We answered the questions you have about spring admission

Because WTF is a “spring admit?”

Decision day – you see a massive manila envelope from USC and immediately know you’ve been accepted. Then you open the letter and hastily read that you’ve been admitted for the spring semester. You’re suddenly confused af and majorly disappointed.

But fear not, this is not the end of the world, only the beginning of a unique college experience that’s yours for the making. The Tab USC compiled a list of common questions spring admits ask when making their decision to attend USC. We – Tab USC writers Lauren and Kate – answered candidly, because, well, we’ve been there.

Lauren is a freshman studying journalism from New York. Kate is a junior studying broadcast and digital journalism from New Jersey. We were both spring admits who had these same questions. Here are our answers:

WTF is going on??

Lauren: When I saw the big acceptance envelope from USC, I was stoked. But when I realized I was accepted for the spring semester, I’ll admit I was a little disappointed. However, once I learned more about being a Spring Admit, I was really excited. Make no mistake, a spring admission is not a waiting list; you are in, so there is no reason to be upset. With the right attitude and perspective, spring admission is the beginning of a great adventure!

Kate: When I was accepted, I didn’t know spring admission was a thing. But once I got on campus for spring admit orientation in January, I learned that several hundreds of applicants are offered enrollment for the spring semester; and several hundreds accept the offer. The university stresses that spring admits are not any less qualified or unique than fall admits, and although it seems like they have to tell you that, it’s true. You are not any different than other Trojans.

Unfortunately, a lot of the decision has to do with housing space – which is a commodity that quickly fills up. Basically, the university doesn’t have a room for you to stay in just yet, but once students move into sorority/fraternity houses or go abroad in the spring, bed space opens up. So although you’re disappointed now, remember you just got admitted to one of the most competitive universities in the country, which is a major achievement.

What should I do now?

Lauren: I would advise going to the info session for spring admits. It was very helpful in answering any questions I had about what spring admission meant and what my options were for the fall. It quelled all anxieties I had about coming to campus in the spring.

Kate: Definitely weigh all of your options. For the fall semester, you can go abroad, take classes at a community college, volunteer, work, the opportunities are endless. Talk it out with your family and do research to make the best out of your fall semester.

What should I do in the fall semester?

Lauren: I always wanted to study abroad in Italy, since I took Italian in high school. So for me, my spring admission was the perfect opportunity to do just that. It is a little scary to go abroad for your first semester out of high school, and in the beginning, it was really hard to be so far away and immersed in a new culture. However, studying abroad was the coolest, most rewarding experience I have ever had.

Every day is an adventure, an opportunity to venture out and explore. I highly recommend doing it either for your first semester or later on. Studying abroad is a way to experience a new culture, meet people from all over the world, explore new places, and become more independent.

Kate: Like Lauren, I also studied abroad. I ventured to Paris for the semester with dozens of other spring admits through a program USC has with the American University of Paris. While there, I traveled to 11 different cities in seven different countries with fellow Trojans. It was truly the experience of a lifetime and I would highly recommend studying abroad to any spring admit.

Nonetheless, many spring admits opt to take community college courses at home, which is a great way to save money on tuition and get ahead on GEs. Some with extreme FOMO even move into off-campus housing and attend Santa Monica College, so they’re still somewhat on-campus for their first semester of college.

Others get more creative and volunteer in South America for three months, or work on that film they’ve been dying to produce. Do whatever your heart desires, there’s no bad option.

Did you feel like you missed out on USC student life in the fall?

Lauren: I thought that I was going to miss out on all the stuff happening on campus in the fall, not make friends, and be ostracized when I got to campus in the spring. None of these things happened. Actually, studying abroad for the first semester was great because I didn’t really know what I was missing. Doing this now meant that I wouldn’t have to sacrifice or miss out on all my favorite USC things (like football games, club lacrosse, classes, clubs, and other involvements) later on in my junior year.

Kate: While abroad my first semester, I would go on social media and see all of my friends from home going to parties, eating in dining halls, and attending football games. I longed to have that first semester “traditional” college experience and sometimes felt like I was missing out. Then I realized that I was in Paris, and truly had nothing to complain about. Instead, I had friends message me telling me how jealous they were of all of the places I was exploring in Europe. Once I had accepted that my experience was going to be different than my best friend’s from home, I had no reservations about my semester abroad. And quite frankly, you’ll have plenty of time to party and do classic ~USC things~ for the next three and a half years. You won’t miss out on anything, don’t worry.

If I take courses in the fall, will my credits transfer?

Lauren: All of the classes I took abroad were able to transfer for USC GE credit. They were interesting, not too difficult, and I really enjoyed all of them. This way, I am on track to graduate at the same time as fall admits. Additionally, I was able to pick my classes for the spring at an orientation abroad. Academic advisors were there for most majors and they were very helpful and informative.

Kate: All of my courses transferred as well. When I was planning my schedule for my semester abroad, the university gave us a handout with a list of all of the classes that transferred to USC and if they transferred as GE credit. Regardless of what school you attend in the fall, check with USC to make sure the classes will transfer.

Will I make friends in the spring?

Lauren: I thought I would have a big red arrow over my head that read “Spring Admit,” but I could not have been more wrong. USC is such a big school, it is totally normal and logical that people wouldn’t know you from the first semester. Although you missed out on whatever freshman move in/orientation events took place in the fall, a new semester means new classes, new things to get involved in, and new events at which to meet people. Also, freshmen are still figuring things out even in the second semester and people are still willing to make friends. College is not a system of rigid, exclusive clique like in high school.

Kate: Of course! If you get involved and make an effort to meet new people, you will make friends. I met a few of my current best friends freshman year, but most of my best friends I didn’t meet until sophomore or even junior year. In college, everyone is always willing to meet new people and no one will care, or even remember that you were a spring admit – that’s the beauty of it.

How do I get involved with campus organizations in the spring?

Lauren: All clubs, groups, publications, etc. are always open to accept any new people. So explore your options and go for what you want to do. The biggest problem for me was that I wanted to do too much and had to cut back to fit everything in my schedule. I have been on campus for three months, and I feel like I’ve been here for a year. I work in the Annenberg media center, write for the Tab, sing in the University Chorus, and play on the club lacrosse team. In fact, as soon as I knew I was going to USC, I looked up the club lacrosse captain and emailed her that I was a spring admit and was interesting in playing in the spring. Joining the team in the spring was no big deal at all, and I have had a lot of fun, met new people, and feel part of the Trojan fam.

Kate: Getting involved is super easy! There’s an involvement fair every semester, where student organizations set up booths and sign up new members. Although the involvement fair can be intimidating and crowded, it is worth it. Attend meetings and sign up for events as many organizations that seem intriguing to you. They’re all voluntary, so you can feel them out and then decide which ones you’re passionate about.

If you’re looking forward to Greek life, fraternities have rush in both the fall and the spring, so guys, you can rush right away. Ladies, you’ll have to wait until formal rush in the fall. But don’t freight, that just means you’ll have a whole semester to learn about each house and to make a decision on whether Greek life is for you.

Will I get USC housing in the spring?

Lauren: I was concerned about housing for the spring. I thought I was going to be placed somewhere awful, off campus, with upperclass roommates who didn’t want me there. However, my housing situation turned out to be great. I live on campus in Parkside Apartments and I get along really well with my roommate. I was even able to land a spot in the new University Village for next year!

Kate: Yes, you will get housing! I was also lucky enough to get assigned on-campus housing for the spring. I was placed in Pardee Tower with a fellow spring admit, who I still live with three years later. The girls who lived in our room moved into their sorority house, so we took their spot in the Pardee Penthouse (aka the top floor, which also turned out to be the business floor).

Most of my other spring admit friends got placed in USC off-campus housing, which is mostly just a block or two off-campus. They got a bike and got over it. It’s not a big deal at all.

Few spring admits signed leases for non-USC housing in major apartment complexes nearby. Just be careful, because most of the leases include the summer months, which you will have to pay for regardless if you’ll be staying on campus in the summer.

Is spring admission worth the wait?

Lauren: USC was not my first choice; I actually was denied from my early decision school. I was so heartbroken and never thought I would find another school where I would fit in. But I could not be happier at USC and could not imagine going to school anywhere else. Don’t make being accepted for the spring semester the reason you don’t come to USC. Take advantage of your time in the fall; whether you study abroad, take classes at community college, work, or travel. Don’t miss out on great experiences in the fall and everything USC has to offer once you come to campus in the spring.

Kate: It was 110% worth the wait – if you even call studying in Paris “waiting.” USC was my first choice and I did not hesitate too much to accept the spring admission offer. Looking back at my experience as a junior, I would not have changed a thing. Studying abroad first semester freshman year is a great way to complete GEs, so you don’t miss out on any cool courses or resources for your major later in your college career. To me, USC is a great mix of college campus life and city life, which is why I was so drawn to the university. I still walk campus in awe.

And don’t worry, by the time you’re a sophomore, you’ll forget you even were a spring admit.

Fight on, and welcome to the Trojan fam, fam! #springadmitorbust

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