Well, some do, but I can assure you that for a number of us who were at school with Brendan–and for Brendan himself, for that matter–USC was the less expensive option. The existence of purely academic merit scholarships at USC, and the relatively large endowment that comes from being a private university, means that a good percentage of USC students do not end up with serious debt at graduation, and without their families having forked over large amounts of money to cover their educational expenses.
UCLA is no longer academically superior
It’s that time of year again when, knowing that their football team will be helplessly blown out of the water, UCLA fans resort to the old “well… at least UCLA is better academically! USC is a joke” red herring. As a current ‘SC student with plenty of Bruin “friends,” I generally bear the brunt of this talk and subsequently have taken the time to arm myself with knowledge in USC’s defense. Just so we can enlighten our crosstown rivals who believe UCLA’s ivory tower is grander/taller, I’m sharing what I know with all of you:
This isn’t 1990 and thanks to Steven Sample, the institutions are far more alike acadmeically than those across town would like to admit. We all know, thanks to signs at the 2004 game vs. Cal, that a few years ago, SAT scores of our admits overtook those of UCLA and even those of the institution for which it is the extension campus. UCLA backers will argue that the deficit (1274, UCLA - 1370, USC) is because USC takes the best math/verbal of any sitting while UCLA takes the best combined. Statisticians will tell you that that doesn’t account for an almost 100 point disparity.
USC, despite being a smaller institution, has more than double the number of national merit scholars enrolled. This year, for the first time in history, USC admitted fewer applicants than UCLA (22% USC vs. 25% UCLA). Considering that this is the metric that admissions pundits use to determine selectivity, this fact alone makes USC HARDER TO GET INTO, and MORE SELECTIVE than UCLA. In fact, UCLA’s admissions numbers are even inflated in their favor — they like to boast that they are the “most applied to school in the nation.” In fact, UCLA uses the common UC application, where a student of, say, UC Riverside qualifications can merely checkmark UCLA (even though they kow they have no shot but do it “just in case”), and they are marked as a UCLA applicant. If they wanted to apply to USC “just in case,” they would have to fill out another entire application, write three essays, etc. etc.
Lastly, in the past five years, USC has climbed tremendously in the US News and World Report ranking of universities (which although decried for having the chutzpah to rank universities, are widely read if not regarded), climbing from #40 to a current ranking of #27. UCLA in the meantime has fallen to #26. Considering that USC only improves each year (from a statistic standpoint) while UCLA remains stagnant, it’s quite possible that next year, the most widely read, third-party determiner of university prestige will rank USC AS A BETTER UNIVERSITY OVERALL than UCLA.
The current rankings alone show that the two schools are almost equals. The points made previously are arguments that USC is, in fact better.
So come Saturday, be respectful… but if a Bruin feels the need to engage in debate aside from football, please enlighten them. The fact that the Universities are so academically and atheltically accomplished (football aside on UCLA’s part, bball on ours) is what makes this such a great rivalry.
Also, if you have any other USC-is-superior tidbits, please share. These are just those off the top of my head.