in the spring semester every year to provide opportunities for qualified students who were unable to enroll earlier because of insufficient university resources or space in the fall. This year, the University reported that it welcomed 813 new undergraduate students to campus, constituting 19% of the total number of 2022-23 student starts. 

Of the 19%, 25% are first-generation college students, 56% are from California and 12% are international students.

Although students who start in January are just now beginning their careers at USC, many spring admits are coming from a fulfilling fall semester of taking for-credit courses at a community college, studying at local universities or even enrolling in one of the University’s study abroad programs. 

Despite having had these fruitful experiences in the fall, finding a community is still difficult, said James Lee, a freshman majoring in business administration who started at USC this semester. 

“It’s definitely harder to make friends,” Lee said. “Other kids have more experience … and, in a way, you’re disadvantaged when you join clubs or you’re just trying to go out. It’s a lot more difficult, but, I mean, I just take it at face value. I’m blessed with what I have.”

All spring admits who spoke with the Daily Trojan said they were given fewer opportunities to network, socialize and adjust to campus compared to those who start in the fall. Heeding this, the University has made some efforts to help new admits get involved by hosting spring events — like Welcome Week orientation and Spring Into SC for spring students and Late Night LA in McCarthy Quad for the entire student body.

“The orientation program offerings for this year’s spring admitted students mirrored the options available for fall admitted students,” wrote Dean of Admissions Timothy Brunold in a statement to the Daily Trojan Thursday. “Both populations received online academic advisement and course registration, paired with in-person events before the start of classes.”

Megan Chan, a freshman spring admit majoring in communications, said there were several events she has attended so far to get academically and socially involved around campus — including an orientation for the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Spring Into SC, the convocation and a Spider-Man movie night.

Many of these events, however, are restricted to spring admits, making it challenging for them to get to know more fall admits and diversify their relationships. Leena Elmashat, a freshman spring admit majoring in computer science, said that most of her interactions so far have been with fellow spring admits. 

“I’ve been able to talk to a few fall admits, but it’s definitely been more spring admits,” Elmashat said. “For example, in my GESM, there’s a lot of spring admits, … so I have more exposure to spring admits in my different classes just because of how my schedule ended up being set up.”

Some students have also had questions regarding whether certain majors are prioritized for spring admission over others. 

“I’ve seen a lot of film majors or theater majors that are in spring for some reason,” said Celeste Leendertse, a freshman Spring Admit majoring in economics. “That was a little weird, especially theater majors, because I know that there aren’t that many of them in the program.” 

Brunold wrote in his statement Thursday that spring admission offers “vary from year to year but tend to be proportional to the size of each academic unit,” and that “not all majors are conducive to students entering mid-year, but most are.”

Some spring admits also said that their housing assignments, which are usually any available space in undergraduate apartments, do little to help the situation. Leendertse, who lives at University Gateway, said she felt as though she was missing out living away from her peers.

“It’s less social here than some of the other freshman halls … I was a little disappointed,” she said. “I definitely missed out a little bit on meeting other freshmen.”

While the University’s orientation left spring admits well-prepared to make use of available resources, Elmashat said it failed to help them fully adjust to the social factor of campus life. 

“[Fall admits] had a lot more get to know you games and things like that at [their] orientation,” Elmashat said, whereas the online spring orientation was far less interactive, covering information about resources and inviting guests to speak about their experiences.

Despite some of these pitfalls, Lee said he has been enjoying his time at the University so far. 

“I’ve already made a really good group of friends and I’ve met so many great people even through like small events,” Lee said. “I’m happy with my experience.”