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Boston University vs USC: Which University is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a male student sitting and smiling

Boston University vs USC: Which University is Right for You?

Making the decision of where to attend college is a major one, as it will have a significant impact on your life and career path. As you consider your options, you may be wondering how Boston University and the University of Southern California (USC) stack up against each other. While both universities have a lot to offer, they each have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. In this article, we will go in-depth and compare Boston University vs USC, covering everything from academics to campus life, to help you make an informed decision on which university is the right fit for you.

Location and Campus: Boston University vs USC

One of the biggest differences between Boston University and USC is their locations. Boston University is located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, while USC is located in Los Angeles, California. Both cities offer very different vibes: Boston is a historic city with cobblestone streets and a charming New England feel, while Los Angeles is a bustling metropolis with a sunny, laid-back vibe.

Students on campus

As for the campuses themselves, both Boston University and USC are large and sprawling. Boston University’s campus is situated along the Charles River and is a mix of both historic and modern buildings. USC’s campus is a mix of classic and contemporary architecture and includes a beautiful iconic rose garden. Boston University’s campus is more compact, while USC’s is spread out across over 300 acres.

Another notable difference between the two campuses is their proximity to other universities and colleges. Boston University is located in the heart of Boston’s “college town,” surrounded by other prestigious universities such as Harvard and MIT. This creates a vibrant academic community and opportunities for cross-institutional collaboration.

In contrast, USC is located in the University Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, with fewer nearby universities. However, USC has strong ties to the entertainment industry and is located near major studios and production companies, providing unique opportunities for students interested in film and media.

Academics: Boston University vs USC

When it comes to academics, both Boston University and USC offer a wide variety of programs and majors. Boston University has 10 undergraduate schools and colleges, including the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Questrom School of Business. USC also offers a wide range of majors, with 22 undergraduate programs housed within its 17 schools and colleges.

One area where USC stands out is in its film and entertainment program. The USC School of Cinematic Arts is one of the top film schools in the country and has produced a number of successful alumni, including George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

Another area where USC excels is in its pre-med program. The university boasts a high acceptance rate to medical school, and USC pre-med students have access to state-of-the-art research facilities and clinical experiences.

In addition to its film and pre-med programs, USC also offers a highly regarded program in international relations. The School of International Relations is ranked among the top 10 in the country and offers a range of courses in areas such as global governance, security studies, and international political economy.

Boston University, on the other hand, is known for its strong programs in journalism and communication. The College of Communication offers majors in journalism, advertising, public relations, and film and television, and has a reputation for producing successful graduates in these fields.

Faculty and Class Sizes: Boston University vs USC

At both Boston University and USC, you’ll find experienced and knowledgeable faculty members. Boston University has over 4,000 faculty members, and USC has over 4,300.

A man is holding a book standing in the foreground while other students in the background are chatting.

As for class sizes, they can vary greatly depending on the course and department. At Boston University, the average class size is around 27 students, while at USC, the average class size is around 26 students.

It’s worth noting that both universities offer smaller seminar-style classes for more personalized learning experiences. These classes typically have fewer than 20 students and allow for more in-depth discussions and interactions with professors.

Additionally, both Boston University and USC have a diverse faculty, with professors from various backgrounds and areas of expertise. This diversity not only enriches the learning experience but also provides students with a wider range of perspectives and ideas.

Admissions Requirements and Acceptance Rates: Boston University vs USC

Getting into either Boston University or USC is no easy feat. Both universities have high academic standards and competitive admissions requirements. To apply to Boston University, you’ll need to submit your transcripts, standardized test scores (either the SAT or ACT), essays, and letters of recommendation. USC requires much of the same but also offers applicants the option to submit creative portfolios.

Both universities had acceptance rates in the mid-teens: Boston University had an acceptance rate of 14%, while USC had an acceptance rate of 11%. However, it’s important to note that while these acceptance rates are low, they do not necessarily reflect the entire applicant pool, as many highly qualified students who do not meet certain criteria (such as financial aid) may elect not to apply.

It’s also worth noting that both Boston University and USC have holistic admissions processes, meaning that they consider a variety of factors beyond just grades and test scores. This includes extracurricular activities, community involvement, and personal essays. Additionally, both universities offer resources and support for students throughout the application process, including guidance on financial aid and scholarships.

Tuition and Financial Aid: Boston University vs USC

Attending either Boston University or USC is a significant financial commitment. The cost of tuition and fees at Boston University is around $65,168, while the cost of tuition and fees at USC is around $15,891(In-State Tuition and fees) and $48,465 (Out-of-State Tuition and fees).

However, both universities offer generous financial aid packages to help meet the cost of attending. Boston University offers need-based aid, merit-based scholarships, and work-study opportunities. USC also offers need-based aid, as well as merit-based scholarships and grants. In fact, over 70% of USC students receive some form of financial aid.

It is important to note that the financial aid packages offered by both universities are not guaranteed and are subject to change each year. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid early and to regularly check for updates on their aid status. Additionally, both universities offer resources and support for students seeking external scholarships and grants to further offset the cost of attendance.

Student Life: Housing, Clubs, and Activities

Both Boston University and USC offer a variety of housing options for students, including dormitories, apartments, and off-campus housing. Boston University requires all first-year students to live on campus, while at USC, only about half of all freshmen live on campus.

Students working on their projects on a table.

In terms of clubs and activities, both universities offer a wide range of options. Boston University has over 450 student organizations, including academic clubs, cultural clubs, and special interest groups. USC has over 1,000 student clubs and organizations, including everything from sports teams to academic associations.

Additionally, both universities have a vibrant social scene with plenty of events and activities for students to enjoy. Boston University hosts an annual Fall Fest, which includes live music, food trucks, and games. USC has a popular Springfest, which features carnival rides, food vendors, and live performances by popular artists. Both universities also have a variety of intramural sports teams and fitness classes for students to participate in.

Athletics:  Boston University vs USC

Sports play a big role in campus life at both Boston University and USC. Boston University is a member of the Patriot League and has 24 varsity sports teams. USC is a member of the Pac-12 conference and has 21 varsity sports teams.

In terms of facilities, both universities have state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, and sports fields. Boston University’s newest athletic facility, the John Hancock Student Village, was completed in 2019 and features a multi-purpose arena, a fitness center, and a dining hall. USC’s athletic facilities include the Galen Center, which is home to USC’s basketball and volleyball teams, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which has hosted numerous Olympic events and Super Bowls.

Additionally, both universities offer a variety of intramural and club sports for students who want to participate in sports at a more casual level. Boston University has over 30 intramural sports teams, including flag football, dodgeball, and ultimate frisbee. USC offers over 40 club sports teams, including rugby, water polo, and equestrian. These opportunities allow students to stay active and engaged in sports, even if they are not on a varsity team.

Career Services and Job Opportunities

Both Boston University and USC have strong career development centers that can help you with everything from finding internships to preparing for job interviews. Boston University’s Center for Career Development offers resume and cover letter reviews, job search assistance, and career fairs. USC’s Career Center offers similar services, as well as networking and mentoring opportunities.

Both universities also have high job placement rates for their graduates. According to a report by Boston University, 81% of graduates find full-time employment within six months of graduation. Similarly, USC reports that 85% of its graduates find employment within six months of graduation.

In addition to the career development centers, both Boston University and USC offer various resources to help students explore different career paths. Boston University’s Alumni Mentoring Program connects current students with alumni who work in their desired fields, providing valuable insights and networking opportunities.

USC’s Career Communities program offers students the chance to connect with professionals in their field of interest, attend industry-specific events, and gain hands-on experience through internships and job shadowing.

Furthermore, both universities have partnerships with top companies and organizations, providing students with access to exclusive job and internship opportunities. Boston University has partnerships with companies such as Google, Amazon, and Goldman Sachs, while USC has partnerships with companies such as Disney, Nike, and Deloitte. These partnerships often lead to job offers for students before they even graduate.

Alumni Network and Connections:  Boston University vs USC

One advantage of attending a prestigious university like Boston University or USC is the connections you can make through the alumni network. Both universities have large and active alumni networks, which can be a valuable resource for networking and job opportunities.

Group of students with a laptop are chatting while sitting on the stairs.

According to data from LinkedIn, Boston University has over 300,000 alumni, while USC has over 480,000. Both universities also have alumni associations that offer events and networking opportunities for graduates.

Additionally, many alumni from these universities are successful professionals in various industries, including business, entertainment, and technology. They often have a strong sense of loyalty to their alma mater and are willing to help fellow graduates in their career pursuits. Some alumni even offer mentorship programs or internships to current students or recent graduates.

Diversity and Inclusivity on Campus

Both Boston University and USC are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus community. Boston University has a number of initiatives in place to promote diversity, including a diversity and inclusion committee, a multicultural learning experience, and a Bias Response Team. USC also has a number of diversity and inclusion programs, including a center for LGBTQ+ students and a center for Black cultural and student affairs.

Furthermore, Boston University has a program called “First-Year Experience” that aims to support first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color in their transition to college.

The program provides academic and social support, as well as mentorship opportunities. USC also has a similar program called “First Generation Plus” that provides resources and support for first-generation college students.

In addition, both universities have student organizations that celebrate and promote diversity. Boston University has over 450 student organizations, including cultural clubs such as the Asian Student Union and the Black Student Union.

USC has over 800 student organizations, including the Latinx Student Assembly and the Muslim Student Union. These organizations provide a space for students to connect with others who share their cultural background and to promote awareness and understanding of different cultures.

Research Opportunities and Resources:  Boston University vs USC

Both Boston University and USC are research-focused universities that offer numerous research opportunities for undergraduates. Boston University has over 70 research centers and institutes, including the Center for Neuroscience and the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies.

At USC, students can participate in research at the USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute and the USC Institute for Global Health, among others. In addition to research opportunities, both universities have extensive libraries and online resources to support students’ academic work and research.

Furthermore, Boston University and USC have partnerships with various research institutions and organizations, providing students with even more opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research. For example, Boston University has partnerships with the National Institutes of Health and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, while USC has partnerships with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Moreover, both universities offer research funding and grants for students who wish to pursue independent research projects. These funding opportunities can cover expenses such as travel, equipment, and materials, allowing students to fully immerse themselves in their research and gain valuable experience.

International Student Support Services

Both Boston University and USC welcome international students and offer a number of resources to support their transition to campus. Boston University’s International Students & Scholars Office provides immigration and visa advice and hosts cultural events and programming. USC’s Office of International Services provides similar support, as well as assistance with housing and orientation.

Group of students talking and walking on stairs.

Additionally, both universities have international student clubs and organizations that provide opportunities for students to connect with others from their home country or region. These clubs often host social events, cultural celebrations, and provide a support network for international students.

Boston University’s Global House is a residential community specifically designed for international students, providing a supportive living environment and opportunities for cross-cultural exchange. USC’s International Academy offers English language courses and academic support for international students to help them succeed academically and adjust to the American education system.

Student Testimonials:  Boston University vs USC

To get a sense of what it’s like to attend Boston University or USC, we reached out to current and former students for their thoughts. Students who attended Boston University praised the sense of community on campus and the quality of the academics. They did note that Boston can be a tough place to live, with limited housing options and cold winters.

On the other hand, USC students praised the weather and the social scene on campus. They also appreciated the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. However, some students did note that the size of the campus and the student body can be overwhelming at times.

Another aspect that Boston University students appreciated was the university’s location in the heart of Boston. They enjoyed being able to explore the city and take advantage of all the cultural opportunities it had to offer. However, some students did mention that the cost of living in Boston can be high, which can be a challenge for those on a tight budget.

Meanwhile, USC students also praised the university’s strong athletic programs and the opportunities for students to get involved in sports. They also noted that the university has a strong alumni network, which can be helpful for students looking to make connections and find job opportunities after graduation. However, some students did mention that the cost of tuition at USC can be a barrier for some students and that financial aid options may be limited.

Conclusion: Which University is the Best Fit for You?

As you can see, both Boston University and USC have a lot to offer. It ultimately comes down to what you’re looking for in a university and what your personal preferences are. If you’re interested in a historic city with a tight-knit community, Boston University may be the right choice for you. If you’re looking for a sunny, laid-back campus with excellent film and entertainment programs, USC may be the better choice.

A female student writing essay in her notebook outdoors.

Both universities have strong academics, supportive faculty, and vibrant campus communities. By considering all of the factors we’ve outlined here, you can make an informed decision on which university is the right fit for you.

It’s important to note that there are many other factors to consider when choosing a university, such as location, cost, and available resources. It’s also a good idea to visit each campus and talk to current students and faculty members to get a better sense of the university’s culture and community.

Ultimately, the best fit for you will depend on your individual needs and goals, so take the time to do your research and make an informed decision.

Having all the necessary information is important before choosing any course of action. AdmissionSight is always here to assist you with any questions or concerns. We have more than ten years of expertise assisting students in successfully navigating the challenging admissions process.

Consult with AdmissionSight and find out what we can do to help you get into the school of your choice by ensuring that you are sufficiently aware and well-prepared for the application process.

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