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USC - please tell me about the area

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
I was never even considering going to USC but I just got an e-mail that might change my mind.

All the schools I'm applying to next year are on the East Coast. Most are in NYC so public transport is very good, or are in cities like New Haven or Baltimore which are small and real estate is cheap enough that you can live close to school.

I heard that USC is a bit difficult if you don't have a car. Is there any truth to this? I'm referring to the Thornton School of Music. Does USC have a really centralized campus or is it all over the place? I'd love to go to a real college with a good football team, and get a real "american college" experience.

Are apartment prices near NYC levels? Thanks a lot for any info.
post #2 of 43
USC is located on the outskirts of South Central LA, so the area immediately surrounding it isn't particularly nice, but it's improving somewhat. Personally I would say that being in Southern California w/o a car isn't exactly going to give you many options, although it's certainly possible. There are buses and the like, but walking around that area at night would certainly not be my first choice.

Apartment prices in the area immediately surrounding USC should be substantially lower than NYC.
post #3 of 43
I 2nd the car problem, it's the same with SoFLA...you can (theoretically) go about without a car, but it's not advisable.

Jon.
post #4 of 43
Is that an undergrad or graduate program?

You cannot live in LA without a car. The one exception might be if you're a college freshman living in the dorms and you make a lot of friends quick. Even then, you'll want your own car the following year. The public transit system in LA is slow, crowded, dirty, and sucks. I would not rely on it.

USC has a centralized campus, and it is small. The surrounding neighborhood is not your typical college town. Generally students don't stray more than a block or two away from campus, on foot. Unless you're living in a dorm, don't live near USC. Furthermore don't live in downtown or K-town.
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renault78law
Is that an undergrad or graduate program?

You cannot live in LA without a car. The one exception might be if you're a college freshman living in the dorms and you make a lot of friends quick. Even then, you'll want your own car the following year. The public transit system in LA is slow, crowded, dirty, and sucks. I would not rely on it.

USC has a centralized campus, and it is small. The surrounding neighborhood is not your typical college town. Generally students don't stray more than a block or two away from campus, on foot. Unless you're living in a dorm, don't live near USC. Furthermore don't live in downtown or K-town.

this is for grad... I've heard that I should watch "training day" to get an idea of what it looks like...
post #6 of 43
Grad school? You need a car. For sure.

And I hope you're not dead set on living the "American college" experience. Grad school feels far removed from undergraduate life. Sure, we party, but more at clubs and bars, rather than frat houses. Also, because people come from all over to attend grad school, there is very little sense of school pride. You usually see that more in undergrad...
post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renault78law
Grad school? You need a car. For sure.

And I hope you're not dead set on living the "American college" experience. Grad school feels far removed from undergraduate life. Sure, we party, but more at clubs and bars, rather than frat houses. Also, because people come from all over to attend grad school, there is very little sense of school pride. You usually see that more in undergrad...

I would agree with this. Especially as a music major, I doubt you're going to get alot of the undergrad experience, but it is usually fun to catch SC games heh. Certainly you will have a vastly different college experience than you would on the East Coast though.
post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Violinist
this is for grad... I've heard that I should watch "training day" to get an idea of what it looks like...

Geez...it's not that bad. It is an island in a questionable area, but it's not like there are hookers and dealers all along the street as soon as you get off campus.

You do need a car. Good part about LA is that it's a good place to get a used car. Most used cars are in much better condition for the model year than in any other part of the country - no snow or bad weather. (My sister's neighbor has a classic 70's Jag in mint condition. He parks it on the street.)

The only upside to riding the bus is that you can work on your Spanish.
post #9 of 43
Thread Starter 
what is it like obtaining a driver's license if you're canadian?
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Violinist
what is it like obtaining a driver's license if you're canadian?
Here is the procedure. http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl_info.htm#2500
post #11 of 43
Southern California is like some sort of an Holy Grail for people looking to purchase a vintage classic vehicle. It's mostly the climate.
post #12 of 43
I attended USC for my graduate studies. I lived on West 28th Street (fraternity row) in a fraternity house turned apartment building after the frat got booted (cinema student started a fire there for a project). The apartment was $350/month. This was between 1991-93. It was just a room. The bathroom was common. One woman lived there; the rest were men. Mostly undergraduate students. It was OK. I was robbed once over Christmas break, but that was probably an inside job. Also, the city rioted in 1992. All of this was quite interesting for me. I put a couch on the roof and observed the city burning. Had you been there with your violin, you could have played Nero.

I did not have a car. I didn't wear a watch. My advisor told me that I would never make it through school without a car or a watch. I took this as a challenge. I was able, by making friends, to get around where I needed to get and know the time. I also used the bus system and clocks on campus. The bus routes were OK, as long as I had something to read during the somewhat slow ride. I enjoyed not operating a vehicle in the traffic. The clocks on campus were not always in synch, but most of my courses were at night, so I had a lot of lead in time.

I ate on campus or at the local burritto shop. There was a donut shop that used potatoes in the batter. A security guard for one of the sorority houses was a Muslim. He gave me a Koran and a Pepsi and we often chatted, and this is when I learned about the 88 virgins waiting in Heaven for one who submits and this is also when I began to dismiss more willingly the strict line between fantasy and reality that university, parents, and society so desperately attempted to draw. My perceptions were a bit like any bloke's during Grecian times, where Heaven was full of wiley sinners and earth was full of angels. What a gas.

Graduate students and undergraduate students run in different circles. All of my colleagues had cars and lived away from campus and commuted. They seemed more on a professional track, whereas I was more in touch with events on campus. And also not. I sort of drifted between the two worlds, I suppose. This didn't do much for my sense of identity. I suppose I was soaking up LA however it came to me, and I didn't try to form the experience to suit my needs or preconceptions.

Needless to say, Los Angeles is a fascinating, energized place, and having gone there rather than Columbia has never been a regret of mine. Best of luck to you, however you go.
post #13 of 43
USC is in the 'hood. Campus itself is quite OK, dont wander too far away from it. I went to UCLA, which is basically bordered by Brentwood, Bel Air and Beverly Hills. A very very different part of town.
post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnapril
this is when I learned about the 88 virgins waiting in Heaven for one who submits
I thought it was only 72. This changes everything. Maybe.
post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton
I thought it was only 72. This changes everything. Maybe.

Personally I don't want 72 virgins. I want 72 STD-free hookers (or skanky college chicks). Virgins have no clue what they are doing, whereas hookers (or skanky college chicks) will make you see heaven again and again...

Jon.
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