Skip to main content

One of the most difficult aspects of the college application process is choosing “the right” school. For me, there were a few reasons why I ended up picking USC: the major, the vibes, and the weather were the most appealing aspects for me. The major, environmental engineering, was a huge aspect of this. USC has an incredible environmental engineering program with highly-acclaimed professors, incredible classes, and tons of resources for its students. A lot of other engineering schools offer only civil engineering or civil engineering with an environmental focus; USC is one of the few schools which have its own environmental engineering major. It’s within the civil engineering school, but this offers me and other environmental engineers a nuanced view of environmental engineering with a deep civil engineering knowledge along with it. The research at USC is also just fantastic: I am so grateful for all the resources that Viterbi advertises for its students, and it was a big reason I decided to come here. Here’s a picture of me in the environmental engineering lab I work in now!!

Secondly, the atmosphere of USC was a big factor in my decision. I visited USC in November of 2019 as a junior in high school. I remember walking on campus and feeling as though I really wanted my college career to be there. I was so excited for USC to be the place that I would live for the next chapter of my life, and it really spoke to me. Third, the weather was a big reason; Southern California is just unparalleled in terms of weather, especially coming from the midwest! Don’t let anyone tell you that the environment of where you move isn’t important. Mental health in the winter is a big issue for students, and in Southern California, I have found I am much happier than I was in a cold, snowy place; this, along with the added benefit of being by a beach, was important to me in picking a school. 

Picking a school is hard but it allows you to really determine what is important to you for the next part of your life: I determined that the major program specifics, culture, and weather of the school were most important. USC also gave me a solid financial aid package, which I appreciated and also drew me to the school. Overall, I am just so grateful to be here, and when you feel this way about a school, you will know! We just hope it’s USC 🙂

Vidya Iyer

MAJOR: Environmental Engineering YEAR: Class of 2025 HOMETOWN: Des Moines, Iowa PRONOUNS: they/them/theirs Outside of VSA, I am a co-Lead Organizer for Student Coalition for Asian Pacific Empowerment, volunteer at the LGBTQ+ student center, and I participate in activism across USC and LA! I'm looking to get into research this year as well, hopefully in water quality or CO2 recycling.