Students' Stories: Junior from USC

Every year I talk with past clients; their stories are inspiring.  When a college is a good fit, opportunities abound and sharing my students’ stories lets you imagine the possibilities. Here’s a story from a University of Southern California junior. The original Road Trip blog, which conveys my “aha moments” on USC’s campus, is here.

When applying to college, journalism and maybe psychology were the majors Sara had in mind.  Accepted to USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism, she chose the Thematic Option, a challenging freshman program with small classes, engagement with professors, and a serious amount of interdisciplinary reading built around themes that satisfies general ed requirements.  Sara quickly (as a freshman—full disclosure: she was the youngest) began doing research with a psychology professor and in her sophomore year was trained on USC’s MRI machine.  Extracurricular activities freshman and sophomore years included tutoring at a local school and, over the summer, being a teacher’s assistant at the Summer Institute for the Gifted where she was able to teach psychology classes.

I recently spoke with Sara a few days into her London study abroad.   All four of the courses she is taking will count toward her major and be included in her GPA. The program is an Annenberg program (there’s one in London and one in Rome) taught by USC British faculty (note that the majority of colleges’ semester abroad programs provide credit without GPA impact). Travel through Europe is definitely on Sara’s semester agenda, once she gets the lay of the land. The program, as is true of most study abroad programs, encourages travel by having no classes on Fridays. 

Looking forward, research and tutoring, have come together as Sara’s current interest is in psychology research related to education.  She’s applying for summer research opportunities now and can envision a research career in academia or possibly in a clinical environment – something she plans to experience her senior year. Journalism remains interesting, but no longer a career path.