What is USC's campus/surrounding area like?

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JJDancer
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What is USC's campus/surrounding area like?

Postby JJDancer » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:34 am

Can anyone post pictures of the law library/classrooms? Is it an "urban campus"? or a more traditional feel, just closer to downtown?

SoCal2010
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Re: What is USC's campus/surrounding area like?

Postby SoCal2010 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:44 pm

I don't have any pics, but I can tell you that the entire campus is gated (including residence halls). Once you're on the campus itself it is very nice and feels like a "traditional" campus, but the surrounding area is not the greatest. It is fairly run down. Hope this helps!

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beachbum
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Re: What is USC's campus/surrounding area like?

Postby beachbum » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:51 pm

I visited over the summer and was impressed. It's a very nice campus (not as great as UCLA, but still good), and they seem to put a premium on safety and security. The surrounding area isn't the best (wouldn't want to be out alone after dark), but it's not as bad as some people make it seem to be. (Of course, I'm from St. Louis- so my perspective might be skewed a little bit).

I wasn't overly fond of the law building itself. It feels small and dated, especially compared to some of the new law buildings being built around the country (and, for that matter, some of the newer campus buildings at USC).

Also, the weather is perfect. So there's that.

JJDancer
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Re: What is USC's campus/surrounding area like?

Postby JJDancer » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:18 pm

Thanks.

Obviously I'm not at the stage where I have acceptances to both but I've been to UCLA but never been near USC so in the event that I have the luxury of picking between the two ...

I'd look at employment statistics, overall prestige, size (went to a huge UG, think I want something smaller?) but I also wanted to know about the campus/feel..

I went to a total urban campus UG (think nyu-ish) so I love the UCLA campus feel. But it is graduate school, I will likely be living with my SO, not in a dorm or anything so maybe I shouldn't weigh this campus feel too much..

Still any more thoughts/pics would help just for knowledge sake :)

mst
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Re: What is USC's campus/surrounding area like?

Postby mst » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:49 pm

I visited back in the Spring, which was my second time since touring it prior to undergrad. I've been in love with it and LA for my entire life though. USC's campus is pristine. The gold/yellow brick and red spanish roofs are California/West coast spanish architecture at its best. The lawn and greenery are amazing, and you just get a wonderful feeling on the campus that is similar to many of the other traditional universities that seem like they are in their own world. Which is not coincidental for USC, because the world surrounding it is not that great. However, it's not terrible. My father actually got stabbed there walking home several decades ago, but it's come quite a long way since, especially with the changes made downtown over the last 20 years or so. Now, it's more of a "commuter" neighborhood, similar to what you'll find in directional-state schools located in other mid to large cities. Strip malls, cheap housing that is a mix of risky students and lower-income adults, etc. Not the end of the world, but as a law student you're definately going to envy the kids in Westwood (UCLA), but not so much for their higher rent. I suggest getting on google street view and zooming around the blocks that go around campus. You'll understand the neighborhood. Not good but certainly not the projects.

More about on campus, it really is safe. Sometimes annoyingly so, like having crossing guards on streets that have no traffic. It's actually a small central campus for a school of that size, but I like it. You're no more than 10-15 minutes from any location.

About the law school itself, it's kind of weird. It's nestled in it's own corner of the campus, which is nice. But it looks like no other building on campus. Very functional, but very ugly. It's just a big concrete rectangle nustled among beautiful brick buildings. The library is very nice, but not as old-fashion/sprawling open spaces like UCLA or other top 15 schools. It's more of a labyrinth, so privacy and seating didnt seem to be an issue. It's layout also makes it easy to maneuver around the entire school with just a quick elevator ride. The classrooms were a mix between the standard 20 person rooms and the larger ones that could seat 50-100. Not bad. Trial room was about standard from what I've seen. A cafe in the middle of the law school also looked nice... gave a good place to relax between classes and most students seemed to be chatting it up here.

Overall, the vibe of USC law was somewhere between Pepperdine and UCLA. At a school like Pepperdine, I saw kids almost screaming in the hallways, chatting loudly, kind of relaxed... wasn't exactly "professional." At UCLA, the hallways were eerily quiet and I got the more "academic feel." USC was somewhere between. More relaxed than UCLA but a bit more hectic/less professional.

For the person asking about UCLA, I visited that the next day (after Pepperdine). UCLA's building was absolutely gorgeous. It's very large. The library is enormous, but is basically one large room. Not as "private" or intimate... but it's also not like you're going to make out with your fellow students between the book-stacks. As I said before, UCLA was very much controlled and much more quiet. This kind of had an impact on my tour because I was scared I'd be kicked out for touring the school... But the campus itself is literally one of the best in the country. The neighborhood is to die for, if you can afford it.

They're both good schools. UCLA definitely wins on the facility front. But you're going to spend most of your days with your head in a book so does that matter? Besides, there's much more important things at stake. The schools have VERY different post-graduation options on the table, and their atmosphere is completely different. Obviously, life style is a major factor, but the campus's and buildings are not different enough in my opinion to be the determining factors for a decision between the two.

JJDancer
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Re: What is USC's campus/surrounding area like?

Postby JJDancer » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:02 pm

mst wrote: The schools have VERY different post-graduation options on the table, and their atmosphere is completely different.

Thanks so much for your insight. Do you mind elaborating on this...

mst
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Re: What is USC's campus/surrounding area like?

Postby mst » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:30 pm

After thinking about it a bit, I overstated on the employment a bit. There are differences though. Both will place socal well. UCLA is better regarded nationally/academically. There's literally hundreds of opinions and threads on things like that so I won't go on more with it (someone will be in here to disagree), but suffice to say there are differences.

Personal opinion: Both are in the same market, most of their graduates will compete for the same types of jobs on the same level. But I would go with UCLA clearly. It's a very small difference, but a noticeable once you get around to actually seeing the schools and reading about the experiences and talking to the students.

But a small difference is a difference. Check them out for yourself if you get into both, you can see both in a couple of hours. But most people seem to choose UCLA over USC when money is not the factor.

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Knock
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Re: What is USC's campus/surrounding area like?

Postby Knock » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:51 pm

mst wrote:After thinking about it a bit, I overstated on the employment a bit. There are differences though. Both will place socal well. UCLA is better regarded nationally/academically. There's literally hundreds of opinions and threads on things like that so I won't go on more with it (someone will be in here to disagree), but suffice to say there are differences.

Personal opinion: Both are in the same market, most of their graduates will compete for the same types of jobs on the same level. But I would go with UCLA clearly. It's a very small difference, but a noticeable once you get around to actually seeing the schools and reading about the experiences and talking to the students.

But a small difference is a difference. Check them out for yourself if you get into both, you can see both in a couple of hours. But most people seem to choose UCLA over USC when money is not the factor.


I would agree. UCLA is in a much nicer area, ranked higher, and I think it's the overall winner, although I wouldn't fault anyone for choosing USC over UCLA, especially with money. I think it really just comes down to preference.




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